God is near me when I pray

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God made it clear that if I were to walk as a follower of Christ, diligent to obey Him as a follower is called to do, then those around me would make a comment of observation. That observation would go something like this…

I have taught you all the laws, as the Lord my God told me to do. Obey them in the land that you are about to invade and occupy. Obey them faithfully, and this will show the people of other nations how wise you are. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, ‘What wisdom and understanding this great nation has!’

“No other nation, no matter how great, has a god who is so near when they need him as the Lord our God is to us. He answers us whenever we call for help. – Deuteronomy 4:5-7 GNT

That is why, for those,without the calling and gifting of evangelism, say that their lives are the witness they have for Jesus. Their lives are able to influence others in a profound way and have been blessed through them.

David prayed in such a manner that allowed God to respond.

Listen to me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am helpless and weak. – Psalm 86:1 GNT

He repeats it again

Listen, Lord, to my prayer;
hear my cries for help. – Psalm 86:6 GNT

With the call for special protection and thereby the author of his salvation, David knew who was the keeper of his soul.

Save me from death, because I am loyal to you;
save me, for I am your servant and I trust in you. – Psalm 86:2 GNT

God wants to save me from my sin and help me through my distress.

You are my God, so be merciful to me;
I pray to you all day long. – Psalm 86:3 GNT

The outward sign of joy expresses the inward comfort that comes from knowing that God has indeed preserved my soul. Prayer is the nurse of spiritual joy and that is what others see in me.

Make your servant glad, O Lord,
    because my prayers go up to you. – Psalm 86:4 GNT

Is this what is lost when I slide away from my first love?

But this is what I have against you: you do not love me now as you did at first. – Revelation 2:4 GNT 

I think this affects me more than just an attitude or an emotion. My behaviour actually changes when I have lost my joy – and it happens when prayer becomes nothing more than mechanical or possibly stopping altogether. When that happens, no one sees God near me.

A complacency of mind, from that gust, relish, and savor, which it finds in spiritual things, from their suitableness unto its constitution, inclinations, and desires. There is a salt in spiritual things, whereby they are condited and made savory unto a renewed mind; though to others they are as the white of an egg, that hath no taste or savor in it. In this gust and relish lies the sweetness and satisfaction of spiritual life. Speculative notions about spiritual things, when they are alone, are dry, sapless, and barren. In this gust we taste by experience that God is gracious, and that the love of Christ is better than wine, or whatever else hath the most grateful relish unto a sensual appetite. This is the proper foundation of that joy which is “unspeakable and full of glory.” – Owen

 

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