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

 

 

Child’s prayer life

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When I talk about children praying, I am also talking about me, as an adult praying like a child. Prayer is encouraged and taught by example. When I see and hear others pray, it becomes part of my natural experience and it becomes important in my life. When I know that thankfulness blesses the heart of God, I become more thankful. Even showcasing the importance of praying in silence matters.

As the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, we are taught to teach others, especially children, to pray.

“Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. – Deuteronomy 6:4-7 GNT

Prayer is not awkward when our minds are filled with the things of God.

And so the fourth longest prayer recorded in the Bible has David calling out to his Father.

He will say to me,
    ‘You are my father and my God;
    you are my protector and savior.’ – Psalm 89:26 GNT

Jesus loved calling out to His Father. God had one Son and He was without sin, and this Son lived with prayer.

The Psalm concludes like this…

Praise the Lord forever! – Psalm 89:52 GNT

“He ends where he began; he has sailed round the world and reached port again. Let us bless God before we pray, and while we pray, and when we have done praying, for he always deserves it of us.”  – Spurgeon

Like a child, I have had prayer seem dull, I get distracted and find it difficult to pray more than five minutes. Then I get annoyed and feel guilty because prayer is my way of getting to know God.

When I pray, I am talking to God. So when I feel like I am getting distracted, reading portions of scripture like this one helps me pray realizing that I have access to this powerful God.

Surrounding the throne on each of its sides, were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and behind. The first one looked like a lion; the second looked like a bull; the third had a face like a human face; and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was, who is, and who is to come.”

The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say,

“Our Lord and God! You are worthy
    to receive glory, honor, and power.
For you created all things,
    and by your will they were given existence and life.” – Revelation 4:6-11 GNT

This is the God I get to pray to.

This begins to reshape my focus and fills me with a desire to pray. It matters because my prayer life is one of the most important parts of my life.

“We can meditate on this until our hearts are hot with assurance. Look at him loving you; dying for you; rejoicing in you and singing over you. Look at all that and he will be a delight to you. Then the law will be a delight to you and you will be like a tree planted by streams of water. You’ll bear your fruit in season and no matter what happens, your leaf will not wither.” – Timothy Keller