Are you praying?

Are you praying?

…as a child...
…as a child…
During worship one morning I sat pondering 2 Chronicles 20:12, “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them?  For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon Thee.”   The more I pondered, the more profound the passage became and the more the Lord began to help me understand the simplicity of prayer and faith, for they are inseparable.  Let’s look at some Bible examples that will help us to understand this, but before we do, let’s define prayer.  The most clear, straightforward definition I know of is this: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.”  (RH Dec 8, 1904, par. 2)
The thing that most impresses me about this story in 2 Chronicles 20, which is of Jehoshaphat, when the Moabites and Ammonites came against him, is the statement (paraphrased) “I have a big problem and I don’t know what to do, so I’m looking to You, Lord!”  What else did he do? 1) he feared;  2) he set himself to seek the Lord;  3) he invited his people to join him in fasting and prayer;  4) they gathered to seek the Lord;  5) they humbled themselves;  6) they exalted the power of God;  7) they rehearsed His victories of the past and the covenant of the sanctuary;  8) they rehearsed His promises;  9) they fixed their eyes on God and requested His intervention;  10) they received instruction;  11) they obeyed the instructions;  12)  they were victorious!  I believe if we will follow this pattern, our prayer lives will be far more successful!
One of my favorite Bible characters is Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Her childlike faith, submission and simple prayers have been so inspiring to me.   When, as a virgin, she was faced with the impossible promise, “You shall bear the Son”, her question, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” was not one of doubt, but of wonder!   When the angel explained how it would happen, what was her very simple, submissive response?  “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word.”  (Luke 2:38)  What can we learn about prayer from this?  I see the same elements of surrender and faith demonstrated by Jehoshaphat.  “I don’t understand how, Lord, but do in me what you say.”  And Mary actually began to “act pregnant”, if you will!   What do ladies do when they find out they are pregnant?  They go tell all their friends!  That’s just what Mary did! (Luke 2:39-40)
Mary demonstrates this same faith and submission later on, when Jesus was about to begin His ministry.  In the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-10), when faced with the embarrassment of running out of wine, Mary prayed a simple prayer– she opened her heart to Jesus as to a friend, “They have no wine.”  Jesus’ response  might have deterred some of us but,  “The response of Christ did not discourage His mother. At the right moment He would act His part. “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it…Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it” (verses 5-8).  This Day With God 366
Undaunted by the gentle reminder from her Son of His priorities, Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says, do it.”  Mary’s prayer was simply, “I have a problem, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You!”  And to those helping her she said, “Do what He says!”  She cooperated with the instructions given. 
These stories teach us that the most important elements in prayer, in opening our hearts to God as to a friend, are surrender to Him, fixing our eyes on Him and not on our problems, and cooperation with Him—following His instructions.  What about you?  Do your prayers seem unanswered?   How is your surrender?  How is your cooperation?  Where are your eyes focused?   Jesus invites us to open our hearts to Him as our Friend. He invites us to pray!

0 thoughts on “Are you praying?

  1. For some reason today this made more sense to me than before when I read it.

    I do have a problem. I don’t know what to do – I don’t know where or when to intervene – and so, until He shows me – I will intercede.

    Thank you for this thought provoking piece. May it inspire peace.

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