We pray and pray at times for God to answer our prayers the way that we want them answered. We yearn and we groan, and at times we call God cruel secretly in our hearts because of the lack of answered prayers. Could it be that it isn’t so much about His answer but about our asking? I cannot be calloused here to say to a dying person that it was God’s will for you to die…of course it wasn’t. I am not saying either that God is harsh and wishes some to perish from physical afflictions, this is not the God I serve. We do live in a fallen and temporal world in which diseases like cancer and AIDS prevail. God weeps with those who mourn and comforts those who hurt…it was never His doing that would create such a sad predicament of man.
But in terms of our every day prayers, we can become like a SWAT team attempting to kick in the front door of an assailant instead of humbling petitioning before God the needs of our lives. It isn’t about our wants, but our needs that He will provide (which are according to His riches). But sometimes in our asking (prayer) we become more like Veruca Salt. Do you remember the spoiled character in Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”? Veruca Salt was a salty, spoiled brat who was given anything her heart desired. This led to her downfall within the Chocolate factory, because her father could not give her something which didn’t belong to him. Sometimes our asking prayers can seem like a spoiled little brat, I don’t mean to sound condescending because I too have asked like this. Then when the answer doesn’t come to us the way that we wanted it, we flail on the floor and cry like a child desperately in need of some discipline.
How is your prayer life? Are you approaching the throne of God with reverence and fear or are you Veruca Salt, intent on kicking down the front door if you have to? Take an inventory of your prayer life, be mindful that God does listen to us and He will provide to those who ask in faith and that which brings glory and honor to Him.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” -Romans 8:26
Just how important is praying for one another? It is vital! Each of us have needs that must to be brought into the very throne room of heaven and placed at Jesus’ feet. Sometimes though we have difficulty in articulating these concerns. Have you ever been to the place of sheer and utter weakness? Have you been to that dark place of loneliness and fear? Brothers and sisters in Christ, our love and care for one another isn’t solely meant for Sundays in the pews alone! No! We have been given this vital task of praying for each other daily. We, are to exercise these prayers of intercession for one another daily!
Perhaps you may say to yourself, “Well I’m not much of a pray-er, there are much better Christians out there who could do a better job!” This may be true, but God has called YOU to pray today for someone in need. You don’t have to be “good” at it. You just have to be diligent and faithful. We are all called to this task and we need to be in prayer for the body of Christ. There will be times when you need prayer and others will surround you. It will be in those moments when this vital intercessory prayer circle will make complete sense to a doubting heart of the vitality and power of such a discipline.
Brothers and sisters, say a prayer for each other today. The Holy Spirit can help you articulate it for you. He guides us in our prayer discoveries and in those dry moments when nothing comes forth. You don’t have to have all the elegant and “right” words, you just have to show up. Say to the Lord, “Here I am, send me!” in an attitude of prayer and He will allow your mind to be “sent” upon those people and situations in which need crucial intercessors.
Commit to it today. Prayer for one another, give thanks for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and pray through intercessory prayer.
-Just a thought for today.
Lord, today I confess I’m struggling
my heart not brave enough for the fight
how can I be your light of encouragement
when this heaviness weighs groaning on me?
You know me better than I know myself
all of my heart aches, heart breaks,
heart’s yearnings and attacks.
Today, though I don’t feel like it
I will serve You.
I can’t hide, or fake it…I can’t fool you!
Ignite in me, again your passion
blow into flame this desire
set my hopes and dreams aflame
ignition begins again on my knees
If speech and arts are not accompanied by love and passion
they will fall horribly short and mean nothing but empty sound.
If actions are done out of obligation without compassion and care
they will reach numbed hands and cold hearts in a winter world.
If our actions are compelled only by our pay checks and selfish desires
we will start fires in our pocketbooks but not in the hearts of men.
It will all be for naught and this world would have inherited another cold soul.
Passion, fire and love begin and end with a heart knowledge of God.
Without such an intimate experience we can live, but it will be temporal
it will be less, it will be empty and vacant where He could reside and stoke
the fires of our souls and passions.
Dear Lord, Ignite our flames once more.
Ignite in us Your burning passion for Holiness and compassion
for this world in which we live.
May our worship not be out of obligation or command
but out of love and this deep desire to know more of You,
and through this engulfing flame, may our eyes
see others the way You see them and be spurned to act
without our interests in mind, but to capture the hearts
of others for You and Your kingdom come.
In the waning hours before the sunrise
when soft light wisps through curtained window panes
and before the sounds of busy lives begin again
I renew my conversation with my God.
In blankets wrapped and pillow propped
before these feet place themselves into gravity
and as my eyes have yet to batten a lash in focus
I find again my deep connection with my God.
And in my counting of as many breaths
these lungs are filled with countless blessings
all my hopes and needs begin and end
with these early morning times of confessions.
So, dear Lord before I begin
and the world with all of its chaos ensues
allow me one more moment here with You
let me linger but for another and then…
come with me into the fray.
Life is marred by many things
and busy schedules
with phones that ring
and Lord I confess I forget You.
When worries increase
and time flies by
my space all leased
I am left wondering why…
why have I forgotten You?
These fears flood in
and hope leaks out
under-sieged by sin
and I’m without
why have I forgotten You?
Until on my knees I must bend
In prayer and solitude again
to reconnect with the Eternal friend
this is how is begins and ends.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful….be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:2,5,6)
Dear Christ-followers, how are we representing Christ to the world around us? How are we representing Christ to other believers and to those who have yet to accept Christ? Are our conversations ALWAYS full of grace? Or are they only sprinkled with marginal grace while the rest is so full of “know it all ignorance and judgement”?
We may be the only living example of Christ that others might see…no pressure or anything, but what kind of example are we setting? Are we consistent in our testimony of Him and in the ways that we conduct ourselves? If you are anything like me you too struggle with these consistencies. I am not trying to make us feel guilty today, but let me go a step further; how is your prayer life?
Prayer is Vital!
The very first words of the section of Colossians speaks of devoting our lives to prayer. Prayer is THAT important! We shouldn’t view prayer as our last resort but our primary weapon and the source of strength and endurance in this life. The word “Devote” implies a deep commitment, something that becomes our sole focus just as we become devoted to our spouse in a lifetime commitment to marriage. Becoming devoted to prayer is a serious commitment, not a part time job! Prayer shouldn’t be treated flippantly! Either we are committed to prayer or we aren’t. Prayer is our lifeline to God. It is our source of hope, restoration, and renewal of strength for the journey that we are on.
Wrapping it up:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we still have our struggles. We still endure hardships of many kinds. Yet may we be devoted together in prayer for one another, and coupled with that, may we also be full of grace and seasoned so that our consistency of testimony and action be an accurate representation of the One who has taken up residence within us through Salvation by the shedding of His blood. Do not quit this fight or grow weary of one another! Stay in this fight! Work side by side with each other even when we share differences. For just as Christ prayed that His disciples would be united, He too prays this for us as well!
-Just a thought for us today!
A Humble Prayer:
Can we but find our hope today?
Oh Lord we need but stop and pray.
Our lives ,so full of cares and woe
Speak to us now, Your love to show.
Give ears to hear your Heart
to shed Your love to all empart
grant us peace amidst these storms
denying self our hearts conformed.
Please lead us when we are blind
our hand in yours and we will find
this Holiness, your grace, your light
Your strength, your peace will give us sight.
Let my hands, marred and filthy
Be cleansed, purified and true
So that I can reach a world that’s dying
And let them find you.
Let this tongue, course and violent
Touch the coals from your holy fire
So that I might speak of truth
And love might penetrate this liar.
Let my heart, selfish and vain
Beat for the hurting and the lost
So that, with your power and might
Your blood might drown the cost
What my heart should love and fear
Christlikeness, breaking sin’s dark mold
This body, soul and mind brought low
So that I, in Christ, a servant…may be bold.