Friday, July 9, 2021

Life and Why Prayer?

Life and Why Prayer?

Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me and save me. PSALM 71:2 

When in the hospital during my bout with cancer, I awakened in a morphine-induced grogginess with the thought to read Psalm 71. I recall noting the hour—3:00 a.m.—but could not remember who, prior to coming to the hospital, had encouraged me to meditate on that particular psalm. I reached for my Bible and began to read the words of the psalmist, who wrote concerning a dark night he had been through. The words of that psalm were a bright light in a dark night in my life—and can be for you as well. Regardless of the name of the author of this psalm, we do know this about him: he was thoroughly familiar with the ways and words of God. It is a compilation of truths about God’s deliverance of His saints during times of trouble. It is not the absence of suffering but the response to suffering that makes Christians unique. Believers are not exempt from trials in life, but we can be exempt from failure in those trials. Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b 
God promises all believers that if we live righteously and pray fervently, our prayers will be effective and produce significant results. How do we treat a promise like this? We might argue, “But I do pray, and nothing happens!” Our problem is that we do not hold ourselves accountable to the Scripture. God's Word says that prayer ought to accomplish much. If our prayer life is not accomplishing much, what should we do? If we are praying but seeing no results, should we conclude that this promise is untrue? Should we excuse this Scripture as impractical and unrealistic? Or should we examine ourselves to see if we meet its conditions? James says that fervent prayer avails much. Could it be that we are not as fervent in our praying as we should be? Fervent prayer means we do not quit easily. Fervent prayer means we purposefully spend sufficient time in intercession. Fervent prayer means we cry out to the Father, sometimes in tears, with our heart and soul. Fervent prayer comes as the Holy Spirit assists us in praying with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26). According to James, our righteousness will ensure effective prayer. God's standard of righteousness is different from ours, for He looks beyond our actions, even beyond our thoughts, directly to our hearts. How then should we hold ourselves accountable if our prayers are accomplishing little? If nothing happens when we pray, the problem is not with God. The problem is with us, for God's Word is absolutely reliable. If we adhere to what God requires, He will lead us to pray for things that align with His purposes, and God will answer our prayers in a mighty way. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Life hits us hard at times. Often there's little to separate the believer from the unbeliever in regards to the trials we go through.  Case in point would be hurricane Elsa that came through Florida and points northward. What happened to one happened to the other. 

In my life I am not sure if it is that I am more aware of the battles or of the possibility and potential of them.  We who are in Christ ought to react differently than those who have no hope. 

Lately I have been in a lot of prayer over situations in the lives of my Wife and I.  Of our future. Not in the marital sense but where we ought to be living.  We have been where we are for practically the whole time we have been married. In all that time we have struggled to find a church to call home.  As odd as this will seem, a single person's misrepresentation of us has kept us from the fellowship of Churches that I grew up in. In a sense we end up with what I termed "social leprosy". Once they inquire from that individual about us the leaders of where we are attempting to worship really don't want us around the fellowship of believers at that church.  As time goes on its felt like 20 plus years in the wilderness.  I am saddened by that person's lies but am leaving their future in God's hands to deal with. That's who he will answer to.

Prayer is not just to give your mind something to do.  Prayer in the life of the believer is to aid in growing our trust in God and alter our way of thinking to more align us with Jesus Christ. 

Worry, it has been said, is a prayer with no direction. Prayer is that same thing but given a direction to send it. It's only useful to those saved in Christ or those wanting to be saved.  Any prayer to anyone or anything other than God is just words spoken to demons. 

Prayer isn't an emergency manual that is pulled out when the situation looks grim.
King David was many things in this world that weren't good, but in his life God considered him a man after his own heart. How? Why? He was a conspiratorial murderer! He was an adulterer!  His children mostly where a disaster so his child rearing skills stunk too.

David was in prayer. A lot. Most of the book of Psalms are his prayers written down. 

We hear an adage that when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. 
The only true way begins in prayer.  It doesn't begin anywhere else. Then you add to it time in God's Word.  Mix that up and see what God does with it. 

My struggles at time easily get laced with a dose or two of fear. Like that dream of driving on a road at the speed limit and there's an endless curve to the road in front of you and you have no idea what lies ahead. That feeling of the first time on a roller coaster is probably the same thing. Hosts of possible outcomes threaten to drown my mind.  Prayer is where I go.  

It's not some intellectual exchange. Prayer often has me tears coming out. Prayer often is the cries of my heart coming out. Sometimes all it is is me crying to God and I have not the words. Which Scripture says is OK. The Spirit of God will intercede on our behalf with groanings too deep for words. 

While our future is uncertain my God is not.  Psalms 23 is clearly not implying that we are left to our own devices. He leads us THROUGH whatever is happening in life. Pushing, pulling or dragging we won't be left where we do Him no earthly good. One person rewrote part of the poem "Footprints". Changing the last part a little.  The line where it's Jesus saying "it was then that I carried you" had it added "those long deep gouges are where I had to drag you a while".

We often put up with the wrong things in life and get used to them. We don't like them but are comfortable around them.  But Jesus loves us too much to leave us there.  So He forces the change inevitably. 

Life can't be lived without prayer.  It's our best way, for the moment, to fellowship with Jesus. After His return we will fellowship with Him directly.  

Placing your hopes in good thoughts and feelings will get you absolutely nothing. 

If good thoughts and feelings could actually do something then Christ died needlessly for sin.

Haven't been praying yet say that you are a Christian? Start small.  Let it build.  It's how all relationships begin. 

Have no relationship with Jesus? Start with the prayer that can begin that. Look up Romans Road to Salvation and mean it. 

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