Praying, you are in great company!

Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:15-16 that he considered it a privilege to pray for his ephesians 1 15fellow believers.   Do you feel that way too? For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”  He knew he could go directly to God and was assured that God would hear his prayers!   

As I contemplated God’s accessibility to me through prayer, I reflected some of the people in the Bible that prayed and why they sought an audience with God.  Have you talked with God about similar situations in faith?  If so you are in good company.  Isaac prayed for his wife to conceive a child, Genesis 25:21, Moses and the people prayed for God to remove the serpents because they had greatly sinned Numbers 21:7.  Hannah prayed for a child in 1 Samuel 1:11, Solomon prayed for wisdom in 1 Kings 3:9,  Ezra prayed for protection and safe journey in Ezra 8:21, David prayed when in danger and distress Psalm 55, for grace in Psalm 86, for peace in Psalm 122,  Jeremiah prayed for mercy and direction in Jeremiah 42:2-4, Daniel prayed for mercy in Daniel 9:3 and 17,  Jonah prayed for salvation and mercy in Jonah 2 and 4, Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done Matthew 26:39 and 42,   the disciples prayed for deliverance of Peter in Acts 12:5. and the letters are filled with prayers for salvation, thanksgiving, restoration, for the needs of others, godly behavior, healing and forgiveness.   We have a mighty cloud of witnesses in the Bible that attest to the fact that God will listen to our prayers and will answer.  In all the ones listed above, Jesus is the only one who prayed for God’s will.  He knew that God’s will is perfect and will provide the perfect answer to prayer.

prayer for-strength-faith-fear-power-powerlessness-trusting-amenBe encouraged and keep on praying.  Give you requests to God and He will answer. If you don’t exactly know how to pray?  Ask the Holy Spirit to do it for you.   Romans 8:27 “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”     God is faithful and will answer in His time and in His way.  This requires faith, trust and patience as we wait upon God for His perfect answer.

Let me encourage you with these final verses:  Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find prayer alonegrace to help us in our time of need.”   Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Pray continually and be assured that God hears your prayers.

Linda

** Need a fun exercise?  Look up the above prayers and see how God answered each of them in His way in His time.  God is good, all the time.  “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  Nahum 1:7

Do you speak boldly? Maybe you are under prayed?

Ephesian 6:19 -20 is a plea from Paul for prayer support from the Ephesian believers.  He desires them to use their privilege of intercession to lift him up before God. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”    In the previous verse (18) he had extorted the believers to use their weapon of prayer to intercede for each other in regard to their  faith, character, etc. and on all occasions.  He is asking that the believers support his ministry and give him the courage to speak boldly,  especially since he was in prison.  I find it encouraging that Paul, one of the most eloquent writers and speakers for Jesus of all time, knew he needed the power pray could bring to his ministry.  He needed the right words for bold speech and explanation of the gospel message.  Like Paul, we should never take for granted that we ‘know ‘ it all and can explain all the essential doctrines of the faith.   We are nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit and Paul knew that.   We need to take a lesson from the Apostle Paul and seek prayer support for our ministries.  Bathe them in prayer before you go out, while speaking, and after wards.  Pray, pray, pray!   

ephesians 6 19Who do you know that is in the need of prayer for their ministry of service?   Sunday School teachers need it, Pastors need it, Worship leaders need it, Church leaders need it, …..  we all stand in the need of prayer to be able to go out and give out the message of hope in Jesus to a hurting world.    For my first book, Fearless Living, I claimed Isaiah 55:11 “so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire  and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”   God promises that giving out His Word will not return isaiah_55_11empty but will accomplish His purposes.  A great promise to claim!

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be confident that God will hear my prayers and that giving out His Word will accomplish His purposes.

Linda

 

 

Prayer, Are you using it as a Weapon in Life’s Battles?

Paul has described the armor of God in terms of those pieces worn by Roman soldiers of the time.  The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.   All of these are physical weapons in our arsenal for fighting our earthly battles of seen and unseen forces that are against us because of our faith.  They are to be worn in all circumstances so that we are never without protection from God and His Holy Spirit.  The last piece of armor Paul lists is a non-physical weapon that we are to use constantly, prayer.   Ephesians 6:18 describes this weapon,  ” And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

ephesians 6 18Prayers are to be constantly on our lips for other believers.  It is a weapon that is to be used at all times for all occasions.  Paul exhorts us to stay vigilant for attacks upon our faith, trials that test our resolve or ideas that cause us to doubt.  Being alert keeps you or other believers from being taken by surprise by the things of the world that would cause you to stumble.  What kinds of prayers should we be offering for other believers?  Faith that is growing and maturing seeks to be more and more like Jesus so anything that would strengthen the walk, character, resolve, purity, thankfulness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, hope, salvation, purity, pursuit of righteousness….  the list is endless.  All these things we are told in scripture are desirous for the believer.   Here are a few examples:

Leviticus 19:2 “‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”   We can pray for our own holiness and purity as well as all other believers.

Psalm 25:9  “He guides the humble in what is right  and teaches them his way.”  We can pray for humility in ourselves and others and commitment to walking with Jesus daily.

Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”      Pray for each other’s daily walk, grounding in scripture, strength of faith and a life showing great thankfulness.

Galatians 5:22-23 “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”   We can pray for the fruits of the Spirit to be evident and developing in our life and other believers.

Pope-Francis-Quote-Let-us-always-pray-for-one-anotherBecause Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the privilege of lifting myself and others up in prayer as we face life’s battles.   Take this privilege seriously and make it a habit to pray for yourself and others so that all would be strong in faith and rooted and grounded in Christ.  Satan desires that we stumble and falter as he wants to destroy our witness for Christ.  Jesus reminded the disciples before His death,  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  Pray that we will all be over-comers and live victoriously in Him.

Linda

Holy Week- Jesus’ Friday was incredibly grueling.  He was tried in various courts in the night and early morning, beaten, brought before Pilate and condemned to be crucified.  He was brought to the cross and crucified then buried in a new borrowed tomb.  “Good Friday”  was good for us but physically hard, painful and demanding all from our savior.   Matthew 26:47-27:66, Mark 14:4-15:47,  Luke 22:47-23:56 and John 18:2-19:32. 

The Privilege of Prayer

Do you have good friends of faith?  Do you share your joys and struggles in your daily walk with Christ and praises for answered prayers?  Paul had that kind of relationship with the Ephesians when he lived among them and it shows in his heartfelt message as ephesians 1 16he sought to encourage them in their faith.  Ephesians 1:15-16.  “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,”  Paul had brought them to faith and was like a proud ‘papa’ over the continued growth of these believers.  He was thankful for their lives of faith and  prayed for them all the time.

A couple of months ago I was struggling with some health issues and a dear sister in Christ sent me a handmade card with the sentiment “I’m praying for you”.  Just receiving her note encouraged me in my walk that day and each day after as I glanced at the card.  Saying you’ll pray for someone is the most precious gift you can give them,  so don’t say it if you don’t intend to actually pray.  Paul was sincere and serious about prayer and he prayed constantly for those new believers in all the cities where he ministered.

Teaching, preaching, witnessing and prayer were all essential parts of Paul’s ministry.  Even if we do not feel like we can be teachers or preachers we can all witness to the joy and power of Christ in our lives.  We can all pray for those who we encounter who do not know Jesus, for our friends and family,  and for specific troubles or circumstances we know people are experiencing.   We can pray for our leaders at church, in our city and in our country.  Prayer changes things and gives us opportunity to communicate with Father God about the people in our lives.  Praying for others takes the focus off ourselves and acknowledges God’s sovereignty over all things.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can go directly to God in prayer.  He is accessible because of our faith in Jesus.

prayer for each otherToday spend some time in prayer for those around you that are hurting, despairing, in poor health, need comfort, strength or are walking down a wrong pathway.  Thank God that they are in your life and that you can lift them up in the name of Jesus.

Linda

#3 Practicing Devotion to God- Pray

prayerThe third practical way to experience love and commitment to God is to PRAY.  The Bible is filled with people talking, communing, listening and responding to God in prayer.  Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah to conceive as she was barren, Hannah prayed rejoicing as God gave her a son to love,  David prayed for protection and guidance as he fled from Saul, Solomon prayed for wisdom to rule the people, Nehemiah prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem,  Jonah prayed from the belly of the fish, Jesus prayed many times to commune with His father while here on Earth, the Apostles prayed for guidance in presenting the gospel and encouraged all believer to pray constantly.  These are just a few examples of the who, when and why people prayed.

We often think of prayer as me talking and God listening.  All of the above knew that God was accessible in prayer and that He would answer with guidance, hope, love and compassion.  In Psalm 16: verses 7, 11 David reveals how he feels about prayer.  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;  in the night also my heart instructs me.”  ” You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”    David received God’s guidance and counsel as God laid on his heart what he should do.  God revealed the right pathway in life to him. 

 Jesus instructed us on prayer in Matthew 6: 5-13He told us what not to do in verse 5,7-8 and then what to do in verses 6, 9-13.  Do Not “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.    Do “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”   Pray then like this:

lords-prayer“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”

Prayer is personal as you alone can speak with Almighty God and lay your concerns, hopes, dreams and desires before Him.  As you learn to trust Him, He will reveal His will and desires to you.  Psalm 37:3,4 are some of my favorite verses and I pray and claim them often.  “Trust in the Lord and do good;  dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord,  and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   

Psalm-37-4Talk with God, trust Him with the desires of your heart, keep on doing good and be safe in His arms.

Linda