Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Learning How to Pray

I know that I told you that I would write this next entry on David's prayer, but the Lord has recently revealed something to me about prayer that I want to share with you.

Speaking with our God, consulting His word as you do, brings peace, clarity and strength. Let me briefly explain. When faced with circumstances that perplex and sadden, it is so important that we 1) bring these emotions to Him and 2) seek His word for His promises. I spoke to a woman yesterday who gently, but firmly reminded me to seek His word to remember who and whose I am. Without knowledge of this, life is chaos. Period. It is from this knowledge- that I am a daughter of God and that I belong to Him, that I can begin to seek out truth regarding who He is.

I was brought to 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 today as I was on my first flight home for the holidays. The blessing of this was found in the first verse of that section, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." From that verse, Paul begins to talk about his sufferings...how we are persecuted, but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair. Do you get why? His power. We can fundamentally rest in the hope found in the power that raised Christ from the dead and will raise our tired spirits from seasons of sorrow.

What does this have to do with prayer? We have the responsibility to actually consult the Lord in His word when we pray. Prayer is an active crying out to God and we know that He will answer us and He has answered us. To suffer apart from His truth is to sulk and stay stuck in it. His will is perfect, His love is steadfast (unchanging). I just realized that praying without purposeful exploration of an answer in His truth is the equivalent of talking to the walls. I can just hear Him saying, "I've given you the manual. Open it and I'll guide you, by my Spirit, to the answer that will fill your heart."

A dear friend sent me Psalm 34:17-18 yesterday to remind me that the Lord hears the cries of the righteous. The Lord is near. And we are righteous when we accept the salvation of Christ. We claim righteousness in His blood and resurrection. Check out this passage:

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Do you see the promise in that word? He answers us through His word. And then, once we receive the answers, we can and probably should bind it in His name, leave it at His feet and trust for Him to reveal clarity and purpose in it all. And as we wait on Him (which we are reminded to do repeatedly throughout scripture), we have the opportunity to delight in who He is, worship Him and serve others in each day.

What a gift.

P.S. It helps me to journal through this and just see the words on the page. But that's just because I talk a lot and sometimes purpose gets lost in my ramblings (smile).

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