“Dear Lord, So far I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm really glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed. And from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help.” Author Unknown
I laugh at this little poem, but it contains so much truth. Every day we so desperately need God’s direction for our own lives, patience on behalf of others, and grace so that we can manage both well. As Pastor Tim shared during the livestream service on Sunday, we are encouraging everyone to participate in a week of emphasized prayer leading up to Easter. I want to share a couple of foundational truths about the importance of prayer so you can benefit from a growing relationship with God and a powerful prayer life.
Simply put, prayer is the opportunity for humans to communicate with God. We hear from God through the reading of His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but it is through prayer that we can offer our response.
Through prayer, we acknowledge the majesty of an Almighty God, recognizing his nature, character and the wonders of His creation.
Through prayer, we admit that we are incapable of solving our most significant problem by confessing our sins and asking for His forgiveness.
Through prayer, we recognize the source of blessing, peace, joy and more as we offer thanksgiving to the God who provides these on our behalf.
Through prayer, we acknowledge the sovereignty of an Almighty God by surrendering our problems completely to Him and asking for divine intervention.
Where there is an absence of prayer, there is an absence of power.
Where there is a frequency of prayer, there will be a continuing display of God’s power.
Throughout Scripture, God demonstrates His expectation for prayer. In the Old Testament, God challenged the nation of Israel to humbly repent in prayer and turn back to God so that their sins would be forgiven and their land would be healed.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
In the Gospels, Jesus is disappointed when the disciples could not stay awake and pray while Jesus communed with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane – just hours before He would go to the cross to pay for the sins of the entire world.
“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’” Matthew 26:40-41
The Apostle Paul challenges us to “Pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The encouragement and expectation is clear – God desires that we spend time with Him in prayer.
Not only is the expectation clear, but the results are clear as well: prayer works. From the first pages of Genesis to the last words of Revelation, we see scriptural evidence that God answers prayer. It has obtained things that seemed impossible and out of reach. It has won victories over fire, air, earth and water. Prayer opened the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven. Prayer made the sun stand still. It brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice. Prayer overthrew the army of Sennacherib. Prayer restored the nation of Israel (see Daniel 9). Prayer has healed the sick, set captives free, brought the lost to life, protected the believers and multiplied the church.
With clear expectations and powerful results, God provides a never-ending promise for those who will spend the time in prayer and communion with Him.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
Take a few minutes to spend some time in prayer, acknowledging your dependence upon God. We are living in uncertain times when we must desperately seek God. We need to spend time reading the Bible, God’s love letter to us. We also need to spend time talking with God through prayer. Below are some thoughts to guide your time in prayer.
God, what are you trying to teach me during these uncertain times?
God, what promises can I hold on to that will give me strength as l live today?
God, help me rely on you and on the grace that you have given me. Help me trust in the hope you have promised, and help me fulfill your plans for my life today.