When I write my columns and zero in on a special word, I like to make sure I have the meaning of that word found in the dictionary. One would not expect to look up the word prayer because prayer is talking to God. The dictionary says that to pray is to have a devout request on petition to a deity. The act of praying, esp. to God. A set form of words used for a devout request, petition, etc. Prayer can be a spiritual and wordless communion with God. A religious service. Something prayed for. One or many can reach out to God in prayer.
Many folks feel inadequate to pray. Many folks think that one must use big words, articulate phrases and one is supposed to pray behind closed doors. During church services, a pastor will share a God prayer with his followers. A group leader will also share a prayer. With the current conditions of Covid, we listen to prayers through the internet as we participate in on-line church services. We are facing many difficulties and prayer is needed everywhere.
I used to feel inadequate to pray, especially in public. Growing up, I just talked to God. As an adult, I just talk to God. God is my Heavenly Father and He listens to me. God loves you and will listen to you. God loves to spend special time one on one with those He loves and who love Him. Jesus and the Holy Spirit want to listen and share with you as well. You can talk to God anywhere, any time and with simple words like those of a child; just open your heart and speak with your Heavenly Father who loves you.
Yes, there are times when we need to find a special quiet place to share with God. Some folks have a special place to sit and read the Bible and pray. I watched a movie where the woman of the house made a special prayer room in a closet so she could spend quiet time with God. Some folks like to talk with God outdoors on a walk or to sit under a tree. Some folks talk to God throughout the day when something occurs and they need prayer time. You might want to share with God while you are traveling and see the beauty of His creation. God will meet with you anywhere you ask Him to. God listens to what our heart says and knows our needs before we do. Sometimes we need to ask God to forgive us for something we have done. Sometimes we need to use prayer to forgive those who have hurt us. God will always listen to us when we need Him.
Some may question why I decided to focus on prayer in this week’s column. I feel strongly that everyone needs to be in prayer for America. Too many events have taken place recently that saddens me and I do believe prayer can make a difference in our lives, the lives of others and the issues we face all around the world. We need to pray for our children who have not been in school. We need to pray for families who are suffering Covid and who have lost family members as well. We need to pray for our world with all the violence that continues to be in many places. We need to pray for our leaders. We need to pray for God to heal our nation. We need to pray that America will remain One Nation Under God with Liberty and Justice for all. Prayer can make a huge difference when we pray individually, as a church, as a family and as Americans who love our country.
Now that I have shared my views on prayer in America, I wish to share what I think prayer can accomplish. Prayer can move mountains. Prayer can heal the soul. Prayer can heal the body. Prayer can heal a nation. When one prays, God listens. When one or more pray in agreement, prayer can be the most powerful tool we have in any situation. Many times, we pray for something we want desperately. When God answers our prayer, the answer might not be what we prayed for. Sometimes God waits until He is ready to give us the answer. Sometimes God knows what we need better than we do. So, when we pray, we need to ask God to answer our prayers according to his will not ours. When we feel that no one cares about us and feel there is no hope, we need to pray for God to be with us and to show us the way. When we have illnesses, we can ask for healing. When we feel that our nation is in peril, we need to turn to God in prayer. God blessed us with America and He will continue blessing our country if we turn to Him in these times.
I cannot imagine a life without having God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to talk with. In the Bible, Jesus talks about the little children and how we must have the faith of a child. Children use simple words and sometimes are more profound in their words than adults. If a little child can talk to God then adults should be able to talk to God any time, any place and about any concern. I agree that some prayer should be done in a quiet place where we can be alone with God. I also feel prayer can be spontaneous in a flower garden, on a beach looking at the wonder of the ocean or when the moon is full and beautiful, or the sunset is breathtaking. Worship and prayer can be thanking God for all the wonderful creations He has given us. Thanking God can be a momentary thing that warms your heart or even a scary thing that happens and turns out okay.
Conversations with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit can take you to a place that is peaceful and loving. I like John 15 where Jesus says that God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If you look at a grapevine, you won’t have a crop of grapes without the branches being attached to the vine. There will not be a crop without the gardener who tends to the grapevine. Jesus says that the branches of his vine will not bear fruit without being pruned. Jesus also tells us that we are to be the branches of his vine and we can bear much fruit. We are to follow Jesus and he will take care of us. Through prayer we can communicate with Jesus and he will always be with us as long as we ask him to be.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will not be with us without an invitation. We do have a choice in America to put God first and I pray that our leaders will think very carefully and pray that the decisions they make allows God to be first instead of last in the laws that govern our land. I pray that we as a nation will pray for America, for leaders here and around the world, for our churches, our pastors, our communities, our states, and to never forget to pray for each other. Prayer can make a difference in your life and the lives of others all over the world. To God be the glory!
I read something on the internet this morning that I wish to share. It was written by Dr. Ben Carson. If someone asks about your education background, proclaim boldly that: Church is my college. Heaven is my University. Father God is my counselor. Jesus is my principal. Holy Spirit is my teacher. Angels are my classmates. Bible is my textbook. Temptations are my exams. Overcoming Satan is my hobby. Winning souls for God is my assignment. Receiving eternity is my degree. Praise and worship are my slogan. If you are a child of God, bless you!
Prayer is not a way of making use of God. Prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest, we wait in silence for God’s voice to us, we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him. —William Barclay