And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. - Luke 18:1
We are commanded by Jesus in this parable to always pray - this is how we keep our faith alive and we don’t lose heart. The danger of living in this world is that our faith and our love of Christ will be diminished by the day-to-day distractions of our lives, or by the opposition we face. How do we endure in our faith when everything around us tells us to leave it behind? We are to always pray - this is how we are to endure till the end. Never give up praying.
When it’s hard to see through the trial you face, when the reasons to keep believing are diminishing, prayer is what stokes the fire of your faith. It’s keeps you focused on God and His plan for your life, and it keeps your from fretting or striving to solve the problem yourself. Prayer is what keeps you in the fight, even when it would be easier to admit defeat and walk away.
I think one problem of the greatest problems we encounter with prayer is our approach. Many of us treat our prayers as simply a list of request we present before our God, treating him as a genie in a bottle. Far too many Christians only go to Him in prayer when they need something, and our prayers are rarely more than a list of what we want to happen. Those prayers will have little impact on you or on the situations you want to see changed. And far too often, when people don’t see the change they’ve asked for in prayer, they stop praying.
We should be persisting in prayer - always. And our prayers should not begin with the list of things we need Him to take care of, they should begin with adoration of who He is. When we take a moment to adore God, a transformation in our hearts begins to happen. We are no longer held captive by the concerns of this life. Our hearts are lifted to that timeless place where God is. Adoration is when we take a moment to acknowledge God for who He is, when we adore Him for His works, His wisdom, His goodness, and His mercy, and we take the time to gaze at the beauty of His majesty. When we take the time to adore Him, our spirits renewed by the power of His presence.
After we adore Him, after our gaze has been on the beauty of the Lord, our prayers should turn inward and reflective of who we are and what we have done. We should not be able to look upon the goodness of the Lord and then shift our eyes to our own hearts without being moved to confession and repentance. We should be grieved at what we see in our own hearts, and spend time confessing - not with generalities, but with specifics - the sins we have committed. Our own pride can hide our sins from us, so if you struggle to see your sins, ask God to search you and reveal to you the sins that hide in your heart. He will. Allow Him to show you how He sees your sins, and draw you to a place of heavenly repentance that brings about a true change in your heart.
After confessing and repenting our sins, we should move into a time of thankfulness in our prayers. We are told over and over the importance of developing an attitude of gratitude in scripture, and we are frequently reminded of the need to call the things He has done for us to mind. Take the time to do it every day in your prayers. God is just so faithful to provide for our every need, to guide us with wisdom, to offer us undeserved grace and mercy, to rescue us from the pits, to bless us abundantly. We should be overflowing with praise for what He has given us in this life. Just the mere fact that we are living in a country where we are free to express our love of God should draw us to a place of deep gratitude for His blessings, or the fact that you didn’t eat your dinner out of a garbage can last night should spur a heart of thankfulness in you, and that should only be scratching the surface for all He’s done for you. Thank Him for the abundant blessings He has given to you, and watch Him change your perspective.
When we start our prayers with adoration, confession and thanksgiving, our hearts are softened. We allow the Spirit to bring us into conformity with the will of God, and we are changed. This is when we are to bring our requests before the Lord. Don’t start your prayers with what you want, start your prayers with what He wants. He wants to bring you the desires of your heart, but He wants the desires of your heart to be aligned with His. And when we adore Him, confess to Him, and offer our thanksgiving to Him, He moves in our hearts and aligns our will with His, and our requests align with His. That’s how prayer strengthens our faith, and that’s how we endure till the end.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists. It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst. Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps! Here is the link:
https://www.gofundme.com/chair4caregivers. Thank you so much!!
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