Power of prayer time

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I forgot completely about the barley bread story found within the Gideon story.

When Gideon arrived, he heard a man telling a friend about a dream. He was saying, “I dreamed that a loaf of barley bread rolled into our camp and hit a tent. The tent collapsed and lay flat on the ground.”

His friend replied, “It’s the sword of the Israelite, Gideon son of Joash! It can’t mean anything else! God has given him victory over Midian and our whole army!”

When Gideon heard about the man’s dream and what it meant, he fell to his knees and worshiped the Lord. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up! The Lord is giving you victory over the Midianite army!” – Judges 7:13-15  GNT

I love how Spurgeon comments on this story – just reading it revived me and reminded me of the power of prayer.

But, then, God ever uses effectual means. Even if He works by barley-cakes, He makes a clean overthrow of His enemy. A cannon-ball could not have done its work better than did this barley cake. Wherefore, be not afraid, ye servants of God, but commit yourselves into the hands of Him who, out of weakness, can bring forth strength. Do you not think that this smiting of the tent of Midian by the barley cake, and afterwards the actual overthrow of the Midianite hordes by the breaking of the pitchers, the blazing of the torches, and the blowing of the trumpets, all tends to comfort us as to those powers of evil which now cover the world? When we are thinned out, and made to see how few we are, we shall be hurled upon the foe with a power not our own. Were things worse than they are, we should still cry, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” and stand each man in his place till the Lord appeared in strength. Another lesson would I draw from the text as to our inward conflicts. You are feeling in your heart the great power of sin. The Midianites are encamped in your soil; in the little valley of Esdrelon which lies within your bosom there are countless evils, and these, like the locusts, eat up every growing thing, and cause comfort, strength, and joy to cease from your experience. You sigh because of these invaders. I counsel you to try what faith can do. This seems a very poor means of getting the victory, as poor as the barley cake baked on the coals; but God has chosen it, and He will bless it, and it will overthrow the throne of Satan within your heart, and work in you holiness and peace. Once again, still in the same vein, let us try continually the power of prayer for the success of the gospel, and the winning of men’s souls. Prayer will do anything–will do everything. It fills the valleys and levels the mountains. By its power men are raised from the door of hell to the gate of heaven. – C. H. Spurgeon

Another reminder as to why revenge never works – it belongs with God.

But, Almighty Lord, you test people justly;
    you know what is in their hearts and minds.
So let me see you take revenge on my enemies,
    for I have placed my cause in your hands. – Jeremiah 20:12  GNT

I am committed to making time to be alone with God in my prayer time.

At once Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida, on the other side of the lake, while he sent the crowd away. After saying good-bye to the people, he went away to a hill to pray. – Mark 6:45-46  GNT

It keeps me centred and keeps me in a place where my trust is not in me but in God.

“Oh Lord when I fall into coldness and irritability with people I remember this, that in the garden just before you died you were so gentle and affirming of us when we went to sleep on you. On the cross you were giving yourself to people who abandoned you and mocked you and the more I thank and rejoice that you did that for me it melts away my hardness heart and makes me able to be patient and attentive to the people around me.” – Timothy Keller

 

 

Pray for others in my prayer time

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Sometimes desperate situations that we have put ourselves in rob us of our faith to believe that God will do anything gracious to us. Sometimes, in those moments, we need others who seem to be in right standing with God, to make that prayer for us. Such was the case with Moses. The people knew their complaining was not to Moses, but directed at God. When He struck them, they knew exactly why. In this very real moment they did not ask for a golden calf, they knew the answer laid in the saving work of God.

The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Now pray to the Lord to take these snakes away.” So Moses prayed for the people. – Numbers 21:7 GNT

God’s remedy was not necessarily simple to put together from Moses’ perspective but it was simple for the people to receive their healing. It took a little while to be organized and put together so more people died while waiting for the plan to take shape, but when it was completed all they had to do was look and live.

It is what we all hope for when we pray – that God would listen and hear as we call out to Him.

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer!
In despair and far from home
    I call to you! – Psalm 61:1-2 GNT

Crying out is what I do when I am not content in expressing my need but an actually need for heaven to hear and for God to help. And while I may hope that my prayer is heard I want more. I want God to listen to it so that in His wisdom He may see fit as to how He will answer it. I do not believe that God is ever hardened against the cries of His own children. For whatever reason God does not act on our behalf in the way we think He should, praying is never something we do in vain.

I can only imagine how much this description can fit me when I am in a depressed or melancholy frame of mind – far from home. While I may be diminutive in my calling out, David continues to call out.  David knew that there is no place in the world unsuitable for prayer. What he is sure of is that some circumstances require resolve and it helps sometimes to call them out. Is it not true that when I fail to pray that it becomes the end of myself – despair takes over. I love that David sought no one else but God.

Am I not ashamed when I find myself praying with selfish motives after listening to such an honest prayer?

And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. – James 4:3 GNT

I sometimes amaze myself when I think about how much I am not like God in how I think and act. When I drop the mask and really look at my motives when I pray, I believe I find much more self-centredness than I would hope to find.

At the end of the day, God has not called me to walk in comfort, but to live for Him in a world that does not actually like me – maybe I should be ready for the day when it will hate me. How much more important is my prayer time and to set aside time for others, like me.

It is a glorious divine manifestation of God unto the soul, shedding abroad God’s love in the heart; it is a thing better felt than spoken of: it is no audible voice, but it is a ray of glory filling the soul with God, as He is life, light, love, and liberty, corresponding to that audible voice, ‘O man, greatly beloved’ (Dan. 9: 23); putting a man in a transport with this on his heart, ‘It is good to be here.’ (Matt. 17: 4.) It is that which went out from Christ to Mary, when He but mentioned her name– ‘Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master.’ (John 20: 16.) He had spoken some words to her before, and she understood not that it was He: but when He uttereth this one word “Mary”, there was some admirable divine conveyance and manifestation made out unto her heart, by which she was so satisfyingly filled, that there was no place for arguing and disputing whether or no that was Christ, and if she had any interest in Him. – William Guthrie, The Christian’s Great Interest