A few more thoughts about the first “R” in my TRANSFORMED acronym: Repent & Pray…
What Is Prayer?
Put simply, prayer is talking with God. A link with the origin of love, and Love itself. A conduit with the Holy Spirit. It is a continual conversation with the Creator of the universe, who intentionally created us out of His unimaginable love and with fellowship in mind. Prayer is our response to that love, and as in any relationship, it’s a combination of both talking and listening. I’ll share more about discerning His voice in another post.
One component of prayer is repentance. It’s not saying we’re sorry because we feel guilty. True repentance comes when we get honest with ourselves, voice our failings and wholeheartedly seek to change. No holding back or waiting for a sign. No distractions or preoccupations with the frivolities of life. Just us and God. He is the only one to whom we are ultimately accountable. The good news is: All of our sins were paid for by Christ on the cross; the moment we turn from our sins and look to the Lord, He hears, knows our intentions and is quick to forgive (1 John 1:9). However, it isn’t a “one-and-done deal”. We’re not talking about religion, but a growing relationship with the Lord. In order to keep our hearts right and to be effective followers, daily submission is essential. With hearts laid bare before Him, He lavishes His love on us until it overflows, spilling out into the lives of those around us. Daily prayer maintains that flow, keeping our focus outward and honoring to God, living transformed lives as a form of worship (Romans 12:1).
Our Closest Friend
Every moment of our lives we are blessed with the opportunity to converse with the One who is simultaneously our Savior, Almighty God, Father, and closest Friend (John 15:15). God knows all, hears all our thoughts (Psalm 139:1-4), and looks straight into our hearts, so it’s best to just humbly be ourselves. There is no need for special lingo. We can talk with God wherever we are. A great phrase I’ve learned is “Stop and Pray”. When blessings come, I just look up and say, “Thank You!”. When in need, I often pray, “Lord, I need You!”, and He is right there. In daily struggles, I reaffirm out loud, “I trust You.” In other times, when words escape me and I don’t know what to pray, I lift my troubled soul heavenward, and the Spirit prays on my behalf, pleading for mercy and help on deeper levels than I can comprehend (Romans 8:26-27).
Here’s a poem I wrote about my relationship with Christ, and how prayer time can end up feeling like a spiritual hug:
“The Warmest Embrace”
Whenever I am feeling down
and there’s nobody else around,
there’s one person who holds me tight,
lifting my soul up off the ground.
He’s the one I fully confide in –
and who’s promised to never leave;
His arms are always open
if a hug I will just receive.
He’s a friend unlike all others
with whom I can simply talk,
who speaks directly into my heart
as through life’s valleys I walk.
My friend is never too busy for me
– I won’t ever feel ignored;
For the best and warmest embrace of all
is from Jesus, my Savior and Lord!
Attitude Is Everything
That all being said, an undercurrent of reverent awe should always carry every prayer. God is still the Almighty One, no matter how familiar we become with His ways. We should never be flippant with our words or take God for granted, attempting to use Him like a magic genie or personal concierge. That is only asking for trouble; God will not be mocked. Besides, He loves us so much that He doesn’t always give us what we want. Yet He always gives us what we need, as we yield to Him (Matthew 6:25-33).
A Thankful Heart
On that note, I believe every prayer should begin and end with thankfulness. It reminds us that everything we have or enjoy is from God (James 1:17). In addition to thanking Him for family and friends, a job, a vehicle and a roof over my head, I often thank God simply for who He is, and for His love, grace, mercy and patience with me. Then after praying for others’ needs and my own, I also often end prayers with thankful expectancy, praising Him for how He will answer (Mark 11:24). There’s power in proclaiming that trust out loud.
Pray For Our Country
We live in a chaotic, jaded world, to say the least! The enemy is the prince of this world, but God is still in control. Please join me in praying for the nation, and for the election: for all of those who are and who will be in leadership roles, locally, statewide and nationwide. Ask God to intervene on our behalf, that the right people will be elected and the right decisions will be made.
Peace, Hope and Power
No matter what happens, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). He will help us have peace in our souls as long as we stay focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3). We can do that mainly by reading His Word and by praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16:18) as we go about our daily lives. There is forgiveness, hope and transforming power available every day, every hour and every minute, if we’ll just plug in and remain connected to the Source!
A current song that I love is The God I Know by Love & The Outcome. It touches on many of the points of this post. I invite you to “throw your hands up, worries down” as you listen. (Note: Link opens up in new window.)
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