FAITH IN PRAYER
May the sweetness of the Holy Spirit abide with us…………..Amen
We are always seeking pleasure, trying to avoid pain, always seeking after happiness and peace. And most often that very searching makes us feel miserable. If only one could come to realize that happiness and peace already IS. We just need to pray to God to open up a way for that imprisoned splendor that is inherent within us to be released.
We are so blessed to have the promises of God but we do not take refuge in that Grace. Peace, happiness, joy, abundance this is His promise to those who love Him and trust in Him. If we are feeling that we have to beg God for what He has promised, (and these promises are all through the gospels), then we need to look at what we are holding in our heart.
We can’t expect blessings to flow if we are not obeying the Father’s commandments. So we must look at; are we loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and spirit? Do we love our neighbor as ourselves….do we even love ourselves? Are we holding a grudge against someone? Are we hard-hearted and unforgiving? If we are holding on to a past grievance and have an ungrateful heart and an ungrateful spirit…….all of this negativity blocks the blessings and the miracles that the Father already has in store for us. When you have sin or error in your heart it nullifies your prayers.
I strive to be more and more like Jesus. God sent Jesus to show us the Way. So I look at the prayer patterns of Jesus. What was His behavior in times of seeming crisis?
The bible tells us that Jesus turned within to the Father in what seems like continuous communion. And we all know that prayer was a major part of Jesus’ life. How did Jesus manage to align himself so totally with the Father’s Will? ……Well, we can also! ..Simply ask for… ‘Thy Will be done“. I always conclude my prayers with ‘Thy Will be done’.
As a child with a little understanding of conflicting will, and wanting what I wanted when I wanted, I could see no alternatives! It was very frustrating to ask my dad for something and he would always give the answer followed by, ‘if it is God’s will ‘.
When we pray ……we must pray in faith. When we pray….we must believe. When we pray it must be with expectation.
I love Mark 11:22 -26. Have faith in God,” Jesus said. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. So your faith plays a vital role in getting your prayers answered. Mark 11: 24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours“. We have the promises of God that when we pray and pray aright, our prayers will be heard.
Luke 17:5 The apostles came up and said to the master, “Give us more faith.” But the master said you don’t need more Faith. There is no “more” or “less faith” If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
How do we know when our prayer has been answered before we see the evidence. For me, I feel an assurance in my soul in my spirit I feel satisfied.
Sometimes, as I listen to the outside world, it seems that some prefer to beg, plead and claw for an answer to prayer rather than asking and just knowing the Truth. Relying on the promise of …..‘ask and you shall receive‘. So instead of groveling, know that it is already done.
.For me, prayer is not a method ….a how-to, but rather a way of life. Let everything that we do be a prayer. Let every thought be a prayer. Let the meditations in your heart be a prayer.
As I study the life of Jesus I find important and significant guides to effective prayer. I notice that Jesus made space and took a time to dwell and tabernacle with the Father. When Jesus wanted to pray, he put some distance, however small, between himself and his everyday distractions. In the pressure of an incredibly busy life, with people’s expectations of him mounting high, he would frequently and regularly excuse himself from the masses and take a time to pray. Accounts in the bible tell us that he made time and space for prayer by climbing mountains or by walking in the desert. We read that he got up early to ’walk in the garden alone’ praying and spending time with his Father. On occasions we’re told, he would spend a whole night in prayer. For the most part, we see him favoring the lonely places and the quiet times. His regular habit seems plain to have been to devote the early morning hour to commune with His Father and to depend on that for constant guidance and instructions. I don’t believe that Jesus was an introvert or a recluse, I believe he withdrew in order to embrace or to refresh his spirit ………to recharge his spiritual batteries.
Recounting some of the biblical times that Jesus prayed: the greatest blessings of his life came during prayer. It was not only His regular habit but His resort in every emergency, whether light or serious. When perplexed…He prayed. When hard pressed…He prayed. When hungry for fellowship…..He prayed… If tempted….He prayed If criticized He prayed…When He felt wearied in spirit……He prayed. Prayer, it seems, brought Jesus unmeasured power and kept His relationship with His Father unbroken. There was no emergency, no difficulty, no temptation that would not yield to His prayers. So as we look at His prayer life, the way He prayed and the results of His prayers, why would we not then continuously ask “Father, teach me how to pray…and then plan to get alone with Him regularly that He may have opportunity to teach us, and we the opportunity to practice His teachings.
When we come to prayer….face to face with God, in the quiet chambers of our heart it is a time of Truth. We shy away from these times because we know that coming to God, face to face we expose our inner most self. We can’t in any way claim to be open to God while at the same time nursing resentments, bearing grudges and generally insisting on running our own lives. Sometimes we have to say as the disciple Simon Peter in Luke 5:8. NIV “Go away from me, Lord! For I am filled with sin!”
And then there are times when we just don’t pray because we are on the run from God. We find a hundred and one things we could be doing, and we are scared that God will call for a change in our priorities. We have a thousand guilty secrets we want to hide, and we know he’ll see right through us. Which is why most people don’t want to meditate. Because it is impossible for true meditation to transpire without facing your past and surrendering it to the Father. And that is the saving grace of meditation it is an opportunity to clean up all your past errors and all your…. just plain dirt! Things come up that you thought you had gotten away with, that you had failed to ask forgiveness for because you thought God didn’t know about it. My dad use to tell me you can’t do wrong and get by no matter how hard you try. Well, in meditation and the quiet time, ALL of the chickens come home to roost. The beauty of this is that it is the greatest opportunity we can have to clear it all out once and for always.
God always answers prayers. Always. Faith is the key. And if we feel we don’t have enough faith then seek, seek Faith. Let your prayer be, “Father, increase my Faith. May I have perfect Faith in Thee. My Christian brothers and sisters seem to shy away from the word “perfect” and I don’t know why. I pray for “perfect faith. I want deep faith, unshakable faith, imbue me with perfect faith in Thee, oh Lord! Yes, we’re told biblically to have mustard seed faith but the seed cannot be a dead seed.
And if our request hasn’t arrived, we are lacking trust. If we ask and there is already an anticipation that it might not work, that is the obstacle to faith. We have to align ourselves with God’s will and make sure we have forgiven everyone in our heart. There is a level of trust we can’t reach if we don’t have enough love and forgiveness in our heart.
Going back to Mark 11: 25…..Jesus said when you assume the posture of prayer; remember it is not all about asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of errors. The sweetness of forgiveness is the joy that that follows.
When asked which is the greatest of God’s commandments, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39)
What does it mean to love your neighbor? Love means to value or to appreciate. We love whatever we believe is valuable or has worth. Our love for other persons is shown by our respect or appreciation for their value or worth.
According to Jesus, respect for others is demonstrated by doing to others as you wish others would do to you (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). This is also known as the “Golden Rule.”
What is required of us before we receive ultimate blessings and answered prayers is repentance. Repentance means turning the direction of our mind and shifting our focus from externals – the body, the business, the purse, the family, relationships – to Spirit. Turning from sense to Soul. We take our gaze from the periphery of our circle and turn to the Christ within, realizing that all spiritual activity precedes from the Father…the Christ within. And as we turn within, in whatever is our chosen way, to align ourselves with the Father (whether it be prayer ,reading the scriptures or meditation) we arrive at a place of internal Peace, a place of rest, a place we can dwell and tabernacle with our Father.
The promise is that if we go to God and we are sincere He will restore our soul.
Once a day, in our meditation and prayer, we must remember consciously to release all mankind from the penalty of their errors. Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.. (Luke 23: 34. This may be the errors of friends or the errors of foes; they may be the errors of our nation or the errors of other nations. But always remember that there must be sincere asking for forgiveness and releasing of negativity.
Forgive them as I would be forgiven. Whatever error still lurks in me, father, forgive me, for I do not do it consciously or willfully. (Verse and chapter)
In this way, we are fulfilling the Lords prayer. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Forgive us in proportion as we forgive those who trespass against us. There must be a conscious surrendering and prayer for forgiveness daily. As I ask and receive forgiveness, I feel an, even more, heighten sense of wanting to Praise God like David in Psalm14: David said: “ if you will forgive me, Father, I will joyfully sing of your righteousness.”.
And as we follow this Way that Jesus set forth for us then inner peace, inner contentment, inner joy and that Peace that passeth understanding can arise. It is from this sacred place within our very own being the Christ comes into expression in our lives.
Pray without ceasing and thereby: accept Grace, accept the miracles that are waiting for you, accept the abundance with your name on it, accept His wisdom, accept His understanding, accept His peace, accept wholeness……….
May we all pray without ceasing……… AMEN