I apologize for my silence. I was having computer problems and had to take it in to the shop. I still was online--on my Kindle Fire but couldn't face the thought of writing a blog post with a stylus. So fortunately all is now well and I can now catch up here.
Yesterday I had the experience of an intense prayer time....and I felt heavily burdened to pray about certain things on my heart. I began to pray---aloud---and just speaking the words to God seemed to double their impact. It also kept me grounded....it is much easier to focus on a verbal sentence than a mental one. Years ago, when I was so intensely involved in intercessory prayer, I often spoke my prayers. I don't know why I stopped. There are decent chunks of time when I am alone in the house, so that is no excuse. I plan to continue in this verbal mode.
I am still making use of the prayer beads. It is still the 'GOD beads' which are the most important to me. This is the first 7 beads where I ask God daily to give me a peek at who he is in light of my current circumstances...and almost always does he use different descriptors to 'explain himself' to me....to let me see him as he is and as he is immediately involved in working in my life and in the lives of those around me. This is to say that it is via prayer that we have the incredible gift of the ability to know God intimately. This---more than any other thing--is the most compelling reason we have to pray. Prayer is conversation. It involves more listening than it does speaking. It is a discipline we need to learn, to recognize the voice of God through all of the other voices around us and in us....and to quiet our hearts until it is even possible to hear him.
I have been more and more greatly impressed to pray. Things pile up on my heart and I must lay them at the feet of Jesus or fall down crushed by their weight. I don't know what I would do without prayer. In my 20's I didn't pray (except for the one sentence; 'God if you know everything, then you know that I am really mad at you!') and I was a miserable, wretched person. I had nowhere to take the weight of sadness, worry, confusion, and fear that was strangling my heart. And it very nearly killed me.
Twenty times a day or more, situations arise or things are burdening my heart and I am driven to the feet of Jesus where I relinquish these weighty concerns into the pierced hands of Jesus. If it is a burden of guilt, Jesus reminds me of the blood that is waiting to blot out the mark of my sin on my heart....the blood he already poured out on Calvary. If it is a worry, then gratefully I hand it over and make a conscious, deliberate decision to trust him with it and not to take it back onto my shoulders once I have handed it to him. If it is love that drives me to his feet, then that too, he takes and works his best on the behalf of the ones I am praying for. Nothing happens in my life that is not either an answer to prayer or a reason for prayer. And nothing comes to me from the hand of God that I do not gratefully tell him 'Thank you, Jesus!'--that last point is so very important. Ten lepers were healed--but only one returned to the feet of Jesus to offer thanks to him. I do NOT want to be one of the nine ungrateful lepers.
How do people survive the weights on their souls and the worries and fears of this life and the events that can crush us--without prayer? And I want to make it clear; prayer is not the answer in itself. Almost every religion utilizes prayer. PRAYER is not powerful in itself....the thing that makes it effective and powerful in my life and in the life of every child of God , is the value and omnipotence, love, and all-knowing of the One to whom I am praying. GOD and his Son, JESUS, and his SPIRIT, make prayer the amazing benefit, power, and gift to us that it is.
Do you claim to know Jesus and the salvation he offers? Then you need to pray. If you do not pray you are a person without the benefit of breath. And we all know that a person cannot live for long without breath, nor can your soul survive without prayer. And 'prayer' does not mean once a day. You do not only breathe once a day. No, breath is a constant on-going flow that benefits your entire body and it is dispersed to every millimeter of your body to keep it alive and active.
PRAY MY FRIENDS, PRAY TO THE LIVING, LOVING GOD.