How Should We Pray To God

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There is a colleague of mine who reminds us weekly to send in current prayer requests and praise reports to her.  She then sends out the compiled list of our prayer/praise items to a large number of people who pray for all of us and the ministry work we do in Papua New Guinea.  Recently, she included in her reminder the following thoughts that someone else had shared with her.  I thought these were excellent thoughts worth passing on.  I will pick up on some of my thoughts after you read the six points below.

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“How Should We Pray To God”

1. I was reminded of James 5:17-18 which talks of Elijah praying and God causing a drought for 3 1/2 years and then he prayed for rain and it rained.  And we are reminded that he was a man like we are.  (Therefore pray! God is powerful.)

2.I was also reminded of James 4:1-3 where people don’t ask, so they don’t get, and then they ask but don’t get because they have the wrong motives.  They want it for their own pleasures and desires. (Ask with right motives.)

3. If we beg God, He might just give us what we ask for, but we might regret it later. Or at least others might. 2Kings 20:1-21:1 and 2Chron. 32:24-33:2 Hezekiah was told that he was going to die, but he prayed and wept and God healed him. God added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life. Unfortunately, Hezekiah responded in pride. God was angry with him and he repented. But he messed up when the Babylonians came and he showed them all the treasures he had and the temple. When he died, Manasseh became king at the age of 12.  He was Judah’s most wicked king reigning 55 years.  He would never have been born had God not healed Hezekiah. (Make sure what you are asking for is what God wants, because you might otherwise get something you really don’t want.)

4. I thought of Paul in 2 Cor.12:7-10. He said God had given him great revelation, but then to keep him humble he was given a thorn in the flesh.  He asked God three times to remove it, but God said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (God sometimes doesn’t give us what we ask for because He wants us to rely on Him and find our sufficiency in Him.)

5. The disciples asked Jesus how to pray and He said in Matt 6:9-13 the Lord’s Prayer which reminds us to ask for our “daily bread”. (Ask God for what we really need for the moment.)

6. Finally, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Jesus felt needs and asked if there was any way to avoid what he was about to experience. But He surrendered to God’s will and asked for the Father’s will to be done.)

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I was very impressed with what this person had to share.  So often I have read articles about prayer and there is much said about when and how often to pray, the body positions that can help us to pray and the kinds of prayers we can say.  But so much of this, while still helpful, seems to be focused in on the structure and physical elements involved in prayer.

But in these points listed above, I see so much clearer the reminder that we must have the right attitude when we come to God in prayer.  It is so important for us to remember just who we are and who God is as we approach Him.  Without denying the great importance that God places on each of us as individuals, I think it is still good for us to remember how very small and finite we are in this universe, and just how big and awesomely powerful our God is compared to us.

    

As I look into my current life situation, I am actually very grateful for being able to live with the muscular disease that I have. Of course it doesn’t feel very great many days as I battle fatigue and pain.  But my condition has brought me into a closer relationship with God than I ever had before.  It was in my days of sufficiency that I roared ahead in life and often forgot to include God in my daily affairs.  Now in my insufficiency, I seek out my God throughout each day, and I find He is not only there, but He meets me at my points of need so much more than I had even dreamed of.

And that is the point, I think, often when God “allows” difficulties and obstacles to come into our lives.  I believe that God wants us to slow down in our lives and humbly come to Him as our Maker, our Provider and our Sustainer.  That’s hard to do when we think so highly of ourselves and we seem to have no need for God in our lives.  And so God reminds us, sometimes gently, and sometimes not so gently, that we still need Him, and He needs us to come to Him.

My prayer for you my friend is that you too know this powerful God who loves to show His love and His mercy to us who are His created handiwork.  Let us come to God with a humble heart, and yet also come with expectant hearts that He will do great and mighty things in our lives.  Let us not presume too much, but also let us not assume that going to meet with God in prayer is optional for our lives.  Above all, let us let Him have His way in our lives.  You might be amazed at the wonderful blessings that lie in store for you as you remain obedient to Him.  May God bless you richly in Christ Jesus.

* If this article has been helpful to you and a blessing, please invite your friends to come visit this devotional blog site.

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God’s Way In God’s Time

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God Will Provide For You

This article continues our study on the book, “Walking With God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel“.  We will look at part of chapter 6 entitled “Trust God to Meet Your Needs” right now, and then we will finish the chapter in two weeks from now.  For those who have been asking about how to get a copy of this book, please read my article “Good Christian Resources” and it will lead you to a site to help you.

To appreciate what Mark Atteberry says in his #6 Strategy, trusting God to meet our needs, we must remember two things.  First of all, Atteberry is talking in his book to people who are experiencing very difficult trials in life.  They have found themselves walking on a hard-road journey.  It is at this point that some people find it most difficult to trust God, believing that He has abandoned them and will not help.

Secondly, Atteberry has chosen the history of the children of Israel and their 40 year period of wilderness wanderings as the key biblical backdrop to unearth many spiritual principles for people to learn how to go though difficult periods in their lives.  I hope that we will never rebel like they did and so end up under the disciplining hand of God, but at the same time, learning from their experiences will be helpful to us when we do experience tough times.  That being said, let’s see what we learn from chapter six, and from the Bible.

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Exodus 16:14 – 18 says:

When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.  When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.  This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

Atteberry suggests three main truths that we learn about how God takes care of His people. First of all with regards to the daily provision of this manna, the “bread from Heaven”, he says, “The manna was never too early and never too late.”  When we look ahead into verse 21, it says that the manna came with the dew every morning, but then melted away with the rising of the sun.  God knew that the people would be hungry every day, and He made sure that the provision of food was there exactly when the people needed it.

This may be one of the hardest lessons for believers to truly learn.  Namely, that we cannot rush God to provide something for us before we actually need it.  And also that we should not worry about the idea that we will not have what we need when the time arrives, like an unexpected bill for something.  No, God always seems to come through in the eleventh hour.  And that is because He waits until the right time, never early, but never late.

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The second principle that Atteberry points out to us in this passage is “the manna was never too much and never too little“.  Each person was able to gather sufficient manna to feed his or her family.  Their plates were full, and since the remaining manna melted away with the sun, there was never any need or worry about what to do with the leftovers or where to store it.

This has been so true for me and my wife.  We have been married for 27 years now, and if you were to look at our savings and the little we have for retirement, you might ask, “What happened?”  But the truth of the matter is that God always gave us what we needed, and often that was all.  I can remember many times that we would get a bill for something, and we would wonder how we would pay for it.  And then just as we had to pay it, a surprise donation or an extra salary bonus came and would be just enough to pay the bill.  (Thank you Lord.)

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And then the last principle that Atteberry brings out from this passage is this, “The manna was never too hard and never too easy.” As our loving Father, God is always aware of the difficulties we face, and He will provide what we need to overcome the challenges of our situation.  But also because He loves us, He will not just give us a quick handout.  He does want us to do our part in pleasing Him, and doing His will, and in turn, not because of our efforts, but because He loves us, He will then provide us His blessings and His provisions.

Atteberry puts it this way on page 76:

He knows that when we work together with Him, we grow into a deeper relationship with Him.  And that, ultimately is what He wants.  Yes, your physical welfare is a concern to Him, but your spiritual welfare is an even higher priority.  In other words, yes, He wants to keep you going.  But even more, He wants to keep you growing.  He desperately wants to bond with you and develop a relationship that will last far beyond the end of your hard road.

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