Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”
James 4: 8
King James Version
“Prayer is not a pious gesture; it is a response to the One whose heart beats with ours. It is the constant recollection of the living God.”
Listen With the Heart
Do I take time daily to communicate with my Heavenly Father?
“Prayer is conversation with God.”
Clement of Alexandria
Much of what I learned about “prayer,” in its most practical application, I learned from my grandmother. Even though she passed away years ago, there are still people who know that I am her granddaughter and tell me they never knew anyone who prayed like Grandma. Inevitably, what people will say to me is, “Your grandmother talked to God like He was her best friend. When she prayed, I never doubted she knew who she was talking to.”
Having such a person as my grandmother pray for and with me, as you might imagine, has greatly affected my view of the value of an active prayer life. Grandma told God about everything – from the tiniest detail to the biggest calamity. She believed God cared about everything that happened in her life. And so I grew up with the same perspective. It never occurred to me that you could pray only for the big things, because I thought God cared about everything that concerned my life.
But this wasn’t the only thing I learned from Grandma. When people said she talked to God as you would talk to a friend, they meant it. Grandma didn’t use some formula or rote sayings. The fact is, that’s not the way we talk to our friends. When Grandma prayed, she always began her prayers by saying “My Father,” and then the words would flow as though she were talking to her dad about her life, her family, her needs, her dreams, and her plans. I always felt the term “My Father” carried a special meaning to her, for when she was just a young child her father, a marine engineer, was lost at sea and this catastrophic event left a huge hole in my grandmother’s heart. Having a Heavenly Father she could call her own I believe, helped ease the pain from the loss she sustained.
For the next few weeks, we are going to study the role of prayer in our lives. This isn’t going to be theological – it’s going to be practical. Of all the gifts God has given us, the gift of direct conversation with Him is one I treasure so much because it allows me to walk right up to the King of the universe, as a child would come to their dad, and tell Him everything that’s on my heart. What a joy! What an opportunity! What a privilege!
Chapter 10 in my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is about a woman called “The Isolated Woman.” This lady was isolated because she thought no one was listening to her. For years she cried out for help only to be met with silent stares and deaf ears.
Then one day, Jesus came to her town. In Matthew 15, we find out Jesus had never before visited Tyre and Sidon. Maybe it was because it took three days walking one way on a long, hot, dirty road to get there from Galilee. However, that didn’t keep Jesus away. He came to town anyway. What’s more, on this particular trip, this foreign, Canaanite woman was the only person, we are told, that Jesus did anything for.
For several days we’ll look at the specific elements in this story as we begin to understand clearly the way God longs to answer our requests.
So if you hurt…if you need help…if you don’t know what to do…if the future looks foreboding…if your health is bad…if your finances are in shambles…if your family is falling apart…if your kids are rebelling…if you’re anxious…if you’re depressed…if you don’t feel as though you can take one more step – help is on the way! A Heavenly “SOS” has been sent out on your behalf! The King of the universe wants to give you His assurance -- “When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen…Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed” (Jeremiah 29: 12, 13) (The Message).
I want to end today’s devotional with this wonderful request written by St. Augustine:
“You made me to find You; give me strength to seek You. My strength and my weakness are in Your hands; preserve my strength and help my weakness. Where You have opened the door, let me enter in; where it is shut, open to my knocking. Let me ever increase in remembering You, understanding You, loving You, until You restore me to Your perfect pattern.”
God is Near
“When you feel sad and lonely
And you think no one cares,
Look into the heavens –
God is always there.
He sees our every ache and pain
And all our troubled thoughts;
Tell Him who knows you well
The battles you have fought.
Lift your thoughts and smile again,
You have nothing else to fear;
God will listen and pray with you
And will forever and ever be near.”
Kelly Rhode Kuennen
St. Louis, Missouri
Prisms of the Soul
“Let my cry and prayer come near before You…let my prayer come before You…I have longed for Your salvation, O Lord!”
Psalm 119: 169, 174
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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