The Joy and Privilege of Prayer

When you were younger and had something special to share or a problem to solve in your life, you probably looked for your Mom or Dad, or your best friend to talk to about it. They listened and maybe they had a solution for you (or maybe not).

God wants us to come to Him with all our cares because He is willing and able to listen and He knows how to help us with a solution. He is waiting and wanting us to pour out our hearts to Him so He can show us the way out. There are so many examples in the Bible of men and women who went to the Lord when they were desperate for help.

Hannah wanted a child and couldn’t conceive. In I Samuel 1:10 we read: “Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably.” She went to God and poured out her heart about her concern. She prayed. “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.” (I Samuel 1:27) God heard and answered. “. . . the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son . . .” (verses 19b,20a)

How many times Moses poured out his heart to God in desperation and despair as he led the people out of Egypt. God answered time after time—getting water out of a rock so the people could quench their thirs—sending manna and quails so they would have food – meeting every need.

What an example Jesus Christ set. Prayer was a priority with him and he was God’s Son. He spent hours in prayer before choosing the disciples. He went to God in prayer before making important decisions. He rose up early in the morning to pray. Jesus got apart from others to spend time with his Father. “With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the nigh.” (Matthew 14:23)

Some of Jesus’ disciples went with him to the Mount of Olives when he poured out his heart to God. “Going a little farther, He threw Himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I want, but as You will and desire.” (Matthew 26:39) Prayer was important even to God’s only begotten Son. Read John 17 and see the wonderful example of intercessory prayer. Christ prayed for the apostles and all believers:

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

There are several teachings in that prayer alone, but the point is we go to God not only to express a need or make a request, but we have the privilege (and joy) of going to Him in prayer for others (or intercession). It’s our joy and privilege to pray for one another, and to remember that our confidence in God is what really counts. I Timothy 2:1 says: “I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men.”

Everyone of you who receive this message each morning, receive it for a reason. It is to encourage you, strengthen you, to edify you . . . and in some ways, to challenge you. But more importantly you came on this list through my prayers. I pray for each of you. The Lord inspired me to add you to this list, and instructed me to pray for each person on the list. I don’t know why, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Because it isn’t the greatness of the person praying (I could say that again) that gets the results. It’s the greatness of our loving heavenly Father, who hears and wants to help. So . . . he cares enough for you, that he wants me to pray–to intercede–for you.

Some of you forward these messages on to others. First, I’m honored you think it’s worth sharing, but know this, you are now expected to be interceding for the person (or people) you send this to. So send it out carefully and wisely.

We are exhorted to pray—and give thanks. As we pray, we are to remember how God has blessed us in the past, and how He has met our every need, and we get thankful. Giving thanks strengthens our believing for whatever it is that we are bringing to God in prayer at this moment.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each others spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out;” (Ephesians 6:13-18) What a joy and privilege to pour out our hearts to God and to pray for one another.

“The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.” (Psalm 6:9)

God is always there.

You can certainly go to Him for your own needs. You can do it daily or hourly or as often as you choose . . . but you can (and should) offer “petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” on behalf of everyone He lays on your heart.

Father we come to You in Jesus Christ’s Holy Name. We surrender ourselves to You. In Jeremiah 33:3, Your Word says to call upon You and You will show me great and mighty things that I can not understand. Lord God we come to You and cry out, we ask You to show us great and mighty things, of the unfathomable riches of Your glory and splendor, all that You are, help us to plumb the depth of Your Being and know You, we worship You, we praise Your Holy Name, Blessed be Your Holy Name. The Psalmist also wrote, “Show me the path where I should go, O LORD; point out the right road for me to walk. Lead me; teach me; for you are the GOD who gives me salvation.” So today I also ask that you would continue Your work in me.

Special note:
For a few years now, my dad has been suffering from Lung Cancer and this weekend began his trip home. I awoke this morning @ 6:15 preparing to join my friend, Miles Fitzpatrick, for his morning prayer line when I asked the Lord, “Father, when Jesus was on his cross he said, ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit.’ And he breathed his last. My dad can no longer ask on his own, but this morning we commit his spirit into your hands.” At 6:17 this morning my brother came into my room and said, “Dad is with the Lord.”

I, and my siblings are fine, but I ask that you pray for my mother. Although she is glad my father is no longer suffering, they have been married for over 60 years and her loss is great.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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