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Pray Like Jesus - The Crosswalk Devotional - July 21

The Crosswalk Devotional

Pray Like Jesus
by Anne Peterson


“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” - Mark 11:24

Prayer. It’s a lifeline to those of us who know the Lord. Do we approach God’s throne room with confidence? Or stand outside that door, timidly, wondering if we should even voice our plea? For me, I like to picture myself as a little child who knows she is welcome. I can just open the door and walk in, climb onto my father’s lap, and tell him what I need. God is never too busy to hear from us (1 Peter 3:12). And when we are in trouble, God’s ears are open to us (Psalm 34:17).

We’re also told that God answers our prayers before we’re even done asking (Isaiah 54:24). Standing at the grave of our baby granddaughter in 2016, I remembered the many tearful prayers I had prayed from the very moment we heard Olivia had Trisomy 18, a terminal genetic disorder. She would never live a normal life. It was after her birth I learned she might not make it to her birth.
I prayed nonstop for her, for my son Nathan, and for his wife Heather. 

I also prayed for our other grandchildren who would meet, love, and then miss this little miracle in our lives. Fear tried strangling any joy we had, and on some days, for me, fear won. We didn’t know what to expect. And though we were told it was terminal, no one told Livie. Month after month, she kept living and growing. She smiled, she laughed, she even made raspberry sounds with her daddy. 

But at 14 months, the God who created her called her home. And even though we knew she would have no limitations in heaven, we grieved the little one we didn’t get to know long enough. When Jesus heard Lazarus, whom he loved, was ill, he didn’t rush over to his house. Jesus wasn’t to go yet. He waited till Lazarus had died. Jesus knew his purpose was always to glorify God, his father. And Jesus never lost sight of that.

Jesus thanked God because he knew God personally. And we can pray like Jesus did when we remember how big God is, instead of focusing on our big situations. As I read the story of Lazarus, I don’t picture Mary and Martha angered when Jesus got there. They just stated what they believed, that if he had come earlier, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus knew what he was doing. 

What strikes me the most about Jesus’ prayer is not what he prayed, but the order in which he prayed. Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus to come out of the tomb and then thank God for hearing his prayer. Instead, Jesus thanked God first for hearing his prayer, and then called out to his friend, Lazarus.

Sometimes God gives us faith to believe he’ll answer our prayers. And sometimes we lean with our whole weight in what we know about God’s character. We know that God can do what we need, but we don’t know what his purposes are. We are fortunate that God’s Holy Spirit brings to our mind other answered prayers. Just as David remembered how God helped him fight a lion and a bear as he stood before the Philistine, Goliath.  

I love it when God works in my heart, and I feel encouraged even though nothing about my situation has changed. Sometimes quietly singing an old hymn or verse will stir my mind. Our loving Father tells us to cast our cares on Him, because he cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). Sometimes we don’t feel God’s love when we’re facing the death of someone we love. We grow through our trials when we pour out our hearts, leaving the results up to God.

Sometimes we give God our requests, but we never truly let go. Like Jesus, we need to lay them before God. And when God’s answer is not what we wanted, we need to remember God is always working for our ultimate good, no matter how it feels. God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are much higher (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Intersecting Faith and Life:
When have you struggled letting go of your expectations in a difficult situation? What helped you loosen your grip?

Lord, help us to trust you in the difficult times in our lives. Remind us of other hard times you’ve worked in our lives. Help us lean on you and not on our own understanding. And Lord, teach us to thank you first because you are always faithful. We pray this in your Son’s precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Loosely, a poem by Anne Peterson
How can I hold this more loosely, Lord,
when it matters so much to me?
How can I change the perspective I have 
to one of eternity?

I really don’t think I can do this, Lord, 
it’s painfully hard to do.
Help me to see that you’re in this with me, 
and help me surrender to You.
© 2016

Further Reading: 

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint


Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.

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