I was reminded on Friday of last week of why we pray. There are at least two reasons that are evident. The first being, God has commanded that we pray. What that means for me, having entered into a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior is that I do what He says simply because He says it. Jesus didn't say, 'IFyou pray..." Jesus said to His disciples, "WHEN you pray..." If prayer is neglected, life becomes exceedingly more difficult to navigate. As Lord of my life, Jesus directs my days according to His good pleasure. The consequence for me is that I am blessed not only by His presence but with His presents of joy and strength to fulfill His purpose for the day. However, should I refuse to pray and miss quality time with God daily, then I forfeit God's best for the day. And I have no one to blame but myself.
The second reason a believer should be actively engaged in prayer is for reasons of spiritual development and depth of being. Prayer is powerful in that it changes me. I read many years ago that prayer changes what is going on in me more than prayer changes the circumstances of life around me. Prayer doesn't alter or redirect God's plan for my life. As I humble myself in prayer before the holiness of God, He redirects my plans and even the passions that go with them according to His purpose for my life.
Therefore, when you begin every morning, start with an open Bible, an open mind and willing heart asking yourself this question, "Lord, what do You want me to do today?' I challenge you to approach every day for the next three months with that question instead of the one that is often more familiar to most of us. That being, "Lord, this is what I want You to do today."
If your relationship with Jesus has evolved into more of what He can do for you instead of what you may join Him in doing, then the core of your heart reveals that You have made yourself the boss and He, your servant. That may well explain much of why so many feel like life is 'upside down', so often. With that approach, life in general is lived out of balance and becomes very unsettling due to priorities being shifted around. If Jesus is not the center, the hub of our love and our life, then our days become less than a joyful experience! When our focus is not on Christ and His love for us daily, we miss seeing that God desires that every day be lived with exceedingly great joy and we miss the moment.
Permit me to expand on that statement. My daughter Nicole recently sent a picture of my youngest grandson, Ezra (via Instagram) that blesses my heart each time I see it. This snapshot of life reveals a young twenty-three-month-old boy with a red ball glove on his left hand standing with great anticipation ready to catch a ball. As I study those pictures, I see my grandson, Ezra, intently focused on what he is being told by someone who loves him. The glove is in the right position and his eyes are fastened on who is standing in front of him. He hasn't experienced anything like this before. It's new and he's filled with anticipation. You can see that in his eyes. In the next picture, I see a little boy overcome with happiness on his face, literally standing on his toes, overwhelmed with joy and excitement because he 'caught' what came his way. And the joy of that moment in his life is only a 'snapshot' of the continuing process of learning to live! If you only glance at those pictures, you won't experience the fullness of what a moment like that adds to life. We must invest the time necessary to study them, if we hope to see the fullness of the blessing! Nicole later shared with me that Ezra doesn't necessarily love baseball, he is in love with the idea of baseball. It is new! And who doesn't love 'new' things in life?
If you are one that does, listen to Lamentations 3:22-23 from the English Standard Version, "the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!"
As our heavenly Father, God desires that we live in His love daily. And it begins with the same focus of a young child who is willing to eagerly listen to the commands of a loving Lord. May we catch and enjoy more of what He sends our way every day! That occurs as we fasten our hearts on His faithfulness and love through prayer and reading His Word. In doing so, we will enjoy more of the joy and happiness that I saw in a little boy named Ezra, who on a bright sunny day in June experienced something brand new and exhilarating in his journey to manhood. Thank you, God and praise you, Jesus that the joys of life never end for those whose joy is found in You (Nehemiah 8:10)! They are indeed new and fresh every morning!
What is God offering you today that requires that you fasten your eyes on Him? You'll do that more often when you understand He loves you and desires to teach you something important about life every moment. Don't miss the moments in life that add to joyful memories for life!
At sixty-two, as I am reminded of that snapshot of life, (and I can because I saved it) I want to experience more of those kinds of moments in what remains of the rest of the life God will provide for me. Moments like the one Ezra experienced when he caught much more than a ball that day. Moments that reveal the blessing of life from his mom that day because she loved him enough to invest some quality time with him. And others, like his Pop and Mimi get to enjoy a small part of that experience because it was shared. God desires the same, if not more for you and me every day. Be ready and eager to share what God shows you each day and others around you will be blessed immensely.
Wouldn't you like to be able to enjoy more moments like that every day? The good news is that they are available for those who are focused on the One who loves them perfectly!
To my soon-to-be 38 year-old daughter, Nicole, 'thank you for the moment and the memory of a lifetime that reveals the love of God being enjoyed by one of His 'kids' in the journey of life!! You are a blessing to so many people."
To those of you who take the time to read this, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13
I am blessed daily by His love and His faithfulness. Hope you are also!