August 27, 2010
Today I feel led to talk about prayer. This blog feels a little more difficult to write, not because I don't believe in the power of prayer. I have spent many hours of my life in desperate prayer. I have seen first-hand my share of answered prayers. Watching your prayers being fulfilled is an amazing, exciting, faith building experience. I have also been on the receiving end of unanswered prayer (at least in the sense of not being answered the way I had hoped). This experience, if you're not careful, can be detrimental to your faith. But, we must always remember that "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) And, sometimes, when we pray, God's answer is "No." We must be willing to accept the no's with the yes'. "Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (Thessalonians 5:16-18) "Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong." (1Peter 3:17)
What do we pray for? I know that I personally pray for God's blessings, God's forgiveness, God's protection, God's healing, and God's guidance. There are many areas in my life where I have learned to become faithful in knowing that God will take care of my situation without me having to worry and fret (which is a sin- that'll be a later blog). "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6) But, there are also areas in my life where I am holding on to things that I really need to let go of. Things that are causing me to worry and fret. Things that are keeping me locked in my past like a prisoner. Not only am I sinfully not trusting God , but I am letting myself be robbed of blessings. I also believe that we are to pray for others (intercessory prayer). "I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God." (Ephesians 1:16-17)
When do we pray? Do we pray before meals? Do we pray only at church? Do we pray only before falling asleep at night? Do we pray only when bad things happen and we need to be rescued? Do we pray prayers of thanksgiving? Do we pray for forgiveness? The Bible tells us to "Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!" (Matthew 26:41) I believe that we should constantly have a prayer on our lips, in our mind, and in our heart. We should spend our days in silent prayer, seeking God. "Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful." (Romans 12:12)
Who should pray? Everyone should pray for forgiveness. We should probably start our prayers asking for God's forgiveness~ always. We must be sure that when we pray, we are doing so with a true spirit. We should be sure that we are genuinely seeking God with a pure heart. If not, God will not hear us. "From now on, when you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not listen. For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways." (Isaiah 1:15-16) "The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29) When we pray, we should be seeking God's will. We need to make sure that we have pure intentions, not selfish ones. "And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results." (James 5:15-16)
So, let's pray. Let's pray for forgiveness, for blessings and favor, for healing, for wisdom and guidance, for God's intervention~ and let's pray for each other!
Father, I come to you today asking that you forgive me for all the times that I have caused pain to you and others. I ask that you forgive me for saying things that should not have been said, and not saying things that should have. I ask that you forgive me when I have been less than patient and loving to others. I pray that you guard my lips and my actions. I don't want to do anything that would be hurtful to anyone else. I ask that you fill my heart with your grace, mercy, and peace. I pray that you help me to forgive others easily and remember to ask for forgiveness when I have done wrong. I ask that you put your healing hands on those who are injured, sick, burdened, and suffering. I ask that you be with our leaders and give them wisdom and guidance and place a burden on their hearts for good. You know the needs and desires of my family. I pray that you work in our lives, and continue to take care of us, giving us everything we need. Use me, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.