from The Gift of Prayer by Charles Stanley
|The first privilege of having an intimate relationship with God through prayer is that you get to know God. Consider what a great and awesome honor that is — to know the One who not only created all that exists but also directs it from His mighty throne.
This is an amazing thought when you consider how often we long for favor from those in authority over us or to have help from someone powerful enough to change our circumstances. We see it every day in the way people clamor for the attention of the powerful, famous, skilled, and wealthy. It can seem that we are subject to other people’s biases, evil desires, mistakes, and faulty reasoning. We may even fall into the false belief that our futures are dependent on their help and their decisions.
So even though we may acknowledge that God exists, it’s possible that we feel responsible to resolve difficulties on our own or seek earthly assistance rather than taking our troubles to Him. From our narrow, earthbound points of view, perhaps we see no hope in our situations, no solutions to our dilemmas, and no end to our sufferings. When we go before Him, we may do so with our own limitations and the hope of help from other people in mind.
But Proverbs 29:26 reminds us,
Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord.
Your deliverance — regardless of the vessel used to achieve it — always comes from God Himself.
In fact, nothing can touch your life without first being allowed by the hand of your Creator, who formed you in your mother’s womb and ensures that what you experience will work for greater purposes when you follow Him (Romans 8:28).
That’s what makes the gift of prayer so powerful and impactful — the One to whom we pray. We are interacting with the Almighty, our Lord, Maker, King, Mighty Warrior, Redeemer, and faithful High Priest. He is the true source of our help!
The Father proclaims,
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me? — Jeremiah 32:27
No, there is absolutely nothing too challenging for Him to overcome!
But perhaps you are wondering, Why should I pray to God to know Him? Will it really make a difference? Does He really care about me? Can I really trust Him?
It is normal to have these kinds of questions, especially if the people in your life have disappointed you, have been dishonest, or have acted in a manner contrary to your best interest. But you can be certain that the Father will unfailingly do what is good, loving, and righteous on your behalf because He loves you and always does the right thing (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 22:3-4). And as you interact with Him in prayer, you understand this in increasingly profound and wonderful ways.
This is why the writer of Hebrews proclaimed,
It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. — Hebrews 6:18 NLT
When the Father says He cares for you, it is not a trick; it is the truth. He will never lead you astray but will always be honorable and guide you in the best way possible. So yes, you can trust the Lord’s wonderful character. And the more you know Him, the more you will trust Him.
Of course, the next questions you may have are, Can God help me? Is He able to make something of my situation? After all, the value of any promise is based not only on the character of the person making the guarantee but also on the capacity to fulfill it.
Let me assure you, God has never failed to keep His word. Solomon proclaimed in 1 Kings 8:56,
Blessed be the Lord… not one word has failed of all His good promise.
He is absolutely capable of fulfilling your needs — sufficiently wise, strong, and loving to help you, no matter how overwhelming your circumstances may seem.
This is because God is sovereign; He is the majestic Ruler of all creation. He set the laws of nature in place. Matter, space, and time are in His hand and under His authority. Psalm 103:19 tells us,
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.
What does this mean for your situation? First, the Father is omnipotent — He is all-powerful. He can literally move heaven and earth to accomplish His will for you because He put them in place and guides their every movement (Psalm 104). As you fellowship with Him in prayer, He not only fills you with His strength but supernaturally clears away obstacles for you.
Also, the Lord is omniscient, which signifies He is all-knowing and completely wise. He sees your past, present, and future and understands everything about your situation, even details you could not possibly discern. He identifies exactly what you need and how to provide it, but He also uses your difficulties to build you up and mature your faith (Romans 8:28). As you engage in the gift of prayer, not only does God give you His supernatural insight and wisdom, but you experience the astounding manner in which He teaches you and navigates your path in brilliant ways you could never have figured out on your own.
Additionally, God is omnipresent. He is outside of time, and everything that exists is in His presence, so He is always with you in every moment, no matter where you go (Joshua 1:9). Nothing in your life escapes His notice. He is able to rally resources and influence circumstances that you don’t even know exist in order to solve the problems you’re facing, regardless of what they are. So as you come before His throne of grace, you not only have the assurance of His awesome presence, but you become aware that
Even if something is completely out of your control, it is still in His, and therefore you are safe in His care.
Luke 1:37 affirms,
Nothing will be impossible with God.
No matter how complicated, confusing, untenable, or overwhelming the trials you face, the living Lord is greater and can lead you to victory in them (John 16:33). So again, the response is yes, the Father really is able to help you.
Of course, the final question on your heart may be the most personal and even the most painful one: Does God really want to help me?
This is the question many of us struggle to answer. Although we may accept that God is trustworthy and capable of delivering us from our troubles, we are not certain that He is willing to do so. These doubts often stem from feelings of inadequacy. We doubt we are worthy of His love and presence…
Excerpted with permission from The Gift of Prayer by Charles Stanley, copyright Charles Stanley.
* * *
Friends, the more we read about Who we pray to, the more in awe and overwhelmed we become. None of us know everything that happens when we pray, but we can rest assured that something shifts. Something in our hearts, something in Heaven, bondage may fall off, a circumstance might change – the list could go on. We’d love to hear how prayer has impacted your life. Come share your thoughts on our blog!
Godly Confidence or Worldly Confidence
“Put no confidence in the flesh…”
The secular world holds a plethora books, CD’s, and seminars on self-confidence in the workplace, in relationships and every other area of life. Self-confidence is the world’s formula for success and the remedy for life’s issues. We’re told that we need to feel good about ourselves, speak positive thoughts, envision success; see that promotion in your mind and you can achieve it! Simply put; if you can visualize it you can achieve it. It’s all hype, beloved; plain and simple and a grave misconception. Sad to say, this philosophy can be found within the “Church World” also. This “see it be it” mentality couldn’t be farther from the truth found in the Word of God. When Paul said; “put no confidence in the flesh” that means our own too! The reality is that what we need is not more confidence in self but, confidence in Jesus and who we are in Him; confidence in Who He is, not in who we are apart from Him.
Thinking, envisioning or speaking will not bring abiding strength beloved, believing does; believing in the Lord’s promises knowing that with Him and only with Him are all things possible. Sure, we can stir the pot of our emotions revving up the engine of our inner self until we believe we can accomplish anything on sheer will power alone. Reality is that I can will all day long that I become a successful writer but true success in any area will not come apart from God and who I am in Him through His Son. True success in God’s eyes is accomplished when one knows apart from God they are absolutely nothing. When we reach this understanding we then begin the journey of true success, a success story written by the hand of God. Many today have lifted up their ladder of success climbing with all they have believing that reaching the top will bring them happiness and fulfillment, only to find misery and emptiness. This climb is usually a costly one demanding a price the climber did not plan on paying.
In our success driven world the child of God must make every effort to stay off the secular road of self-sufficiency by planting their feet upon the paths of dependency. Independence of God will only lead to shallow living. God desires much more for us than those things we can accomplish on our own; He wants to pour Himself out upon our lives that we may be more than conquerors, valiant and strong women of faith and courage in the face of any storm; woman who radiate God’s supernatural attributes that thrive in their lives. A woman who is utterly hopeless without her God, without her Jesus will be successful in Heaven. The stars in heaven will be those who have burned themselves out here upon the earth for the Kingdom of God fully dependent upon Him. I want to be more than a shooting star that burned itself out way too fast because I relied on my own abilities.
God is my confidence.
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:26
African Muslim, El Gasim, saw the sign of the cross one day while praying the usual five times a day in the prison where he was incarcerated. He changed positions but the cross wouldn’t go away. This went on for seven days. He had no explanation for it, except that Christ was calling him to give his life to Him. A Christian pastor, also in prison explained that living for Christ would not be without suffering. They prayed together.
Other Muslim inmates saw El Gasim praying one day with another Christian prisoner and reported them to the authorities. When summoned to the superintendent’s office, they openly declared their faith in Christ and received twenty-five lashes each, administered by a Christian warder. The other prisoner denied his new faith but El Gasim confessed Christ and said he would face the consequence, no matter what. This enraged the authorities. He was beaten, shackled in chains weighing over fifty pounds and put on death row to be hanged.
The imprisoned pastor had great compassion for El Gasim, knowing that if God did not intervene, he was surely staring death in the eye. He told him Paul and Silas’ story, reminding him that he wasn’t the first to be beaten and chained for the sake of Christ. The important thing to remember was that Paul and Silas prayed and praised God, when their chains fell off and the prison doors opened. The pastor confirmed that it could still happen today, because the power that worked then, was still at work today. They prayed together, earnestly seeking God’s will.
The pastor retired to his room and continued praying. In the meantime, El Gasim, who then felt encouraged by the sharing, took the first step and to his surprise, the unexpected happened—the chain broke loose and fell from one of his legs. Bystanders, whose attention were drawn by the sound of the falling chain, watched in amazement as he took the second step—the same thing happened. A miracle had happened right before him and his other inmates. El Gasim went to the warder and told him, “Your chains are in the chapel, go and collect them.”
Trembling and confused the warder informed his superiors of this strange occurrence. An emergency meeting was convened. The incident could not be ignored or laughed off as nonsense. There were too many witnesses. They decided that it would be best to let El Gasim go free, because if he stayed he would certainly convert others to Christianity. Sending him to another prison wouldn’t help either, because even there they couldn’t stop Christ from doing miracles.
RESPONSE: Today I affirm my faith in a miracle working God who can release me from my chains.
PRAYER: Pray for persecuted Christian prisoners who need to be released from chains today.