Take Time to Pray
by Pastor Scott
Here we are and the Lenten season is almost over and soon Easter will be here with all of its promise and beauty. I pray that Spring is a true blessing to each of you and that all our flooding problems have subsided.
When I say the words “I’ll pray for you,” or “You are in my prayers” what comes to your mind? Do you know that I will hold you up in prayer? Are you confident that you are being prayed for?
Oftentimes when someone tells us about a struggle they are experiencing, we will hear those words. Other times when we are sharing a problem or concern on Facebook or other social media, someone will reply “My thoughts and prayers are with you.” Are they thinking about you? Are they praying for you?
My concern is that too often we are sharing the sentiment and without meaning too, taking prayer a bit too lightly. I know there are times in my life when someone has told me about a struggle they are facing and I’ve said those words and then, sadly, that person’s need will slip my mind. Thankfully, God often brings their face back to my mind so I can make good on my promise to pray.
As children of God, we have been given this gift of prayer. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons there is against the Enemy and in the face of the troubles and trials that come with this earthly life. Prayer is a source of comfort and can help us realign our priorities, thoughts and desires with the thoughts and desires of God. Prayer brings about conviction of sin, reconciliation in relationships, the ability to forgive and yes, even miraculous healing. Prayer will bring us closer to God and can increase our compassion for others. It is not to be taken lightly.
The greatest examples of prayer are found in Scripture when we observe the prayer life of Jesus. Jesus prayed for Himself and for others. He prayed often. He prayed with power. He prayed when He was alone. He prayed when He was with others. Some of His prayers were short and some were long. He prayed in thanksgiving and He prayed in times of trial. He prayed from the heart. Some of His most memorable prayers were spoken through blood-sweat and tears in the Garden of Eden and while hanging on the cross, just as we’ve been studying throughout this Lenten season.
Prior to His crucifixion, as recorded in John 17:1-26 we hear Jesus communicating intimately with the Father, praying for himself, for his disciples and for believers who would come to Him in the future…. that’s us!
When we call on God during our times of hardship and when anguish strikes, He does hear us. And He sees the condition of our heart. There are times when I’ve prayed for God to lift a burden from me, and while it seems He wasn’t listening or didn’t answer, the problem was that I wasn’t asking for the right things.
Because while I was looking for relief, He was working something out in my life to clean up my actions and the condition of my heart. Afterall, God is our Father, and sometimes the answer to a request may be “No” or it may be “Not yet.” But if we do not desire to grow in the knowledge of God and do not heed to His counsel, He will not answer our prayers but rather, He will be silent. As Bible clearly says, “When distress and anguish come upon you…I will not answer…they did not choose the fear of the Lord.” (Proverbs 1:27-29)
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus reminds His disciples that when they pray, they should not babble on and on. Jesus taught them a short prayer that we have come to call The Lord’s Prayer. By following this model, we can learn to talk with God, not to Him. To thank Him and give praise to Him, to take our needs and pain to Him and to bring other’s needs before Him.
Here is my challenge to you: When someone is sharing their pain and need with you, don’t just say, “I’ll pray for you.” Instead, just do it. In that moment, join hands and bring your concerns to the Throne of Grace. Let us pray together for the will of God to be fulfilled in our lives. Let’s be delighted in the presence of God for the word of God says, “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
I pray that each of us will take the time each day to talk with God. I pray that we will follow His ways and allow the Grace of God to set us free from all our troubles.
In Jesus’ Name,
March 19, 2020
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