At our local Home Depot service desk I over heard a lady remarking, ” The reason that I have to return this doorbell is that our house is just too big!” Aren’t you glad that as big as God’s house is, His ears are still sensitive enough to hear us when we call? Don’t be afraid to keep on seeking, asking and knocking. It is Jesus Himself who has invited us and He is inside waiting for us to come!
One of my favorite books on prayer is a tiny volume named “The Kneeling Christian” It is written by an unknown Christian however I strongly suspect that Andrew Murray was the author simply judging by its content and style. What a blessing and motivation to prayer this little book has been in my life. Today is 2017 we no less need prayer than when this book was first published more than a century ago. Our churches have full pews but often empty altars. We laugh and sing but who weeps with our Savior and tarries in prayer for the urgent needs all around us? The good news is that there is still a time for prayer. There is still an open door to God’s throne of grace. Jesus is listening and waiting if only we will begin to earnestly pray. This week our Iris burst into full bloom. All year I wait for that day when its petals open and give out their fragrance. In the same way God sees our life as a garden and waits for our prayers to unfold as the full expression of our faith and trust in Him!
God "wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isa. lix. 16)--"none to interpose" (R.V., marg.). But this was in the days of long ago, before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ "full of grace and truth"--before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, full of grace and power, "helping our infirmity," "Himself making intercession for us" and in us (Rom. viii. 26). Yes, and before the truly amazing promises of our Savior regarding prayer; before men knew very much about prayer; in the days when sacrifices for their sins loomed larger in their eyes than supplication for other sinners. Oh, how great must be God's wonder today! For how few there are among us who know what prevailing prayer really is!" excerpt from chapter one "The Kneeling Christian author unknown
This Thursday May 4th is the national day of prayer. In this turbulent time we can run away from our fears and hide or we can run to our God in prayer. Together let’s choose to put our trust in God.
I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears Psalm 34:4
In my imagination I sometimes wonder just how soundly asleep Jesus really was during the storm at sea. I have thought that perhaps he was more aware of the circumstances than the disciples knew. Perhaps as He climbed into the boat that day He said something along the lines of,
“Okay while you guys start rowing us across Galilee, I am going to take a nap. Then as He borrowed a pillow and went to sleep He was saying to himself, “I know what is coming next, I wonder how long it will be before they wake me up?”
Then as the wind picked up and the sky darkened with storm clouds the disciples kept rowing as hard as they could. They didn’t want Jesus to have to worry about anything; after all they were all experienced fishermen. Then as the first wave or two sloshed over the side of the boat some may have begun to worry. Finally as wave after giant wave tossed the little boat up and down and it began to take on water panic took hold of their hearts.
“Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Mark 4:38b
Just like us, they had come to the place where they wondered if God even cared about their fears. But Jesus is in our boat, to be our Immanuel through any storm. He listened to the disciples. He listened to King David. He is listening to you.
If today you are facing your biggest fear God is with you in your boat. He is waiting for us to cry out like David, like the disciples and like countless generations of believers. He is with us and He hears!
I said, “Lord, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” Psalm 41:4
Today there is such a fascination with super heroes. Captain America, Superman, Iron Man or whoever our favorite is, appeal to us because they are smarter, stronger and better looking than we are. Our lives seem pretty ho-hum compared to people who are always busy saving the world from the latest bad guy (or gal).
But the reality of life as king David discovered was not just about defeating Goliath. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and our own sins have left wounds behind that we need for God to forgive and heal. David was just as much a man after God’s own heart when he cried out for God’s forgiveness as when he was busy killing giants and winning battles. Jesus didn’t come to die on the cross for Superman, Wonder Woman or the Flash; he came to die for plain vanilla sinners like you and me! The good news of the Gospel is that the one and only truly Superman left His super powers behind and was born in a barn next to cows and sheep. The good news is not that God left us a secret formula by which we could gain special powers, but that He listens when we cry for help.
Remember when Jesus told of the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray? The Pharisee thought he was strong, so never asked God for help. But the tax collector, who knew only too well of his weakness, cried out for mercy and God heard and forgave. Super strength doesn’t come from some mysterious force but from the peace God gives when the blood of Jesus Christ washes clean every stain!
February 23 Effective Prayer Part 2
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much James 5:16
If we prayed as earnestly for others as we have prayed for ourselves how different might our church be? In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed so earnestly that we are told that “his sweat was as it were great drops pf blood” Luke 22:44
No priest, no king, no father and no mother ever prayed with the earnestness of Jesus Christ. Yet for all His earnestness Jesus’ request was denied! The Father’s will remained unchanged and then three times our Lord ended His prayers with “not my will but thine be done”
And though apparently His request was denied yet the most earnest of all prayers continues to be answered for us today. God still hears and has always heard earnest fervent prayers. The way He chooses to answer remains wrapped in the mystery of His Sovereign will. We change and our lives fade yet if we forever hold fervently to His promises lives all around us will be changed!
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Luke 23:34
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
Of all the prayers for restoration, none is stranger or more powerful than the prayer for forgiveness. We all know that as Christians we have a duty to forgive. Forgiveness was commanded, and modeled by our Lord. But if you are anything like me forgiving someone who has done me wrong is like eating liver: I know it is good, but I have a tough time swallowing it! But forgiveness is central to God’s work both in our own lives and in the life of others around us. In the past our own sin erected an unbreakable blockade between us and God but then His forgiveness became the doorway through which we were adopted into His family! When we choose to forgive for His sake, then we can also become doorways rather than blockades in the lives of others. For who will you become open door today?