A Hope and a Prayer

10:17 AMHeather

Hey guys--do you know what today is?  

Yes.  It's May 2, 2013.   

But it's also the National Day of Prayer.  

Say what you want about the moral decay in our culture.  Today, we cannot deny that we as a nation have a day set aside as the National Day of Prayer.  And no matter how tyrannical any government in the world may be--prayer is something that can never be taken away.  

Never.

Oh, they can try.  Like the story of Daniel in the Bible--when prayer was banned.  But, still--he prayed on.  Sure, he ended up in a den of lions.  Around the world today, people may still be persecuted by their government for praying.  The enemy still tries to halt this powerful privilege we have.

But no one can keep us from praying.  It's part and parcel of being called a child of God.  To be able to talk to Him.  To listen to Him.  To communicate with Him as we form intimate bonds with our Heavenly Father.  And no one can make us stop.  Sure, there can be bans on public prayer and pre-football game prayers over a loud speaker.  

But, no one can silence my voice that my Father hears.  

It's impossible.  After all...

...You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
Psalm 139:2

No government can get inside my head.  (And most people would probably never want to venture there anyway--it's sorta a bizzare place)But God does.  He knows my thoughts.  My heartfelt desires that I have yet to or cannot form into words.  He knows my strengths and weaknesses and wishes and dreams.  And He longs for me to share them openly with Him.  Not so that He can become aware--for He already knows.  No.  He longs for me to pour them out to Him so that I can flesh it all out with Him, knitting bonds of intimacy and honesty and depth in my relationship with Him.

He is one Friend who never tires of hearing my voice.  How I take that for granted!  How I still wrestle with the instinct to phone a friend with a problem or happy news.  Before I bring it to Him--the lover of my soul.  How often I face something and consider which friend might be best equipped to listen and advise me.  When the God of the Universe is waiting...watching.  Ready to offer His omniscient wisdom and endless love and acceptance.  He sits back, I imagine on the edge of His seat...earnestly leaning forward to see if I draw near.

And, how often I do not.  How often I discount the option of going to my Heavenly Father with every burden, every care, every concern.  Taking for granted the privilege of prayer.  Discrediting the peace it may bring.  Ignoring the One who gave his all for my own sake.

All the while, He sits waiting.  Ready.  Posed to listen and respond and pour out His love and answers for my every problem.  

You can't find the words to pray?  

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us 
 through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26

Not to worry.  We have an expert on our side.  Actually within us, if we are followers of Christ.  The Spirit itself can step in and handle the job that may feel too big for us.

Too tired to pray?  Just can't bring yourself to do it?  Too angry?  Or helpless?  Or scared?

But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Hebrews 7:24-25 

Just picture it.  Really let your mind dwell on this image.  Imagine that you are in a place beyond "all that's left to do is to pray."  You are done.  Fallen off the end of your rope.  Not a prayer in the world left.

And the One who gave His all for you...He sits at the right hand of His Father, "ALWAYS LIVING TO INTERCEDE FOR YOU."  Can you wrap your brain around that?  Whatever is troubling you.  Whatever keeps you up at night.  Whatever is draining your life of joy and peace and energy.  Jesus Himself is ever interceding on your behalf.  I imagine Him telling His Father something like this:

"Oh, look!  There she is!  Our beloved!  Our delight!  Our child.  See how she struggles?  Father--help her.  Father--step in. Father--guide her!  Father--intervene on her behalf!" 

Picture for yourself this heavenly interaction for whatever your current circumstance.  Be encouraged that the Spirit intercedes with groans too deep for words, speaking His own prayer language just for you.  And the Son Himself interceding on your behalf.  

And if you are in that dark place where your prayers feel fruitless--where your plight feels ignored by God Himself, let me assure you of this.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 
Isaiah 65:24

You can hardly form the words before He springs into action.  Before you say a-men, He says, "Oh, I hear ya!  I got it!  Trust me!  I hear you!  In my own perfect time, I shall answer.  Lean on this truth.  Trust my faithful character.  My love for you!"   

Dear bloggy friend--hang your hat on that.  He hears.  He is not deaf to your calls for help.  He is answering.  Heaven is set in motion when His children call and cry out to Him.  We may not always hear the still small voice.  We may not see the movement of God.  But that doesn't mean He isn't moved.  The above Scripture is promise that when we call, He moves.  

So today, on this National Day of Prayer, remember the sacred and sweet and amazing privilege we have to approach the throne of grace with confidence.  To draw near and climb up on our Abba Father's lap and pour out all of our troubles.  Instead of going there last, may we go there FIRST.  May we skip the instinct to pick up our phone and instead draw to our knees.  May we remember that when we seek Him with all of our heart, we find Him.  May we remember that we do not serve a God who plays hide and seek.  We are children of the God who promises that we can seek and find.  That He hears.  That He is moving and acting and listening

May we remember this hope and this prayer.  That prayer changes things.  That prayer is the movement of heaven--the place where things of this earth reach His heavenly domain.  Where we connect with Him.  Where we can draw near and find what we need.  

Because His ear is ever bent for our voice.  So come!  Pour your heart out.  Be still and know that He is God.  The God who hears.    

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