Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Making Time For Personal Prayer

A few days ago I read a post written about prayer. Specifically about praying for others before we pray for ourselves. After reading this post it stuck with me. It has rattled around in my brain until I had to turn to scripture for the answer. 

When I first became a Christian twenty one years ago I struggled with praying for myself. Of course I was just beginning to know Jesus in my journey with Him, but even years after that time I still felt guilty when I prayed for myself. Goodness, if we look around there are so many needs. Now, I look back and ponder where that guilt came from. Was it that I was feeling selfish if I prayed for myself? I think so. Oh, how wrong that thinking is. 

Prayer is a conversation with Jesus. It's personal and confidential. It's our one on One time with our Savior. Without conversation can we really have a relationship? Can we really know our Lord? I can say with confidence that prayer should take precedence over all other things in our life. Jesus reaches us through prayer. After all, He knows our deepest thoughts. There is nothing to hide from Christ. He wants to have communication with us. So much so that He gave us a model prayer.

"Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this today
our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. 
Amen" Matthew 6:9-13

We need to be committed to prayer. We are to pray without ceasing. 

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

"Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Don't stifle the Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Even Jesus prayed for Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yes, Jesus called to His Father in heaven. This is our example to follow. At this time we see Jesus praying for Himself. Matthew 26:36-44 He too called His disciples to pray for themselves that they not fall into temptation. Would He not want us to do the same? 

We need to spend time with Jesus in order to grow with Him. He gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us in all things. When we listen to the Spirit we are being obedient to the Father. It's during this time of sweet prayer that we seek out Christ's will for our lives. We search Him for our path. We seek Him for strength and patience. We ask Him to forgive us of our sins and to show us a better way. If we do not have a personal relationship with Christ we cannot reach the world for Him. It's in that personal relationship that we pray for ourselves. We pray for His will in our lives. We ask for His guidance and wisdom and understanding. 

We too go to Jesus in preparation for our day. Jesus too did this. "But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed." Luke 5:15-16

We are to see Jesus to examine our heart. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless you fail the test." 2 Corinthians 13:5

"But each person should examine his own work." Galatians 6:4a

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way." Psalm 139:23-24

As I searched the Word of God I found verse after verse about spending time with the Lord in prayer. This is one that I found to bless me abundantly and speak volumes about prayer for my walk in the Lord.

"Listen, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Protect my life, for I am faithful. You are my God; save Your servant who trusts in You. Be gracious to me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. Bring joy to Your servant's life, because I turn to You, Lord. For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my plea for mercy. I call on You in the day of my distress, for You will answer me." Psalm 86:1-7

These words are sweet to my ears and beauty to my soul. My Jesus wants to spend time with me. He wants to know all that is upon my heart. He wants me to speak to Him. Didn't Adam and Eve walk with God? They shared moments with Him and spent hours walking with Him. This is our calling. Oh, think of the missed blessings if we are not spending sweet time in prayer. 

"Depart from me, all evildoers, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer." Psalm 69:8-9

Yes, we are to pray for others. Some keep a prayer journal. Some a prayer box. We are to intercede for others. But friends, never feel selfish for praying for yourself. When our relationship with Jesus is strong, the Spirit speaks and as we hear Him, we move. When we spend time in prayer we are transformed. We are renewed. This is when we find the sweet grace of the Lord and see that His mercy is endless. 

"For I know the plans I have for you-this is the Lord's declaration-plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13


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