“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.” – John 21:15-17 GNT
It is a prayer that I often repeat – a humble one at that – mainly when I feel that I do not live up to my call from God or to the goodness of love I receive from Him. It comes in moments of shame and during those moments I know God does not see my point of view, He sees my heart and what I would like to be. I love my time of prayer for it is a time where I can be aware of God looking into my heart and loving me for who I am.
I was challenged to pray for the church again this morning. Paul has an amazing prayer in this regard.
For this reason we have always prayed for you, ever since we heard about you. We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. – Colossians 1:9 GNT
It would seem that Epaphras informed Paul of the needs of this church and the attack of a cult against it. This put Paul immediately into prayer mode. If I really knew how the church was being attacked it would probably change my prayer life. I am afraid for that very reason I stay away from the persecuted church reports for I would spend my entire day praying for them and yet I sense that is exactly what God wants.
Paul’s commitment to prayer needs to be mine as well and if Paul can pray for a church whom he has never met how much more should I be committed to praying for the same? So I pray in knowledge and I pray that God would fill the church with the knowledge of His will, and with wisdom and understanding.
Why do I pray and continue to pray?
He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. – Colossians 1:13-14 GNT
It is also of importance to observe, that the four laws of prayer of which I have treated are not so rigorously enforced, as that God rejects the prayers in which he does not find perfect faith or repentance, accompanied with fervent zeal and wishes duly framed. We have said (sec. 4), that though prayer is the familiar intercourse of believers with God, yet reverence and modesty must be observed: we must not give loose reins to our wishes, nor long for any thing farther than God permits; and, moreover, lest the majesty of God should be despised, our minds must be elevated to pure and chaste veneration. This no man ever performed with due perfection. For, not to speak of the generality of men, how often do David’s complaints savour of intemperance? Not that he actually means to expostulate with God, or murmur at his judgments, but failing, through infirmity, he finds no better solace than to pour his griefs into the bosom of his heavenly Father. Nay, even our stammering is tolerated by God, and pardon is granted to our ignorance as often as any thing rashly escapes us: indeed, without this indulgence, we should have no freedom to pray. But although it was David’s intention to submit himself entirely to the will of God, and he prayed with no less patience than fervor, yet irregular emotions appear, nay, sometimes burst forth,—emotions not a little at variance with the first law which we laid down. In particular, we may see in a clause of the thirty-ninth Psalm, how this saint was carried away by the vehemence of his grief, and unable to keep within bounds. “O spare me,471 that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more,” (Ps. 39:13). – Calvin