Those who know God pray for things to happen

prayers-of-hope-when-youre-going-through-the-storm

I love the spiritual expression where God continues to love those who know Him and He gives favour and does good things towards those who are in right standing with Him. It is here in this thought that I should know of my need to pray that I can stay in this part of my relationship with Him.

Continue to love those who know you and to do good to those who are righteous. – Psalm 36:10 GNT

Even though I have experienced His love and grace, I need a continuing flow and I need to ask Him for it.

In trouble, I make a decision. Do I let the accuser set the agenda or am I intentional about allowing the Holy Spirit to become involved in the process. It is a decision that requires deliberate, careful, thoughtful, and spiritual insight and action. Especially because I am prone to operate out of my humanity and most unspiritual nature. It is why the world is filled with broken relationships, unhealed hurts and prolonged divisions. Paul tries to tell Philemon that there is a different way, that we can approach God first through prayer, before we accuse and speed up the level of conflict.

Brother Philemon, every time I pray, I mention you and give thanks to my God.  For I hear of your love for all of God’s people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus.  My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ.  Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all of God’s people. – Philemon 4-7 GNT

 What a great example of starting a prayer with thankfulness. Even though there is conflict, and let’s face it, most of his letters were sent to churches where there was conflict, he takes time to thank God for them and their church family. Paul approach to conflict was not to be the accuser but the one who prayed.

In fact, I believe that it is evidence of Paul’s spiritual practices – to pray for others. Paul knew that prayer mattered especially when it came to conflict.

His prayer also give a secret to how hearts are changed – “our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding.” Special things happen among the relationships of believers. Things that were thought to be impossible, are now possible. So Paul prays that God would set the right conditions so that something new and transformative would take place between the two in conflict. Paul recognizes, by prayer, that God is the only one who can make this reconciliation possible. So I have learned that when I pray for those I am in conflict with, I do not only thank God for them, I ask Him to make the conditions right – God working on mine and their soul, so that our faith can see the powerful effect of God in our lives.

 

The basis of thanks in prayer

the basis of thanks in prayer

There is rarely a day that goes by where I do not spend some time reminding myself about Christ and His death and resurrection. There is in my pray time a thanks to God for sending His Son to die on the cross so that I can have a relationship with Him. Without His death, I have nothing – because of His death, I have everything.

Leviticus 17 is all about blood and my takeaway is forgiveness – when my own sins were erased by God. I do not deserve forgiveness, but God grants it me my anyway. I cannot earn forgiveness but God graciously gives it to me anyway. With that gift comes a responsibility – to forgive others.

One of David’s prayers encourages me to pray for others but also to hold dear their prayers for me.

May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble!
May the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from his Temple
and give you aid from Mount Zion.
May he accept all your offerings
and be pleased with all your sacrifices.
May he give you what you desire
and make all your plans succeed.
Then we will shout for joy over your victory
and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.
May the Lord answer all your requests. – Psalm 20:1-5 GNT

I pray because I know God will answer. I pray so that I need not be excused from praying because others are praying for me. When it comes to matters of the heart – “may He give you what you desire” – I can pray in faith as I lay my life as one who is after God’s own heart.

It is interesting to me on what godly prayer looks like. There would seem to be the personal devotional side of prayer as well as a public devotion made through submission. Paul makes indication of this.

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence toward God and with proper conduct. This is good and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth. For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth! In every church service I want the men to pray, men who are dedicated to God and can lift up their hands in prayer without anger or argument. – 1 Timothy 2:1-8 GNT

Why does Paul want men to pray? Most likely because they were not praying. If the men are not praying, what state do you think the church is in? Men tend to want to DO things and prayer doesn’t fit our male model of work. So, as a man, I learn submission by praying.

Prayer becomes my priority – “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people.”

I need to be prepared to pray, to want to pray. I love how many different ways my prayer can look like – petitions, requests and thanksgiving.

I learned a new acronym today – SPIT prayers.

Supplications – the kind of prayer where I ask God to meet a felt need.

Petitions – a reverent request of sacred words and respect as I ask God for help on my behalf.

Intercessions – I am coming to God knowing He can answer my request. I pray with confidence that God is going to answer. I pray for someone else who needs God’s help. The “inter” and “cede” means that someone comes between God and the need and prays for that person.

Thanksgiving – a prayer of thanks to God for what He has done expressing my gratitude and appreciation.

The reason for my prayer – “This is good and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth.”

Prayer is not to get my will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth. Praying for those who are not saved and who do not know the truth is something that pleases God. I want to be someone who prays for them.

My prayer is based on this simple fact – “For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth!”

Grant us true obedience, a perfect, calm, single-minded composure in all things—spiritual, earthly, temporal, and eternal. Protect us from the horrible vice of character assassination, slander, backbiting, frivolously judging or condemning others, and misrepresenting what others have said. O hold far from us the plague and tragedy which such speed can cause; rather, whenever we see or hear anything in others that seems wrong or displeasing to us, teach us to keep quiet, not to publicize it, and to pour out our complaints to you alone and to commit all to your will. And let us sincerely forgive all who wrong us and be sympathetic toward them. – Luther