Friday, August 23, 2013
Faithful Fridays ~ Why Pray?
It's Friday again! :) This has been a full week--our first week of school! More on that coming in a later post. :)
Faithful Fridays is a weekly linky party hosted on my blog. I made it so that Christians could have one special day out of the week (Friday) to share something from their Christian walk on their blog. If you'd like to participate, write your post, grab the button from the Faithful Fridays page on my blog (so that it will link back here), and come link up at the bottom of this post! :)
Today I'm going to be doing something a little different from what I usually do.
Bible is a subject for us in homeschooling--that's one of the may things I love about it. Couldn't really do that in a public school, now could you? :) This year, our curriculum has given me some great Bible books to start off with. One of them is a 40-day devotional by John Devries called Why Pray?
I'm only five days in, but I already love it. It's hit on some great points. I wanted to share some of what was written for the third and fourth day, because it really made me think.
Everything from this point on in italics is from the devotional book. :)
Prayer is Holding Hands with God
Prayer is not the ultimate program by which we get God to do things out way. It's like the act of a little child climbing into the lap of the Father and putting his hand on the hand of the One who is driving. And it's more. It's something far better--this mysterious relationship that is so much more than a means to get what we want. We were made and redeemed to pray. Prayer is a relationship in which we first of all recognize who God is and how greatly He is to be praised (see Psalm 48:1).
"Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain."
And prayer is the means by which we do that. All of our communication with God is prayer. In prayer we are enfolded into God, and God is enfolded into us. It's like this: when God made us, he made us in His image. This means, among other things, that we "look like" or resemble God in striking ways.
Let's imagine that your left hand represents God and your right hand represents you. The two hands look like each other, but they're not the same, are they? Similarly, while we may look like God in some ways, as His image bearers, we are not the same as God. We were made to bear God's image so that we might "fit into" God. You can picture this by fitting your hands together with your fingers interlocked and your palms open. Only human beings, who were made in God's image, can "fit into" God in a way like this. No animal or other creature can "fit into" God. Something happened, though, in the way we fit into God. In our picture of the hands fitting together, think of the right hand becoming infested with thorny burrs stuck between each finger. The right hand has to be separated from the left hand, of course, because the "fit" is too painful. The right hand symbolizes us, and the burrs symbolize our sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, the pain of sin separated their "fit" with God. As long as sin remained, they could not be joined together with God.
Now, if we are that thorny right hand, there's no way for us to pull out those thorns! A right hand cannot get thorns out of itself. It needs the help of the left hand. So it is with our sin and us. And that's exactly what God has done. In mercy, God freed us from our thorny sin so that we could fit together with Him again. God did this by sending His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to take away our sin and give us new life. Think of the crown of thorns Jesus wore on the cross. Just as that crown was pressed upon His head, so our sins (thorns) were laid upon Him.
Hold your hands in the traditional way of folding hands in prayer. Think of your left hand as God and your right hand as yourself. Every time you pray, you are enfolded into the very heart of God. This intensely close, intimate relationship is the deepest and most profound relationship any human being can have. It is for more intimate than any relationship we can have with another person.
Prayer is a dependent relationship with God in which I am enfolded into Him.
I love that analogy of the thorns--it really brings me back to being thankful for the amazing sacrifice and mercy God's given us.
Prayer is Filling the Gas Tank
Imagine that it's Sunday morning about ten minutes before worship time at your church and that I'm going to be preaching there. You notice me pushing a big old car down the road. It dawns on you that I am the guest preacher, and it's clear that I'm never going to arrive on time. I'm right in front of an open gas station about a five minute drive from the church and I'm passing the station! You slam on your brakes, hop out of the car, and ask me, what's the matter? Why are you pushing your car? I brush some perspiration off my forehead and reply that my car happens to be out of gas. "Why, then, are you pushing it past the gas station?" you ask. "Push it into the station, and fill it up!" "But," I protest, "I don't have time to stop for gas. I have only ten minutes left to get to church. I can't be distracted by anything. I must be on my way!"
My reply is so foolish that it's hard to comprehend. No one in his right mind would be too busy to fill up if he were out of gas. No one would push his car pas ta gas station because he was in a hurry to get somewhere.
Think of this illustration whenever you want a good example of a prayerless Christian. The vast majority of Christians in our society claim they don't have time to pray. But that excuse is as senseless as my saying I don't have time to stop and fill my gas tank. Prayer is the relationship in which we stop, right where we are, and are filled with the Holy Spirit. Without Him we can do nothing. "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unlesss you remain in me" (John 15:4). Just as a branch apart from the life of the vine is fruitless, so we are empty apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer is not a program but a dependent relationship upon God, through which we are empowered and filled by His Holy Spirit.
Prayer is so crucial to our lives and our relationship with our Savior. And it's such an awesome privilege to be able to go before the Maker of everything in all creation and talk to Him like we would our father our friend. Because He is our Father and our Friend! And yet, sometimes, we underestimate prayer, let it fall to the side, and act like it doesn't hold much importance. But it so does--a lot! Prayer is our lifeline to God, it's how we connect and feel His presence oftentimes.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord."
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Prayer is important and prayer is powerful. It's kind of one of our main love languages to God and His to us. Take advantage of this amazing gift God has given us, to be able to talk to Him, day in and day out, wherever we are!
God bless you guys and have a great day. :)