I know recently I have blogged several times about praying. Praying in a crisis, praying for others, praying to show gratitude, and so on. Well, here I am again talking about prayer. I guess because I feel it is the only answer to today’s problems and unkindness and that many people have turned away from prayer. As Christians, I would like to remind us why we pray in hopes of drawing us back to prayer.
I recently heard Dr. Charles Stanley explain prayer and it sent a shockwave to my brain that opened my eyes. I want to share some of those points with you. I just love Dr. Stanley because he has such a loving grandfather feel when he speaks.
There is one main reason most people pray and this is fear. Fear for a situation they are currently in whether it be financial, medical, relational, or pick a topic that would cause worry. We sometimes don’t have time for prayer when things are going well for us. It’s when that Mack truck of a situation hits us that changes our life immediately that we begin to pray again. Remember that situation has been brought to you by God to wake you up and to grow you in your faith.
People also turn from prayer when they are living in sin. Now I don’t mean living together outside of marriage all though Jesus tells us that is a sin. I mean when someone cheats a business partner, takes something that is not theirs or is in an extramarital affair. The prayers stop when we give in to the world and our own pleasures instead of upholding the righteousness God wants us to practice. We turn in shame and embarrassment for our actions. I guess we forget that God knows everything and you aren’t hiding anything from Him.
Let me outline what Dr. Stanley taught about why we are to pray constantly and sincerely.
The first point is so dear to my heart because I feel it daily. We pray because this is how God meets our needs. Although God knows exactly what we need, he wants us to ask. God cannot answer prayers that have not been asked. We need to ask to receive it. I may pray in the morning for an opportunity for God to place someone in my life that needs my help and what do you know someone reaches out to me to help a domestic abuse victim. Or maybe it a need to be able to pay a bill I am struggling to clear and my paycheck is more than I had expected. He fulfills my needs in every way.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Next, we should pray during our trials and heartache so that we may be comforted. Have you ever felt a blast of anxiety come on you and when you stop to pray you begin to feel God’s comfort? This was a tough one for me since I didn’t connect these two things going hand in hand for many years. I didn’t know that when I was extremely anxious and couldn’t sleep that all I had to do was to ask my Father to calm my heart and allow me to trust in Him. Folded hands can clear your mind.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Also, the only way to grow our intimacy with God is to pray. Relationships grow over time and devotion. We don’t obtain best friends or a mate in just a few days. We have to talk to, listen to, confide, and trust someone to build that relationship. It is the same with God and it comes through prayer.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Next, let’s talk about prayer in times of temptation. We all have multiple temptations daily we need to overcome and not give in to and prayer is the answer. I know I personally go to prayer when I want to eat something when I am not hungry but bored. I also pray when I am about to spend money foolishly online. “Help me Father to turn my eyes back on You!” Given a few moments in prayer, my temptations fade away.
Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
How about when we need forgiveness? Yes, we need to turn to prayer when we have sinned no matter how large or small the sin may be. Did you know that it is a sin to not do the right thing? For example; if I saw someone struggling with their groceries but did nothing to help I have sinned? Don’t overlook the little sins to pray to ask for forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Prayer is the only true place to get guidance for our lives. Yes, the Bible helps with this but going to God in prayer about your specific need offers a clearer answer. Speaking to our Heavenly Father in prayer many times leads us to particular scripture that we need to hear. That is God’s guidance. There have been many times in the past 2 1/2 years of daily scripture posting on my Grateful Gratitude Facebook page that led others to leave comments that said, “Thank you I need this today.”. I bet you have too! God works through us to help others in this way and it begins in prayer.
Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
You know, prayer also helps us understand God’s Word. Just like I mentioned, God will lead us to references in His Word that will simplify your understanding. I can’t tell you how many times I will read a passage in the Bible and scratch my head in confusion and yet when that passage pertains to my life it is clear. God reminds me to read it again when I am in prayer and I understand.
Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.
Prayer is also a source of healing for myself and others. When I study prayer I realize praying is not about me it’s about placing others above me. Last week when I took my daughter to a doctor’s appointment I waited outside the hospital in my car. You know with the pandemic the hospital is not a place I want to go in right now. I was sitting in my car and knew I had an hour of waiting so I wanted to do something besides reading emails and look at social media. I decided I would pray for everyone going in and out of the hospital. I asked for God’s blessings and protection over the doctors and staff that came in and out. I saw a man that had recently had part of his right leg removed and it moved me to pray more deeply
“Heavenly Father, I have no idea why this man had to have his leg removed but Father please bless him with healing and comfort. I see he has a caregiver helping him that maybe is his wife, Father bless her too with strength and compassion. Keep them both free on COVID and safe under Your wings. In Jesus’ name I pray.” I did this over and over for the people coming in and out of the hospital for the time I was waiting. My heart was so at peace and I felt closer to people I didn’t know. These people didn’t know that I had prayed for them. I suggest you try something like this too. I felt myself become closer to God and more spiritually mature after this.
Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Finally, let us recognize that prayer is how we receive the Holy Spirit. Upon Jesus’ accession into heaven, the Holy Spirit came upon all of us to live within us. Yes, God lives within us. We are all blessed with the Holy Spirit and there is nothing more beautiful than feeling the peace and love He offers. If you don’t currently feel the Holy Spirit in your heart, ask in prayer to open you heart to feel His goodness. It will change your life.
Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
As I end this blog, know I pray for each of you too that read my blog. I care about each of you. Always remember, prayer unlocks the gates of heaven and locks the gates of hell. My love and gratitude-LoLo