‘God is near to us whenever we call on him‘ (Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT)
Prayer should not be the last refuge for anyone. Many great men and women throughout the Bible prayed often, and Moses was no exception, when interceding for the Israelites, (Exodus 16:4, 33:12-13). In many places it says that people spoke to the Lord, but what is prayer if not speaking? Talking to our Creator God is a privilege, prayer should be the first place we go in any situation, not the last. ‘who [what great nation] has a god as near to them as the LORD our God is‘ (Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT), and He is indeed! Whenever we need Him, turn to Him and call to Him, God always hears us. And when He hears us, what will He do? He honours us for being close to Him, ‘He… … honouring his faithful ones – … who are close to him‘ (Psalm 148:14 NLT). When we are ‘close to Him’ it says, yet even when we were all far from Him, and constantly sinning, ‘He brought this Good News of peace to us [you]… who were far away from him‘ (Ephesians 2:17 NLT); it was when the world was far from God and in a state of sin, that He interceded for us and sent His Son, for, ‘Christ died [to die] for us while we were still sinners‘ (Romans 5:8 NLT). No human who ever lived is or was perfect, only Jesus was, ‘everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard‘ (Romans 3:23 NLT). The Psalmist wrote, ‘I love the LORD, because he hears my voice‘ (Psalm 116:1 NLT). Samuel knew that prayer was central to living a holy life, ‘far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray‘ (1 Samuel 12:23 NIV). So prayer is not only important to living the way that God wants and intended us to live, but it is a sin not to pray.
Solomon prayed for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-9); Hannah prayed for a baby (1 Samuel 1:11). David prayed for Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:10-19), and Hezekiah prayed during a siege (2 Kings 19:15-19) Daniel prayed for his people (Daniel 9:4-19). Jesus prayed often, teaching His disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13) , sometimes even going off by himself (Matthew 26:39).
What do we pray for?
All these people found time to pray, and some of them, even during adversity.
When do we find time to pray, and is it enough time?
Jesus knew the significance of prayer, and staying in communion with His Father, especially when things got tough; He often went off alone to pray, (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23). Because of how Jesus was with prayer, the disciples also realised that prayer was important, and they asked Jesus to ‘teach us to pray‘ (Luke 11:1 NIV). At times, it can seem that God has not heard us when we pray, and what we want or want to know, we generally want and want to know, now. God has a plan for our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11) tell us that, we just have to trust Him to reveal it to us, but do we ask to know it?. Jesus told His disciples that, ‘whatever you ask for in prayer, believe… … and it will be yours‘ (Mark 11:24 NIV). We need to be patient, the answer to our prayer may be ‘not yet‘. We need to remember that ‘The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results‘ (James 5:16 NLT).
Pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT) let him pray, (James 5:13) you are ever in our prayers, (2 Thessalonians 1:11) say prayers for one another (James 5:16), we pray to our God our Father about you (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NLT)
Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven, from earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast; my sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow, are lost forever in sweetest rest.
Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 783 – Hal Beckett (1888-1971)
Father God, we thank you that we can come to you at any time, to speak to you in prayer. Whether we are walking, driving, having a bath, wherever we are, we know that you will always have time for us. Help us to model our behaviour on you, help us to be available to those around us that may want our time. Help us to look for people that we may be able to help, to shine your love on an otherwise dark world, may we be beacons of light for you Lord.
Lord we pray for families everywhere, that they may know your love and peace now and always. Be with them in their times of grief, and their times of joy, shower them with blessings, and help them to see your path for their combined lives, leading them ever closer to you.