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Dear God… …Amen!

“Dear God” Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Have you ever been abroad on holiday with friends, and gone to a country where no-one in the group knows how to speak the local language? The only proper conversations that you will likely have during your stay will probably be with them, unless you meet others who speak your language.

I like to go to different places and explore the surrounding countryside, but I also like to learn some of the local language, even if it is only to say hello, please, and thank-you and good-bye.

Have you ever really tried to have a proper in-depth conversation with someone that speaks a different language?

I have; I remember once speaking to an Aunt who lived abroad, and was over in England visiting another of my relatives. I was having a conversation with her, using bits of English, French, sign-language, and even a little German. I soon became aware of the fact that she could not understand me properly, so I started to speak louder to her. My other Aunt, who was also present, then said to me;

she does not understand you, shouting at her will not help, as she will still not understand you, she speaks Spanish, she is not stupid”.

I thought that this statement was a little harsh until I started to watch other people also try to have conversations in the same way that I had.

But, whatever situation we find ourselves in, there is always someone that we can talk to, no matter where we find ourselves, and whatever language we speak. We do not need to go to their house, we do not need an internet connection, there will be no ‘face-time’, video call or text; the person that we can always talk to is God!

Wherever we are, we have absolute, direct access, ‘back-stage-pass’ if you like, to the creator of the universe. So we can talk to him anytime that we want to, we do not need an appointment, we do not need to schedule some ‘together-time’ we just need to call out to him, as David did;

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry’ (Psalm 40:1 NIV).

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer’ (Psalm 61:1 NIV).

But does God really care for us, or have surplus time for us?

Of course God cares for us; he even created us to like him;

So God created man in his own image… … male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27 ESV).

The Psalmist David also asked questions about God and his people;

what is mankind that you are mindful of them… that you care for them’ (Psalm 8:4 NIV).

God created you and me, on purpose, and for a purpose! We were planned and created.

We know that whatever we have done, wherever we are, God is also there with us;

Never will I leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

Jesus also told the disciples the same thing;

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

And even if everyone else in your family or circle of friends leaves you, you will never be truly alone;

the LORD will receive you [me]’ (Psalm 27:10 NIV – emphasis mine).

So we know that the creator of the universe, the creator of you and me is always with us, then having a conversation whenever we want, is not a problem. Is it?

So how do we really talk to God?

Do we need to get on our knees? No but it may help you feel humble about meeting God in prayer!

Do I have to close my eyes? No but it may help you concentrate on God.

What do I do then?

Well we go somewhere we are comfortable, and then we talk to God using normal language, we speak simply; we do not have to use a foreign language or archaic words, we do not have to use mantras or even speak with specific intonation;

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’ (Idylls of the King – Tennyson).

So why do we pray, and what is prayer?

The word ‘pray’ has is derived from the Latin language, and the root of the word is, precari, which means to ask in earnest, or to beg or to entreat, (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pray – accessed 15/06/19).

We pray because life is precarious’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p8).

Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and even to ask for their daily bread (Matthew 6:11), he also taught them that whatever the asked for would be done for them;

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (Matthew 21:22 NIV).

That does not mean that we should all go to pray about what we want materialistically, we do not need Ferrari’s or luxury yachts; they may be nice, but they would also help us to lose our focus, and we should focus on God, we should not conform to the world (Romans 12:2), but be apart from it, live in such a way that we live in the world, but live as Jesus wants us to.

Prayer is a powerful tool, and George Müller knew this more than most people; on one occasion, he stood up and said grace in front of 300 hungry orphans, with absolutely no food to give them; he thanked God for the food that he was ‘going to give them’. Upon finishing saying grace, a few minutes later, a baker came in giving them bread that he had baked the previous night, and he was followed by a milkman offering them milk (How to pray – Pete Greig – p75 – alsohttps://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html – accessed 15/06/19).

Talking to God in prayer should be like talking to a friend, chatting simply; but prayers are not always words;

Sometimes I imagine my prayers… … they’re not always audible’ (Anon – Sicangu Oyate tribal member – How to pray – Pete Greig – p20).

the Spirit helps us in our weakness… … the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings’ (Romans 8:26 ESV).

That does not mean that when we cannot bother with prayer that we should just sit there and groan. When we least fell like praying, that is when we should pray our hardest.

Cause you are strong when I’m weak, so I’m still standing, still standing on my knees’ (Standing on my knees – Sarah Kelly).

Basically, prayer is talking, about what you have done, what scares you, what angers you, what you need help with, asking for specific things such as people you know to encounter God maybe for the first time. We should also find time to thank God for the good things in our lives such as family and health, and also find time to praise him and worship him.

pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV).

We need to pray all the time, in the morning with thanks for waking up, during the day with expectation on chances to share the gospel, and in the evening with a thankful heart at the end of the day, and asking for more time to share Jesus with people tomorrow.

P.R.A.Y. – Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield. I’m not a big fan of acronyms… … but this particular one works’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p3).

I remember speaking to a worker on a site in Derby about prayer, and he asked what he should say. My reply was simple, and I said, talk to God, in the exact same way that you are talking to me, he is your heavenly Father and just wants you to talk to him.

Prayer should be like talking to a best friend, it should be easy and uncomplicated;

You just say, “Dear God”, chat to him for a bit, and then say Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Prayer can really be that simple.

Pray to the One

The splendour of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
he Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How Great Is Our God

Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves

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Father we thank you for always being with us, we thank you that we can talk to you in prayer any time that we want, we thank you that you are on-call 24-7. Lord, help us to want to talk to you more, help us to be ready to talk to you more. Lord, help us to be better people that reflect you to the world.

Amen

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Christian

Chat, Talk, Pray!

This, then, is how you should pray‘ (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

Prayer. The last refuge of a scoundrel‘ (Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons, season 2 episode 1 [11/10/90 USA]). Lisa says this to her brother Bart, after he has prayed for bad weather, to give him more time to study for a school test.

God answered his prayer.

Jesus thought that prayer was so important, that he taught us how to accomplish the task (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). ‘don’t babble on and on‘ (Matthew 6:7 NLT) well that is to the point. He also said that we should pray in secret, ‘pray to your Father in private‘ (Matthew 6:6 NLT). ‘When you pray, say… …‘ (Luke 11:2 NIV).

We need to look to God and Jesus, and trust them in all aspects of our life.

When we decide to do that, then we enter into a relationship with our awesome Father, Creator of the entire universe, our Redeemer, and Friend.

And how do we do these things?

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty‘ (Zechariah 4:6 NIV).

We pray, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray.

you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you‘ (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV).

God tells us that we talk to Him, when we pray, He will listen to us.

Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends said, ‘You will pray to him, and he will hear you‘ (Job 22:23 NLT). ‘if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him‘ (John 9:31 ESV)

Jesus took that a step further, not only will He listen to us, ‘my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 16:23 NIV). ‘we know that he hears us in whatever we ask‘ (1 John 5:15 ESV). ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer‘ (1 Peter 3:12 ESV).

‘But I don’t have time to pray’. ‘I have a really busy work life’. ‘The children need constant attention’. ‘I’m too tired’. These and many, many more, are not reasons not to pray. We make excuses for most things that we find difficult, or hard to plan into our daily lives.

You can pray whilst driving the car, or walking into town or around work, or even while cooking the dinner or making the bed, and why not get the children to join in, they are the next generation of the Church.

And when we feel that we cannot pray, ‘the Holy Spirit helps us… … the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words‘ (Romans 8:26 NLT).

But how often should we pray?

We should pray often. We are in a relationship, and when we are in relationships, we talk to the other person most days if not multiple times in a day.

pray continually‘ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV); ‘Night and day we pray earnestly‘ (1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT). That may seem a lot, but how often do you speak to your loved one? ‘Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day’ (Joyce Meyer).

Who should pray, some of us or all of us?

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you [God] while you may be found‘ (Psalm 32:6 NIV). It is not only mothers or fathers or children that need to pray, everyone needs prayer. ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no-where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day‘ (Abraham Lincoln). ‘The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish’ (Adrian Rogers).

We live in a troubled world, a world of the flesh, sinful desire, and temptation. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Pray, that you will not fall into temptation‘ (Luke 22:40 NIV).

Wise words, that are just as true today!

God has a plan for all of our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11).

He wants a relationship with us. Any relationship that is going to survive, requires people to talk. We can talk to God at any time, through prayer.

For this we can take a leaf out of the disciples’ lives (read Acts 2:42-47). ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… … And the Lord added to their number daily‘ (Acts 2:42 & 47 NIV).

Because of prayer and living the way God wanted them to, their number increased daily.

That is a challenge for all of us!

Remember the word of Oswald Chambers;

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work

Faith

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.
Hal Beckett (1888 – 1971)

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Father God, we thank you that we can come to you any time that we want. We do not have to wait for Sunday, or any special day, we can talk to you whenever we want to. Help us to talk to you more. We love you Lord, and we want to lift our voice in prayer more to you. To praise you for what you do in our lives. To praise you for what you do for the world. You created the world for us, and you created us in your image, help us to be more thankful for that.
Lord we look at the world you created for us. How it has changed with killings, bombings and other hateful crimes. Help us to be salt and light in the dark world. Lord may we be the point at which people can meet with you and have life changing moments.

Amen