I’ve done a lot of writing about prayer on this blog. There is a reason…
God commands us to pray.
The Bible is filled with of examples of prayer.
Prayer is communication with God, our Creator and Father.
How much do you trust someone that you rarely talk to?
Parents—how awesome do you feel when your kids confide their fears to you? It gives you an opportunity to comfort, reassure and guide your children. It strengthens the bond between you. Our Heavenly Father (God) wants the same opportunity, but how often do we pour out our anxiety and worry before Him?
For those who are not parents—I’m sure you have friends. Isn’t it a blessing to have friends to lean on? Friends give you a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, and a warm hug. We aren’t going to make ourselves vulnerable to our friends if we don’t trust them. We aren’t going to trust them if we never communicate with them. Do you trust God and confide in Him as you would a friend?
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
Do not be anxious about anything.
Don’t simply go through a list of requests to God. Communicate your fears to Him.
One thing people in the Old Testament did in some of their prayers was to remind God of His promises. This scripture says, don’t be anxious, but pray and give thanks and the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind. That’s a promise! If I stop dwelling on my worries and fears and hand them over to God, He will give me peace. If you are not feeling peace, reverently remind God of this promise from His word… oh yeah, and don’t forget to read the word too…
One of my favorite examples of prayer is the account of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 37. In the previous chapter, the King of Assyria (Sennacherib) had invaded Judah and was headed for Jerusalem. Sennacherib sent a message telling the people in Hezekiah that they have nothing in which to place their trust.
Here are some excerpts of Sennacherib’s message:
Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying, “The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”
Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”
~Isaiah 36:14-15, 18, 20 ESV
His servants bring him the message and he is overcome. Notice what he does in chapter 37. He sends a message to Isaiah the prophet:
“Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’”
Isaiah 37:3-4 ESV
He asks a righteous person to pray for Him and for Judah.
Then, he gets a letter from the Rabshakeh, reiterating what his messengers had already told him. Hezekiah takes the letter, reads it and then goes to the house of the Lord.
Where do we go in our distress, fear, anxiety or doubt? Do we go to the Lord? Do we go to other believers or do we simple seek out the “experts.” Do we hide or do we seek help?
Hezekiah went to the house of the Lord.
When he gets there, he spreads the letter out before the Lord and prays:
“Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.
Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God. “
I love this part. He spreads the letter before the Lord. God already knows what it says. God doesn’t really need to see it. Nevertheless, Hezekiah lays it before God. He shows God reverence in his prayer. He reminds God that the Assyrians have degraded the Lord. He acknowledges that deliverance will not come from his own might, but from God’s mighty hand.
Spread out your fears and doubts before the Lord. He knows the troubles you are facing, but tell Him anyway. As you tell Him your fears, show him reverence, remind Him of His promises and acknowledge that He is a God of power.
The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
To build trust: Read. Pray. Renew. Praise. Repeat.
Lord willing, we will talk about “Renew” in our next post.
Remember to pray, dear friends.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5.6-7)