If the disciples who were with Jesus in person asked Him to teach them to pray, might we then ask Him to teach us to pray, even if we have been praying for years? The disciples saw and heard Jesus praying to His Father, and that is what inspired them to ask Him to teach them to pray in Matthew 6:9. His response was, ‘This, then, is how you should pray.’ He spelled it out for them and He will for us too.
If you think your prayers do not matter, remember God chose a young virgin girl to carry His Son. I wonder if Mary prayed, “Lord, use me,” and look how He used her. We are people just like Mary. God will use us to bring glory to His Name through our prayers. The victory of God will come, and is coming, by means of our prayers. In Acts, the Early Church prayed, and “the place was shaken.”
All this is so we can be equipped to reach the lost for Jesus , and be an encourager to those in the faith. The precious Holy Spirit causes us to be alert, discerning and sensitive to others who need His touch so we can pray for them, speak to them, or both. He gives boldness and speaks through us to share the gospel, and we stand amazed at how He uses us for His purposes.
Pray without ceasing about everything, and hope in the Lord. Pastor Dave Jenkins has encouraged us in his sermons to, ‘hope in the Lord, not in the pastor. Put your hope in the Lord.’ He also reminds us, ‘life is a spiritual battle not a Sunday School picnic.’ When we remember these things it takes the pressure off of us and onto the shoulders of One who can carry our burdens. Pray and do not lose heart or give up. Reuben Welch, former chaplain of Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University), used to tell us, ‘When it looks like nothing is happening, something is happening.’ The Lord is working His plan for our good and His honor and glory.
There have been times when I prayed, and God gave me an answer before the words were even out of my mouth. Then there were other prayers when wait was the answer. Some prayers were answered after a long or short season, but it was always perfect timing. Wanting the Lord to hurry up and answer our prayers is like picking an orange or an apple off the tree when it has not ripened. Who can eat it? It is not palatable. “But in the fullness of time…” God knows when it is best, when it is time, and when the situation is right to answer our prayers. Our prayers usually deal with other people who have a will of their own that God does not override. So He waits until all the players are in the right position for the prayer to be answered. It still might be a bumpy road, but He is with us and our hope and trust is in Him. There is freedom in leaving our burdens at the foot of the cross and letting Him sort them out.
Trinity Church has been in prayer so much over the last three years. We needed Him. We needed His guidance. We needed Him to lead us to Pastor Next. We needed to pray. Let’s keep up our fervent prayers even when Pastor Next is here. That will not be the time to sit back and relax. We will still need the Lord’s help as we adjust to a new pastor, and he adjusts to us.
Jeremiah 33:3 says, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Ask the Lord to teach you how to pray and see what He says.
By Sandra Schoger Foster