It is 2022, and for some reason, I am much more sensitive to the news than ever before. Perhaps like you, it affects me more deeply the older I become.
When we open social media, stories are there. We are flooded with updates on what is happening around us, our country, and the world. So many of the recent stories are tragic and heartbreaking. Our souls ache as we read and watch so many incidents that are pure evil.
In response to the stories, I began to see something that caught my attention. People posted phrases such as “we don't need prayer, we need action” or “keep your prayers and just do something.”
When we open social media, stories are there. When we scroll YouTube or simply walk into a store and hear the radio, we are flooded with updates on what is happening all around us, in our country, and in the world. Sadly, many of the recent stories are tragic and truly heartbreaking. Our souls ache as we read and watch so many incidents that are just pure evil.
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us a lesson on the HOW TO of prayer. He teaches us not to pray for attention but to pray in private, knowing that the Father sees us. Jesus teaches us not to “heap empty phrases” but to pray like this:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
This is a prayer of worshiping God, surrendering, repentance, request, praise, and humility. As I look at this prayer and the MANY prayers that are provided in scripture, I am reminded of the power of prayer.
1. Prayer CONNECTS us with God. --When Jesus died, and the veil was torn, it gave us direct access to the Presence of God… the most sacred of audiences. The direct line of communication means we are welcomed to commune with the God of the Universe and the Lover of our souls. Prayer is the platform of communication in which we can bring ourselves before the King and hear His voice. Philippians 4:6-7 states “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer makes way for us to communicate with God and receive from Him.
2. Prayer STRENGTHENS US. -- In Ephesians 3, Paul writes “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
3. Prayer CHANGES us. -- “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 4:16. As we pray, our hearts and minds align with God’s Word and His Spirit. We present ourselves before Him, and His Presence changes and transforms us. We are fertile soil for His transforming work when we come into prayer with surrender and an open heart.
4. Prayer MOVES us. -- Paul writes in Ephesians 6, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil... and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, PRAYING at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10-11, 17-20)
Prayer results in action because it connects us with God, strengthens us, changes us, and moves us to carry out His works in the earth. When we close the door, get on our knees, and seek God with our whole hearts, the scripture says that we WILL find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
Prayer is still relevant, no matter the situation. In a world that desperately needs Jesus, we need prayer.
May we always keep our hearts tethered to His in prayer and keep our ears tender to God's voice.