Sunday, July 27, 2014

Prayer



Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Perhaps the most underrated and underused power that we have available is prayer. As God’s children, we are told to go to God in prayer that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Notice how we are to come. Paul says that we are not just to come to God’s throne, but we are to come boldly to the throne of grace. Remember, God’s grace gives to us what we do not deserve. The desire of God’s heart is to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God wants us to come boldly, in faith, believing that God will do for us everything that was promised. There is no bolder step that we can take than that.  We may get discouraged, but know that there is no need to be discouraged if God is in our hearts and guiding our actions.

When we go to God, we find mercy. While God’s grace is God giving to us things that we do not deserve, God’s mercy gives to us what we do deserve. In God’s mercy we find forgiveness and restoration to fellowship! Our sinful, selfish, stubborn wills are in constant conflict with God’s will for our lives. As we seek to make God’s thoughts our thoughts, God’s ways become our ways. When we look to our own devices for direction as we make our decisions, we turn from God and that is when we need God’s mercy and forgiveness.  As the song "Amazing Grace" says:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

God wants to be our “first response” as opposed to our “last resort.” When we have a decision to make, God’s desire is that we come boldly to the throne for direction and guidance in that decision. Look at what Paul says, “that we may find grace to help us in time of need.” God’s guidance in our time of need is available to us if we will just avail ourselves to it!

Prayer is the key that unlocks the windows of heaven and allows God to pour out blessings into our lives! Prayer leads us from the snare of temptation to the path of righteousness. Prayer allows us to make decisions that head us in the right direction to find life that is full and abundant. Prayer moves us from where we are to the place that God would have us go. Prayer is the place where we begin to move out of our need and into the place of God’s provision.

•       Maybe you’re struggling with some kind of fear. Maybe you’re waiting for a report from the doctor, and that has you worried. Or you’re afraid that you’re not going to make it financially. Or you’re afraid about something at school.  For many of us who hide our sexuality from the wider world, this may constitute our greatest fear that someone may find out.  I have a young friend who came to me just yesterday with worries about his sexuality and how it is perceived, even though he does not identify as gay or bisexual but as straight.  My advice to him was to be open and honest with himself, not to worry about his sexuality.  God tells us to "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Corinthians 13:5) A simpler way to put this was seen on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi which was inscribed "Know thyself." We must trust that God will guide us to know ourselves.
•       Perhaps you are wrestling with some sort of temptation. Maybe you’ve got some kind of addiction and you can’t shake it. Or you’re thinking of doing something that you know isn’t right, but you want to do it anyway.  I have a dear friend who is suffering from alcoholism.  The first step to his recovery was to admit it to himself.  He is going to seek treatment, and I am very proud of him.
•       Or, maybe you’re in the middle of a difficult situation and you’re not quite sure what to do? You don’t know how to respond. Or you’re not sure you have what it’s going to take to deal with it.  When we are in a situation like this, the only thing we can do is to turn to God for guidance.

Whatever your personal need, take it before God in prayer. There you’ll find a God who is able and willing to handle anything you’re going through. And you’ll find a God who fully identifies with you and who knows exactly how you’re feeling. And you’ll also find a God who won’t judge you, but who, instead, will give you all the grace you need. That’s God's promise to you.

3 comments:

silvereagle said...

Written with a pen, but written from the heart!!! Thanks once more...

EthanJM said...

Wow. A very powerful post today yet simple. Nothing should be easier than turning to God in prayer but it's difficult at times. Some lack the faith or are embarrassed by their weaknesses. Some may have done things that they wonder if God will forgive them. Some may just feel lost with life spinning out of control. Your Sunday Sermons seem to know what I need to hear. Thank you Joe

Jay M. said...

Just what I needed today, Joe. Thank you.

Peace <3
Jay