Friday, 2 November 2012

Praying when you don't feel like it.




I often wonder why it is that when we most need to pray, we don’t.  Maybe we are so troubled we can’t or we forget to or we don’t know how or we don’t feel like it.  I have some good news. Well actually not me, David does in Psalm 5: 1-3 “Listen, Lord, as I pray! Pay attention when I groan.  You are my King and my God.  Answer my cry for help because I pray to you.  Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests to you and wait for your reply.” (CEV) Do you get what I get out of these verses?  God understands our groans.  That’s a freeing thing to know. God hears our prayers even if all we can make are noises. He listens and He hears. 

A writer of songs wrote this; “You were worn out from working like slaves, and no-one came to help.  You were in serious trouble, but you prayed to the Lord, and he rescued you.  He brought you out of the deepest darkness and broke your chains.” Psalm 107: 12-14 (CEV).  Scholars often say that if the Bible says something 3 times, you were meant to sit up and listen.  Psalm 107 says “But you prayed to the Lord and he rescued you.”  Not 3 times, but 4!  Are you listening yet?  Verse 6, 13, 19 and 28.  Take a look for yourself.  When we pray, even in moans and groans, or tears, the Lord rescues us.  It’s all there in black and white.  What that rescue looks like and when that happens, well that is up to God.

In a Neta Jackson novel, one of her characters hits the nail on the head for many of us when she says “Stew about it first; pray later, when all else fails”.  I wonder if you are like that? Do you like to worry? It’s something we can control to begin with, then it tends to gets away on us and grows into a monster we can no longer handle!  I’m not making light of worry. It’s a hard thing for us women to work through.  I feel it too. Take a deep breath before you read this next quote because it could be hard to hear; “Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love).  Ouch, but that’s the truth.

Let’s take a look at Philippians 4:6. You can probably quote it by heart. Go on read it aloud (could be interesting if you’re in public. Do it anyway, whoever is near you may need to hear it more than you, or they’ll just think you’re odd), “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  He said, about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.  Which does not mean, (talking to myself here), anything except what’s going on at my child’s school, or everything, except my relationship with my husband.  Anything and everything, pretty much covers it all. There is no clause for me to choose what I worry about, God covers it all.

Isaiah 53:10 reminds us, “”Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (NIV). The Lord, Creator of all, has compassion on you. He promises that His unfailing love will not be shaken.  God says that about you!  Joel 2: 13 says “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”  God loves you, He is compassionate toward you and abounding in love.  Have you ever felt like God is some old mean “Gandalf looking” type, just waiting for you to mess up so He can whack you with his golden sceptre?  No? That must have just been me then?  I say that in past tense, because I am learning that God adores you and me alike and that all He has done to save me is for no other reason than because it pleases Him to do so.  He loves us, He loves you.  You need to believe He is true to His word. 

God wants to hear from you, in good times and in bad.  God is big enough, He is powerful enough and He does love you enough.  You can trust Him on that.  God has given us His Spirit within us to work in and through us.  Romans 8:26 says “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  The Holy Spirit understands our groans and our tears.  When you do not know what to pray, know that the Spirit of God knows our heart and wants to commune with you. When words fail you, read aloud your own favourite psalm or verse, make it your prayer.  Pray it over and over and over until it becomes your very own. You can trust that you will be heard, that you will be held and that His love will abound in and through you. Thank you Jesus.

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