Christmas is very near. 2020 is nearly gone. These are good thoughts, are they not? Christmas can be a resurgence of faith and hope for all who would embrace the Christ Child. That might be a life changer for you. On the other hand, 2020 and all its ills may spill over into 2021. That would not be good, and it might be a life changer for all.
It is my prayer that something in my thoughts to share with you may build your faith and hope into a power that will allow your soul to be fortified in a place that will be untouchable by any form of evil happenings.
Pandemic and politics have moved many into a deep, dark, and fearful sense of helplessness. That is a difficult place from which to function. However, to recognize one’s own helplessness is the beginning point of finding and/or using faith to guide us through the puzzles of life.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Beloved, the feeling of our own powerlessness is the heart and fuel of our desire for God’s rescuing love. Prayer of all forms is drawn from an intense need beyond our abilities. God, Himself, is our Creator/Provider/Sustainer.
When one feels for the first time, or in a returning, that God is of utmost importance, that one begins to hunger. As so, in hunger for all things God, it is only natural that we would move toward taking in and digesting the Word of God, the Bible.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Let your conversation speak from your knowledge of God’s Word; fill up on the Word then speak forth.
After soaking in His Word routinely, make Prayer the second most important thing you do to fuel your faith and life. But, don’t just pray rote prayers, learn the joy of incorporating all forms of prayer. Praise to God by His children brings Him the most joy, but it may be the weakest prayer link in the Western Christian. Make yourself practice the art of praise.
The psalmist said, “because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” (Psalm 63:3). To praise God is to acknowledge Him for Who He is. It is to exalt God with our words. Praise should be the entry-point for all prayer. Praise is the highest form of prayer, and carries a power in the heavenlies (see Psalm 149:6). Jesus taught us in the LORD’s Prayer to begin with praise: “Hallowed be Thy name.” (Matt. 6:9) “Hallowed” in the Greek= “Hagiadzo” means “to revere or sanctify or set aside” We verbally confess what we believe about God!
Our frequent times of prayer must be flavored toward Him with humble repentant Confession. This is a time to examine ourselves under the examination of the Holy Spirit. Confession means to agree with God. The Psalmist simply said: “I acknowledge my sin . . . I will confess” (Psalm 32:5). Psalm 51 is a good example and outline for one’s confession. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Confession is our part in the cleansing process; Christ’s part was the Cross!
After the child of God engages victoriously in Praise and Confession, he is not only clean before God, but also expectantly entering a time of Intercession. Intercession is made up of two Latin words – “Inter” meaning “between” and “Cedere” meaning “to go”, together they mean “to go between”. It is an act of mediation, or intervention. You engage in spiritual warfare on behalf of someone else! This is the time to set aside, for the moment, all of your personal situations, which may distract, and pray for someone else. Paul said in Romans 15:30-31, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea.”
After one has arbitrated the physical and spiritual needs of others, both persons and nations, he settles into a time of Petitioning. This is your time! Petition focuses on your needs. You might be verbalizing your desires to the LORD. Jesus emphasized petition when He said to His disciples: “What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them. And ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24). Also, “Give us this day our daily bread” is a part of this time.
Resulting in all the joyful and expectant communion with your LORD thus far in your prayer time, it would be only natural to express Thanksgiving. This is a time to show appreciation to God for His blessings, and His activities in our lives! The Psalmist said, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4). Paul said in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Please do yourself a huge and deep favor by pausing at some point in your praying to be still . . . Listening. Beloved, hearing from God is the beginning point of effective praying! We cannot call our prayer time “communication” if we do not allow God to speak to us. This is the time God shares His heart with us, to express His love for us, to share direction, wisdom, instruction and answers to some of what we may have been asking about. “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10). “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). But you must listen! Develop spiritual ears! Have the Scriptures open! “Watch and pray” and listen!
Dear believer, Praise is also the appropriate closure to our season of prayer. Jesus taught us to begin and end our prayer with praise in the LORD’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9 and 13). You have been in the presence of the LORD during your prayer time. He has heard your prayers. As you prayed submitted to the Spirit’s guidance, the Father has begun to act. He has imparted wisdom, correction, and forgiveness of your confessed sin. So . . . Rejoice in Praise!
To encourage yourself in your own prayer journey, discover and learn of the many ways God has answered prayer – revivals, testimonies of salvation, receiving healings, and much more. In your fellowshipping with other believers and churches, share how God has responded to your much praying. The days are evil and much deception and fear is all around our lives; we must share good news and hope to one another.
Above all, be instantly obedient to God in all of life. Develop strong trust the God will meet all your needs, and rest in His understanding of what your needs truly are (Do a deep study of John 15:1-8). Abiding in Christ is the key to all I have said here.
I close repeating an aspect of prayer already spoken of: Praise!
Make a holy habit of praising God! It is desired of Him! It pleases Him! It is a faith builder! It is a weapon against the powers of evil! “Praise ye the LORD!” MERRY CHRISTMAS! Pray On!