Folks, it’s getting Bad out there. We all feel it, and we’re all alarmed by the seeming suddenness of evil’s hold on our society. It’s no longer just our city, our state, or our country – it’s the whole world. And even unbelievers are asking the questions we’ve been asking for a while now – how can we reach people caught up in drugs, immorality, corruption, selfishness and violence? How can we bring the Good back?
The answer is like so many of God’s commands and Jesus’ teachings: simple to say, undeniably true, but very challenging to put into practice – PRAY.
Let me start with a few quotes from my Pray Everyday calendar:
- Prayer is not a substitute for work, or merely preparation for work. It IS the work. – Ronald Dunn
- Divine action, in some mysterious manner, is conditioned upon believing prayer. Thus, prayer is set forth as the chief task of the believer. It is his responsibility to ask. It is God’s responsibility to accomplish –Curtis Mitchell
- Prayer and helplessness are inseparable. Only he who is helpless can truly pray. –Ole H. Hallesby
- Prayer is asking, seeking, and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us. –Unknown
- The problem is that the situation is desperate, but we are not. –Vance Havner
Ironically, these represent only the quotes from this past week. And considering what a week it was, it feels like a little Divine prodding. In fact, I had no idea what to write on this week, but that first quote kept popping into my head until I relented. So, PRAY!
We all feel very small and helpless in the face of the nightly news’ litany of horrors. But as the above quotes and Robyn’s Devotional yesterday remind us, that is exactly the place to be for crying out to the Lord! We have come to the end of our rope, tied a knot in it and still realize we are vulnerable and helpless. Prayer is the answer. As Pastor Bill reminds us, prayer is the only way to instantly do something for people and situations next door or around the globe, whether they want us to or not. Our prayers are like supernatural arrows flying at angel-speed right into the heart of the spiritual battle.
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
To really have effective prayers, we need to go farther and deeper than just the Lord’s prayer, or even a list of names and situations that we want to ask God to work in. I have been researching Christian Mystics lately. If your response to reading that was to wrinkle your nose and think of hippies with crystals, you aren’t alone…in being wrong. Christian Mystics are far from a ‘fringe element’ within Christianity. In fact, most of the saints and Church fathers were mystics. Mystics are those engaged in moving past religious rituals and dogma to have an experience of God – we all should want that!
I hear so many people, young and old, new believer and senior saint, say that they pray and speak to God but get no answers, or they feel God isn’t there. If that happens long enough, you may start to have some of those doubts the Pastor mentioned in his sermon. You can know ‘about’ God in your head, but you ‘know’ God in your heart…it is primarily a spiritual feeling that cannot in any way be proven but is nevertheless very real and transformative.
How to go deeper? Well, since I’m running out of space, I’m going to list some resources. But I would also say, for starters, learn to meditate. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” You won’t hear God’s still, small voice answering or inspiring you if your mind isn’t empty and quiet enough for long enough. As for what to say, speak like a child to its parent and let it all pour out. And if even that seem daunting, remember Romans 8:26, “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 through wordless groans.”
GOING DEEPER WITH PRAYER:
- Prayer Ideas.Org Website - https://www.prayerideas.org/how-to-develop-your-personal-prayer-life/
- The Practice of the Presence of God by brother Lawrence - https://www.amazon.com/Practice-Presence-God-Brother-Lawrence/dp/0883681056
- Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation by Thomas Keating - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GYZVTHK/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2
- 7 Ways to Pray: Time-Tested Practices for Encountering God by Amy Boucher Pye - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XQZWNFN/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1
Praying for our praying to change the world,