2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
God hasn’t made prayer difficult or complicated. Prayer is actually really simple. The truth is, we probably pray more often than we realise. The trouble is, we don’t always recognise when we’re praying, because we can get the wrong idea about it. We might have been taught that prayer needs a specific place or environment like a church, or a certain posture like kneeling with head bowed and eyes closed, or a particular form of words like ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou’, or that we must stick to certain religious rituals when we pray. These things aren’t necessarily wrong, but we don’t need to do them for God to listen to us.
Prayer is simply talking to Him, in a way that feels comfortable and natural to us, then being still and allowing Him to talk to us. We can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything, silently or aloud, just by directing our thoughts towards Him.
Paul wrote, ‘We fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.’ Imagine that all of God’s blessings and benefits are stored in a giant warehouse in the invisible realm; things like forgiveness, strength, wisdom, guidance, favour, and resources. Through prayer we enter God’s warehouse of blessings, and by faith we receive them and bring them back into our lives. Jesus said, ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted’ (John 15:7 NLT).
So whatever you need today, pray and ask God for it, believing that He will give it to you.
Gen 10-12; Matt 16:13-28; Ps 36; Prov 5:21-23
Luke 19:8 NIV
If you’ve defrauded someone, God expects you to make restitution. Don’t sweep it under the rug and try to save face. Zacchaeus was a first-century con artist who worked for the Romans collecting taxes from his own people, the Jews. He fleeced everything that walked. The Bible says he was rich (v. 2 NKJV). Filthy rich! But after spending a night with Jesus, he was radically changed. How do we know this? Because he said: “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus taught, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8 NIV).
But sometimes it’s not possible to make amends to the person you’ve hurt. What if they’re dead? What if you had an affair with someone else’s spouse? Should you go back and tell their husband or wife about it so you can feel less guilty? No, you’d break their heart and maybe destroy their home. So what should you do? Pray and receive God’s forgiveness (See 1 John 1:7-9). And if you still feel troubled about it, talk to your pastor, or a Christian counselor, or a mature friend who can handle it. James writes, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16 NIV).
The point is, you must be willing to make amends when it’s possible, and willing to incur the cost to make things right. If you do that, God will bless you and you can live with a clear conscience concerning it.
Soul food: Rom 1:1-3:20; Matt 13:1-9; Ps 67; Prov 4:1-2
Acts 17:27 NKJV
The Bible says God ‘is not far from each one of us’. God doesn’t have favourites. Everyone can have God’s love and support, but many don’t realise it or accept it. They go through life relying on their own strength, looking for solutions in the wrong places, and living without God. Sometimes we can live like that too, forgetting that we’ve got God’s support. But we don’t have to. We can: 1) Lean on God’s presence. ‘God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you”‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT). 2) Lean on God’s people. ‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ (Matthew 18:20 NIV).
When Moses and the Israelites battled the Amalekites, God commissioned Joshua to lead the fight in the valley below while Moses climbed the hill to pray. But he didn’t go alone. He took his two lieutenants, Aaron and Hur. While Joshua led the physical combat, Moses engaged in spiritual combat. Aaron and Hur stood on either side of their leader to hold up his arms in the battle of prayer. The Israelites succeeded because Moses prayed, and Moses succeeded because he had others to pray with him. Just as an army can ask for air support, you can ask for prayer support.
Jesus said, ‘If two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven’ (v.19 NIV). Let’s hold on to the fact that we’ve got supporters – God and His people.
Isa 26-29; Matt 10:11-20; Ps 104:1-23; Prov 3:9-10
John 11:41 AMPC
Before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard me.” When you know your prayer is in harmony with God’s will, you can wrap it up with the same words: “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”
Understand this: After you’ve prayed, the Devil wants you to go away and wonder whether or not God actually heard you, or if He’s willing to grant your request. But when you know God has heard your prayer, you have confidence. You think, act, and speak differently. Anxiety is replaced with peace.
Here are a few Scriptures for you to meditate on: “When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7 NIV). “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV). “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:23-24 NIV).
Today begin to thank God that He has heard your prayer, and that He will answer it in the way that’s best for you.
Soul food: Neh 11-13; John 20:10-18; Ps 57; Prov 30:24-28
Hebrews 11:27 NIV
Fourth: You must persevere when life gets difficult. You could sum up the life of Moses in these two words: “He persevered.”
It’s a fact of life that there’s no gain without pain, no advancement without adversity, and no progress without problems. Moses understood that difficulties come into every life, and he knew how to respond to them correctly and move on. And we must learn to do that too. As followers of Christ, we should never let problems defeat us; instead, we should let them draw us closer to God.
Someone has said that we should never let problems get us down – except down on our knees to pray! God allows specific situations in our lives to bring growth. And without perseverance we won’t get very far.
Notice the words “By faith…he persevered.” Faith in what? Faith in whom? Faith in God! We’re not talking here about some white-knuckled, flesh-based form of self-help. No, we’re talking about the fact that when God calls you to do a job, He equips and empowers you. He goes ahead of you and provides everything you need. When you say yes to His plan for your life, you can stand on this promise: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
So you must (a) know who you are; (b) take responsibility for your life; (c) determine your priorities; and (d) persevere when life gets difficult. If you abide by these four Bible truths, you will live a life that is truly blessed by God.
Soul food: 1 Tim 4-6; John 6:52-71; Ps 114; Prov 24:23-25