When You Pray...

I am not one to think that God "speaks" to me in the literal sense. I do believe His Word speaks to me, and that the Holy Spirit uses the Word and words of Godly people and pastor/teachers to make His will known to me.

I continue to gain a deeper understanding of prayer. Recently I found 15 incidences of "incline your ear to me" in the Bible, and 8 of "hear me." This is important to me, because I am learning about boldness in prayer and I see that many of the Old Testament writers were very, very bold as they prayed! Look at the words of David

Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:1-3 (NASB)

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers." Psalm 39:12 (NASB)

Look at Ps. 17:6: "I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech."

"You will hear me, oh God" is what he is saying! The Psalmist is telling God to "listen up!" and pay attention. His prayers are vehement and fervent and bold. His earnestness to have God listen to his petitions comes through clearly. It comes across to me as commonplace to speak to another person that way, but what about talking to the God who stores the lightening bolts? Yet, these writers of the OT did that very thing, and they knew only Law. On top of that, the Holy Spirit was not a permanent resident as He is now for us. in Psalm 51:11 David petitions God not to remove the Holy Spirit from him and God did remove His Spirit from King Saul.

Are you bold in your prayer life? Hebrews 4:16 tells to come boldly to the throne of grace!

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NASB)

We come boldly because we have no need to fear God or His wrath. Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ through whom we now have fellowship with God (1 John 1:3) and are no longer His enemies. We come boldly because grace and mercy assures us that we will never suffer the penalty for our sins, and because we are now the children of God! (Eph. 1:5)

I come boldly because I am accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6). When I pray, it is a real conversation with God. I have an issue now that I am storming the gates of heaven over and I am relentless about it. I pray constantly that God would answer my prayer, and that His answer would glorify Himself.

If you have been in such a situation with unanswered prayer, have you ever wanted to just do with God as we do with our human friends or kids, "HELLO! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!"

We wonder what is so wrong or hard about what we are asking God for, how is it that He is not moving or working in our circumstances? We wonder what the point is of asking God for this because it seems He is not going to answer us anyway. And so, often we just give up and move on.

First, I want to discourage you from giving up. Our prayers are the means God uses to accomplish His ends. As we pray we are participating in the process of God carrying out His will in our lives and the lives of others we are praying for. When the answers come, we can rejoice that we played a part in the workings of God.

Second, praying increases our faith and our dependence upon the Lord. There is something humbling about admitting our needs before God. It involves my knowing and understanding that I am not self-sufficient. It means acknowledging I need the help and intervention of someone greater than myself.

Third, praying is an act of faith and obedience. Jesus prayed daily, and we are to imitate Him. He did not say, "If you pray" He said "when you pray." Jesus prayed even though He was omniscient (all-knowing)! Surely, if He being in very nature God spent hours praying, we fallible humans ought to devote time to the exercise each day.

You and I may never see the results of the prayers we utter today, but be assured that God does!