|A place of prayer in the Cathedral of Lincoln|
My son had called me up with the news that our grandson was traveling to All Children's Hospital due to some congestion and concern about the seizures. He was taking care of two year old Briggs and baby Beckett, so he suggested we have dinner together since I was also alone (my husband was away at an education meeting). I happily packed up some easy to fix things and hopped in my car to make the twenty minute drive to his home.
On the way, I began once again to talk with the Lord about the burdens in my heart. However, this time, I told Him I just needed to feel His arms around me and His grace and comfort. I told Him that I knew He was the only one who could give me peace in the middle of many uncertainties. Perhaps, I was more honest with the Lord of my life than I had ever been before as I sought His wisdom and understanding. As I drove along, the sun came out from behind a cloud, and at that moment while I was praying, I felt the presence of the Lord in a way that comforted me, gave me peace and assured me of His continued guidance. What a prayer session and time of fellowship with the Lord! I felt refreshed, blessed, and encouraged as I talked with Him.
Often times, we can get into a rut with our prayer lives forgetting that we are in the presence of our Holy God. We may mumble a "hello" in the morning and at bedtime, just like we accuse teens of doing when their mind is somewhere else, but this is not what prayer is meant to be. Scripture gives us help when it comes to prayer, and offers us guidance as we talk with the Lord.
First and foremost, prayer is not a once a day practice, but according to the Word, we are to pray without ceasing. Paul writes on several occasions about this. In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, he writes: "Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding on behalf of all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18 Amplified version). Then again in I Thessalonians 5:17, he writes: "Be unceasingly in prayer [praying perseveringly]." Finally, to the Colossians, he writes: "Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2 Amplified Bible). If this were not an important characteristic of prayer, Paul would not have repeated this exhortation so many times. As God's children, we are meant to be in communication with Him not once or twice but unceasingly as the Apostle wrote in his letters.
|Another prayer chapel where people could|
light a candle and pray in Lincoln Cathedral
Finally, prayer changes us. In Acts 4, the disciples were warned not to preach in the name of Jesus. However, they didn't react by asking God to change their circumstances, but instead they asked that the Lord would "...grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word...." (Acts 4:29). These men believed that as they spoke with boldness telling about the Lord Jesus Christ many more miracles would be done. Certainly, they would face more difficulties as a result of their speaking, but they wanted God to give them the boldness rather than change the circumstances.
Another example of God changing us through prayer is found in the life of the Apostle Paul. We know that Paul suffered with some physical malady. Paul prayed three times for his circumstances with this "thorn in the flesh" to change, but God replied "My grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Paul came to realize that God had allowed this thorn so that he would not be "exalted above measure" (2 Cor. 12:7). There are times when God allows the difficult circumstances of life to remain so that we will be changed and turn to Him. In Paul's case, pride could easily have risen up if this "thorn in the flesh" was not there. We need to remember that it is not so important what happens to us but it is more important what happens in us. Prayer brings about a change in our thinking, and God's goal is to conform our thinking and our lives to that of His dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
|A quiet place to pray on our property.|
Prayer makes a powerful difference in our lives. It is a privilege to be able to come into the throne room of God and talk with Him. This is what Jesus Christ made possible to all of us who are believers. His sacrifice upon the cross tore the veil that separated us from God. Why would we neglect the opportunity to commune with our Creator? He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He is available around the clock. He doesn't put us on hold and play elevator music in our ear nor do we have to press 1 to leave a message. Of all the communication devices we have, none compare with the connection we have with God. Take time today and pray. Pray without ceasing and pour out your heart to God. He will hear and answer. He may not change your circumstances but He will change you. Selah!
I welcome your thoughts about prayer and what it has meant to you. Please feel free to share here.
Please do not forget to go to "Heavenly Springs" blog by clicking on the picture to the left of the Women of the Reformation to read the wonderful stories of these women of faith.