February 1, 2012

Pray without ceasing

Even breathing seems an effort these days due to meds that make me “extremely drowsy.” I don’t want to talk or do much else that involves effort. Yesterday even praying was hard work. I talked to God feeling that I should, not because I wanted to. But isn’t that greater reason to pray? This verse from today’s devotional is God’s encouragement to keep at it.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
Prayer can be for my own needs, yet from the calls and emails received yesterday, many are praying for me. Instead, my prayer list is filled with the names of those who need my prayers for them.

A huge priority is prayer for my cousin. Her daughter died yesterday, her granddaughters are left without a mother. I cannot imagine the sorrow and grief in this family. My heart is aching for them, yet I know that God can comfort and sustain them in this dark and dreadful time.

Two of my own children have had surgery in the past couple of weeks. There are many who have physical, mental, and spiritual needs including family, friends, our church, missionary friends, and so many in the world around me. It is no wonder that God says to pray without ceasing. However, our needs are not the only reason to talk to God. Prayer honors and recognizes His grace and power. It expresses confidence that He is able to help us. To not pray is almost the same as saying, “I can do this myself.”

Instead of pridefully going it alone, prayer relies on God to guide and direct our thinking, calm our emotions, put right desires in our hearts. He can make us bold in obedience, confident in trials, resilient in temptation. He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). In Christ, we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). Prayer acknowledges His power; it also admits my weakness.

The physical weakness of these days ought to remind me of my spiritual weakness. Just as my body is lethargic and without zest, so also is my spirit apart from the life of Jesus Christ in me. While His life is far from dormant, God is ‘polite’ in that He waits for me to ask Him to take charge of things, to fill me and give me what is needed to do His will. This even includes the desire, the willingness, the strength just to talk to Him in prayer.

Lord, I confess my slowness to pray, even the lack of wanting to pray. Help me with this. I don’t want to let my weakness be an excuse when it should be a reason. How silly that sounds, particularly because You promise renewed strength to those who wait on You. Besides my own needs, there are needy people all around. I have many reasons to pray, many people to pray for. Yet prayer is more than bringing You my list. It honors You as the One who can change lives, meet needs, hear concerns. You care about us and have shown your care over and over. Prayer is my connection to You, my Creator and Sustainer, Savior and Friend. It also admits that without You, I am totally helpless.

No comments: