Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

“Go to” Prayer

I have a “go to” prayer.  It is a Scripture verse that resonates so deeply in my heart that it naturally pops in my mind in most difficult situations.

The story is told about Jesus and His interaction with a father regarding his very ill son.  In fact, the son was possessed of a demon.  Challenging circumstance…to say the very least!  Jesus’ disciples were unable to help this man or the boy, and Jesus looked at the father and explained that healing was only possible, if he believed.  “Immediately the boy’s father exclaims, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” And the boy was healed of the evil spirit.  Amazing!!

I believe, help my unbelief!

Something painful is said to me, and I wonder how God can work forgiveness into my heart.

I believe, help my unbelief!

I am single, and so lonely, but God says He is enough for me.

I believe, help my unbelief!

Finances are at an all time low, but God is going to provide?

I believe, help my unbelief!

My child is rebellious, yet someday God promises to turn His heart back according to the way I  trained him to go?

I believe, help my unbelief!

Do you have a “go to” verse that you pray at certain times?  Feel free to share with us in the comment section.  I think God is pleased when we take His Word, hide it in our hearts, and then speak it back to Him in prayer.

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Why should we pray for our nation, as a nation?  Because prayer is powerful!  A man named Daniel knew this full well.  Here are some important lessons from his prayer in Daniel 9:3-19:

Daniel was humble. “…he pleaded in prayer…in fasting, and in sack cloth and ashes.” vs 3

Daniel knew who he was talking to. “…the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of love…” vs 4

Daniel owned the sin of his nation. “...we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” vs 5

Daniel acknowledges God’s right to discipline. “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us…” vs.  13

Daniel makes his request boldly.O Lord,  listen!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, hear and act!” vs 19

Let’s follow Daniel’s example and take the time today to lift up our families and our nation before the Lord, with humility and boldness, acknowledging our weakness and God’s perfection and strength.  Prayer is powerful!

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Deborah was a prophetess in Israel at a time when the people were doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord” and therefore were under oppression by the harsh King of Canaan for a period of twenty years.  Hard times for sure!  Deborah was called by God to lead the people back to serving Him with a whole heart.

If you have never read this amazing story, it is found in Judges 4.  With some drama and with faith and a tent peg, God provided a way of rescue for His people and Deborah was front and center watching His hand at work.  Listen to what she says on the day of victory:

When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves–praise the Lord!” Judges 5:2  Later she repeats that phrase.  And she finishes her song/prayer of praise with this:  “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!  But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Judges 5:31

One thing that strikes me is that regardless of the  important a role she had in this amazing story of victory, leader of a nation and defeating in battle  a powerful king, she makes it very clear to whom the praise belongs and offers that praise up to Him.  And she did it quickly.

How quick am I to see God’s hand at work in my own victories, big and small?

God encourages us to pray our praises to Him.  It is the most appropriate thing we can possibly do with the victories in our lives.  And he doesn’t mind if we do it in song!

“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High…” Psalm 92:1

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As Christians, we believe that prayer changes things. We have the tremendous possibility of speaking personally to the Creator of all life, who directs our lives and the destiny of all things.  We bring our needs before our Father and He answers us. Jesus says, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt. 17:27

There are many examples of answered prayer in the Old Testament. The story of Hannah is proof of the power of prayer. Hannah’s prayers touched God’s heart and in His mercy, He gave her the desire of her heart.

“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life.”  1 Sam. 1:11

Prayer is simply speaking with God.  Hannah’s desperate desire for a child led her to do the right thing. She poured out her heart before the Lord and she found refuge in Him. Hannah found comfort and peace in prayer. “Is any afflicted? Let him pray. Is any anxious? Let him by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving; make his requests known to God.” This is what Hannah did, again and again. The Lord did answer her prayer and gave her a son, whom she named Samuel, which means heard of God.

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him”.  1 Sam. 1:27

Hannah’s humility and devotion to God inspire us even more when we remember the daily trials she endured. A lot of woman would have become bitter, but she chose to seek refuge from the One who alone understood.

May our lives, too, be driven closer to Him through the power of prayer.

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Do you remember the story of Aladdin?  He found (stole) a magic lamp that had a genie inside who would grant him 3 wishes, anything he desired.  What would you wish for?  Money, fame, beauty, power, health?

There is a similar story in 1 Kings 3 where God says to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  WOW!  What must have gone through Solomon’s mind!  But look at what he asked for in verse 9:  “So give your servant a discerning heart (wisdom) to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”  In 1 Kings 4:29-34 it says, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and understanding as measureless as the sand of the seashore.  Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all men … of all the nations who came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.” Later, Solomon writes many of the Proverbs in the Bible which talk a lot about wisdom and how we are to “look for it [wisdom] as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,” it is that valuable.

There are numerous times when I need God’s wisdom for decisions I need to make or for discerning between something good and something better.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” That’s quite a promise.  But we need to ask.  So let’s remember to seek God’s wisdom in every situation and trust Him to give it.

By the way, because God was pleased with Solomon’s request, He decided to give him what he had NOT asked for—both riches and honor.  And He has promised to supply our NEEDS (not wants) as well if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and His wisdom.

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