WHEN PRAYER IS OVERWHELMING

This morning when I set my heart to pray I was overwhelmed with all the things in my world that needed prayer. Some things I had been praying for so long, I groaned at doing it again. Some things seemed so huge and impossible, I groaned at the inconceivability of an answer. Some things so desperate, I groaned in helplessness.

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. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

But, I was before the Throne of Grace. I was where prayers, no matter how long they have been prayed, no matter how huge and desperate are answered. Overwhelmed, but aware of where I was, I laid it all down at the Throne and asked for God’s will to be done. In humbleness and helplessness is where glory intersects human need.

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In the midst of writing this post, I got word that a specific prayer from yesterday was answered yesterday. So, when I am overwhelmed, it is good to go before the Throne of Grace, where help, grace, and hope are found, and in humbleness and helplessness remember how God has answer prayer upon prayer and if all I can get out is Your will be done Jesus, that is enough.

We are loved!

WE’RE MOVING! WE’RE MOVING?

“Sarai!” Abram ran into the courtyard shouting, “Where’s Sarai?”

A slave bowed and said, “She is in the back, Master.”

Abram ran to the back of the house, still shouting Sarai’s name.

Startled, Sarai turned. “What is it? What has happened?”

Abram, as always, was struck by her beauty as she looked at him.

He grabbed her hands, “Sarai, we’re moving!”

“Abram, what are you talking about? Moving where?”

Abram laughed. “I don’t know. But, God spoke to me, Sarai. To me! He said, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land I will show you.’”

Astounded, Sarai stared at him. All she could get out was, “Which god?”

“The one true God. He said to go because He is going to bless me and make a great nation out of me.”

“So … let me get this straight, Abram, my beloved husband. This God, who we have never heard of, said for you to pack up and move, to destination unknown, so he could make you king over some great country and you said okay?”

“Of course!”

“Abram, listen to yourself. Were you out in the sun too long again?”

“No.” Abram smiled at her. “I understand Sarai, that you don’t understand. But Sarai this one true God revealed Himself to me. I know Him. I want you to know Him too.”

He kissed her lightly on the forehead. “So, go pack!”

I have used my “sanctified imagination” to create this conversation between Abram and Sarai (later to be called Abraham and Sarah) that would have happened somewhere at the end of Genesis 11 or 12

I have always admired Sarah. She is, after all, listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 11:11).

Sarah considered God faithful to do what He said he would do: take away her barrenness.

Are you trusting God today to do something for you? Something you have cried out to Him to do?

Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. Our God is faithful.

Sarah may have thought Abraham was crazy at first, but she came to know the God of Abraham somewhere along the way and trusted that He would give her a son. But when we first meet her as Sarai, she is an idol worshipper with a crazy husband, or so she must have thought.

God called Sarah to leave her good life, family, and go to a land far, far away.

Is He calling you to something hard, scary, or just plain crazy?

Trust Him, dear sister. Our God hears and does and always has a plan.

PRAYER STRUGGLES

Sadly, too many Christians feel the hardest thing they do is pray.

Am I alone in this? No, I didn’t think so.

Why should this be?

Isn’t prayer our duty? Shouldn’t it be the joy of our lives? After all, an old Puritan said, “Prayer is the breath of a regenerate soul.”

Christ gives us the privilege of coming before the throne of grace and voicing all our requests, cares, concerns, yes, and even complaints and we are guaranteed help in time of trouble (Hebrews 4:16). And isn’t all of life trouble to some measure?

Then, why is it so hard?

It is hard, dear Christian sister, because we are involved in a spiritual battle that is raging without and within. The world, the flesh, and the devil, battle against us to keep us from the One who loves us.

I am convinced most of us, most of the time, aren’t aware of the spiritual conflict that wages against us.

Paul understood it. He outlines our battle plan from The Commander-in-Chief.

Put on the whole armor of God: Ephesians 6:10-17.

Once armored up, ready for battle, your orders are: Ephesians 6:18.

Pray at all times in the Spirit
With all prayers and supplications
With all perseverance
For all the saints

So Sister, armor up! Prepare for battle. The Spirit helps you pray (Romans 8:26). You are not alone in the battle. Jesus has already won the war and He said we are more than conquerors through Him (Romans 8:37)!

Pray with me. Struggle through it. You will win battles. God is listening.

He is a God who hears and does!

You are loved

PRODIGALS

I am always moved to tears when I read Romans 9: 1-2.

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

Paul is sorrowful and in anguish in his heart. Anguish isn’t a word used much today. Deep-gutted agony is a good definition. Paul is even swearing to it, in case someone goes, “Sure, Paul. Right.” He is serious about people believing him.

Hang on … this is the apostle who said, “Rejoice always.” He indicates this sorrow stays. What could cause him such great anguish?

It is the lostness of his kinsmen according to the flesh, his fellow Jews.

He goes on in the next verses to say his sorrow is so great that if he could, he would give them his place in heaven. His heart breaks over their separation from the Messiah, Jesus.

Are you in anguish over your family? Are you sorrowful over your neighbors? Is your heart broken over your UPS driver? My husband weeps over our UPS driver.

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Ruth Bell Graham did. In her book, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, she wrote a poem to share her anguish.

If I Could Stand Aside

If I could stand aside
and see
him walking through
Those Splendor’d Gates
thrown wide,
instead of me –
If I could yield my place
to this, my boy,
the tears upon my upturned face
would be
of joy!

That is the heart of a mother praying for her children.

I know it is impossible. I know all the theological responses to that sentiment. That is not the point.

The point is a heart like Jesus, who wept over Jerusalem. It is a heart that mourns for people who don’t know their Creator and Redeemer. It is a heart that cares about people’s final destiny.

Have you great sorrow and anguish in your heart for your loved ones?

Where does the rejoicing come in? God who alone can change hearts is the God who sees and hears and does!

Lay them down at Jesus’ feet. Ask the Great Shepard of the sheep to go seek them.

Lay it all down at the Cross.

You are loved.

Evil Days?

I love Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotionals. This morning Mr. Spurgeon was writing on Jeremiah 17:17.

Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.

Mr. Spurgeon used the King James version, so I will too. He focused on the last part of the verse.

My thoughts.

It seems now all the days are evil. I have been quarantined for 45 days. It’s no good listening to the news, everyone is saying something different. Who can you believe? The media has proven themselves liars. Politicians prove themselves liars everyday. Doctors are struggling to understand. And the American people are getting tired of it all.

The days are evil indeed. But, can we joyfully lie down in green pastures and walk besides the still waters and not with the same peace walk in the desert and under the storm clouds?

Peter said, God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Paul agreed when He said all things are ours (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21-22).

Based on all that, my prayer this morning.

Lord,

Let me avail myself of your force and energy through the Spirit for my journey toward Home. Whatever my circumstances may I run with You and not grow weary; walk with You and not faint. Amen, Jesus!