9.10.2016

We need to PRAY - MORE!

Our study of The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life continues to stop me in my tracks and encourage me in my walk with the Lord.

My favorite quotes from chapter 3:

"God's people have always found out the best of their God when in the worst of conditions. God is good at all times, but He seems to be at His best when we are at our worst.”
I think we sometimes feel like we are supposed to experience God the.same.way - all.the.time. But is it actually possible? 
How many names of God do we see in Scripture? Dozens - if not hundreds. Healer, provider, comforter, Savior, Shepherd, high priest, refuge, strength … these names, descriptions, and attributes are real and true. They often blend together, of course, because when God comforts us in our sorrow He also gives us the strength we need to endure the sorrow. But we do not need Him to exhibit all of them at the same time. 
How often have we heard ourselves or others say, “When I was going through 'xyz' trial I experienced God in a way I have never experienced Him before.” “I was completely dependent on Him!” “I have never prayed or felt the peace of God the way I did when I was walking through that difficult time.”
Why?
Because our God meets us exactly where we are and gives us exactly what we need in that moment.
When Elijah was exhausted and starving in the hills, God did not send comfort - He sent FOOD! When Hannah cried out in her barrenness, God did not give her husband a promotion at work - He opened her womb! When the woman at the well confessed her sin of infidelity, Jesus did not heal her - He forgave her sins!
God knows our needs before we do, and He already knows how He will meet those needs before we lay them out before Him.
Therefore, it is no surprise that He would seem at His best when we are at our worst because everything we know about Him when things are GOOD is multiplied and magnified when we feel as though we are drowning.
He is a good God. All the time. Especially when we need Him the most.

We are commanded to pray because ... "We do not forget to eat or drink or go to work or go to our beds to rest, but we often do forget to wrestle with God in prayer and spend long periods in consecrated fellowship with our Father and our God. 
Hours for the world! Minutes for Christ! The world has the best, while prayer gets leftovers of our time. We give our strength and freshness to the ways of mammon and our tiredness to the ways of God. 
"Call upon Me," He says, for He knows that we are apt to forget."
Um, OUCH.
I am embarrassed to admit that I have been this person. Giving my “best” to earthly matters while neglecting the most important one - communion with my God.
These phrases are painfully powerful: minutes for Christ, prayer gets leftovers, give tiredness to God. Yikes.
I don’t know about you, but I am apt to forget to set aside intentional, focused time with the Lord. I pray all day, sending up petitions and pleas on behalf of others, but “wrestling with God and spending long periods in consecrated fellowship with Him?” Not nearly enough.
Oh, Lord! Teach me how to pray, and make me want to pray MORE!"

"God understands what heavy hearts we have sometimes, especially when we are under a sense of sin. Satan says to us, "Why should you pray? How can you hope to prevail? In vain you say, "I will arise and go to my Father,” for you are not worthy to be one of His hired servants. How can you see the King's face after you have played the traitor against Him? How will you dare to approach the altar when you have defiled it, and when the sacrifice that you would bring there is a polluted one?"
It is good for us that we are commanded to pray, or else in times of heaviness we might give up.
If God commands me - unfit as I may be - I will creep to the footstool of grace.
Since He says, "Pray without ceasing," though my words fail me and my heart itself will wander, yet I will still stammer out the wishes of my hungering soul: "O God, at least teach me to pray and help me to prevail with You.”
This was important for me to read.
I spent most of my life living under the heavy burden of the law and experienced very little grace.
I remember being taught that if I am in sin I may as well not pray because God won't listen to me.
Scripture DOES say this: If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Psalm 66:18
But when you read it in context …
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me.


Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy toward me - a sinner!

This line:  If God commands me - unfit as I may be - I will creep to the footstool of grace.
WOW. This is what I needed as a child - a teen - a young adult - and every day since then!
I didn't think I was even allowed to be in the same room with God, let alone “creep to the footstool.” 
I stood on the outside looking in, drowning in guilt and shame, trying to hate my sin enough to repent and ask forgiveness so I would be welcome, once again, not only at the footstool - but at the THRONE. 
This section was like a waterfall of grace washing over my soul!
Grace, grace, God's grace, 
grace that will pardon and cleanse within; 
grace, grace, God's grace, 
grace that is greater than all our sin! 


"Praying breath is never spent in vain."
AMEN!

"To have prayed well is to have studied well." ~ Martin Luther
Love this!

"Still remember that prayer is always to be offered in submission to God's will. When we say that God hears prayer, we do not mean that He always gives us literally what we ask for. 
We do mean, however, that He gives us what is best for us and if He does not give us the mercy we ask for in silver, He bestows it upon us in gold. 
If He does not take away the thorn in the flesh, yet He says, "My grace is sufficient for thee."  
We never offer up prayer without inserting the clause ... "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
This cannot be overlooked.
We can shake the gates of heaven and plead before the Throne until we are exhausted and spent … but unless it is the Lord’s will to grant our requests, He can, He will, and He does say, “No.”
He said “No” to His own Son when Jesus asked to be spared in the Garden of Gethsemane, so why do we expect Him to give us every desire of our hearts?
Sometimes our will matches His. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either way? We must submit to Him and move forward in obedience.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8, 9

How much I enjoy this book!
And how thankful I am for godly men and women who record their thoughts and convictions about God and His Word so we may draw encouragement and strength from their experiences and push harder as we run the godly race toward the finish line. 
Spurgeon is, by far, one of my favorites!

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