Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17
Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. Spurgeon
In his book entitled Prayer, Timothy Keller describes a conversation he had with his wife during a particularly challenging time in their lives. His wife Kathy urged him to pray with her every night and she used the following illustration to convince Him:
Kathy recognized her desperate need to go to the Father for everything in her life. Last week I read through the book of Daniel and was inspired by his courage and faith, but more than that, I was moved by his commitment to prayer. Think about it, Daniel prayed even when the public policy was against him, and he could be thrown in the lion’s den.
If Daniel took life-risking measures to pray three times a day, then why am I not willing to get up a little earlier and spend time with the Father. Great work happens on our knees. God gives us insight on our knees. We grow more in love with Him, on our knees. We find comfort and peace on our knees. May we be determined not to make prayer a chance thing in our lives, but an essential part of each day.
Here’s one of Daniel’s prayers of praise after God:
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.
Why wouldn’t we want to pray to a God like that?
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Perhaps you have found yourself saying to a close friend, “You just don’t understand what I am going through?” Or maybe someone has made assumptions about your actions or your words or your motives. Could it be that you are experiencing loneliness and that no one else could possibly “get you?”
Feeling misunderstood is a hard place to be, and honestly no one can know exactly what is going on in your heart…except the Lord. I find it very reassuring that the Bible tells us that God is the God who sees. He is the One who searches our hearts. Jesus Himself was misunderstood.
The good news is that God meets us where we are. He sees our pain, He knows our hearts better than we know them. This same God who met Hagar when she was crying in the wilderness, and Elisha when he was depressed in the cave, and Jonah under the plant, and Jeremiah in the pit, and David on the run – this same God meets us where we are at.
He sees. He cares. He understands.
In our darkest hours, we can call to Him. When life seems unfair, we can cry to Him. When no one seems to get us, we can go to Him. God’s invitation is clear, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
The deepest need of our heart is to be understood and fully loved, but no human can fulfil that void. To be sure, God brings people into our lives to counsel and encourage, but only God completely understands us and loves us with an unfailing love. He is not far – He is near. May you find hope, comfort and strength in Him today.
“God himself will provide the lamb
for the burnt offering, my son.”
It was a tense moment. In the book of Genesis, we read the story of Isaac and Abraham headed up the mountain to present a burnt offering to God, but there was no lamb. God was testing Abraham’s heart to see if he would be willing to offer even his only son. Abraham prophetically stated a truth that would be fulfilled several thousand years later in Christ, as God provided the Lamb who died on our behalf.
The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from offering Isaac. The Bible then tells us, Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. God provided a lamb that day on the mountain, and God has provided a lamb for all who will believe. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
As we celebrate Easter this month, may our hearts be drawn to the great sacrifice God made for us in sending His only Son to offer His life on our behalf. But the story doesn’t stop at the cross! In three days, He rose from the grave demonstrating victory over sin and death! What joy and victory for those who place their faith in Him!
You are not alone. Your Shepherd is close beside you. He protects and comforts you in the midst of your darkest valleys. Do not be afraid for you do not walk your path by yourself. It is a great comfort to know that when we face the scariest times in our lives, He is there with us. The Bible doesn’t say that we will never walk through dark times, but it does reassure us that we won’t walk through them alone.
What great assurance we have in knowing that the Lord our God will not leave us. Do not fear about things that may happen or the possibility of valleys in your life. The “what ifs” need not linger as long as we remember that our good Shepherd will protect and comfort us in the midst. Let us walk in confidence and not fear for the road ahead.
God is both a shield and a very great reward. Notice that He did not say He would give Abram a very great reward, rather He is the great reward. The people of God have the most wonderful blessing, the great reward of the God of all creation participating in their lives.
What more could we want? What greater reward could there be than experiencing a love relationship with the Lord God who is the creator of the Heavens and the Earth? We are rich indeed when we recognize that we have received the greatest reward in all eternity. The Lord God is our reward! His Spirit dwells with us. He is our shield. We do not need to be afraid for He is all we need.
Father, thank you for your presence in our lives.
In You we have the greatest reward man can ever receive –
Your gentle and loving Spirit within us.
Let us find joy and peace as followers of Christ, knowing that He is our great reward. In Him we experience gracious love, true forgiveness and eternal life. Oh what a great reward we have in Jesus!