Standing in need
Last week you were invited to join us in a Season of Christian Reboot. This invitation was based on the importance of doing those things that help us to strengthen our faith. This is critical especially in these tumultuous and uncertain times.
As we move forward, we must accept the obvious. Our ability to accurately predict our future is a challenge. Health pandemics, polarization and division, and economic uncertainty plague our nation. These are but a few of the areas that affect our personal lifestyles and habits. The good old days are gone never to return.
Living in this new era of change and challenge, we must do more than “fan the flame” of our spiritual gifts. We must be intentional and strategic in using our spiritual disciplines as we embark on this new way of living. The best place to begin being both intentional and strategic is standing in prayer.
The song writer wrote, “It’s me…it’s me oh Lord standing in the need of prayer…not my mother…father…sister…brother but it’s me standing in the need of prayer.
I love this song. It truly communicates my need for prayer. However, for our prayer life to be strategic and intentional, we need to think of prayer with a broader outlook than our own personal needs. If we as believers are change agents for God, we need to look beyond ourselves in our prayers.
Since the introduction of WordBytes, the teachings receiving the most attention are those that deal with prayer. We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Why? Because our needs are so great.
Are we serious about prayer?
At the beginning of this health pandemic, we launched prayer calls focusing our attention on the epicenters of the disease. We prayed for healthcare workers and those battling the disease on the front line. God answered our prayers, and the numbers began to decline.
People boldly asked the nation to pray that a vaccine would be discovered that would end the ravages of this disease. We have four vaccines today and numerous opportunities to receive this preventative solution.
We have witnessed the extraordinary power of prayer in the situations we face as a nation. Are we still praying? The needs are greater than ever. There are many more battles to be won on our knees. And what are we praying for? Wisdom, grace, patience, deliverance? Who are we praying for? Ourselves, our family, our enemies?
We need the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide our prayers (Rom. 8:26-27). With God’s Spirit as our Helper, we are able to move the agenda of God forward in this world and care for the needs of His people.
God’s Word tells us to pray for EVERYBODY! Why? So that “we may live quiet and peaceable lives” (1 Tim. 2:1-3). Jesus stressed the importance of being in right relationship with all people (Matt. 5:44). Imagine the potential of prayer for our divided nation?
We need prayer for EVERYTHING! Why? Because prayer changes things. (James 5:16) Now is the time to pray not only for our immediate sphere of influence but also for our world.
Imagine the potential of prayer! Do we have the courage to connect to the awesome power of our God? (Ps. 19:1-3)
ABC’s of intentional prayer
How do we begin to pray intentionally? By praying…
According to God’s will.
And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made. (1 John 5:14-15)
Believing in God’s ability.
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matt 21:21-22)
Committing to God’s outcome.
Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will exult in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon the heights. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
When we pray intentionally and strategically, we trust in God’s love, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty. God will answer our prayers in a way that glorifies Him AND is good for us.
A New Song
Perhaps pursuit of our spiritual disciplines—prayer, Bible reading, and worship—have “cooled” because of COVID-19. Has our inability to “gather together” darkened our ability to see God (Heb. 10:24-25)? Has our identity in Christ been clouded by the challenges we face today? Have we forgotten that we are the Church? Wherever we are, God is!
If ever there was a need for intentional and strategic prayer, it is now. Not self-focused, self-promoting prayers (God hears those, too) but prayer that changes hearts, minds, and circumstances.
We need prayer that calls down the power of God expecting Him to respond mightily to our requests (2 Chron. 16:9).