A promise is the basis of my prayer so I will repent

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When I read about Caleb’s request to Joshua for the land in Hebron, I see his strength as he stands on the promise of God to him and his family.

Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him the city of Hebron as his possession. Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, because he faithfully obeyed the Lord, the God of Israel. – Joshua 14:13-14  GNT

It is a powerful place to stand in prayer presenting the promises of God. It allows me to pray according to His will. 

It does not allow me to stop praying a sinner’s prayer.

Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them
    and who depend on the Lord their God. – Psalm 146:5

Refering to Jacob may not seem to be the right approach here but what a picture of redeeming character and salvation. Jacob was very human and selfish but he was also a man who believed in God and who believed in prayer. A sinful heart is no proof that he was hypocritical. What a great lesson for me to understand that I do not have to wait to be a saint before I pray, for it is in prayer that I am sanctified.

So when Jeremiah is told by God not to pray for the people of Israel, it was God’s way of saying – stay out of the way, I need to do some work here.

The Lord said, “Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not cry or pray on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. – Jeremiah 7:16  GNT

There was corruption, there was a prevailing attitude that was skewed towards God’s holiness and this was not the time for the people to be left unchanged. Promises and all, we need to be sanctified and if I choose not to move closer to Him, God will draw me in.

Is it not true that when we go to church every week, do a couple of volunteer hours, pray a prayer of thanks when we get up and when we go to sleep and over our mealtimes that we seem protected from the consequence of our sin because we are close to sacred things? This kind of sinfulnesss stops the promises of God to be effective for God wants more and it starts with me acknowledging and repenting of my sins daily. 

Prayer is our most intense and interior act of futurity. All prayers, by definition, are directed to God, and this aims brings them, finally into the presence of God where ‘everything that has breath’ praises the Lord. Praise is the deep, even if often hidden, eschatological dimension in prayer…’Most joy is anticipatory,’ says Karl Barth. ‘It normally has something of an eschatological character’…The five hallelujah psalms with Psalm 145 as a foundation are a cathedral built entirely of praise. No matter how much we suffer, no matter our doubts, no matter how angry we get, no matter how many times we have asked in desperation or doubt, ‘How long?’, prayer develops finally into praise. Everything finds its way to the doorstep of praise. Praise is the consummating prayer. This is not to say that other prayers are inferior to praise, only that all prayer pursued far enough, becomes praise. – Eugene Peterson

 

How I pray is by praying for

Prayer-at-Night

Tucked away, separated by two books, is what really took place with Aaron and the people of Israel regarding the golden calf. It took place in Exodus 32 and the response of what took place was in Deuteronomy 9.

I was afraid of the Lord‘s fierce anger, because he was furious enough to destroy you; but once again the Lord listened to me. The Lord was also angry enough with Aaron to kill him, so I prayed for Aaron at the same time. – Deuteronomy 9:19-20 GNT

Moses not only prayed for the people of Israel, he specifically prayed for Aaron. Not only does it reveal the prevailing power of Moses’ prayer but there was much more love in his heart than I first imagined.

That is what the Kingdom of God looks like.

So when I read a Psalm like Psalm 93, the heart of the Psalm is a song acclaiming Our Lord the King. It exalts the Kingdom of God as the source of peace, truth and love. Is that not what I pray for when praying in the “Our Father” and I implore – “Thy Kingdom come!”

It is a short song but filled with real prayerful breadth. It instils confidence and hope in those who follow Jesus. For do I not sometimes feel restless, afraid of being overwhelmed by the storms and by the dark forces that come against me?

So I pray.

Sometimes I hope it is as dramatic as King Hezikiah.

King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the Lord. Isaiah 37:14 GNT

He prayed for what would be best for God – it was God who needed to show who was the true God to follow.

That is effective prayer.

Especially when we come with such a promise —

Because the Lamb, who is in the center of the throne, will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. – Revelation 7:17 GNT

I pray for those whose pain they carry and are eager to have them “wiped away” and such an image of God changes the way I pray for you.

We not knowing: What to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helps our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and: What, and: How prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty. – Westminster Larger Catechism