Truth in Prayer

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Pilate asked Jesus his famous question, “What is truth?” It’s something we all have to settle in our minds.

In our culture, we hear things like, “It’s your truth” which is akin to “It’s your reality.”

But truth when we kneel before God is just raw, no pretense words to God. The person who opens himself up makes himself vulnerable, but it’s the prayer God likes. Certainly He hears us when we go through the motions, when our minds are scattered and unfocused, but you can be sure He is attentive when we let it all hang out.

And here’s the odd thing about it. Even if there’s no one in the room when we pray, praying with that kind of honesty is really hard. If those were words that no one would ever hear, then they would be just that. But our Lord Almighty hears it.

We are speaking with an Audience of One, make no mistake. He hears us in those moments, and as the Bible says, is near to us.

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That Nagging Unforgiveness

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Recall that the Bible talks about having clean hands and a pure heart. One of the nastiest of sins that creeps into our lives is unforgiveness.

It’s easy to see the resulting bitterness and attitude in others but often difficult to see within ourselves. Now, we know when we are harboring unforgiveness but really don’t want to deal with it. It’ll come out in our prayers…or lack thereof.

The bitterness we harbor will keep us from praying as we should or praying at all for that matter. Well, that’s one sin that will keep us away but it is a big one.

Forgiveness is complicated because we all say and do stupid things. Approaching and confronting people about how they’ve hurt us is difficult. We don’t know how people will react. How do you react when someone approaches you like that? Has it ever happened?

Incidentally, for some, approaching those who have committed evil acts against you is not helpful or wise. There are other ways to get closure and peace of mind in those instances.

So, back to the original thought, clean hands and a pure heart. That’s God’s desire when we settle in to pray. If you need to confess sin of any kind, He will be there for you. It’s just a bit harder to pray when you have a nagging unforgiveness incident or two hanging over you. Take steps to resolve it so you can go back to living in peace again.

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Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

This verse is probably the best spiritual advice a believer could have for themselves or give out to non-believers.

We all need hope, patience, and to know how to pray. As believers we should have all three in abundance. We all know when our hope buckets are filled and when they’re empty. We rarely know if we have enough patience, especially as it relates to our trials. It’s easy to tell others to be patient in their trials, but us?

But we never know if our prayers are on target and being heard by God. Yes, He hears them all and answers them according to His will, but we say things like, “My prayers don’t seem to be going higher than the ceiling.”

That, of course, is where faith comes into play. The Bible tells us to pray and we do. It also tells us to even bug God about our most dire situations – as we saw yesterday – and we sometimes do. What about those “dry” times? You just have to press on, through the muck and the mire and the quietness of heaven. I don’t pretend to know the intricacies of faith or prayer or hope, but the God of the Bible tells me to pray, and to have faith and hope.

If the Eternal God tells me to do those things, I have to do them. Oh, I’ll fail and fall short, but He is always there to pick me up.

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Prayer During Spiritual Warfare

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, -Ephesians 6:18

In Paul’s parting words to the Ephesians, he is talking about spiritual warfare.

Spiritual warfare is not complete without prayer. what do we pray for in spiritual warfare? The saints and the sinners. In this passage, however, he’s merely talking about the saints, that is, fellow believers.

The spiritual warfare going on all around us between good and evil is blazing hot. Faiths are being tested. Satan has reared his ugly head and making serious war against the Church around the world. Churches are in confusion in the West, and many are caving in to cultural issues. We are constantly being bombarded by atheists and satanists who want nothing more than to destroy the Church.

Pastors and church leadership needs prayer to combat the onslaught of false and deceitful doctrine that’s infiltrated the Church.

God is neither surprised nor caught off guard regarding these times. This should be a time for the Church to shine in all its glory. Will it? Will we?

Pray as if society depended up on it.

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Making Our Problems His Problems

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” Luke 18:1-8

This parable has always amused me. The judge, obviously a wise man, gave in to the widow.

How many times did she harangue the judge?
How many sleepless nights did she give him?

The answer to those questions is obvious: enough.

She was making her problem his problem. We would say “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

The application to us is clear: if you have a need that so bothers you to keep you up at night or is ripping you apart inside, go to God as often as you need. Period. Make no excuses for it. Make your problem His problem, though He doesn’t see our troubling situations as problems.

He wants us to go to Him often. He wants us to reach up and grasp the hem of His garment, so to speak, to get His attention any way we can.

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