Friday, March 8, 2013

Prayer and Praises

Prayer is a daily, constant need. Even when we are living life while is the full sunshine of the open meadows, we still need to pray. It is easy to focus on prayer during our times in the dark shadows of the thick forest. During these dark times, we turn to prayer as a last resort. "I have done everything I can. I guess I'll pray."    "I suppose I should pray about it." You think these thoughts. "I don't think it will make a difference but I'll say a prayer about it."

Prayer is so much more than "just" a prayer. Prayer is powerful. Prayer opens up the heavens so the Spirit of the Lord pours out and completely fills us with God's power and love. It is the reason I am still alive. It is the reason that we have been blessed with Jeremy and Trevor. Prayer is the reason I even met Joel. God works in mysterious ways, and he certainly did when I met Joel! But, that's a story for another time.

Prayer can bring us answers, bring us love, bring us hope. Like my gpa's rose (pictured above) has hope of spring and nice sunny weather, we have hope in the Almighty. We have hope for our lives.

"Because of your little faith, Jesus told them. For if you had faith even as small as a tiny 
seed you could say to this mountain, 'Move!' and it would go far away.
Nothing would be impossible."
Matthew 17:20

All it takes is faith. We have the ability to change our lives with God's help. We need to have prayer in our lives, in our homes, in our country. It seems that each day we have less and less prayer in our country, in our lives. Did you know that prayer can save a nation? I don't know about you, but I completely believe that our nation needs saving. We need to bring God to our nation once again. 

"Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, and went over to the Temple
and spread it out before the Lord. Then he prayed this prayer:
O Lord God of Israel, sitting on your throne high above the angels, 
you alone are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You created the heavens and the earth.
Bend low, O Lord and listen. Open your eyes, O Lord, and see.
Listen to this man's defiance of the living God. Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have
destroyed all those nations, and have burned their idol-gods. But they weren't gods at all; 
they were destroyed because they were only things that men had made from wood and stone.
O Lord our God, we plead with you to save us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone are God." 
2 Kings 19:14-19

Is this nation, our America, really worth saving? Or is it doomed like Sodom and Gomorrah? This country is filled to overflowing with wickedness and all sorts of sin. Are there enough Christians in this country to make it worth saving? I think it is. We need a refresher course in our history, how we fought for our freedom, our religious freedom. Oh, how far we have strayed from those ideals and freedoms! There are many people wanting to take Under God from our Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want public displays of Christianity in general. They certainly don't want God in our schools, which is exactly where we do need Him! 

But, I digress in a way. While we do need to pray for our nation, it is not meant to be the topic. 

Prayer is not a little thing, to be "whipped out" as the last ditch effort to change things. Sometimes things would not need changing, if we were praying constantly. That doesn't mean that our days are filled with nothing but one long, rambling prayer. There is a term that I like. It is "popcorn prayers." Our days should be filled with these popcorn prayers because God listens to them all. Our little prayers that pop up to heaven are important because we are not forgetting God. We are not putting other things first. Even a short, "Thank you God for______" prayer is okay. He likes them.

There are, of course, times when longer, deeper prayers are called for. In those times, we take ourselves off alone, pray with our whole hearts, even have the Spirit pray for us when we don't know how or what to pray. The Spirit intercedes for us, when we can't find the words, don't know the words. 

Jeremy has already prayed this little prayer: "Dear God, I am praying. I don't know if you have ears to hear this or not but I believe that you can hear it no matter what. I'm scared. The room is dark and it is scary. Amen." He told me that he said this prayer the next morning, and right after he said amen, he seemed to think the room was a little bit brighter, the shadows less deep. 

If a now 9 year old boy can have the faith to trust that God will hear his prayer and answer it, why can't we? We are supposed to have the pure, innocent faith of a child. Jeremy knew that God would keep him safe, make the room less scary because he has been taught that God is always there, He wants the best for us and will protect us. We tell him that if he is scared during the night, too scared to leave his bed to come to us even, he only has to let God know to be comforted. (Trevor is less sure, but still loves prayer.) 

As we grow up we tend to lose that trust, that pure thinking. We start to question everything, wonder they whys behind them all. Our kids can help us get that back. Listen to their prayers. Listen to the depth of their faith and truly listen to it. Children's prayers are usually shorter and definitely more to the point. They tend to get right to the heart of the matter. 

The praise part of prayer is usually forgotten or purposely left out now too. Praise is important in prayer, as well as life. I usually get my praise and worship time in while I'm doing my household chores in the morning. I am usually alone - unlike today, with Joel working from home - so I crank that music and get going! It is amazing what all I can get done while the music is on. Today, the house is quiet. I don't like a quiet house in the morning. I like a loud, praise the Lord kind of morning! Conference calls do not fit with loud, praise the Lord mornings. 

For you have heard my vows, O God, to praise you every day, 
and you have given me the blessings you reserve for
those who reverence your name.
...and I will praise your name continually, 
fulfilling my vow of praising you every day.
Psalm 61:5,8

I hope that your life, your house is filled with God's blessings, love, mercy and grace. I hope your prayers go answered - remember that God's time is not our time - and you may live life to the fullest in Jesus' name!

God's blessings to you,
~ Karen