Are You There, God? Day 1- Prayer
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24, ESV)
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV)
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, ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16, ESV)
Prayer—the greatest privilege we have as believers, giving us the ability to enter into the presence of God and make our petitions known to Him. Christians pray. Unbelievers even pray when faced with dire circumstances. We ask others to pray for us when we need help or direction. Our prayers are based on the hope that God will not only hear us but act on our behalf. Sometimes, though, it seems like our prayers hit the ceiling and go no further than the air that surrounds us. That can be frustrating and may even cause us to doubt that God cares for us. Maybe you’ve been there, like me.
Many of us pray about little things—things that seem small and unimportant in the grand scale of life. We may pray for a close parking spot on a rainy day. We may pray for sunshine so we can cut the lawn. We may pray that the dog won’t bark at a passing stranger (almost guaranteed not to be granted in my case). These are considered small requests that likely don’t put us on our knees and they are offered without the emotions that are involved in our bigger prayers.
Then we have those moments that steal our breath: an accident, a seriously ill child, a betrayal, a bleak diagnosis, a pregnancy on the brink of loss, physical danger or a sexual assault. These prayers are not small and insignificant—our very life may hang in the balance and we cry out to the Lord with an impassioned prayer. Emotions are heavily involved and considerable thought is given to the power of the One we are praying to.
Small prayers and impassioned prayers are part of the heartbeat of our love relationship with our heavenly Father. It’s such a blessing that we can truly take all things to Him in prayer, but it can also cause us confusion when it seems that He doesn’t answer. Does He not care? Does He not hear me? When will He move on my behalf? Why does God sometimes allow the thing we prayed wouldn’t happen to happen? We are told to come boldly to the throne of grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16), and yet there are attitudes and situations in our own life that hinder our prayers. That’s what this study is about.
As we look at prayer this week, we will discuss issues in our lives that may be keeping God from moving on our behalf. While prayer is a privilege enjoyed by all of God’s children, we have a responsibility as we approach Him with our requests. Oftentimes we feel discouraged and want to place blame on God for not doing what we’ve asked in prayer. The truth is that the blame will never fall on Him—never. So as we work through this study this week, I hope each one of us will do some investigating in our own hearts and spirits. What have I allowed to come between myself and God that could be hindering my prayer life? For me, it is very searching as I write this, knowing I face many struggles in my own prayers and my connection with the Father. May each of us truly be willing to examine ourselves and remove the barriers that lie between our impassioned pleas and God’s moving to answer them.