“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7, ESV) Prayer is hard. That writes and reads like the understatement of the century for many Christians. Sometimes it is because we have prayer all wrong. We treat it like a duty on par with taking out the garbage (take all your junk to God and you’ll feel better). But prayer is much more about living and breathing in a real relationship with God. But it remains hard because it is “Other” than our flesh. We are used to living by sight and responding to feelings; but prayer pushes beyond the seen to the unseen, forces us to trust in God who we cannot see and not in our flesh, and like most relationships it is the conversation and time spent together that builds the relationship. Loving anyone is a byproduct of spending time with them. Husbands and wives: invest time in one another and your love will grow. We love and cherish those we spend time with. Time with God in prayer (both listening and speaking) is no different. Our affection for the Father grows as we spend time with Him. Peter reminds us then what is […]
“God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” (Exodus 2:25, NASB95) Hundreds of thousands of the descendants of Abraham were suffering. They were enslaved. There was no escape. Only God could help. So they cried out to God (v23) and God saw their situation and God heard their cries. Do not underestimate the power of Crying out to God. Moses couldn’t save one Israelite, let alone all of them. But the enslaved and powerless called out to the one who could save them, and he heard them. From those desperate prayers flowed the Exodus. The Exodus stands as the single most powerful moment of God’s deliverance before the cross. In the Cross God delivered people enslaved to sin. In the Exodus God delivered a people enslaved to Egypt. And now we await the day when God will again extend his mighty outstretched hand to perform wonders to finally deliver all of his people (Revelation). But right here, right now, we need to know that God hears our cries, and God sees our humility. Are you ready?
Prayer without repentance will get you nowhere. “The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29, NASB95) God is under no personal compulsion to heed the prayers of the unrepentant. A wicked man will find that God is far from him. But what exactly does it mean that the Lord is far from them? The opposing truth reveals the other. God does not listen to the prayers of sinners. What hope is there then? The Lord always hears the prayer of the repentant. We have the thief on the cross. We also have the tax collector who wouldn’t even lift his eyes but only cried out Lord have mercy on me. That one, Jesus tells us, went home justified. We have the perfect example of this in Essau. He sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. And afterward when he wanted the blessing, he was rejected because he only wanted the blessing without repentance (Hebrews 12:17). As we pray for renewal, as we pray for what is next, we must take the time to pray repentance first. Today let the prayer of Psalm 139 fill your heart and pour from your mouth as you cry out to God: “Search me, O […]