Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
As many times as the Bible talks about it, we still tend to forget that Jesus prayed. He prayed so much and so often and so effectively that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. (Luke 11:1) The kind of prayer mentioned here is what His disciples overheard in Gethsemane, but I certainly don’t think all of His prayers were loud. (It’s interesting that they weren’t able to stay awake even when He was praying so loudly.) We tend to think of prayers as requests, period. In fact, the English word means that, if you check its roots. However, talking to God is far more than that. Effective prayer is aligning our thoughts and lives with the Creator of the universe, who just happens to be our Father. In Jesus’ case that relationship was obvious, but we too are God’s children, if we accept adoption by faith. (Ephesians 1:5 and many more) Jesus was heard by God, but that didn’t keep Him from the cross. Rather, it took Him through the cross and the tomb to glorious resurrection. We need to remember that as we pray, trusting that whatever we face, God has something marvelous on the other side. Sometimes that means the obstacle is taken away, just as we ask, but sometimes it means that in going through the trial we gain far more than we could have had without it. Just because the problem doesn’t dissolve doesn’t mean that God hasn’t heard us, or even that He is displeased with us. We need to be humble and responsive to learn the lessons God is teaching us, repenting immediately when the Holy Spirit shines light on sin, but we aren’t to think hard times mean we are out of God’s favor. As I’ve said, prayer is to get us into line with God, and that should be the primary goal of our lives.
The events of the past month have certainly been intensive training in prayer. Right now I have a high level of peace that God’s will is going to be done, but that doesn’t mean I’m to let up praying! One of my daughters in Christ, who is currently living in Tokyo, sent us a DVD of The War Room, for us and for the church. I am delighted that such a movie exists. As it illustrates so effectively, prayer changes the one praying, just as I’ve been talking about. Since I want to be more and more like Jesus, I need to pray more and more! As a pastor I want the people in this church to be more like Jesus, so I need to encourage and help them to pray more and more. That DVD is going to make the rounds, not as a general announcement but as an individual recommendation, with follow-up after they’ve seen it. We need to be much more of a praying congregation. I believe that is God’s desire and plan, and He is moving us in that direction.
Father, thank You that You do all things well. Thank You for all You enabled us to do yesterday, and for all You have on our slates for today. Help us indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, praying without ceasing with faith and joy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!