Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pray Without Ceasing

Have you ever stopped to count how many relationships you have? And have you ever stopped to think about how each one is unique and unlike any other?

So also for each of us, our relationship with God is ‘special’ and unlike any other. I love the song “In the Garden” and especially the line….”and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known!!”
Our prayer-life comes out of our relationship with God and therefore is also intensely personal.
I used to read books about ‘How to Pray’ and listen to teaching on the subject… but in the end found that no amount of teaching ‘made’ me a good prayer. It is just like any other relationships - it grew as I got to know the One I was praying to.

As individual as our prayer life may be… there is one thing that all ‘happy’ prayers have in common.
Faith.
“Without FAITH it is impossible to please God…for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.” (Heb.11:6)
If you do a quick bible search of passages talking about prayer, you will find they all talk about this operative ingredient - faith.

Bible faith is never the self-convinced, name-it-claim-it, mind over matter, kind of faith that some people teach.
The faith that the bible talks about is ‘simple child-like trust’.
Trust that says “I know you see me, I know you hear Me, I know you love me, I know there is nothing You cannot do.”

Trust has its roots deep into dependency which is the secret to “pray without ceasing” as we are taught to do in I Thess. 5:17.
It is only as we learn to live in this constant place of trust, depending on Him every moment of the day that it becomes as natural as breathing for God to be continually in our thoughts.

I admire some people’s eloquent prayers that are poetry in expression – but I am so glad that that is not what God demands. He is our Father waiting for us to look up to Him to voice our needs, our questions, our requests, our joys, sorrows, and thankfulness.
There is really nothing that we think or do that is not important to Him. Is that not amazing?

Learning to pray out of simple trusting is a difficult lesson for most of us, because it is ‘upside down’ to the natural order of our physical world.
When we are born physically we begin our physical life completely dependent and then are taught to become independent as we mature.
When we are born spiritually we begin our new life totally independent and then must learn to become dependant as we mature.

The more I learn to trust, the more I see answers to my prayers.
Listening to people talk about their answers to prayers is something I love – it always encourages me.
I would like to share a couple of my answers to prayer, hoping that they encourage you!

I think the fastest answer to prayer I ever had was one morning when I was on my way to work. I love to pray out loud while I am driving – no one can hear me and no one interrupts me. On this particular morning my heart was lifted up in praise and thankfulness and my words flowed – I was oblivious to what was around me.
A sudden desire to be perfect before Him welled up within me and I prayed, “O Lord, reveal to me any hidden sin. If there is anything I need to be corrected for, please correct me!”
The words were barely out of my mouth before I heart a siren behind me, and my heart sank as I looked into my rear view mirror. A police car!
I was speeding through a school zone… and was duly corrected!
While I did not enjoy getting a ticket, I drove away feeling loved – My Father cared enough to discipline me when I needed it!

The memory of one answer to prayer still warms my heart.
One morning when I was at work a girl friend walked into my work room. She was going through a particularly difficult time in her life – personal as well as health issues, she had been diagnosed with cancer.
A dress hanging on my ‘to-do’ rack caught her eye she exclaimed in delight, “Oh, I love that dress! Is it just in here for stock repair?” I replied regretfully that it was sold, that a lady had bought it yesterday on condition that I could repair a very small tear in it. It was the only dress like it in the store.
I had not seen Darlene’s eyes light up for a long time and seeing her disappointment in not being able to buy the dress pained my heart. I wanted her to have this dress if it would give her even a moment of joy.
My heart swelled and I said, “It may be sold, but I am going to pray that God give you the dress.” Her eyes filled with tears, but she didn’t really believe God could do that for her. I wasn’t sure how He could do it either, since the lady and her husband who bought the dress both loved it as much as my friend.
Darlene left and I prayed. “Lord, I feel so sorry for Darlene and what she is going through and she needs something to cheer her up. Can you somehow get this dress for her to show her You are real and care about her?”
Later that day a staff member came for the dress. I looked up and asked, “The lady came to pick it up?” The answer was in the affirmative.
A few minutes later I got a call to come to ladies wear. There was a problem.
I came out to find the lady and her husband standing at the cash counter. The lady was irate! She was holding the dress and said, “I could never wear this dress the way it is repaired. It looks terrible!! You said it would hardy be visible, but this is worse than it was before you fixed it!”
Her husband standing beside her wore a bewildered expression. He kept saying, “But you can’t even see it!!”
No one could calm the wife down. The flaw in the dress was HUGE in her eyes and no one could convince her it was so small that no one would ever see it. She was adamant - she wanted her money back!
I smiled all the way back to my work room.
When my friend came in I told her “The dress is yours, God wanted you to have it!”
She could not believe that God would do that for her. It was an important step in her finding Jesus as her Saviour before she died a couple of years later.

Knowing that God cares enough to answer not only my ‘little’ prayers as well as my ‘big’ requests proves to me how big God really is , how truly intimate His relationship with me is!!

Did you need to be reminded today of how much God yearns to share your daily walk?
Have you become too busy with ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ and have pushed Him into the background of your life?
I like what someone once said, “If God is far away, guess who moved?”
If you are close to God…you know the delights that are there….. If you know you are not as close as you could be, run into His arms --- He is waiting and will welcome you.
Talk to Him today!

(tomorrow - The Secret to Praying with Confidence!)

2 comments:

Kathy said...

You are right Julie the best learning tool for prayer is to PRAY. Kathy

Demara said...

I'm running into His arms!

Such a charming touching little post Julie...you ARE such a great story teller you know?