Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 10- Praying My Way Into Full Faith

THIS IS IT YA'LL. (I'm going to start posting a hyperlink somewhere in my posts that will take you directly to Jerry's sermon archive. You will be able to recognize it by the different text color.. or I might just tell you)

I struggle with prayer. If God's will shall be done regardless, if he's already written our life story, the ending, WHY DOES HE CALL ME TO PRAY FOR SOMETHING THAT HE'S ALREADY DECIDED TO DO?!

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." 

Romans 8:26
"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!" 

Psalm 4:1

{If only, we need to be praying to receive help in our weakness and allow the Lord to give us relief when in distress. We may not think he hears us, but he totally does.}

I have struggled with that for YEARS. Until recently.... it clicked. I have had many Biblical discussion with 3 of my best friends over the
years... Emily Nunnelee Thompson is the one who has shed light on so much for me (please don't hurt me for saying your name again, but you deserve prayer too). We don't pray for our will to be done, we pray for God's will to become our will. She has told me that as many times as I can remember. She doesn't like it when I tell her this, but I look up to her in so many different ways... friendship, how to treat others, how to handle tough situations, how to gracefully handle the happy situations, how to make a friend- even though she has more than enough "everyone could use one more friend"- how to react to things period and most importantly how to show the love of Christ to others through her daily life. I am so PROUD to call her my best friend. She was my matron of honor, and I was a bridezilla to the max, but she never faltered, calmed me down and reminded me "it's going to be fine!" I hope everyone has an Emily, because I ain't releasin' her from my clutches ANY time soon. Her husband is in seminary in Washington, DC and it's been tough having her so far away.... good news though... HE GRADUATES IN MAY AND THEY'RE MOVING BACK TO MISSISSIPPI.
Emily has recently gone through struggles of her own, her dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor last June. Shortly after his diagnosis she was thrilled to announce her pregnancy with a sweet baby boy- Mack. He is due in April. Sadly, Mr. Alan passed away in February. She has been such a strong pillar as she's processing her own struggles of dealing with his death and yet she's still managing to help me cope with my mom's cancer. She's an example of a selfless Christian lady and a true reflection of Christ. Her parents raised a magnificent Christian human being that I am fortunate enough and even more thankful to have the privilege to call her my best friend.

Tori Gaskin is over here with me right now and we are doing our devotion together... well she's trying to study and I keep talking... but that's her word against mine. We just got into a discussion regarding prayer, because I don't understand why I have to pray. Maybe that's me being bitter... who are we kidding? Maybe nothing- IT IS BECAUSE I'M BITTER. We just spent the last 15 minutes compiling a list of reasons why we are called to pray... here they are:

"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." 

Psalm 145:18 

Because it is supposed to be as easy as breathing, there's no excuse why we shouldn't (which we need oxygen to live, so prayer=life):
  • To overcome demonic barriers (Satan is all up in my grill constantly) 
  • To strengthen OTHERS spiritually 
  • To act out our faith in Christ 
  • To remain in the Father's will for our lives 
  • To act out God's will here on Earth 
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." 

1 John 5:14-15

Sometimes God delays his answer in our requests to him for our own benefit in order for us to remain faithful and persistent in prayer. You don't only go to God in prayer when you want something to go your way, a special request granted, to pass a test or your parents to buy you a new car. You also don't only go to him when bad things are happening, someone is sick, you are laid off from your job or a relationship is destroyed. Doesn't mean I don't want my mom to be healed, but I have to consistently walk with the Lord in prayer.... praying at all times- during the good and the bad- which can hard. You wither want to pray when it's good (or not pray at all because it's good) or pray for the Lord to assist you in a difficult time and then it's all "thanks for the help God, it was real, catch ya next time I need you" like no. Just. No. Spending time in prayer will strengthen our relationship in Christ and I believe give us some insight on how to pray so that we can act out God's will here on here and remain in his will.

If we lack to consistently pray for both the good and the bad and only when hard times hit:
  • It demonstrates a lack of faith in God 
  • It demonstrates a lack of faith in God's word 
  • It demonstrates a lack of trust in God 
  • It demonstrates a lack of trust in God's word 
  • It makes us more susceptible to demonic influences 
  • It allows us to stray from the Father's will that he has for our lives 
"Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints," 

Ephesians 6:18

Now that me and Tori have thoroughly exhausted our discussion on the complicated subject of prayer, she is dragging me away to clean.... which should have begun over 2 hours ago. OOPS.

In conclusion, this is how we summed up today's lesson at the kitchen table,

<<Prayer increases our faith, our trust in him, gives us confidence that He is who He says he is and because Christ prayed we should strive to be in his likeness.>> 

"Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”" 

Luke 11:1

~~~I mean, I know I want to be like Jesus. So my recent prayer has been for him to teach me to pray. As Jerry would say, "simple as that"~~~
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<------Special thanks to my guest co-writer today, Tori Gaskin. Her words of wisdom are unmatched to mine alone.

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