“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13 (ESV)
Our God is in the business of answering prayers. No prayer is too big, no request too small. A prayer offered in faith, in accordance with His perfect will, WILL BE ANSWERED. There may not be evidence of instantaneous fruit from your prayer but we can rejoice in hope and peace knowing that we believe that it will be done. God is the God of Hope!
I have recently been encouraged by a friend of mine’s belief and hope for an almost impossible prayer request. Yet God is faithful and through a journey we are starting to see the fruit of our laboured prayers. This is not to say that we have to pray to twist God’s arm in submitting to our will but rather in the patience and waiting, we learn to fully trust God and submit to His will. We become aligned with His heart and His desires. We may not always see the positive but we can rest assured that God’s ways are higher than ours and that His will is always perfect. It is in the waiting that our character is formed and in the trusting that are hope and faith are built.
This weekend’s encouragement is to keep hope alive. Keep trusting in God, that He will deliver and answer your prayers. Keep believing and rejoicing in peace and joy and see how God answers you!
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED EVEN BEFORE YOU ASK HIM! ”
How wonderful it is to know, that the creator of the whole world, not only cares for us but knows exactly what our needs and desires are before we even ask. God could be so busy sorting out the needs and problems of the other 7 billion people in this world when you ask Him for something. Yet He purposefully chooses to want to know our personal needs, desires and prayers. God has named YOU, called YOU by name, and will personally provide for all YOUR needs. He is not some busy executive chairman in a highflying company who gets his PA to sort out his employees’ affairs. He personally attends to each one of His children’s needs.
When we come before our Maker and Creator, our standpoint should be this; God knows what we need before we ask Him. Simple. This is not to say that we should not ask Him if He already knows our needs. This is simply to say, that there is no fear, shame, embarrassment in asking God for what we want. Don’t mince your words and don’t babble on. Get to the point. God wants to know that you trust Him enough with your needs that you are willing to ask Him.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t use a far off, impersonal name for God. He uses Father. Why? Because God is our Father and wants to provide personally for us, His children.
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to you Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
Some of the most wonderful, intimate times in the presence of the Father are spent alone with Him. No distractions, no one to perform to, just you and God.
Isn’t such a privilege and honour that we can spend time alone with the creator of the universe? God is never too busy for us. God is never engaged. We all can have a personal, private audience with our Father at exactly the same time. A profound statement yet it is so true. Yet the exciting thing is, is that God want a personal audience with you too. Jesus, (who was and is God) encouraged His disciples to go away, shut out any distractions and have personal and private time with the Father.
This wasn’t a far-fetched ideology. Jesus Himself did this when He first started His ministry. He went away into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, fasting and praying. Paul had 2 years of intimacy and study time with the Father before he started his ministry. Why? Because intimacy with God is essential for spiritual growth. If we are to be effective in our mission on earth, then we must first learn what it means to be intimate with the Father in private. Any relationship we have here on earth needs a measure of time invested into it. We can’t just expect to have an intimate relationship with someone we don’t spend time with. So it is with Jesus. Spend time with Him and your intimacy with Christ will grow.
7-8th March Weekend Edition
“When you pray don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.”
Corporate prayer, when done in the right way, can be so edifying, encouraging and uplifting. Yet there is a stark difference to praying as a united body and praying so everyone can hear your eloquent long speeches to God. The key to an effective prayer, as we talked about yesterday, is asking in faith, believing that you will be answered and be thankful for the response you will receive. An ineffective prayer, is a prayer that is prayed so others can hear what you are saying to make yourself look good and sound clever. This is exactly what Jesus was addressing here in today’s passage. The Pharisees and Scribes, often named as the hypocrites, tended to pray loud, long and wordy prayers, not to enhance their relationship with God but to show off their superior spirituality to others around them. However Jesus directly challenged this attitude and corruption of what prayer really is. He even adds that the only reward for their prayer would be the response they received from the people listening. It may seem harsh but praying in this manner is completely missing what prayer is. There is no use in praying, if you are praying so other people can enjoy your churchy jargon. Prayer is a heart to heart communication with God. Period. Again, that is not to say that praying out loud or corporately is wrong. On the contrary; when in the right context and in purity, honesty and sincerity, corporate prayer can be so powerful and strategic. The issue Jesus challenges is that of an insincere and self-edifying prayer. When you pray, whether corporately or privately, imagine that you are sitting at the very feet of Jesus and having a real conversation with Him and that He is the only one listening.