Tag Archives: Prayer
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4)
Among the many comforts the righteous servant of God enjoys is the blessing of knowing God is always present and engaged in our lives. Consider the terms used in this psalm and the confidence David shows in his relationship with God.
“You have given me relief when I was in distress.” God’s relationship with man is built on trust. God never promises men that bad things will not happen, but he does promise he will be there with us when it does. It should be a great comfort and relief to know that we have a God who does not leave us during the tough times.
“The Lord has set apart the godly for himself.” God has a special place for his people. They receive a special place in his loving care. The security to be found in the shelter of his love is wonderful to behold.
“The Lord hears when I call to him.” It is wonderful to know that with God the line is never busy and he is never out of touch. We have a constant open line to the Father. It isn’t just for emergency use, but constant lines of communication to the Creator of the universe.
This psalm serves as a great blessing for the child of God. It shows both sides of the relationship with God and reminds us that God is always engaged with his people.
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 18:9-14)
Jesus tells this parable about those that believe in their own righteousness and think they are better than those around them. There is a vast difference between someone being confident in their relationship with God and believing he/she is better than someone else.
As we come before God in prayer, it should not be with pride and self-absorption about our own perceived “goodness.” Instead, it should be with humility, knowing what our relationship with God cost through the blood of Christ and recognizing without his grace and mercy we would have nothing.
So as you come before God in prayer, which example are you? Are you the one who comes before him with pride as though God needs you more than you need him? Or do you come before him with humility, knowing how much you need him and the price that was paid for you?
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:1-3, ESV)
One of the greatest pitfalls mankind faces is the desire for physical possessions and the willingness to compare one’s value to another. People often look at one another, see what the other has that they don’t and then feel inadequate, unsuccessful, envious, or jealous. They decide that they need more possessions, that they are not adequately blessed, or that they deserve more from their job.
How many times have we heard people complain about not having enough money, yet the extra money they receive is then spent on luxuries, entertainment, and personal greed? How many times do people ask God to bless them with more only to desire to squander it on their own indulgences?
James tries to explain to the people of his day that asking God for more just because one does not have what someone else does is wrong. Seeking God’s help to fulfill personal greed and lusts is petty and worldly. He states that sometimes we do not get what we desire from God because we have asked for something we fully intend to waste on our own selfish desires.
We need to take time to think about the things we ask of God. Am I asking for this because this is something I truly need to sustain life (food, shelter, clothing)? Am I desiring something because I want to use it to God’s glory? Or am I simply asking for things to help satisfy my own selfishness and deepen my own feelings of self-worth? God blesses each of us greatly, but let us never demean his blessings by asking him to fulfill our own personal greed.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, KJV)
Consider for a moment the four things Paul says he prays to God about the Philippians:
1) Love may abound in knowledge and discernment (Notice: just saying you have more love is not enough, it must grow out of knowledge of God and his word).
2) Approve things that are excellent (to put to the test things that differ to find the conclusion of what is right).
3) Be sincere and without offence (being sincere alone is not enough, that sincerity must be coupled with correct actions)
4) Filled with the fruits of righteousness (Which requires a removal/refusal of the fruits of darkness).
All four of these things are necessary for Christian growth and development. They are the things we should be wanting to see in our own lives and the lives of others. Are they found in yours?
(I know many of you out there are probably like me when it comes to trying to comfort others in times of sorrow or pain. I don’t know the right words to say, so often I say very little, or nothing at all. While I struggle with my own failures to find the right words, I try to be there in other ways that will comfort just as much. This poem is dedicated to those silent comforters who seek to fulfill the needs of others in ways words sometimes cannot accomplish. May God ever bless you.)
The Silent Comforter
Adam B. Cozort
I do not know the words to say
To ease the pain you feel this day.
I know there are others with golden tongues
Who can salve the pains with the breath of their lungs.
But for me the words are hard to find,
Though many things run through my mind.
So as I sit with you this day,
Let me show my concern another way.
I am always afraid to say something wrong,
To make you wish I had not come along.
I know empty platitudes are not what you need
When dealing with something that makes your heart bleed.
And while there are many things I wish to say,
I am certain my words will not pass the right way.
So here I will sit without saying a word
To keep you from wishing my voice you’d not heard.
Though I am not speaking I hope that you see
Those things beyond words that are offered by me.
A shoulder available on which to cry,
And two ears to listen without need for reply.
With a heart full of love and a head full of prayers,
I hope you will see there is someone who cares.
Please know that my silence is born out of love,
And I’m praying for you to the Lord up above.
One of the greatest comforts the Christian has in time of trouble is the knowledge that, not only does God know about, and care about, the situation, but that fellow Christians are praying for them and care about them as well. However, that cannot come to fruition if you never tell others your needs and troubles. Sometimes pride or shame gets in the way of us utilizing one of the greatest strengthening agents in the world: the brotherhood of Christ.
We are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2); pray when there are afflictions (Jam. 5:13-16); and do good as we have opportunity (Gal. 6:10). As you have times of trouble do not be afraid to go to your family in Christ for help and encouragement: as the servants of Christ they are his agents to be able to care for you and strengthen you. They will bless, comfort, and strengthen you through prayer and godly comfort as nobody else can. Utilize them, be one of them, and never be ashamed of your needs or the needs of your brothers and sisters (Acts 4:32).
Most congregations have as a part of their bulletins a prayer list; a list of people requesting the prayers of the church for different ailments or problems in their lives. These are valuable tools to help the Christian to remember those for whom they need to pray. That being said, I believe there is a larger prayer list that the Christian needs to consider.
As one studies the Bible, there are many different prayers and occasions for prayer described. Consideration should be given to the many different types of prayers and the many different things about which Christians need to go to God consistently.
It is unfortunate that many Christians only seem to find time for prayer before a meal and in times of direct need, but such limited confines should not constrict the prayer life of the Christian. Consider a daily checklist of things for which we should pray to God continuously.
3 things with which we must pray:
Pray with reverence – showing God the respect due the our Father and the honor due our Protector.
Pray with thanksgiving – showing recognition of the blessings bestowed and the love and mercy extended.
Pray with confidence and boldness – understanding that as a child of God your prayers will not be ignored or considered unimportant before our Father.
Things for which we should pray:
for one’s spouse
for one’s children
for our daily bread
for right decisions and directions
for one’s enemies
for growth in knowledge and action
for forgiveness of sins by repentance
for unity in the Lord’s church
for preachers and teachers
for growth in all facets of the church’s work
for boldness and open doors
for the erring to return to the way of truth
for government to be wise and righteous
for the lost to obey the Gospel
for righteous influence to spread the Gospel
The Christian should be praying for each of these things on a daily basis. Someone might contend that doing so would require a great deal of time; such it would and should. As Christians it should be considered a privilege, not a chore, to be able to go to God about anything and everything each day. It should be something on which we are focused in life, not simply reminded to do in times of trouble.
If we take the time each day to pray for all of these things at various times according to their various needs our lives will be more focused on God and his will, our blessings will become more apparent, our relationship with God will grow, and our peace in this life will expand exponentially.
May we always be those that, “pray without ceasing” (1 The. 5:17).
There are millions of people in this country who begin every morning with a cup of coffee. Without it they feel as though something is missing in their morning routine and the day is left incomplete, or certainly more difficult.
From a spiritual perspective, the same should hold true for the Christian when it comes to our lives. Our study of the Scriptures, prayer lives, and time spent meditating on the things of God should be such an integrated part of our lives to the point that a day where any of those things does not occur is considered to be an incomplete day.
At one congregation with which I worked, Sunday morning services began with a 45-minute devotional of songs, prayers, and Scripture reading. My wife called it her cup of coffee on Sunday mornings to get her mind focused and ready for what the rest of the day would bring. I wish more congregations of the Lord’s church would consider what a powerful asset such a program could be to the attitude and mind-set of the Lord’s people beginning each Lord’s Day.
However, should such a “cup of coffee” be restrained to only the Lord’s Day? Certainly if time spent with the word of God and giving honor and praise to Him on the first day of the week is beneficial to the mentality of the Christian; doing the same thing on days two through seven should accomplish the same goal. Paul wrote on many occasions concerning the approach of the Christian to daily life (I The. 5:14-22; Phil. 4:4-13). In each instance, the central component to the proper attitude is time spent before God and His word.
Every Christian, whether they’ve been a member of the church for 30 years or 30 minutes, needs constant, daily time with God to keep them in the right mind-set and on the right track. The best time for that type of meditation is at the beginning of each day, before the trials, struggles, stress, and business of each day settles in the cross-hairs of our focus.
Let me challenge you to have a spiritual cup of coffee every day. Spend at least fifteen or twenty minutes each morning in study, prayer, and meditation. If it means getting up that amount of time earlier than usual, do it. Before long it will become a part of your daily routine and, like all other habits, you will feel like your day is incomplete without it. But, unlike most other habits, this one can positively affect every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. Try it. It just might make each day a little easier and bring each blessing into a little better focus.