Sunday, June 14, 2009

Prayer - is it always our last resort?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16-18

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints Eph. 6:18

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:5-7

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt. 6:33

I've come to realize lately how many times I make praying my last resort instead of my first response. It is only after trying everything else under the sun to fix a problem or get thru a situation that I finally throw my hands up and cry out to God for help and mercy. How much frustration and failure would I be avoiding if I just "prayed continually" throughout my day?Or how many times do I pray about something but don't get the answer I want or in "my' timing so I go about doing it "my" way still? We should be praying each morning when we rise that what we choose to do that day will put us in line with what God would have us do. And then continue praying throughout the day in all things.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I love this passage because it reminds me that I am a mere sheep and how desperately I need my Shepherd to guide me and protect me from the "slaughter". We can get ourselves in a heep of trouble if we don't stay close to our Shepherd each and every day. And that involves continual prayer and being in the Word.

In the end, His ways are much higher than ours and His wisdom is always perfect. If I go along life trying to do it all myself, I will most definitely screw everything up, keep myself unprotected, and ultimately have a disaster on my hands. But praise God, by His Spirit, I can pray in accordance to His will if I choose to seek Him first over all things, and walk in freedom and victory in every situation. That, I believe, is where "giving thanks in all circumstances" can be a reality...when we know we've prayed throughout our day and that we have put ourselves under the guidance and protection of our Shepherd.

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