My Prayer Journal – February 2015
Prayer has eternal consequences. It seems simple yet is at times hard. It is supernatural, but available freely to us because of what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. It is the grace of God. He exposes our hearts and by his power enables change. It is often waiting, waiting and waiting, but not without hope. Through prayer our strength is beautifully restored. It is the quiet within a storm and the direction in the desert. The intimate communion that enables us to continually walk with our heavenly Father. It dispels pride and places our hand directly into the hand of the Saviour. Our Father reminds us that we are not alone. His one and only Son in whose name we pray even intercedes on our behalf. He understands. Prayer is God’s provision for sinners to seek the divine power to live a righteous life in Christ. Prayer helps produce in us the love of God, who loved us first. The culmination of his saving work finished by Jesus, who fulfilled the Law in himself. Prayer is miraculous. It is God’s generous gift to his people, where we can come boldly before the throne of grace. Hallelujah!
Pray to the Father
As I sit near my window, the sun begins to rise. I glance at an envelope placed on the table. It contains one of the letters swiftly produced on behalf of the government. It is a copy of the one written by the prime minister, affirming the importance of staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak. How personal it seems to receive a letter (along with the rest of the country!) with Downing Street’s address. How much more personal to receive God’s Word, the Bible. The address is Heaven, the signature is our Father’s, the very words our Saviour’s. My day begins by reading my favourite passage in all of Scripture; John 17. For my prayer is that my heart would be aligned with Jesus’ prayer.
Pray for ourselves
During lockdown, my children and I have spent more time in our garden. We admired the beauty of one tree in particular. My daughter noticed that the buds reminded her of the coronavirus under the microscope! So, we decided to ask loved ones for one prayer request for themselves and one for someone else so that we could be in prayer for them. We followed this up by writing our prayers on leaves and placing them on the tree as a reminder to remain faithful in prayer. It was interesting to see most responses were loving requests to pray for others. I have struggled in the past to know how to ask people to pray specifically for me, despite the increasing list of needs! I deemed that I was being too self-focussed. But this is not what Jesus teaches us in John 17.
Jesus was drawing near to the excruciating, sacrificial death he would face so that we would not have to. He needed the strength and power to complete the mission set out for him by his Father. May we also look towards Heaven and pray as Jesus taught us from verse 4: ‘I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.’ We must make praying for ourselves a daily habit, so that in Jesus, we may take up our crosses daily and receive his strength. Let’s pray the words that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, recorded by Luke, ‘not my will, Father, but yours be done.’
Pray for the church
One of the most intimate times of prayerful union I have ever experienced was at one of my previous fellowships in Cairo. Brothers and sisters from Egypt, the Middle East and beyond would gather to pray through the whole night once a month. Prayers were focussed and fervent. I was praying with the Body of Christ, many of whom were from the persecuted church from across the Arab world. I learnt so much of Jesus’ heart from the prayers that were prayed. Cries from those who truly knew what it was to ‘face trials of many kinds’ and yet were still able to see the glory given to Jesus and receive the same glory that he prayed for us all, recorded in John 17.
Pray for the lost
When God accepts a sinner, he is, in fact, only accepting Christ. He looks into the sinner’s eyes, and he sees his own dear Son’s image there, and he takes him in.
Charles Spurgeon’s quote always encourages me. It helps me picture the Father, seeing his precious Son when he looks at me, a sinner. This brings so much peace and comfort knowing God’s overwhelming mercy.
We are saved by grace and grace alone, by the righteous act of Jesus at the cross. Yet, I am consciously aware of the prayers of the saints, who prayed I would turn in repentance and bow the knee to Jesus.
May our hearts be humble in prayer when we pray for the lost, recalling the condition we once were in before the Son of Man came to seek and save us.
Pray as a child
I often feel I learn more from my children than they learn from me. It is no wonder that Jesus rebuked his disciples for trying to prevent the children drawing near to him. When my own children and those in Sunday School pray, I am humbled as they talk to our Father without any ‘airs or graces’, yet without decreasing reverence for the Lord. I am reminded that the Father loves it when we take ourselves away to pray as Jesus did and to pray sincerely with faith like a child.
Pray as our Saviour taught
Our Saviour summed up what our heart’s desire should be in prayer in Matthew 6 verse 9. He lifted his voice to his Father in Heaven and honoured his glorious name. ‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.’
As the Father’s kingdom continues to be extended under his will and authority, may we too follow the model Jesus laid out when we pray. As we enter into communion with God, may his Word be used to direct and prompt us. Praying strategically and with focus, drawing on Jesus’ words under the Spirit’s power. Scripture helps us to remain at the centre of his will as we pray.
Pray with thanksgiving
Let us give thanks, that Jesus prayed so earnestly and so personally for you and for me during that night in Gethsemane. How awesome to be reminded that Jesus continues to make intercession for us today. Hallelujah!