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If My People...
by Susan Gurney
5/03/2013 / Christian Living
Since God knows everything--even our thoughts before we think them--why is it necessary for us to pray? Are we to pray to convince a reluctant god? No! Are we to pray because that is one of the "hoops" God has us jump through to prove our obedience to Him? No! Are we to pray so that the constant repetition of our words will act as an incantation to "make" God act? No! No! No! In spite of the obvious fallacies in thought I have listed, how many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking--or at least, acting--like these are valid reasons for prayer?
Yes, we are to pray in obedience to God--and, yes, we are to be persistent with our prayers. However, in Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus warns us against praying showy public prayers full of "many words" to prove our piety. We prove only that we are hypocrites when we pray like that. God wants our prayers to be a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to Him, a demonstration of our faith in Him, and finally an act of humbleness showing that we recognize that He is in charge. Too often in our day-to-day lives we forget God and "do our own thing". Too often we try to solve our own problems in our own strength. When we do this, are we lifting ourselves above God? Are we telling God we don't need Him...except in dire emergencies? I believe that through our prayers God wants us to acknowledge our constant need for Him, as well as to offer up our constant gratitude for His provision and mercy.
Even Jesus saw the need to pray long with His Father God. In word and deed He showed us how we are to pray. We are to set quiet time aside to meet with God, both one on One, and in small groups. We are to pray like we are talking to our closest friend, using ordinary speech. Jesus, our Friend, promises us that our prayers will be answered--if they are offered with the tiniest amount of faith; if they are offered in line with God's will; and if they are offered in the precious name of Jesus.
If we are to see great things happen in our churches, communities and the world, we all need to take to heart God's plea in II Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and PRAY...then will I hear..."
What does God's Word, the Bible, say about this?
II Chronicles 7:14 "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." NIV
Matthew 18:19-20 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." NIV
Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." NIV
John 14:13-14 "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
Now read the following Bible passages in your favorite version of the Bible:
II Chronicles 7:14
Matthew 6:5-13; 7:7-11 and 18:19-20
Mark 1:35 and 11:22-25
John 14:13-14 and 16:23-24
Susan Gurney writes devotionals, poetry, short stories, memoirs, and nonfiction on family history, faith and nature. She has experience writing/editing church and family newsletters. Find Susan at http://ssimonsgurney.christianblogsites.com/blog/ Copyright 2013 Susan Simons Gurney
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