Prayer… one of those concepts that is inexhaustible. I’m sure I can spend a lifetime learning and still not come close to grasping the fact that I have obtained a pass to enter the “Holy of Holies“, as the Old Testament states, to be able to commune with my Almighty Father. How did I gain this access? How did I earn this? How is it possible that I’m written, not only on his hand, but in the lamb’s book of life for eternity? Not by anything this stinkin flesh deserves, but for only one reason. I have confessed my sins and I have asked Jesus to invade my life and heart. I am covered in the precious, protective blood of his son. Why? Simply because he loves me, he created me, and he wants me to walk with Him daily. In light of all of this, my “resonable service” (Romans 12:1) is to pursue more of my Jesus. I want to improve upon my communication skills (something I still strive for in my marriage, even after 11 years and counting 🙂
I’m currently reading a fabulous book called Becoming a Woman of Prayer, by Cynthia Heald, and the latest chapter I read is about intercessory prayer. Some fascinating stuff that I’d love to share! She begins with a quote from Oswald Chambers that has left me with thoughts to ponder. He states, “Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them.” I believe that we, at times, imagine that intercession means bringing our personal sympathies into the presence of God, in essence approaching Him with what we think is the best plan, our plan, which in turn demands that He do what we ask (ouch). Are we at times afraid to add the clause… your will be done? (John 17).
In a humble attempt to draw some connections, in essence, connect the dots as my friend Kristin says, let’s take a look at the armor of God in relation to prayer. In Ephesians 6:10-18, the word praying is the climax of this whole epistle. Paul describes the man who does his most effective work in praying. There are six qualifications under the figure of the six pieces of armor. A clear understanding of truth (belt), a clean obedient life (breastplate), a strongly simple trust in God (feet), clear reassurance of one’s own salvation and relation to God (helmet), and a good grip of truth for others (sword and shield). S.D. Gordon is quoted as saying, Such a man – praying – drives back these hosts of the traitor prince. Such a a man praying is invincible in his Chief, Jesus.” Wow, I’m speechless.
I also loved the reminder that the bible is full of prayers to begin using on behalf of others (Ephesians. 3:14-21; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12), and over governing authorities (2 Chronicles 7:11-16; 1 Timothy 2:1-2). In reading these passages, my mind wandered to the age old question of why does God need our prayers? If He knows what is best for someone, why doesn’t He just do it without involving us? Great questions, what is the truth? The example can be found in Jesus Christ (John 17) and his prayer, the dimension of oneness. He came not only to make us one with God, but to make us into oneness with each other. The reconciliation He died and rose to provide, and returned to impart, is both vertical and horizontal: it is with God and between us and others. May I humbly suggest that the Lord wants us to be to one another what He has been to us in love, forgiveness, and unlimited concern. The mystery of all is that often He will not bless another until we pray. When we pray, His love flows through us to the other person. Unbelievable at first, but true. I can attest that on my “heavy days”, depressive days, I know that my sadness lifted because someone prayed for me. I know it.
I love yet another reminder from Amy Carmichael in that before we pray, we should first ask for spiritual understanding and direction in prayer because this is the confidence we can have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that he hears us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
My next challenge for us is to begin a prayer journal. To write down requests for others as the Lord brings them to light and to mind. Lots of great resources out there, Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer, by Tara Furman is wonderful. You can purchase it by clicking on Proverbs31 link to the right (thanks for the suggestion Amy). Also, if you happen to live in the Hillard area, Northwest Bible Church is offering a study about prayer in studying Psalms. It begins Sept. 9, you can contact the church office at nwbible.org for more information. Thanks for taking the time to join me in my journey today. God Bless!
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray. 1 Samuel 12:23