January 22, 2018

Perfect Prayers


Answer me when I call to You, O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me [be gracious to me] and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1 NLT

I like the simplicity of David’s prayer.  Reminds me of a Max Lucado devotional entitled, Prayer’s Aren’t Graded:

“Jesus downplayed the importance of words in prayers. We tend to do the opposite. The more words the better! We emphasize the appropriate prayer language, the latest prayer trend, the holiest prayer terminology. Against all this emphasis on syllables and rituals, Jesus says in Matthew 6:7: ‘Don’t ramble like heathens who talk a lot.’  There’s no panel of angelic judges with numbered cards.”

I love the line “There’s no panel of angelic judges with numbered cards.” Sometimes we pray like we think there is. God doesn’t count our words or measure our syntax. He doesn’t edit our grammar. God looks at our heart.  As the Scriptures tell us:

Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible,
but the Lord sees the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b (HCSB)

For You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.
Psalm 7:9b (NLT)

In this verse David used only a few words, but he prayed with passion.  David’s prayer came from deep within his heart.  Take a look at James 5:16b (AMP):

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man
makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

It doesn’t say the ‘perfect’ prayer.  It doesn’t say the prayer of 100 words or more.  It says the “earnest (heartfelt, continued)” prayer.  God already knows what is on your heart.  He just wants you to share it with Him.  It doesn’t really matter how you share it, as long as you do share it with Him.  Even if you can’t put it into words or express it verbally.  Romans 8:26 (AMP) states:

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness;
for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought,
but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf
with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It just needs to be heartfelt.  It needs to be uttered with passion.  Even if it is only to call His name – Jesus!  God honors fervent prayers by being merciful and gracious to us.

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Holy Father, I am so thankful my prayers do not have to be perfect to be heard. You know what is in my heart and You long for me to share it with You.  Thank You for the intimacy prayer brings.  Thank You for the mercy and grace you extend to me, undeserving as I am.  May I lift up my requests to You with heartfelt passion.  In Your Holy name I pray, Amen – It Is So!

CHRISTLife — Chapter 15: Knowing My Need

CLfridaygraphicBefore Christ, I was “spiritually dead, defiled, disobedient, and deceived.” I was “empty, enslaved, and self-willed.” Then at the age of six, I knelt at an altar of prayer, and those things were washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it’s true, I was all those ugly things. Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:10, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;” No matter at what age you got saved, I know you are saying with me, “Praise God, He saved me from all of that and so much more!”

However, I am still needy. How about you? In our flesh we are still prone toward “doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, ESV). As humans we still have our limitations, and we still sin. So we must continually “acknowledge our deep need for God and cast away our self-centered pride.” God can only work in us when we admit that we are His child, and as a child we are dependent on Him to care for us and help us in our weaknesses. Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Even though we have many wonderful qualities, we can’t take personal credit and think too highly of ourselves. Instead, we must see that it is not by our works but by His mercy that we do anything good.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 NLT

If we never had any needs—emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually—we would never realize just how needy we are for God. He created us for Himself. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness….’”

Adam and Eve spent time in God’s presence. But as I think about them, I’m not sure they truly understood their need for Him until they had sinned and realized they weren’t “presentable” anymore.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He (Adam) replied, “I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Genesis 3:8-10 NLT

After God told Adam and Eve how their sin would affect their lives from then on, He forgave them and, through the sacrifice of animals (Genesis 3:21), He provided for their need. Life wasn’t easy (verses 22-24), but the good news is that it kept them humble and in relationship with Him.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people.
Psalm 69:33 ESV

He stands beside the needy, ready to save them.
Psalm 109:31 NLT

The more we study God’s Word and spend time with Him, the more we will recognize our shortcomings and our great need for Him to reign in our lives. We will find our help is in the Lord, as God tells us in Isaiah 41:17-20, “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.”

As pride is gotten under control, God doesn’t want us to think too lowly of ourselves either. David said (Psalm 40:17 NLT) that even though he was needy—God was thinking about him! Please meditate on this Scripture because it shows us just how significant we actually are to our Father God. He is thinking about you and me!

Yes, we are needy. I know I personally need more love, more patience, more self-control, more—you name it. As I grow in God’s Word, I will see how He is providing for me, protecting me, guiding and guarding me. I will see more clearly how much He loves me. How about you? Have you taken time to see your needs? Have you looked into God’s Word to see how much He wants to help you? Do you know today that God loves you, my friend, and He wants only His best for you? That’s His message to you right now. Our Lord is saying to you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

May these Scriptures be your heart cry today:

The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:19 NLT

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.
With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to Your name forever, for Your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Psalms 86:11-13 NLT

Whom have I in Heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth.
Psalm 73:25 NLT

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Dear Lord and Savior of our souls, thank You for loving us beyond our comprehension. Thank You for loving us enough to save us. Thank You for continuing to show us Your love by revealing to us our areas of weakness so we will repent, be forgiven, and become more like You. We acknowledge our need for You. May we always hunger and thirst for You, Lord, for You promise to answer us and never abandon us. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name, Amen.