Never Neglect To Pray

October 9, 2013

Friends,
Prayer. It is of utmost importance. It is exceedingly potent. That is, if it comes from the lips of one who is walking uprightly before God; if it comes from the mouth of the person who has been obeying Christ moment by moment.

Preaching can move hearts, love can melt hearts, singing can uplift hearts, and service can encourage hearts. Much power can go forth from these, and many souls can be saved through these. But, not if prayer has not been paving the way. –All forms of prayer –petitions, thanksgiving and praise-filled prayers, prayers of intercession, prayers of reminding God of His Word and promises, prayers of contrition, prayers of confidence, prayers filled with lament, and prayers filled with joy.

God does want to answer our prayers. And He does desire that we be confident in coming to Him with all sorts of requests –as many as we want and as often as we want. However, God also reserves the right to withhold the answer until the time that is best for Him to grant it, or to give us something different but better, or to gently change our heart’s desires.

What, though, do we do with those prayers that we are led to pray continuously? If the flow of fellowship between us and God is clear, healthy, and wonderful, yet we feel no release to give up on a particular unanswered petition, what should we do?

Jesus tells us. He tells us to keep praying. He tells us to not give up. He tells us to continue asking until the answer comes. (Luke 18:1-8) But, He also tells us to check our faith. (v. 8b) Let’s do that: Do we pray in hope and in full trust, or do we pray in unbelief, or sometimes even in anger toward God? Do we pray positively by exalting the Lord for what He is able to do? Or do we pray negatively with a whining, grumbling attitude? Sure, we can weep, and through the Spirit, who Himself grieves, we do weep. But this weeping prayer must be faith-filled as well –just as a hurting child cries in her daddy’s arms, even while being fully assured that he can make things right for her again.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), He taught them (and us) that famous prayer which exalts God’s name, prays that His Kingdom and will might be done on earth as it is in Heaven, prays for provision and for protection from evil, and asks for forgiveness for our sins as we forgive others their sins against us. After that, Jesus stresses the importance of persevering prayer, contrasting the compassionate eagerness of the Father to answer prayer with that of the disgruntled friend who was called upon when he was already in bed. Though the friend initially said, “Don’t bother me” (v. 7), God’s attitude is the opposite. For to those who ask, seek, and knock, God will grant their requests. (Mt. 7:7,8 // Luke 11:9,10) And to those who ask for gifts, the Lord will give what is good (Mt. 7:11), especially “the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)

Prayer is highly important and powerful. Let us never neglect it –nor become discouraged in waiting for answers.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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