God’s reward when I pray – He will listen

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I have learned that fear and worry will not change my circumstances, only God can do that. His promise for me is that He will walk with me, comfort and listen to me when I pray. I make the decision to allow Him to take care of me.

Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid of them. Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. – Deuteronomy 31:6  GNT

I am encouraged to pray – ask God – to take my fears and worries and He replaces them with His power and courage.

It is so good to receive these kinds of encouragement and promises from the light of God’s Word.

Your word is a lamp to guide me
    and a light for my path.
I will keep my solemn promise
    to obey your just instructions.
My sufferings, Lord, are terrible indeed;
    keep me alive, as you have promised.
Accept my prayer of thanks, O Lord,
    and teach me your commands.
I am always ready to risk my life;
    I[a] have not forgotten your law.
The wicked lay a trap for me,
    but I have not disobeyed your commands.
Your commandments are my eternal possession;
    they are the joy of my heart.
I have decided to obey your laws
    until the day I die. – Psalm 119:105-112  GNT

Even though I go in and out of thoughts that go from worry to courageous, my desire is faithful – to become more holy and my prayers become daily because of my need for grace.

I do not ask why I need to pray – I simply pray because God answers me and when I call, He responds.

 When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond.

“If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry. Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses.” – Isaiah 58:9-12  GNT

Francis of Assisi prayed it this way –

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Jesus taught all those who follow Him about prayer and it has been a constant guide and counsel.

But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

“When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven:
    May your holy name be honored;
may your Kingdom come;
    may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need.[a]
Forgive us the wrongs we have done,
    as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
Do not bring us to hard testing,
    but keep us safe from the Evil One.’[b]

 

“If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done. – Mathew 6:6-15  GNT

The first idea seems to be that prayer needs to happen in private. Nothing messes up prayer more than when it is used to show off and impress others – to be self conscience and other conscious. My prayer time every morning needs to be in a place where I am alone. It is also about praying about God. Without this we can abuse prayer. Prayer here also defines what I believe is God’s love language – time. So He starts off with the expectation that we will be praying, not “if” we pray. It is a time that I spend with my “Father.” There is a “reward” for making this happen. It is not only a place of adventure but of treasure – it includes His presence, it includes receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, and I am sure there are heavenly rewards as well. But I also think that the greatest reward of all – is that He will listen.

The second idea is to pray simply. There really is no formula even though many have taken the Lord’s prayer as such. Getting the words right does not impress God regardless if we think they do. If I go there, I fail to understand that God simply wants to know the desires of my heart. The goal of prayer is really not about telling God something He does not know or to convince Him to hear – it is simply a time of fellowship with God who already knows and cares. Prayer flows from God’s Word. It is in the Word of God that He responds. What’s the use of praying if there is no room for God to respond? It is about avoiding the temptation to pray thoughtless and heartless prayers and it is more about praying with the proper knowledge of who God is and His character.

The third idea might sound contradictory to the second ( me suggesting there is no formula) and while the second idea is still true the third idea is that there is definitely some structure in our prayers that will build on. That is what the model of the Lord’s Prayer is all about – not a formula but a structure.  It is also about praying about people. God cares about my regular, everyday life. My needs, my sins, my relationships, and my protection. I bring all of my life and put it under the authority and lordship of God.

Agian, not to be contradictory to my first idea (prayer is private), praying is meant to happen, at some point during the day (definitely, not in the morning), with others. So pray in secret, but also pray with others. There are a lot of corporate words used in this prayer.

The final and fourth idea is not in the Lord’s Prayer, but is found right after Jesus presents its structure. He wants me to tie my prayers to how I should live.

This idea is based not on my ability to put a prayer structure together but on the idea that I have concern for my own personal relationships because God cares about relationships. Prayer, in other words, needs to spill into my life and change it.

It is a perfect prayer and it only takes twenty seconds to pray. It is so simple that a child can understand it. Jesus makes it available and attainable for all.

“But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. … The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” – C.S. Lewis

Praying grace and peace to build others up

Optimal hour to build up others in prayer

I love it when I am challenged and engaged by others to grow in grace and holiness. Faith and the invitation to be part of the family of God are great beginning steps, incredibly important steps, but it is not a place to rest in – as if we have now arrived. Peter really sets his heart on this and engages me – he wants that grace and peace might be multiplied to me so that I can press forward in obtaining more grace.

It is also my opportunity to pray for others and to walk with them, disciple them, so they too will grow in their relationship with God and to be diligent about it. By not trying harder, there is no gaining any ground in the work of holiness. This is not the place for being lazy.

For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if you do not have them, you are so shortsighted that you cannot see and have forgotten that you have been purified from your past sins.

So then, my friends, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith.[b]In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-11 GNT

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?  Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. 

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. – Westminster Shorter Catechism