If you pray… If you don’t…

This evening was the evening that we meet to have dinner together and pray.  We have been praying together now for so many years none of us can remember how or when it started.  Sometimes it was on Monday evenings, sometimes on Thursdays but right now it is on Tuesday evenings.  We have seen the Lord work on our behalf so often that we trust Him to answer.  We have been praying so long together that no subject is off limits.  The subjects of our prayers have ranged from our personal lives to our children and grandchildren to our employment.  We have experienced miracles.  We are three Christian sisters.  We don’t look very powerful and without Jesus we would have no strength at all.  But with Jesus we are strong.

praying together

Today is a day when I am feeling overwhelmed with the prayer needs of others.  There are so many that I thought that I could pass them on to you.

IF YOU PRAY…

To begin, my sister Marge has a great-granddaughter named Suzie who is going to have surgery tomorrow.  It is my highest priority today.  Pray for Suzie.  She is 2 years old.

I personally had a gnarly day.  Pray for me and my relationships at work.  Pray for a co-worker.

Pray for a lady who has lost both her legs, her eye sight, and has neuropathy in  her fingers.  Because of this, she cannot depend on learning Braille.  Pray for her to see Jesus.

Pray for Camden to have a complete healing or for the tests to just be wrong.  He may be in need of surgery and it is said that he won’t outgrow the disease if he has it.

Pray for an oldest brother who would not say Happy Father’s Day to his dad.  His siblings did, but when his dad said, “Aren’t you going to wish me a Happy Father’s Day?”  He just smiled and shrugged.

Pray for the salvation of family members.

IF YOU DON’T PRAY…

You might ask, what is the catch to prayer and why don’t everyone’s prayers just get answered?  Well, Jesus prayed a prayer that didn’t get answered the way He desired.  Right before His tortures and crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Your prayer has to be according to God’s will.  In other words, praying to win the lottery probably isn’t in God’s will for your life.

Sometimes, God answers prayer almost immediately. We three sisters prayed to have a certain answer to prayer a couple of weeks ago.  And when we met for dinner this evening our sister was delighted by God’s answer and praising Him.  The answer fell right into her lap.  The very thing that she was praying but could not speak, was answered by her son from his own mouth, in his own words!

An even faster example came today.  This morning I prayed with a sister and this evening she called to say that the answer had come! This was a prayer of concern for a person in her care for which she needed wisdom.  The answer again, was quick, when someone else provided the answer she needed.  God is awesome!

Sometimes the answer to prayer comes after a long time.  In this case, the timing for the answer must be right.  In my own life, I had prayed for something for so long, I was weary of praying it.  Then one day, in utter desperation, I prayed a prayer asking the Lord for some word that would help me to know that He was hearing my prayer.  The answer came from the Bible.  Here is the first verse:  “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant?  Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”  That is Isaiah 50:10.  Then right across from it, another verse seemed to be burning out of the page at my eyes.  “‘Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?’  For thus says the Lord:  ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.'” That is Isaiah 49:24-25.  The details of this event are still such a blessing!  The prayer was answered within a month and the blessing was permanent.  Thank You Lord!

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I have felt the weight of a burden that I carried for years.  The prayer was hindered through my own disobedience.  Don’t expect to get rewarded with an answer to prayer when obedience to God is lacking.  It’s like desiring a raise and knowing in your heart that you haven’t earned it.  There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”

My obedience was corrected.  The burden was suddenly lifted from me.  I was elated, but could not help but think of this lovely gift as false.  “Okay, when will the other shoe drop?”  But then I was reminded of what Jesus said. “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  In other words, God only gives good gifts to His children, not evil gifts.

That made me remember something else.  There’s a verse in Revelation that says that we overcome wickedness by the “blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”  The only thing that saves me is the bloody sacrifice that Jesus made for me.  My righteous deeds are worthless to God.  He says that they are like filthy rags.  The only thing that He will accept is a perfect sacrifice – Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

And the thing that allows me to overcome temptation is the memories I have of the many, many blessings that God has given me.  They are stored in my mind.  When I am tempted to not trust Jesus for an answer to prayer, I have this long list of answers to prayers.  Jesus and the loving kindnesses that He has given me over the course of my life, give me the confidence.  The list just keeps getting longer and the telling or the testimony, strengthens me to overcome temptations.  It encourages me to tell what Jesus has done for me.  And it all starts with prayer…

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