Start Praying. Keep Praying.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

The other day I was at my church doing the exciting job of stamping coffee cups when something ordinarily terrible happened. The printer stopped working. Luckily it didn’t happen on my print job. Sadly, It happened to my pastor. I watched him go in and out of his office time and time again trying every trick in the book to get the post cards printed. He eventually got the printer working for other pages but it still wouldn’t print what he was wanted on the application he was using. It was a seemingly frustrating but I watched him continue on until a solution was accomplished. It took maybe an hour of trying different things but finally something worked and his postcards printed. I’m surprised that he didn’t take a break and come back to it. That’s usually what I do when I face something that frustrates me.  This reminds of how prayer life can be.  When prayers don’t get answered or God seems silent it’s easy to get discouraged. It is so easy to give up but if we keep trying who is to tell when God will answer our prayers.

Psalm 116:1 I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe!

It can be hard to find time during the day to prayer. Just like anything that is important we must make time for it. Setting aside time to pray to the Lord is a spiritual discipline that is extremely important. When I don’t know what to pray for I remember Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.

Matthew 6:9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 

Give us today our daily bread.

12 

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

It’s so easy to skim through this prayer without grasping the true meaning. I want to take a deeper look at each verse.

9– Enter prayer with praise. Psalm 100:4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Before anything thank God for all he has done, is doing, and will do.

10– Ask for Gods will. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This is also a great place to surrender to the Lord. Often I try to cling to my own ideas of what my life should look like or what I want but in this part of prayer I am able to give that to God. This is a great time to take your concerns and ask for God to have his way in them instead of figuring it all out on your own. Jesus instructs us to pray that earth be more like heaven. That must mean it is possible.

11- Ask for him to provide. What are your needs? Do you need food? Relationships? Money? Direction?Hope? Sleep? Whatever it may be ask him! Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Notice before we are to ask for what we need we are to ask for Gods will to be done. I think it is because it will is better than what we could ask for.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. 

Matthew 6:8 “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Even though he knows what we need Jesus tells us to ask. Maybe there is something to acknowledging our need and dependence on God for these things.

12-Everyone makes mistakes and so Jesus asks us to ask forgiveness and repent.  We see it is equally important to forgive anyone who has hurt us. This is hard to do but so very important. Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

13-Ask God to keep the trials, testing, and temptations away. Pray for strength over to overcome things that are keeping you down and pulling you away from God. Pray for safety against the works of the enemy. Realize that Jesus has full authority over every spiritual power. We also have this authority in union with him. Luke 10:19-20 — Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 — For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Life is full of ups and downs. It seems like one minute everything is going awesome and the next minute everything is utter chaos. I am beginning to learn that I don’t have to or get to control  what happens but I do have a choice of how to respond. One way im learning to respond is to give my concerns and anxieties to God in prayer. Maybe I will just tell him the things I am struggling with and ask for his help or sometimes I write a letter to him or even a song from my heart. The psalms are not only full of declarations of praise and truth of God’s character but also full of expression of deep struggle, pain and laments.(a few are…psalm 22,42,130) There is even a whole book of the Bible called Lamentations which is a heart cry of distress and suffering people. I think God wants us to bring our not only our praise or requests to him in prayer but the things that are oppressing us as well. He is fully equipped to handle it. Often when I bring my pain to God I am able to gain perspective and find peace in the fact that he loves me and hears me.

Sometimes thinking of things to pray for seems like too much. When prayer becomes a job it is okay to come to him in silence, just rest in him, and revel in awe of him.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” (Psalm 62:5)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Just sit and fill your attention on him. This is a great way to receive from the Father, his love and his truth. It is a sure way to restore strength and to find comfort.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Even if he feels far away we know from scripture that he is always near us.

Psalm 139:7

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Jeremiah 29:13

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) Jesus did it and so can we!

Also if you find yourself praying and God isn’t answering maybe he has another plan to use what your struggling with for the greater good. He has good plans and sees the bigger picture so we can trust that whatever may come our way will be used for our good. If he brought Joseph to a place of rulership from slavery and delivered an entire nation from slavery he can use the weakest parts of your life to reveal how glorious he is.

Romans 8:28 We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 

Deuteronomy  23:5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead he turned the curse into a blessing because he loved you.

God often works in ways that are counter-intuitive to us. I think this helps us realize that we know and understand so much less than we think. We don’t need to understand just obey.

Christians are also supposed to prayer for our leaders, our government and those who have authority over us.

I Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

I urge you to keep praying for all people all nations and connect to God in quiet times and pray with others. This is so important in our spiritual walk and makes a real difference.

In Ephesians 6 Paul talks to us about putting on the whole armour of God. He says to put on truth, righteousness, readiness to tell the good news of peace, faith, and  salvation. These are the thing we are to be clothed with. These things protect our spiritual life. He tells us to use the word of God as a sword and lastly to do all of this in prayer.

Ephesians 6:18 Do all of this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as The Spirit leads. For this reason never give up: pray always for God’s people.

If anyone has a need for prayer let me know and I would love to pray for you! Share a prayer request below in the comments and let us pray for each other as the Spirit leads 🙂

I love you all. Know you are blessed. Never give up.

 

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