We have been listening this last week on news channels and in clips a lot about prayer. This person states they pray for that person and that person doesn’t believe it because of the other person’s deeds toward them. In the middle of all this many people are left with a “sour taste” in their mouths when it comes to “religion” and prayer!
One of the things I have been noticing for months is a statement from liberals all over that we are involved in a CULTURE WAR and this seems to be their cry to war! In essence and in truth, they are absolutely right. Especially here in the United States of America, even though many of our allies are going through it within their own nations.
The past is history, but it is still factual. Despite our alliances today for instance, our country, the United States was founded on religious freedom from a “state run” or nation-dictated religion. We were founded on religious AND Biblical principles (not always the same) that gave our citizens the right to worship God Almighty the way they individually saw fit. It was, in the beginning of this country based on the worship of the God recognized by the Bible account.
Even our Constitution is based on Biblical principles and it is evidenced by the signing of it’s precepts by an almost unanimous number of orthodox fundamental Christian believers. The “culture war” though has been going on AND growing for quite a number of years and it is being fought AGAINST those very foundational Biblical principles!
A recent democratic candidate who ran for President of the United (and lost, Praise God) made this very public statement:
“deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to allow women access to “reproductive health care” – which was widely seen as a call to change views on abortion.
The then governor of Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal made this rebuttal in a statement, “people who are pro-life have to change our religious beliefs. That’s crazy talk. This is why the fight for religious freedom is so important. Our religious beliefs are between us and God,” he said. “The Left want to socially engineer everyone to adhere to their leftwing ideology even if it’s in violation of a person’s sincerely held religious convictions.” 
For those of you who have read your Bibles, you will see this is the very same thing that has happened to the early Jewish people as written many times in the Old Testament. They turned from God and started worshipping other gods and idols and when they did, they were judged for it until they repented and turned back to God. The Jewish people are God’s chosen people, His children!
Yes, we who are IN Christ Jesus have been grafted into Abraham’s family through faith and are brothers and sisters with the Jewish people but here is my point; if God’s chosen nation was judged for turning its back on God more than once, what makes us as a nation founded on God’s Word and Biblical principles think that we can and will escape judgement just the same?
Our Heavenly Father IS a loving God, alright, but He is ALSO a just God, one who is Holy and righteous and does not allow or make excuses for any sinfulness and especially in direct defiance to Himself and His Word!
So I have laid all this out to lead us to this point; why pray? Especially if you are one who wants to put forth the idea and doctrine that God’s ways and commands are archaic and no longer have any relevance in today’s world? Why would you pray and just who are you praying too and for what are you praying?
This may sound harsh to some; well, the truth when it hits home can hurt, but then it was meant to wake up our minds and spirit! The truth was meant to cause us to reflect and to take stock of where we are and where we have come! So you say you pray; so what? Does your life reflect your prayers? I’ve heard leaders who are pushing an agenda based on obvious hate and in-turned bitterness and yet they say with their lips that they don’t HATE anyone. In the next breath, they say no one is going to tell them what prayer means and especially the person they deem is evil and corrupt! That sounds to me like the description of a reprobate, morally corrupt and depraved mind. Reminds me of what the Apostle James writes concerning the double-minded person.
“Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:5-8.
Now I know from many, many years of praying and interceding for others, asking requests as well as praising and thanking God, that prayer, when you truly pray, it changes your very life and in ways you aren’t always aware of! Prayer is simply put, communion, fellowship with God Almighty, our Heavenly Father!
One of the greatest joys of married life that I have had was when my wife’s dad used to get up early in the mornings and sit in this old, overstuffed green chair, have his coffee and listen quietly to the radio. It was during a time when Sue and I lived in the upstairs apartment with our boys and I would get up, fix myself some coffee and go down and sit in the couch adjacent to him, my father-in-law. Sometimes we didn’t say a lot, we just sad and enjoyed the radio, the coffee and the company. Other times, we would sit and talk quietly about whatever came to mind.
My wife’s dad didn’t always agree with my take on things and though he was my elder, I didn’t always agree with him, but we both listened to each other. We took in what each other was saying, listening and sometimes commenting. He accepted that I was growing up into my own. When advice was needed, he gave it, freely without expecting anything in return. I listened during those times and often took to heart what his many years of experience he was sharing with me. Sometimes I acted on his advice and had great outcomes. Sometimes I didn’t act and things still worked out okay, but there was a relationship that grew closer than any relationship I had developed with any other adult of that time period.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. We can come before Him, just as ourselves; no pretenses. The Bible tells us we can come BOLDLY before Him. (Hebrews 4:16). In other words, without fear or doubt of how He will accept us. We can sit before Him comfortably and just be in His presence, waiting to hear from Him, or just basking in that Presence. We can converse with Him without fear of Him pushing us aside because we are so immature. He ACCEPTS us as His child, just the way we are! Where the change comes from is when we listen to Him, we get to see how He thinks and the things He loves. We get familiar with His Character; and yes, we get to know what He doesn’t approve of, but always with the Hand of Love when dealing with us!
Those times of sitting with my father-in-law developed within me a confidence. It was a confidence that I could be myself no matter what others thought of me. It was an important lesson for me, someone who was very introverted at first and wanted to do whatever it took to make people like me. That confidence, and relating it to how our Heavenly Father looked upon me, gave me what was necessary to proceed with a ministry that I had a heart for but was told by others could never be! My father-in-law didn’t always agree with me on things and let me know it, but he also never told me that I couldn’t do something that my heart told me was possible. Because of him, I had a totally different outlook of what my Heavenly Father was like in relation to me as His child.
Prayer does that! It changes you, it gives you a more perfect outlook, not just on who our Heavenly Father is, His Character and Nature, but also on life itself. We get a different view of the world as well. By sitting in His presence we genuinely get a sense of what He is pleased with and what He is not. BUT – it takes sitting IN His presence and opening yourself up to Him. You talk with Him yes, just like your best friend, but you also listen to Him, because AS your Best Friend, He is the Wisest and most Loving friend you will ever have!
As you get closer to your Heavenly Father, and as you become more open and more intimate with Him, you can’t help but at least START to adopt some of His Character traits; after all, you WERE made in His Image! You start to have some of the same desires as Him; not wanting people to perish, but to have abundant lives. You desire others to share in His Joy, to gain strength FROM that Joy. You even start to see your personal enemies in a new light. Don’t misunderstand me; you don’t compromise with them, but you see them more and more as God sees them; wayward children searching for truth, wanting what real Agape love affords, OR you see those who are petulant and whole-heartedly rejecting God and what He has to offer. Either way, it opens your eyes on how to pray for different ones!
If you are going to tell someone that you are praying for them, does it reflect the Love, Patience and Compassion that our Heavenly Father has for His creation? There is none of us who are perfect or has arrived yet. Not one of us. We are awaiting the ONE Who is perfect to come and it appears it may be very soon with the state of the world the way it is.
Do we abandon prayer because it looks as if there is no hope, or do we believe in the Sovereignty and Unconditional Love of a Creator and Heavenly Father Whose desire is that none perish, though we know that some will of their own free-will? We pray for ALL, for that is what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. Never give up hope until we are with Him at last and the truth is fully revealed.
The greatest form or act of unconditional love, besides actually dying for someone else, is to die to self and give them some of your time in prayer. When you do that, there will be NO appearance of evil and hate for that is the kind of love that transforms us, more and more and closer to the image of our Heavenly Father!
I’m going to continue with a second part on the Transformative Power of Prayer and give some tips that could help with a successful prayer life. For now, MY prayer is that God Blesses you abundantly in every way according to His will!!