Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:24
Where is your confidence? Where do you place your hope?
Although I’ve been a Christian since I was seven years old, I often unconsciously placed my confidence in myself and my circumstances rather than in God. I’ve always been a capable, can-do problem solver, so when things were going well, it was easy to think it was because I had my act together.
My self-confidence was shattered, however, when my husband of 15 years left me with four sons, ages 9, 6, 4, and 6 months. I wasn’t capable of handling this. My can-do became can’t-do. This was a problem I couldn’t solve. As a single mom, I had to rely on God in a new way and place my hope in Him alone.
The truth is that none of us can rely on ourselves; when we do, we’re only fooling ourselves.
But God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I once heard a pastor say that suffering shifts our hope from something that is uncertain to something that is certain.
The Bible describes hope in God as “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19, NASB). People and circumstances are uncertain, yet we can safely place our confidence in God, knowing that His faithfulness is certain.
Are things going well for you? Thank God for His sovereign provision, and avoid the trap of placing your confidence in yourself. Are times hard? Are you tempted to despair? Place your hope in the wisdom and goodness of God.
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. – Psalm 42:5
Hard times are a necessary reminder to hope in God. And if we heed that reminder, we can build the habit of hoping not in ourselves, not in other people, but in God alone—in both bad times and good.
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You. – Psalm 33:20–22
Like a threatening rain cloud on a bright day, the darkness of life creeps in slowly. Before we know it, the sky is completely dark. Our souls seem to be smothered in darkness, grasping for hope. We fight it. Squirming and kicking like we are engulfed in a blanket that we’ve accidentally rolled up in during a nightmare. We scream out but our cry is muffled…the darkness keeps coming. We look for any evidence of this stifling suffocation to give way…and that’s when we see it.
At first it might seem far away and faint, but it’s promise of warmth and understanding in the midst of our struggle helps relieve any fear that may be building in our hearts.
There you are, Lord! You see us in the midst of complete darkness. You are our light. You have not forgotten about us and you see and know our every inner and outer struggle.
Praise you for not forgetting us! Praise you for being our beacon of hope in the darkness!
Praise you for being there with outstretched arms to guide us through our struggles!
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
Where do we place our hope?
When we are covered in this darkness, we have a choice. In whom or what will we place our trust?
We might not place it in a horse like the author of this Psalm says. But what about our husband, our friends, a counselor, a preacher, doctor, our bank accounts, etc? In what do you typically put your trust first?
Putting our hope in anything other than our mighty God, our Lord and Savior, is a vain hope. Our Lord will deliver us, if we will wait in hope for Him.
Prayer over our Hearts
Oh, Lord! In you and you alone do we put our trust. When the darkness of this world or Satan’s shameful reminders of our forgiven sins try to instill fear and inaction in our lives, we pray we will search for you and your truth. Your light shines brightest in the darkness. You are always pointing out our way home. We never need to fear for our deliverance, when we hope in you, because you have promised to deliver us from death! We rejoice in your holy name. May we steady our hearts to wait on you. “May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
In the One who is the light of hope in our lives and our ultimate Rescuer- Amen!
“I will never be able to forgive myself for this.”
“After everything I’ve done, I don’t deserve to be happy.”
“I’m such a mess. I’ll never get parenting right.”
If you have ever found yourself thinking something similar to these things, there’s a good chance you were/are walking in unforgiveness of yourself. It can take many forms, but unforgiveness of self always leads to the same destination – nowhere.
The burden of our sins and failures, both real and imagined, can be heavy. The guilt of our mistakes weighing us down. When we choose to dwell on or relive our past transgressions, we become stuck and victims of our own hate and condemnation.
The enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we are still guilty. He knows that guilt chokes off new life and leads to self-destruction. (Proverbs 16:18) When we focus our energy and thoughts on regret and the past, it keeps us from the life in which God has called us. It denies the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us and God’s goodness. (Ephesians 1:7)
We cannot erase what we have already done, but we can free ourselves from guilt and leave the past behind. Forgiving yourself may not always seem easy, but the steps to get there are not complicated.
We must recognize that unforgiveness of self is a sin and repent. When we confess and repent of our sins, God promises to remove them from us. (Psalm 103:11-12) God doesn’t halfway forgive us when we repent and turn from our sin. He forgives us completely and moves on. (Hebrews 8:12) He desires for us to do the same.
In addition to repenting, we must accept our imperfections and that we are broken but forgiven people. When we accept who we are and leave our past behind, we can find our true identity in Christ. Praise God, we are no longer the person who we used to be.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Your past does not define you. The God of heaven and earth calls you His beloved. You have been forgiven and are no longer the person from your past. Be free!
Forgiving yourself does not mean you have forgotten or are excusing your past behavior, but God wants us to move on from our past. He wants us to keep moving forward as overcomers. (Philippians 3:13-14) When you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it so you don’t keep repeating it and move on.
Memorizing scripture has been one of the most useful tools in keeping me moving forward from my past. When the lies of guilt, shame, and condemnation try to sneak their way into your thoughts, you’ll be prepared with the living word of God.
I also find praise and worship to be very effective when thoughts of my past or current mistakes begin to plague me. I know that I may not be where I desire to be, but thankfully, I am no longer where I used to be. That is something to praise God about!
Father God, I thank you that your mercies are new every morning. I thank you that I can know forgiveness because Jesus has already paid the price for my sins. I repent for holding onto my past and not forgiving myself. I repent of letting my mistakes and failures control and hurt me. Forgive and heal me, Lord, as I choose to forgive myself. Thank you for the courage and strength to move forward in the freedom I can only find in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5
You and I are in desperate need of a mediator. Yes, as Christians and adopted sons and daughters of the Most High, we are encouraged to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). But sin still gets in our way. Every time we choose to indulge our fleshly desires instead of choosing to do God’s will, we distance ourselves from the Father.
We need someone to speak for us, to advocate for us before a holy God—someone who is blameless and without sin.
Jesus is your Mediator to God the Father.
Just as a mediator works to resolve a dispute between two parties, so Jesus is your Mediator. Although you were once an enemy of God (Romans 5:10), Jesus has reconciled you to the Father and made peace between you through His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:15).
Just as a mediator works on your behalf as a go-between, a liaison to communicate or transfer information between you and another person, so Jesus is your Mediator. He makes it possible for you to talk with the Father. That’s one reason why we pray in Jesus’ name.
Just as a lawyer is a mediator who represents you before a judge, so Jesus is your Mediator. He pleads your case before the One who forgives sins (1 John 2:1).
Do you feel unworthy to stand before the Father’s throne? We’re all in the same boat. You and I need Jesus to advocate for us and clothe us in His righteousness to make us presentable before the Father. Pray in Christ’s name. Let Him speak on your behalf. God will surely listen to His only begotten Son.
A human mediator could never represent you to the heavenly Father. His or her own sin would get in the way. You need a mediator who is without sin to safely approach God, who is altogether holy and righteous and cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Also, a human mediator would have his or her own fleshly agenda and wouldn’t be appropriately concerned with your needs and problems.
But Jesus can—and will—properly represent you at the throne of grace. Because He is God, He knows the Father’s heart. Because Jesus lived as a man, He knows your struggles and the inclinations of the flesh (Hebrews 4:15). And because He lived and died without sinning, you are safe to stand before the Father through Jesus Christ, your faithful Mediator.
Lord, I am lost and alone. I am keenly aware of my need for a mediator. I dare not approach the throne of grace on my own, for I have sinned. Jesus, plead my case, cover my sin, and deliver me. I need you. Oh, how I need you! Thank you for interceding with the Father on my behalf. Amen.
We live in South Florida, arguably one of the most beautiful states on earth, even after the recent devastation from Hurricane Irma. If you think of Florida, beyond the storm, you’ll picture gorgeous waters, palm trees and tropical breezes. Certainly pictures of Heaven on Earth. I’m so blessed to be living here, fulfilling a childhood dream as a travel writer. I love sharing stories about many of the amazing places in God’s world that our family is able to experience. Being a journalist so close to Orlando allows for plenty of opportunities to experience the Walt Disney World parks.
People often say Disney World is the most magical place on earth. While a Disney Park is absolutely a blast (albeit exhausting!) while you’re there, and you’ll certainly make amazing memories, I disagree.
The state of forgiveness is the most magical place on earth, especially forgiveness of self.
Bitterness and unforgiveness are poisonous roots that pollute our soul. Hebrews 12:15 says,
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
It’s the same soul we use to commune with God, our husband, and our children. We wouldn’t feed our family poison, and many of us won’t even feed them food contaminated with pesticides. How can we expect to be giving our children a healthy does of love if it’s coming from a polluted soul? Matthew 18:23-35 says we’ll be handed over to the torturers, the tormentors, if we don’t forgive others. I’ll bet Jesus was talking about forgiving ourselves, too. I’m not sure about you, but I’ll skip the torture and head toward grace! Joyce Meyer says, “Your fellowship with God flows freely when you’re willing to forgive, but it gets blocked by unforgiveness.”
Are we bigger than God that we can’t forgive ourselves when our loving, Heavenly Father, has forgiven us through His Son? Sheri Seligson recently wrote, “In a sense, I am denying the work of Jesus. God forgives me, so why can’t I forgive myself? I mean, I DO forgive myself in my head, but my heart keeps bringing up the guilt and regret.”
We’ve got to rely on God and enter His forgiveness, grace, peace and rest.
It’s in that state of forgiveness of ourselves where we can become the women of God He envisions for us: daughters of the Most High King, brave warriors armed for battle, gentle and kind souls sent to create beauty, life-giving words and atmosphere. And so much more than we can even see.
Truth be told, I’ve struggled with this myself, moms. I mean, often I forget we’re created to create and it’s really ok to just sit and play with the kids for a while instead of staring into guilt from the years of half- used (and often untouched) curriculum that might have cost too much to begin with. How about that parenting fail we’re carrying? The way we lashed out at our husband or didn’t do something we intended for a friend? Haven’t we all missed a deadline, or finishing that schoolwork, or burned a meal, or over committed in our church or co-op, often to things way out of our control?
When we miss the mark, don’t we beat ourselves up? Good news, moms: we aren’t meant to carry these weights and stress, we’re meant to live in grace, the free and unmerited favor of God. Can you relate, mamas?
It’s a painful and poisonous cycle, mamas:
Do something wrong.
Get mad at self.
Hold a personal grudge so it probably happens again, and not be able to fully give to those around us while we carry the guilt’s burden. Let’s let it go!
Freedom begins when we forgive ourselves, just as our freedom in Christ began when He forgave us. Let’s live in this freedom!
We’ll begin to make different choices, plan better, prioritize and even say no sometimes. We’ll take personal accountability and responsibility, thus modeling these amazing traits to our children, when we live in the state of personal forgiveness. Being ok with not being ok.
I’m so grateful I’m a writer for times like these when God reveals His beauty and grace through words I craft, often deep into the stillness of the night. The first thoughts- just an idea- form as a whisper, and come only when I’m in a state of forgiveness. And in a way only Holy Spirit can, life is breathed into my own soul as I write words for you.
I pray you are blessed and forgive yourself, right now, for whatever it is poisoning your soul. Take a big dose of His antidote of forgiveness and peace to see how your soul nurtures life all around.
Let’s take simple actions to make things right, through confession to others and to Papa and then enter into His promise of peace that surpasses all understanding.
(Sometimes, I write poetry…)
Can’t we just forgive ourselves?
For the clothes we didn’t iron
The room that went haywire
Books still left unread
Thoughts raging in our heads
Words left unspoken
Weight we haven’t lost
Maybe a friend whom we have crossed ?
Is anything unforgivable for our King?
The one who gives us everything-
Who are we to assume his role?
The price is paid-
We’ve been made whole
When will enough
Just Be ENOUGH?
Let’s quit sweating the
Weed the poisonous root
Bear Spirit’s fruit
Return to peace
Release the bitter necess-
Of not forgiving ourselves so
We may simply model
Do you find it easy to forgive others when they hurt you? How about forgiving others that hurt you over and over again even when you have told them that what they are doing bothers you?
I struggle with forgiving those closest to me. I mean shouldn’t they be more careful to not hurt or offend me since they care about me?
Yeah, that is a selfish as it reads. When I think about all the times I go to my heavenly father and ask for forgiveness for the same things over and over, and yes over again; I have wondered if He gets tired of hearing me and wonders if I really mean it this time.
I presented my feelings once in a class and the group stopped to talk about forgiveness. What is it? What does it include? What should be excluded?
Let’s talk about what Forgiveness is…
Forgiveness is submitting to scripture and honoring God. It is His right to take care of justice. When we don’t forgive, and turn it over to God, we are saying that we don’t trust Him to handle it properly.
Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Forgiveness is a multi step process. We can’t always just say, “I forgive” and be over the hurt. Sometimes we have to forgive as we heal, and that might take time. During painful events, I pray for God to give me the grace needed to forgive as I heal.
Forgiveness is a requirement. However, when we find that we are having to forgive the same person for the same offense over and over, we need to look at that relationship and perhaps set boundaries. If we allow someone to continue to have the power to hurt us, we will become bitter and they are not going to change their behavior.
Forgiveness is based on our heart condition and attitude. We can choose to forgive someone and ask God for the grace to let it go as our heart heals.
Okay for let’s talk about what Forgiveness isn’t…
Forgiveness is not allowing the other person to get away with their actions or not be held accountable.
Forgiveness is not allowing someone to hurt us over and over. If a situation exists like this, the relationship needs to be reviewed and boundaries put into place if you want to continue having a relationship with that person.
Forgiveness is not denying there is a problem or becoming the martyr. It isn’t okay for someone to continue to hurt you. However, sometimes we have to face the fact that there are individuals that are just obnoxious, mean, or unstable. When we are in a relationship like this, we have to face that they will not change their behavior but we can change the way we react or interact with them.
This world is full of evil. There will always be people that will hurt us. We have the choice of holding the pain inside and becoming bitter and angry or forgiving and allowing God to heal our hearts.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have forgotten the offense. There will be times when you will see or do something that will bring those memories back to your mind. Instead of allowing those memories to bring you pain from the past, try thanking God that you were able through His grace to forgive.
Another area that I struggle with when I am allowing the things in my life to keep me too busy to spend enough time in the Word and in prayer is admitting that I have taken offense where none may have been meant. Sometimes I just get my feelings hurt and honestly have no valid reason to back it up. You know, that “look” someone gave me, or the person that didn’t speak to me.
During these times when I am feeling put upon or picked on (all in my mind and because I have allowed the world to draw me in to doubt and fear); I will post this scripture all around the house as a reminder.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 says: Do not be quick to take offense, for the taking of offense is the mark of a fool.
I pray that as we grow closer to God, we are slower to anger and to take offense. This only comes through daily time in the Word. Take time to read and study your bible daily. Spend as much time as you can in prayer. Allow both the word of God and His love heal your hurts. And if you are reading this, understand that I am not talking about abuse when I talk about someone hurting you. Abuse is never okay and should never be tolerated. Please seek help if you are in a relationship that you are physically or emotionally in danger.
Have you ever been truly hurt by what someone has said or done to you? So much that you may have thought, “I will never forgive them or trust them again”? I know for most of us it is safe to say you have experienced this a time or two in your life.
Dealing with the pain and anger that’s generated by not forgiving someone can truly eat away at you. Our natural reaction as humans is to seek revenge, becoming angry, bitter, hold resentment, and pull away from someone who has wronged us.
To allow our emotions to overtake us, especially by not forgiving someone who has hurt us, is not healthy. Holding on to that anger, it eats at us, it develops mistrust and negative thoughts in our minds. As a Christian, we have to learn to have a forgiving heart. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but just like in Ephesians 4:32,
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
God forgives us when we sin, or hurt someone else. So why do we feel we can’t forgive others the same way He forgives us?
Matthew 6:14-15 says,
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus reminds us that it is so important to forgive, and not to hold resentment in and allow that negativity to hinder our lives. A lot of times we might find we are angry towards someone, and when we see them our heart begins to race, we get sweaty and want to confront them. But, the other person we are angry at seems free and happy. This is because it is us who hasn’t forgiven and the other person probably doesn’t even remember or know they hurt us.
Holding that anger and having an unforgiving heart hurts us not the other person.
When we learn to forgive and give it to God, an amazing thing will take place. That hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness that has been eating at is, is released. We are set free from the pain and are free. No matter if the person you are angry at never says sorry, learn to forgive and be free from the hurt. It can take time, forgiving, but you will be amazed at the freedom you feel. By forgiving you don’t allow them to continue to hurt you, you simply create healthy boundaries to protect yourself going forward if it is a person you have to continue to be around for work, family, etc.
Father God, I come to you now and ask that you help open up my heart to see those who I need to forgive. If I have areas in my life where I am hindering unforgiveness may it be brought to light, so I can be free from the pain and hurt I have been carrying around? I thank you that you forgive so freely, and allow me to be set free when I forgive others. I thank you for your unconditional love, even when I struggle and find I am not perfect. Lord, I pray that as I carry on throughout the day, I can build strong healthy relationships with my family and friends. If someone does offend or hurt me, I can learn to forgive right away, and now allow it to affect me.
Wrestling with forgiveness on many occasions, I’ve cried out to the Lord,
“They knew exactly what they were doing.”
As the Holy Spirit nudged me to forgive, I held on to that phrase like a stubborn child clenches his jaws around a piece of candy he’s not supposed to have.
There in all his patience and goodness, the Holy Spirit tried to walk me through what it means to forgive like Jesus.
As Jesus hung on the cross, taking his last breaths, he asked his Heavenly Father a profound request:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
But didn’t they know!?!
Didn’t they purposefully go after Jesus.
They paid someone off to locate him.
They hunted him down.
Paid people to lie about what he said and what they had witnessed.
They planned his murder and convinced Pilate to crucify him.
When they were given one last out, they stirred up the crowd.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
They had the Roman soldiers drive nails into his hands and feet.
They spat on him.
They mocked him.
Don’t tell me, Lord, they didn’t know what they were doing!
But then the Lord pulled back the shades of anger from my eyes, and there lay all our spiritual hearts.
Finally, I saw what I was unwilling to see before. All the times I’ve sinned. All the times I’ve justified what I have done. All the times I sinned believing I was doing right. All the times I hung my head after I’d sinned.
The truth is, we have all crucified Christ with our sins. When Jesus asked his Father to forgive them, he also asked his Father to forgive us.
We have with misguided hearts sinned against a sinless savior. In sinning, we set Him up on the cross. We spat at his grace and mercy. We rejected him as our Messiah just as those who plotted against Him.
Missing the Spiritual Aspect
The truth is neither those who plotted to crucify Jesus nor we, really understood what we were doing. Yes, we might have physically and mentally understood a part of it, but we totally missed the spiritual aspect.
The truth that Jesus spoke on the cross resonates in my heart. It is filled with such patient grace for us. It calls us to understand why he could forgive us and how he could say we don’t understand what we are doing.
If they truly understood that Jesus was God in the flesh, they would not have crucified Him.
If we truly understand that we slap Jesus in the face with the grace he has extended to us when we sin, we would not do it.
Forgiving Like Jesus
It’s too easy to look at another and believe that they knew exactly what they were doing but do we say the same about our actions?
Now, when I’m confronted with a pain that is too heavy to bear because of a wrong someone has committed against me and my forgiveness starts to be held back, I can’t help but hear Christ’s words echo in my heart.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Christ’s words were true then as he hung on the cross and they are true every time someone sins against Him now. These words ring true when someone commits wrongs against us too.
Prayer Over Our Hearts
Oh, Lord! Your holiness is astounding. It’s so difficult to understand how much you love us, even when we sin against you. Yet, you are faithful and loving to all you have created. You call us back to you. You forgive us as we are hurting you with our sin.
Let us allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives so that your grace and mercy will allow us to forgive before others ask. Allow us to exercise this muscle of forgiveness so that we too can begin to forgive even as we are attacked. Let us see others with your eyes. Let us not hold grudges or records of wrongs but truly let your love shine through us so you can be glorified.
Even as we are being attacked, Lord, let us proclaim your love for those who are attacking us. May our eyes be opened to the spiritual battle around us and use your truth and forgiveness to win the battles set before us.
In the One who daily teaches us how to forgive and receive forgiveness – Amen!
What do you think? Do we pray against God’s will? I believe we do. Without realizing it.
We ask God to bless us or someone else, to meet our needs or someone else’s, to give us wisdom to make a decision, or to cause certain events to occur.
But sometimes, God is not obligated to answer…with a yes answer. Why? Because we ask amiss. James said, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” (James 4:3 NLT) We ask, by definition, badly, evilly, miserably, or grievously.
Aren’t our motives mostly centered on selfish desires: what we want, when we want it, and how we want it? Do we ever truly say, “Not my will but Yours, Lord”?
What about the events taking place around the world or in our own country? Are these things happening in accordance with God’s plan, maybe even to usher in Jesus’ return? So, then, do we pray for peace or other things that may not be God’s purpose?
What did Jesus teach about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount?
“Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
(Matt. 6:9-10 NLT)
What were the first three priorities in Jesus’ model prayer? God the Father’s name being kept holy, His kingdom, and His will.
Before any petitions are made…
1) we are to hallow His name.
To venerate, to declare sacred, to honor His holy name. As the Lord told Moses, “You must not treat Me as common and ordinary. Revere Me and hallow Me.” (Lev. 22:32a TLB)
We celebrate Him in our worship, for He is worthy “to receive glory and honor” (Rev. 4:11), to be held in reverence and praised. David said, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” (Ps. 18:3 NKJV)
2) we are to invoke His kingdom to come.
Where is the kingdom? Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7 NKJV) At hand, where? “The kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].” (Luke 17:21 Amp)
We pray not just for His kingdom at hand on earth now but also for His heavenly kingdom to come to earth again. We pray that earth will be made more like heaven through the observance of God’s will.
3) we are to ask that His will be done. The observance of His will is that it should be obeyed. On earth as it is in heaven.
God’s will is what He desires, purposes, and has determined to be done on earth. It is His established kingdom rule in heaven being accomplished on earth by, for, and through His people.
Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV) What things? The things Jesus mentioned right before that, the things we eat, drink, and wear. Those things necessary to living.
The three things listed above should be first in our hearts before petitions are presented at the throne of grace.
Then, petitions can be made for all that sustains life.
Prayer is not just a list of one’s requests for God to do something. It is time spent in the presence of His holiness, at the foot of the throne of heaven. Sitting. Listening. Communing. Presenting our requests in faith. And relinquishing our hold on them.
All prayers should be wrapped in faith’s envelope and sealed with the kiss of thanksgiving.
All our prayers should end with the thought of the words Eli spoke to Samuel, “It is the Lord’s will…Let him do what he thinks best.” (1 Sam. 3:18 NLT)
Lord, Your will be done. Do what You think is best.
So, what do you think: do we pray against God’s will?
Do you ever wonder why we should pray? I mean, if God knows everything, why should we have to pray? Doesn’t He already know what we need and what we have done?
I do believe He knows, but I also believe we are instructed to pray. Praying shows our love for Him and others. It is a way for us to not only show show our gratitude, but to open our hearts to His Word. Our prayers are also our avenue to honor Him as well as to make our petitions known.
Throughout the Word, we are given instructions and examples to pray.
We are instructed to “Pray continually..” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Romans 12:12 reminds us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
We are instructed that we should pray in Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray..”
Ephesians 6:18 reminds us that we should “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
We are instructed on how to pray in Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray..”
And Colossians 4:2 tells us that we should “Devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
We are even instructed for whom we should pray in Matthew 5:44, “Pray for those who persecute you”.
And again in 1 Timothy 2:1 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…”
We are also shown examples by Jesus praying regularly himself. His examples show us that we not only should pray but that we need to have time to pray alone and away from others.
Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
In Matthew 26:36 Jesus told His disciples “…Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
And in Mark 1:35, “…Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
And finally, we are told the reason for prayer is that it gives us power over evil. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
I don’t think the question we should be asking is why we should pray, but rather why we are not always praying..
Prayer is always available to us and it always strengthens the bonds of our faith and those around us. Prayer should be our first action not the one we fall back on when we have tried everything else we know of to solve a problem.
Philippians 4:6 reads: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
So yes, God knows what we need. He knows what we want. He knows what we have done..long before the words are formed in our thoughts or lifted in prayer. The reason we should pray is because we need the contact with our Heavenly Father. We need to be able to go to Him with the needs and desires of our heart. We need a safe place to confess the mistakes we have made and know that He loves us and will forgive us.
My prayer is that each of us will make spending time in prayer a priority in our lives and not a stop gap for when we need emergency back up. Start today just talking with your Heavenly Father. Spend time clearing your heart of the things that are weighing heavy on you and start looking for ways to pray for others in your life.
Our heavenly father is waiting for us to come to him, as a child needs their father. Don’t make yours wait another minute.