Lately, my ministry friends and I have been talking about our prayer lives and how we fall short of really consulting God in some of the decisions that we make in our lives. We are all devout Christians, but it has been my experience that even with that being the case, I am quick to try and take control when we aren’t in an immediate crisis and asking God to “fix” something for us.
Truly following Jesus leads to having our head, our hearts and our will in alignment – turning our lives over to Jesus as Lord and Savior. That means that we don’t only consult God when we have a problem, but we listen for the leading of the the Holy Spirit in all we do and say in our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I fall short of this lofty goal. I would think that with the dedication I have to my faith, it would be easy for me to subordinate myself to the will of God. Yet, sometimes I find myself thinking that issues are small, or insignificant, or I am in a hurry and so I don’t even bother to consider what God would have me do in the moment.
Of course, there are other times when I really believe that I don’t need, or even possibly want, God’s input. Said another way, it would be nice if I was in the center of God’s will for my life – as long as His will is aligned with mine – clearly a human flaw. Now, please don’t think that I have blatant disregard for what God thinks. Most of the time, I really do try to consult the Father and whenever I have a prompting from the Holy Spirit, I pay attention and try to follow through as best I can. But I can do better…
I find that I am much more compassionate than I used to be and I even offer intercessory prayer for those people that years ago I would disregard. I am thankful for the blessings that we receive and I am quick to add that I always spend time in prayer for those who are ill or need healing. Yes, there are times that I don’t always remember those who are fighting illness or disease but God knows my heart and I always try to add a special plea for those “unnamed” people in my life who could benefit from God’s healing touch.
We know from the Bible that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to pray for us when we don’t even know what to pray for. That gives me peace that my prayers are reaching God even if I forget something or I am rushed.
I tend to do my best praying in the middle of the night. Lately, I have found myself waking around 3:00 a.m. – wide awake – and I use this time to pray for the things that are on my mind that I may not have taken time to address during the day. After all, we have a patient God and I am sure that He waits until He has our undivided attention and then gently nudges us to commune with Him.
I also live life expecting miracles and that translates to answered prayers. Too many times I run across people who don’t think God answers prayers and most of the time, I think it is because they don’t claim the promises of God. Faith is an important part of prayer and believing that prayers get answered is a key component of bold prayer.
God expects us to be authentic and genuine with Him. It is okay to be mad at God or to bare your heart or your soul to Him. This authenticity means that you have a genuine relationship with God and sometimes it is easier to pray when there aren’t any barriers in your relationship with the Godhead.
Our verse for tonight is from the Gospel of Mark. It is one of those confusing verses because it is important to realize that our prayers must be in alignment with the will of God, an assumption that we don’t always think about. We are told, in Mark 11:24-25, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to have an authentic, intimate relationship with Him. Furthermore, we are to forgive those who have wronged us and we are to act as intercessors for those who need prayer. My prayer is that we will be quick to pray for others, understanding that as members of the body of Christ we are the tip of the spear when it comes to representing fellow Christians to the Father and His Son. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…