A Long Way Off

The Puget Sound

The reason I sometimes fail to pray Is that God appears to be a long way off. The reality is I don’t comprehend the power and purpose of prayer. The purpose of prayer is to commune with Jesus, to spend time with Him. As I do that, I refresh my awe at His power, love, and mercy. Worship and praise follow when I draw close to God. Humble worship stops me from asking God to tag along in what I want to do, instead I fall at the feet of Jesus and desire to follow Him.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you… Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:8-10

Prayer is Falling Up

Storm clouds over the Bitterroot Valley, Montana

A prayer for when I am anxious and consumed by worry. To remind me God is good and loving and greater than all my fears.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to the God of gods. 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to the Lord of lords. 

His faithful love endures forever. 

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. 

His faithful love endures forever.

 Psalm 136:1-4

Heaven Comes Down

SH_161015-5037

Clouds of heaven invading the darkness

Prayer is one of the great undervalued gifts from God. Think about it—in Jesus, I have a clear, secure channel to talk directly with God.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:34-35

Jesus has made it so easy that often I take it for granted.

So, if the problems of this day have crowded out your praying, stop right now and ask God to restore one of the joys of salvation in Christ—talking with Him, and worshiping up close and personal with the Lord of all.

Oh, one other amazing thing He wants to talk with you right now.

Praying Through the Pain

SH_191912-0059

Hope in the dead of Winter

I find it hard to pray without my mind wandering in the best of times. But, when I am hurting and in pain, then I find it difficult to put two words together in prayer. So what are we to do when our prayers are moans and groans… rasping laments beginning and ending with two feeble words—O God!

How does God expect us to pray in pain?

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Romans 8:23-24

I have attended many deliveries in my career and for most anesthesia was not available. I would often hear screams during labor—“O God help me!” or “Lordy, Lordy!” Were these words of anguish really prayers? The one thing that kept these mothers praying through the pain was the thought of new life coming.

Pain, or grief, or a deep hurt from our point of view seems to interfere with our prayers to God. But like a woman in labor who cries out to God—keep praying for our groans are not lost upon God. There is new life coming.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27

Pouring Prayer

SHg3-191007-Stehekin-0811-Edit

The flow of life, some is smooth and some rough.

It was an epiphany of sorts. I saw my parents and grandparents praying for me and knew their prayers had played a vital role in the flow of my life. As if they had been pouring goodness into me.

Timothy in the New Testament benefited from such prayer—

Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.  2 Timothy 1:3-5 NIV

The prayers poured out for Timothy by Paul and Timothy’s Grandmother and Mother, helped him in his life.

That is one of the major reasons for being part of a local church so that we can pour prayer into each other.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18 NLT

Paul states that prayer is one part of armor we should not neglect in our battle with the powers of this dark world.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Ephesians 6:13 NLT

So I encourage you to pour out prayer for your family and friends and not give up.

Insignificant Prayers

Waterville Plateau-8762-Pano

The higher up I go the more insignificant I feel.

No prayer is too small and insignificant that God will overlook it.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

No request too huge that the infinite power of God will not make it look insignificant.

Therefore:

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Ephesians 6:18

Looking Up in Prayer

SH-180122-522

Lifting hands to heaven

When I pray sometimes I catch myself going through a formula to determine how effective my prayer will be:

  • Have I been obedient for at least 48 hours?
  • Length of prayer is directly proportional to its effectiveness.
  • Fasting will really increase my chances for a favorable outcome to my petition.

It is funny how I think I can twist God’s arm by doing these things. Don’t get me wrong these spiritual disciplines are good to do, but they are not meant to leverage God––to get Him to do what we want. Instead they are disciplines that get us to a place of humility and dependence upon God.

I propose a different checklist to go through as you approach God with a request:

  • Does God’s love reach to the heaven’s and endure forever?  Psalm 36:5 √
  • Is His compassion new this morning?  Lamentations 3:22-23 √
  • Is God faithful in all that He does?  1 Corinthians 1:9 √

I must remember prayer is all about God, and not about me.

A Full Day

SH_170921-0236

The start of a new day

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

This morning I come before God and ask for His help to live this day to the full.

“Lord, don’t let the thief steal it with anger, laziness, or in the pursuit of worthless things. Send Your Holy Spirit to overcome my weakness and transform this day to one that glorifies You––the fullness of life.”