Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

prayer Archive

Monday

24

June 2019

The Necessity of Prayer

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Prayer does not change God, it changes us. Prayer is action.

Through our prayers – through Christ – we open ourselves up to new opportunities for contentment, focus, forgiveness, hope, trust, peace, provision, transformation, glorifying God, and growing deeper in our relationship with Him.

It’s easy to see the consistency in Christ’s character as we look at His life through each Gospel account in the New Testament. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus lived a life filled with action – He didn’t just speak life; He showed us how to live life by His example, including teaching us how to pray.

In Luke 11, the disciples ask our Lord to teach them how to pray, and He responds, “When ye pray, say…” and goes on to pray what we recognize today as the Lord’s prayer.

Now, I realize that there are some who don’t believe that prayer is action or relative to our character – perhaps because not every body sees it or perhaps because it can take time before we see results – however it’s important to remember that prayer is action, and it is relative to our character. Prayer is a surrender of our own abilities and power, and the realization and recognition that it is not our prayers that are making changes – it’s Who we’re praying to that makes changes. Jesus knew this, and we see His reverence toward God in how He prayed.

He addressed God as Father. “Our Father which art in heaven,” (Luke 11:2). Wes recently finished a book called “Father Hunger,” by Douglas Wilson, in which Wilson addresses the importance of fathers. While I haven’t read it myself, the book explores the impact that fathers – or a lack thereof – have on us as society as well as us relating to our heavenly Father. God is our Father, and the ultimate Father at that. He provides all our provisions; He satisfies all our needs and wants. He loves us more than our earthly Fathers ever could.

Jesus also sought time alone to pray. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23). Jesus purposefully set time out in His day to be alone to pray. “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) “And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:46). While you can pray anywhere, anytime, seeking time alone and away from distractions can help you concentrate as you still your heart before the Lord.

Beyond seeking time alone, Jesus taught us that in our prayers, we should give thanks to God. We should give thanks when God answers and hears our prayers, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” (Matthew 11:25). We should give thanks before we eat, as Jesus taught us at the feeding of the five thousand, “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks…”. We should give thanks in every thing, as Paul did from Christ’s example in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Time spent in prayer is one of the most important parts of life. As C.S. Lewis once said, “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. Prayer does not change God – it changes me.”

Originally published as “The Necessity of Prayer.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate, Walkerton Herald-Times. February 7, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

28

May 2019

Perseverance

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Perseverance is not for the faint of heart

Perseverance: "Run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) | see more at hopereflected.com

Right now in our devotions, Wes and I are reading through the book of Genesis and history of Joseph. Widely remembered for his longsuffering, his forgiving spirit, and his strong faith, Joseph is an excellent example of perseverance.

By this point in the New Year, many people who have made New Year’s resolutions have already given up on them. As humans, we have a tendency to start out strong and enthusiastic towards our goals, only to get distracted by other priorities, or even laziness. We lose sight of – or maybe aren’t even sure of – our reason why we started in the first place.

Joseph isn’t the only figure in the Bible who gives us a great example of perseverance; his father Jacob also provides an excellent framework around what it is to be patient, as does Esther, Ruth, David, Hannah, and many others.

When you’re tempted to give up because you’re not seeing progress, or you just don’t get the point, don’t lose heart! That is precisely the time when you must keep going. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4). Perseverance is as much about patience as it is about waiting well. Perseverance requires work, and if you don’t think waiting is work, then you’re likely not doing it right.

From credit cards and food to cell phones and the internet, we want everything now. Living in a society where everything is instant means that learning the value of true perseverance can be difficult.

As Christians living in today’s world, it can be wearying to hear about the injustices happening all around us, but we must persevere. We are called to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:16), we are called to let His light shine and be the difference. When we know the right thing to do and we don’t do it, that’s called sin (James 4:17). One of the best ways you can help your Christian brothers and sisters to persevere is to pray. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). You can also persevere by being courageous (Psalm 27:14). It can be difficult to persevere when you feel like you’re alone, but remember, you are not alone. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” (Psalm 37:7). Perseverance is not for the faint of heart; remember, we are to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1). “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9). As Oswald Chambers once said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”

Originally published as “Perseverance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 31, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

20

October 2017

Monday

11

September 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Zechariah 10:1

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

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"Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain." Zechariah 10:1 | See more at hopereflected.com

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1

Here’s what Matthew Henry has to say about this beautiful passage of scripture, Zechariah 10:1.

“Spiritual blessings had been promised under figurative allusions to earthly plenty. Seasonable rain is a great mercy, which we may ask of God when there is most need of it, and we may look for it to come. We must in our prayers ask for mercies in their proper time. The Lord would make bright clouds, and give showers of rain. This may be an exhortation to seek the influences of the Holy Spirit, in faith and by prayer, through which the blessings held forth in the promises are obtained and enjoyed.”

How often do we not receive from the Lord because we don’t take the time in prayer to humbly approach the Lord and ask?

Ask ye of the Lord.

As you head into this week, remember that God is with you. Whenever you’re ready to start a conversation with Him, He’s ready to hear you.

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1

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Wednesday

17

August 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: The Power of Prayer

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

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Wednesday Wisdom: Max Lucado Prayer Quote

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One Who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” Max Lucado

You may not always feel like praying, but God is always ready to listen to your prayers. At times, prayer may not seem convenient; it may not seem necessary, but it is. We don’t always realize the significance and importance of praying, especially when things are going well. We ought always to give God thanks and share our gratitude for His blessings, and to bring our concerns, worries, anxieties, hopes, fears, and requests to Him. But do we always? The answer is, unfortunately, no.

Why is it that quite often we view prayer as a last effort, rather than a proactive practice? Each of us has heard (and possibly used) the statement, “All we can do now is pray!” No! Prayer should be the first thing we do. First thing in the morning, and last thing at night, and at all points in between. Not just when we need something. Prayer is about more than just selfish requests. It’s about recognizing the Lord as our hope, joy, trust, relying on Him, putting our faith in Him, leaning on Him for grace, mercy, healing, understanding, comfort, peace, and company.

Here are some 15 great Bible verses about prayer:

  • “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
  • “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
  • “I call upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.” Psalm 118:5
  • “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
  • “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” Jeremiah 29:12
  • “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
  • “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7
  • “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22
  • “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
  • “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hears and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • “Continue in prayer, and watch int he same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
  • “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • “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
  • “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
  • “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” 1 John 5:14

 

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Tuesday

9

September 2014

Hope, She Wrote: Alleviating Anxiety

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work, Uncategorized

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Competing priorities between work and family. Too much to do and not enough time to do it. A bunch of bills to pay, and they never seem to stop. Broken hearts, disagreements, and other relationship issues. Wars waging and people suffering the whole world over – seems like there’s always something out there to worry about.

As long as we’re human, each one of us will worry in some way or another. It’s unavoidable. And while my worries may not be the same as the next person’s, that doesn’t make them any less legit. The problem is when you let worry consume you. Especially in today’s fast-paced world, more people seem to be carrying the weight of worry and anxiety than ever before. If you’re suffering in silence, talk to someone. Don’t let worries fester or hide them inside because you’re afraid you might be judged. I guarantee that there is someone out there who can relate, and sometimes an outside perspective can help you refocus.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the word ‘worry’ comes from the Greek merimnáö, which translated means, “a part, as opposed to the whole”. Authour Max Lucado defines worry like this: “Worry cleaves the mind, splitting thoughts between today and tomorrow. Today stands no chance against it. Fretting over tomorrow’s problems today siphons the strength you need now, leaving you anemic and weak.” When we worry, we’re not doing ourselves any favours (just the opposite, really). Worrying about your circumstances or situations never makes things better; in fact, it can actually make things worse.

So how can we worry less and have more peace? While there’s no shortage of how-to guides out there, here are a few practical ways I find helpful in my daily quest to “fret not”:

  • Pray about it. I get that not everybody believes in prayer, but for me, it is a very real thing. Also, the simple act of keeping a gratitude list can work wonders. “Count your blessings, name them one by one” – that old Bing Crosby song isn’t just for Christmas, it’s something we can put into practice everyday! You’d be surprised how much worry can be watered down when you recall how blessed you are.
  • Don’t dwell too much on the past. Or the future. I had a ten-year plan, which has become a seven-year plan – those of you who know me, know I talk about “the plan” in jest; but the truth is, I really am a planner! While it’s responsible to plan and make accommodations for the future, there’s a big difference between being responsible and fretting about the future. Letting your mind move back to the past or forward too far in the future means you aren’t able to put your all into today (see the aforementioned Greek meaning of the word ‘worry’).
  • Talk about it, and look out rather than in. Communication and conversation are two important keys to alleviating anxiety. Bottling anything up inside isn’t healthy, and if you have a confidant you can trust, sometimes sharing your worries can lessen them. Also, don’t spend too much time wallowing in self-analysis or self-pity. Get out and help someone. Put your energy into encouraging another individual rather than dwelling on yourself.

“Don’t worry about it” is a famous last phrase, but putting those words into action can be incredibly challenging. Worrying doesn’t give you any more control over your current circumstances; it only strips you of your joy in the present moment. Each day is a new opportunity to challenge ourselves to overcome our anxieties; we just have to make the choice!

Robertson, Hope. “Alleviating Anxiety.” Minto Express 27 August 2014: 5. Print.
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