Here’s a great verse to know and believe in. It’s short enough to memorize and of great comfort when you’re feeling down, lonely or discouraged. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” [James 4:8] Now that sounds like a great deal to me!
I pray because there is great benefit in it for me. Through prayer we can receive insight for problem solving, discover solutions, find strength and renew our Joy! All these things benefit us greatly as we tackle the challenges of everyday life. And on the spiritual front, talking with God keeps our spiritual lives in balance and keeps us humble before God. If we are sincere in our prayers and truly attempt to forgive others and strive to do the right thing by others, God is DELIGHTED with us - warts and all.
There are a host of Scriptures in the Bible that give us insight into why we should pray. If you want to be closer to God and have Him draw near to you, prayer is the means with which to achieve this. If you wish to accomplish much and be effective in everything you do, prayer enables it. In short, prayer is the means by which we gain insight and obtain solutions to the problems and challenges of the day.
When Jesus was trying to pick his cabinet of disciples out of the lot who were following him, he separated himself from the crowd and went into the hills to pray [Luke 6:12-13]. There, he prayed for insight, discretion, and wisdom. This was a very big decision, one that deserved thought, reflection, and guidance.
A habit of prayer helps us keep temptations at bay, strengthens our character, and solidifies our resolve to the cause of faith. With the Roman soldiers en route and Jesus’ final triumph nearing, Jesus prayed with Peter and the two sons of Zebedee in the garden of Gethsemane. Even at that late hour, Jesus encouraged his sleepy wingmen to stay alert and pray [Matthew 26:41].
Have you ever wondered why? While Jesus knew what was about to happen, his trusty wingmen were clueless. They had no idea that they were about to be overtaken by authorities and that this event would usher in the beginning of Jesus’ trial. So why do you think Jesus wanted them awake and praying?
Maybe He simply wanted them to be awake and alert to witness the events that unfolded when the soldiers arrived. Maybe He was still trying to teach them about “praying through the fight” – hoping that they would someday come to realize that even when we don’t know details about what we might be praying about – God does. Could it be that Jesus was simply saying, “I love to hear you pray and I find joy just listening to your voice.”
Think about that for a moment. God loves to hear our voice! He takes joy in listening to our petitions. WOW!
As a father of two daughters, that have now grown up to be young adults, I remember as if it were yesterday the sound of their tiny inquisitive voices telling me about their day at the park or a discovery they made in the back yard! How excited they were to tell me about the caterpillar they held in their hand and how it tickled their nose when they wore it like a mustache. I also recall fondly the pain in their voices when they were sick, sad or scared by the thunder.
Looking back, in all those precious moments – I as their father – wanted the very best for them. I wanted them to experience and explore the wonders of the back yard. I was quick to comfort them through a cold or fever and held them close during those sad days when a pet died or a friend hurt their feelings.
And our Father is no different! He wants us to experience and enjoy the wonderful opportunities around us and He is there to comfort and guide us when those nasty old storm clouds rise.
I’m both humbled and honored when I get calls and e-mails from friends and even business associates asking me to pray for them or for someone they know. When my kids tell me about one of their friends getting hurt and they ask me to pray for them, I’m touched. Over time, the more people see you walking in faith, the more prayer requests you’ll receive. When this happens, consider it God’s way of acknowledging that you are maturing in Him.
“Until now you have asked for nothing in my name; ask and you will receive, that YOUR JOY MAY BE MADE FULL.” [John 16:24]
[Like what your reading? There’s more where this came from – deeper studies of scriptural stories in my book, Legacies of Valor – Traits of Character: The Noble & The Notable. Support this blog ministry by ordering a copy of Legacies of Valor today]
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