healing, devotional, encouragement

The Purpose of Prayer

We know that prayer is an edict, an expression, and an exchange, now let’s look at what it accomplishes.

Prayer transports us into the presence of God. What we need more than anything else – more than money, a new job, or healing – is God Himself. If I have Jesus, I have all I need for peace, joy, and rest. Remember that old song “Give Me Jesus”? Let that be our song and prayer today.

Prayer takes our eyes off ourselves and puts them on Jesus – the one who will calm our storms. Remember when the disciples and Jesus were in a boat crossing to the other side of the lake and a storm kicked up? While the disciples were panicking, Jesus was sleeping. But when they woke Him up, all He had to do was command the wind and the sea, “Peace, be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).

Notice that Jesus didn’t magically transport them away from the storm. Nor did He leave them alone in the storm. He simply spoke, and the storm stopped. Now, Jesus might not speak to the storms you’re facing, but He will speak to you, “Peace, be still!” And in His presence, you will find that your soul can be calm even amid chaos.

As Paul reminds us, the peace of God will calm our minds when we submit our requests to God through prayer:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

In the Old Testament as well, the prophet Isaiah points out, “You [God] will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You” (26:3).

When we learn how to rest in God’s presence, our minds will be transformed from a muddled mess to a certainty of peace:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Come to God expectantly. What did you receive? Let me know in the comments!

devotional, midlife faith

The Power of Prayer

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How often have we heard (or said), “I’ll pray; I’m sorry I can’t do more”? Here’s the thing, though, prayer is the single most important thing we can do to combat worry – in our own lives and the lives of others.

Prayer is foundational to the Christian life, yet many people don’t know its true purpose and often feel like they don’t know how to pray. It’s not like sharing your troubles with a friend over a cup of tea.

First, prayer is a privilege as well as a command: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 ESV).

Second, prayer, in its very essence, is communicating with our loving, Heavenly Father. It’s fellowship with the God of the universe. He is waiting for us to approach Him: And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). It’s meant to be a two-way conversation, so we need to make sure to listen to God’s response through meditating on Scripture.

Third, prayer is giving our troubles to our Creator and the perfect Lover of our Soul, so we don’t have to carry their weight: “Cast[ing] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7 ESV). The idea here of “casting” is throwing or placing upon, so we’re giving up the responsibility for our problems. Hallelujah!

Prayer is an exchange. We leave our burdens, worries, and sin in the hands of God. We come away with oil of joy and the garment of praise.

F.B. Meyer

Jesus invites us to exchange our burdens for His:   Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Sometimes it seems as if our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, and we wonder whether prayer really works. The resounding answer is yes! “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The answer may not be what we want or when we want it, but God always hears and answers our prayers: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14 ESV).

Book Reviews

The Most Misunderstood Women in the Bible

Mary DeMuth did it again! Her superb storytelling skills brought real women from the Bible to life in a fresh way. Women are vital to God’s story of redemption woven through the entire Bible, yet many of them were mistreated and misunderstood. I mean, I’m not sure I’d want to be known as Rahab the harlot forever! After all, “No matter what your past, your present and future have a purpose, thanks to Jesus.” Thank you, Jesus!

I love the way Mary was able to connect the issues these women faced to issues that I face today. I gained a new appreciation for Eve and Bathsheba especially as I have tended to see them in a negative light. And I’m not so intimidated by the Proverbs 31 woman anymore. You’ll love seeing how your life intersects with these 10 biblical women too.