My church has diverse opportunities regarding prayer. Our Prayer Ministry involves an email Prayer Chain, a group of intercessors known as a Prayer Team, a monthly Prayer Meeting, a Prayer Box for requests, and regularly offers individual prayer after a service. I’ve personally participated in prayer walks, prayer drives, prayer texting (that’s a new one), and encourage daily prayer with God. What’s the big deal about prayer?
In the nineteenth octave of Psalm 119:145-152 the writer used a phrase that many of us can identify with: crying out to God. That’s the word that sets the tone for this section of the longest chapter of the Bible. As you read through you’ll realize that he doesn’t just cry out to God for an answer, although he does that, he also encourages himself. How do you encourage yourself during a time of trauma, tragedy, or trial? This writer has placed his hope, his confident expectation, in God’s Word. Those promises given to a believer in Jesus Christ are signed, sealed, and delivered if you trust in Him. I know it’s hard to trust when you’re in crisis, but I can testify that God is faithful and he will answer your cries.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! (Psalm 126:5 ESV)
Here’s the deal; you can’t trust in God’s promises of you don’t know them. You can’t strengthen yourself as David did when he was being pursued by his enemies (1 Sam. 30:6-19) and see God’s hand move mountains on your behalf without that kind of faith. David’s story says that he recovered all, nothing was missing. Is that your desire as well?
This writer doesn’t just place a request in a box and leave it there. He cries out to God day and night, meditates on His promises, and believes God will bring justice. Remember the friend at midnight, Luke 11:5-13, and the widow before the judge, Luke 18:1-8? Talk about encouragement! The lower story is that the Psalmist’s physical enemy was getting closer (vs. 150) but he already knew what to do. He’d seen God come through before and his faith grew stronger as he remembered: God is near. The upper story is that our enemy also draws near trying to shake our faith and bring turmoil to our life but what’s our response? That’s the key.
Having others pray for you is great but an intimate relationship with God is even greater. As a believer, the Holy Spirit resides in your heart; He can’t come any nearer (John 14:13-21). He’s there, day or night, ready to help if you’d just ask.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:22-23 ESV)