Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Mighty Tool of Prayer

The Mighty Tool of Prayer

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

I owe a lot to Food Network.  I fear that if I had not received the instruction of many good cooks from their shows, my family would have given up on the whole idea of eating to survive by now.  Thanks to some of the shows there, I no longer am forced to make oiled hot dogs and boxed mac-n-cheese for dinner.  I’ve now added a few better recipes to my collection. 
I’ve also learned that to be a good cook, you have to learn how to use certain tools, and which are really necessary.  There are some tools that are completely unnecessary, such as a strawberry slicer or an apple corer.  I try not to clutter my kitchen drawers and cabinets with all these things.  But when you learn to use one tool, and use it very well, you can do so many things!  Hear me well when I say that I LOVE my chef knife.  With it I can julienne a carrot, dice an onion, slice a roast, mince garlic, and so many kitchen tasks.  I’ve learned how to use it watching the great chefs, and without it, I wouldn’t be able to cook at all!  Finding the right tool, and learning how to use it makes any job easier.

But there was a learning curve when I first got that knife.  OH MY! It was a painful process.  First, I took the sheath off of the knife, and noticed on the side it said “do not touch the blade to your skin”.  Of course, I had to touch it then!  That’s when I learned that Band-Aids were also an important kitchen tool.  There is a right and wrong way to handle a chef knife, a right and wrong way to use it.    
Prayer is a powerful tool in the hands of God’s child.  You don’t need all those other tools, such as self-help books, stones that are to provide you peace, St. Christopher metals to offer you protection, and so forth.  Your words in God’s ear are sufficient!  With the opening of your heart with His Holy Spirit, the connection is made, and Angels await God’s commands concerning you. 

But not everyone understands the power of prayer or how to use it.  Perhaps “understand” isn’t the right word, but maybe “faith” is.  Without having faith in your prayers, they’re like tiny little chimes against a might gong.  You make such a small noise in heaven without faith in your prayers!  For prayer to be affective, James 1:5-7 says you must have faith, otherwise you cannot expect that you will receive anything of the Lord.
There are three things I often hear said about prayer that shows a lack of faith and confidence in prayer.  Imagine how God feels in hearing them said.

First, there are those that ask “say a little prayer for me”.  How can we devalue prayer to a “little prayer”? Any prayer spoken in faith is able to work great and mighty things! Then there is “all we can do is pray”.  Really?  Is prayer so small a tool that it becomes a last resort, a last ditch effort to control a situation? And finally, there’s “say a quick prayer for me”.  Why must it be quick?  Is it not worth God’s time or my time? 
When you choose to pray, you are choosing to unveil the mighty tool of conversation with God.  You open a treasure chest of opportunities and blessings.  You reach inside and unwrap it with faith in God’s word, in His promises.  You place that tool in your hand, like the sword in the hand of a mighty warrior!  You begin to change circumstances, pronounce healing, prevent death, receive divine forgiveness, and change lives.  Little prayer? Quick prayer? Last ditch effort prayer?  I don’t think so.  One word spoken from a heart of faith to God’s ear can change everything!

Matthew 16:19 says Jesus will give us the “keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  The words “bind on earth will be bound in heaven” come from the Jewish belief that sacrifices made on earth would also be made in Heaven.  They believed that a lamb slain on earth in sacrifice would also cause a lamb to be slain in sacrifice in Heaven.  The words “bind” and “bound” also mean bidding and forbidding, granting and refusing, declaring lawful or unlawful. Prayer allows you to change to course of Heaven, just as the town of Nineveh did hundreds of years ago.  Through prayer, the entire town was saved from God’s wrath.  Their prayers changed God’s plans for them.
Prayer doesn’t have to be said with eyes closed and head bowed.  In fact, when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He never told them to close their eyes and bow their heads.  It’s a conversation.  Have it in a way that will drown out all outside noise, which is why some bow their head and close their eyes.  Some choose to have it in secret and to be alone with God.  Some choose to pray with worship music tendering their hearts.  Some pray with tears, and some pray with loud voices.  Others pray all day, without ever saying Amen.  It’s as simple as “Lord, Help Me!” or “Jesus, please take over!” or “God, have mercy!” Prayer doesn’t have to be an oration of great proportion made with elaborate lingual expertise and sprinkled with thou’s and thee’s!  God speaks your language, dude!

Some folks believe you shouldn’t beg or nag God for things.  They believe you should ask once, and stop praying about it.  After all, God heard you, right?  Jesus talked to the disciples in Luke 18:1-8 about praying without ceasing – praying until your prayers are fully answered.
But Jesus gives the example of a woman who went before an unjust judge.  She pleaded with the judge “Get justice for me from my adversary”.  But the judge didn’t listen.  She continually would plead “Get justice for me from my adversary”. And the judge finally replied “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” Jesus goes on to says in verse 6, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them SPEEDILY. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 

Read that last part again - “will He really find faith on the earth?”  If you cannot believe that God will answer your prayers, you need to first pray for faith that He can and will.  Yes, God will grant you faith and grow you faith when your faith is not enough to move you from doubt to belief.  Daily, we should all pray for more faith to become powerful prayer warriors.
Hebrews 4:16 tells us Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.Cry out to God! Be willing to give over to Him ALL your cares, ALL your burdens, ALL your worries, ALL your needs, and then be ready to continue in prayer until God answers.  James 5:16 says The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” How much more righteous do you have to be than when you are covered in the righteous blood of Jesus?  Your prayers can make a difference.  Never take prayer for granted.  Never devalue its worth.  A prayer from a heart filled with faith is a mighty tool.

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