Sundays were always a day I looked forward to growing up, because it would mean attending church. Sunday mornings would be for Sunday School followed by the actual church service with the whole congregation coming together to hear one sermon. My church was definitely one of a kind and I have never found another that can even come close to comparing. It has actually caused me a lot of aggravation and sadness, now that I’m older and living in another state, that I cannot find a church that lives up to my standards and idea of what a church is or can be. Our church was small, but close-knit. It was like a second family for me. Of course not every one person will get along wonderfully in any kind of group, but for the majority I felt we all truly cared for one another. Also, not everyone in a church is non-judgmental, but that also shows they are not extending their faith in the correct way. If you ever encounter people like that in a church while you’re visiting or even outside of a church, please don’t assume that everyone in that church or anyone that associates with that person is the same. Don’t let one or two cracked eggs ruin the whole dozen!
So, as I am older and living in another state I did not grow up in, I find it difficult to find that kind of church family again. People who welcome you with open arms and love you for who you are and want to help you grow in your faith. Since I have yet to find a church family, I often listen to sermons online from a church I used to attend back home…not one I was a member of and not my original church, but one I did enjoy going to. Today I listened to the beginning of a sermon series on prayer and the importance of it in our lives. I always like to share the message I received with others, so you can guess what this blog will be about!
Many of us believe in praying. We pray before meals, we pray before traveling, we pray when we have problems in our lives…but are we truly putting ourselves into those prayers, or just going through the motions? Are we sincere or has our prayer life become more of a tradition than anything else? Most of us have all learned a prayer or two as a child. “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food, Amen!” “As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” We all have learned those prayers or some versions of those prayers and have even memorized our own unique family prayers for bed time and meal times. I am not knocking any child’s prayers or saying we shouldn’t hand those down, but there comes a point in our lives where we need to break free from the routine prayer and speak more from our hearts. God isn’t interested in big words and fancy speech, He is more concerned about sincerity, honesty and humility. In other words, He craves us to be REAL with Him. He knows everything about us, but He wants us to come to Him and express our concerns or thankfulness. Of course He knows how we feel, but He wants to hear it from us!
Prayer plays a tremendous role in our lives; more than we give it credit for. Prayer can determine the level we rise in all areas of our lives. We can only go as far as our prayers take us. Prayer should be taken seriously and it should make a difference in our daily lives. When we treat prayer as some sort of tradition, we aren’t letting it make a difference in our lives after the prayer is over. Prayer should be of great importance and a top priority in our lives and after we pray it should change how we go about our days; it should impact how we interact with others, how we approach our problems and how we live life in general! It should be helping us grow as a person and also grow in our faith.
Taking the act of prayer seriously allows us not to lose heart. When we lose heart we want to just give up and give in and this is something that pleases Satan! He would love for that to happen to us! If Satan can get us to lose heart, he can get us to doubt and in turn lose faith, which makes him closer to his goal of destroying the gospel! Steal, kill and destroy, that’s what Satan wants to do. Prayer enables us to not only identify Satan in our lives, but it can help us to evade and escape from whatever he is attempting to do in our lives. It shines a light on his deceitfulness!
As I have blogged about before, prayer had helped me (and still does) during my extreme anxiety break downs. I always say I believe in the power of prayer! When we pray we should believe our own words and that God is there to hear us and answer our prayers according to His will and what is best for our lives. I’ll be the first to say that unanswered prayers can sometimes be the biggest blessings! It doesn’t mean we weren’t heard, it means God said no because He had something better for you and your life. We cannot see it at the time, so we wonder why God isn’t listening to us…but He is! Now anxiety and worry can consume us! We are in a constant fight whether we want to be or not and the enemy keeps on attacking; he’s relentless! We experience more worry and stress due to our wanting to be in control and believing we are in ultimate control of our lives. We take on all of our issues alone and forget that our God waits for us to bring that baggage to Him! We shouldn’t be carrying any of our own baggage! We should be going to God in prayer and handing it all over to Him to handle. He isn’t like a friend who says vent and unload to me and then they too become overwhelmed; He can truly carry your burdens now just as He did at the cross! He wants to take that weight from us and allow us to breathe easier and stress less. When we go to God in prayer we shouldn’t give Him our problems only to take then right back after we’re done praying; we should have faith that when we give those things to God, He is solving our problems for us and we no longer have to worry about them. It’s not saying to never come to Him over the same concerns, but we should believe that He is working for us! We don’t have to fight alone; God is our strength!
Prayer will allow us to become closer to God and that is a huge reason we should make a point to make prayer a point! Let prayer be a part of you and your daily life! Come to Him with words from your heart and not just words of tradition or routine. Come to Him in good times and bad. Prayer isn’t just about coming to God in times of need, but also coming to Him with thankfulness of all He has blessed you with! I pray that all of us take charge of our prayer lives and make prayer an important habit that we treat with respect. Let us not just go through the motions, but really put our whole hearts into our prayers to God. I pray even families start a prayer time together and put emphasis on the subject. May we all grow closer to God through our prayer life!
Much love and God Bless!