Quiet Time or Prayer?

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. Isaiah 12:6 KJV

It seems that everyone is insisting lately that we have a “Daily Quiet Time.” But with all the discussion about it, maybe we have gotten a little off track. For starters, the phrase quiet time doesn’t occur anywhere that I know of in the Bible. Of course Jesus spent plenty of time teaching about prayer, but the prayers we read about in the Gospels are not always private and very few of them were quiet. In fact if we prayed like Jesus prayed, our time would be far from quiet –  

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, … Hebrews 5:7

And King David did not have much to say about quiet prayer either.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6

You could add to the list of these noisy prayers others; like Moses who was often crying out to the Lord because not a day went by without a problem, first in Egypt with Pharaoh, then in the wilderness with complaining Israelites. Elijah prayed loud enough for thousands to hear him on Mount Carmel and those loud prayers didn’t stop in the Old Testament. During Jesus’ ministry the Syro-Phoenician woman with a demon possessed daughter had the disciples begging Jesus to send her away because she was crying out too much. Then we all remember Blind Bartimaeus, whose friends kept insisting he sit down and shut up. But Jesus wasn’t disturbed at all by his noisy request. What impressed Jesus then and what impresses God today is when we believe in His ability and willingness to answer us so much that we cry out to Him from the bottom of our hearts. God values neither quietness nor loudness but when you and I need Him way too much to be quiet!

What’s Your Red Sea?

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14 ESV

One of my professors at Bible college often said that the Christian life wasn’t just hard to live, it was impossible! The Red Sea for Moses was his place of impossibility. His story of Moses and the experience of the children of Israel leaves us an encouragement that God choses to work the impossible by His miracle grace.

Maybe an impossible situation is looming on your horizon like a dark cloud. Maybe right now you feel like you are facing the Red Sea ahead and are hearing the footsteps of your enemies right behind. Naturally we all begin to panic, but in that in that moment we it is vital to remind ourselves that God Himself has led us to that shore. One of the fears we face is the the unknown. We can’t imagine how our life will be if x, y or z happens. But God specializes in doing his best work in our hearts when we don’t understand (Which in my case is often!). So if it helps think of this test of faith like surgery. Usually during an operation we will be asleep and our confidence in the outcome doesn’t lie in being able to direct the surgeon’s hands. We are simply satisfied that he is operating for our good. In fact, we will never have a greater opportunity to trust God than at the shore of our Red Sea. Nothing has happened to us by chance in the battle we are in. We haven’t taken a wrong turn and this is not a dead end. We are in exactly the right place because God has brought us here. It is impossible for us to accomplish anything without the miraculous grace of God, so stand strong with expectancy and discover what only God can do!

Mercy for Today

O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14 KJV

Often when we ask God for mercy, we are asking for a past sin to be forgiven. But mercy is about more than sin and more than just about what is past. We often think of the Psalms as being a book written by David but many were written by Asaph, two by Solomon and Psalm 90 was written by Moses, as a prayer for mercy. Interestingly he first asks for mercy early. If you are like me you might want to try this. It doesn’t take me long into my day to mess up! But he is not here simply asking for God to forgive past sins. Mercy is also a cry for undeserved help in every area of our lives.

What are you facing today? Is it physical weakness or disease? Are you struggling in a damaged relationship, financial pressures or unfair accusations? God offers His mercy “early”. He anticipates our need before we even ask. He knows about the storm even before we hear the weather forecast. He sees the test results before we get the mail. God has already looked through our empty cabinets before we make our grocery list. He stands at the door of our room and watches us as we sleep, and then greets us as we wake. In the old covenant days God’s special holy place in the Tabernacle was called the mercy seat. Today, this very morning Jesus is sitting at that same spot and offering His mercy before we even speak a word, make our coffee or begin our work. He knows what will unfold and lovingly gives us mercy and all we need to do is ask!