Seven Things I Learned About Prayer in 2017 (Part 7 of 7)

#7 God Invented Prayer Because He Loves Us

What would it be like if we didn’t have an open line to God?

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Where would we go with the concerns of our heart?

I can’t imagine a life without prayer or a morning without being able to chat with my heavenly Father. For those of us who look forward to our one-on-one time with God each morning, the thought of not having it is unsettling.

God heart

But as I ponder this “what if,” I realize God allows us to have a prayer relationship with Him because of his great love for us. He opens a divine channel of communication because he longs to hear from us and desires to reveal His truth to us.

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God  wants to be our confidante.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

busier than God intended you to be

The Lord of Lords and Prince of Peace is always close by but if we want Him to draw near to us, we have to draw near to Him. (James 4:8).

Sometimes I believe we take this gift of prayer for granted. Occasionally, it’s important to take a step back and view this gift from a different perspective.

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The Creator of the Universe is in our contacts. All we have to do is take the time to call on His name and enter His presence. Think of some of the most well-known people in the world that you see in the news. It’s like having the Queen of England or an actor like Hugh Jackman in your favorites, but to the nth degree.

And because of God’s love for you and me, through his Son, Jesus, he has an open door policy.

He’s never too tired.

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He’s never too busy.

He’s not preoccupied with someone or something else.

When we call on Him, he drops everything to talk with us. Now that’s a love that surpasses all others.

I don’t know what I’d do without my daily interaction with my Abba Father. What about you? And if you haven’t embraced God’s love through a prayer relationship with Him, what is stopping you?

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

Seven Things I Learned About Prayer in 2017 (Part 6)

 #6 Prayers are Rarely Answered Like We Imagine

Sue and Jim

Our family is praising God today for my brother-in-law’s successful lung transplant. After struggling with a disease called “Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis,” which is a hardening of the lung tissue, Jim needed a new lung to extend his life. He received the call Christmas Eve, an answered prayer and the best Christmas present ever.

Lung

I had been specifically praying for Jim to receive a new lung quickly, but what moved him up on the transplant list was not what I would have chosen for him. A medical emergency related to his illness placed him in a Florida hospital. Because of this roadblock, he missed an appointment for a transplant evaluation in Raleigh, North Carolina. He only had one option left and it was in Indianapolis, Indiana. But could he get there?

Airplane Landing

At first, because of the severity of his situation, it appeared that Jim would have to be air transported to Indianapolis, but he did so well at the hospital, that he was released. He, my sister-in-law and my husband then made the long driving trek from Florida to Indiana, where Jim was evaluated for the transplant. He passed all his tests and fluctuated between #1 and #4 in line for a new lung. Either way, the situation was dire and he was getting a lung, as I prayed, quickly.

When I lifted this scenario up to the Lord, this was not the way I imagined it would go, but it is how God answered my prayer. Isaiah 55:8–9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

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When we pray, it’s good to pray specifically, but probably best not to give God a step-by-step detail of how we think the situation should be handled. That’s just wasted energy. Instead, pray and trust God with how he will answer the prayer. What I’ve found is that he is far more creative and will answer prayers in ways we never dreamed. Sometimes, the answer to our prayer is “no” but if things look bleak like they did with my brother-in-law, hold on, God may be up to something. He may be using the detour to get to the end result you prayed for. The key is to trust that your heavenly Father hears you. He has a plan formulated and he desires to help.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11–13)

As a footnote to this blog, would you pray for my brother-in-law, Jim? For his body to accept the new lung, for complete recovery and increased quality of life. Thank you for your prayers. They are powerful! LBW

 

 

Seven Things I Learned About Prayer in 2017 (Part 5)

#5 God is Calling Us All to Pray

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Have you ever received a word you thought was just for you, only to find out many other people got the same divine download?

That’s the way it was with my call to pray this year. While I received a holy summons to amp up my prayer life, I have heard at least two of my church pastors echo that “God is calling us to pray.” This call appears to be a move of the Spirit.

Jesus return

Having had two vivid dreams over my lifetime about Jesus’ return, I believe strongly we are in the last days before He comes back. Because of that, we know domestic and worldwide conflict, as well as natural disasters in this world are going to increase. Persecution will intensify. We have seen the morality of people erode. We must pray to stand firm because we are not infallible.

However, before we pack our bags… In my last dream, I appeared to be much older and residing in what appeared to be a nursing home. When the Lord returned, it was just as the Bible foretold. The trumpet (more like a shofar) sounded, my clothes transformed to white and I passed right through the brick wall of a building to greet Jesus in the air. Then I woke up. The last time I had a dream like this, I was sixteen, and it was similar.

What does this mean?

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We don’t know the day or the hour, but Jesus is coming soon. He wants us to pray like never before because something big is about to happen. He’s saying to all of us: “Wake up!”

Do you remember in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was about to be hauled off to the cross? He asked his disciples to pray, but later found them snoozing. He said, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40–41). Jesus knew something big was about to happen. It would not be easy, and he needed his best buddies to pray like never before.

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And I believe that is the same message today. Something big is about to happen, but it will be paralleled by trouble. Our spirits are willing, but the flesh is weak. Prayer is our holy vitamin.

The brother of Jesus, James, wraps up his exhortation to believers with his take on the power of prayer:

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you ay be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:13–16).

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We need to get back to proactive, not reactive prayer. Time is short. How will you spend these last days?

(For additional information on this subject, read Matthew 24.)

Seven Things I Learned about Prayer in 2017 (Part 4)

 #4 “It’s Okay to Be a High Maintenance Pray-er”

Airplane Landing

“Please let me get on the plane.”

“I have to go home to Montreal today.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.

“Why won’t you let me on the plane?”

“Pleeeeze”

The woman at the New York La Guardia American Airlines gate was desperate and she was not giving up.

Apparently, because she didn’t scan her Passport correctly, the traveler was being denied access to her flight. The dialogue went on for at least twenty minutes and it seemed everyone in the gate area was aware of her plight. Looks from concerned passengers were exchanged. I had trouble working as the pleading went on and on.

I prayed, “Lord, she seems like a nice lady. Will you soften the gate attendants’ hearts and allow her on the plane?”

I tried to go back to work, then realized I didn’t hear the woman’s loud pleas anymore. I asked the people around me, “Did they let her board?”

“Yes,” they nodded in unison, with a look of relief on their faces.

“Thank heavens.” I realized my prayer was answered right after I lifted it up.

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As I reflected on this scene, the woman who would not give up for what she wanted reminded me of the biblical parable of the unjust judge. In that parable, a widow repeatedly asked an unrighteous judge for justice against her adversary. After the widow’s numerous appearances the judge thought, “Even if I do not fear God or respect people, yet because this widow is causing trouble for me, I will grant her justice, so that she does not wear me down in the end by her coming back!” (Luke 18:5).

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The parable teaches if an unjust judge will grant a request, how much more will our just judge, God, do for us when we pray the same prayer day after day?

In other words, It’s okay to repeat prayer requests.

In fact, sometimes it takes turning into a praying nuisance before our heavenly Father acts. He doesn’t want us to throw in the prayer towel. He wants us to make repeated requests, as long as our pleas line up with His Word.

Maybe you’ve experienced it.

  • The daily prayer for an unsaved loved one that wasn’t answered for five, ten or fifteen years.
  • The prayer for healing; but the illness lingered.
  • The request for a financial blessing. It eventually came, but there were lessons to be learned along the way.

How long have you been praying for someone else or yourself?

Are you tired of punching the clock in the prayer room?

Don’t stop!

God may be using this situation to teach you how to draw near to Him.

Repeatedly.

This scenario may be facilitating a regular cycle of prayer that you never delved into before.

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Life off keel forces us to kneel.

So go ahead. Be high maintenance in God’s presence. You have a free ticket to whine to the Lord with no expiration date. He’s listening, and if he doesn’t answer right away, ask again.

And will not God surely see to it that justice is done to his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, and will he delay toward them? I tell you that he will see to it that justice is done for them soon!” (Luke 18:7)

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Seven Things I Learned About Prayer in 2017 (Part 3)

# 3 God Desires for Us to Pour Out Our Hearts to Him

airplane real

I was in route to Toronto, Canada on Wednesday to meet my husband for his company Christmas party. However, I had to connect to another flight at New York City’s La Guardia International Airport. As we made our descent, I peered out the window to see the familiar Manhattan skyline.

I Love NY

I have fond memories of working in New York City in the 90’s and have a very close friend, Deb, who recently moved to the upper west side of the city. I enjoyed watching a video of her apartment on Facebook and longed to see her and her new place in person. Even though I am coming back to New York City in March for a speaking engagement, I prayed as we landed, “Lord, would you provide more opportunities to come to this city that I love so much?”

With wheels on the ground, I turned on my phone and it lit up with text messages from American Airlines. “Your flight from LGA was cancelled. We’re working to rebook you and will send an update soon.” As it turned out, there was no other flight to Toronto that night. I was stuck in Manhattan.

Aw shucks.

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I remembered my prayer and realized God didn’t waste any time answering it. I texted my friend Deb. “How would you like company tonight?” She was delighted to have a houseguest and we had a wonderful evening catching up. I loved seeing her new place and the following morning God even painted the landscape of the city with snow. He is good like that.

God heart

When we surrender our lives to God, he hears our prayers. Like a loving Father, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Psalm 34:17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them. He delivers them from all their troubles.” Earlier in Psalm 37 it says if we delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

What are your deepest desires? Do they line up with God’s word? Perhaps it is a desire that God has planted in your heart. He just wants you to communicate that desire to him through prayer. Today when you have your time alone with God, open up your heart to your heavenly Father.

Cry out to Him.

Share the intimate things with him that you would never tell another soul.

Be transparent, because he knows it all anyway. He loves you dear child of God. Like a good Father, he wants to provide for you. All he asks is for a heart totally submitted to Him.

 

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