PRAY: Lord, I am learning to ask boldly. Thank you for your promise to listen as long as I have breath. Help me come to you with everything.
Friday – Day 10
Approaching God – Do we realize how seriously God takes prayer? Do we realize the difference prayer will make in our lives and in the lives of others? If we did we would take prayer much more seriously. Someone has said prayer is first and foremost about our relationship with God and secondly about what we need from him. This is true. Sincere, honest prayer changes us more than it changes anything around us. But that being said, God takes our requests very, very seriously. He wants us to know that neglecting intercessory prayer is neglecting the greatest resource we have in our lives. Read the passage below slowly, multiple times, and consider God’s power and his command to embrace it.
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” (James 5:13-15)
Listening to God – Carefully read the passage above one more time along with the passage below. (Not later. Now!) Notice that it calls us to do some things we don’t often do—anoint with oil and confess our sins to others. How often have you done that? As you listen to God call us to do these things ask him why they are so important. Ask God and listen to why he instructs us to anoint with oil. Consider confession in light of the gospel. We don’t confess to gain forgiveness—that work is finished on the cross. We confess so that we surrender and open our lives to God’s healing, cleansing and strengthening work right now. Ask him and listen to why confessing our sins to each other might enhance that work and make our prayers “more powerful and effective,” particularly when it comes to sharing our faith with others.
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:14-16)
Talking to God – After you are done listening, ask God to help you take the instruction of anointing with oil more seriously because he commands it. Ask him to show you who he might have you confess your sins to. Confessing our sins to others will require trust. We shouldn’t confess to just anyone. Ask him to show you who his trustworthy people are for you and commit to seek them out so his healing, cleansing, and strengthening grace might abound in your life more abundantly.
Ministering in God’s Name – Now that you have pondered God’s call to take intercessory prayer and some of the prayer practices we often neglect more seriously, pray for the three people God brought to your mind. Read the passage below and ponder what God is saying. Then pray boldly and expectantly remembering that Elijah was not a super godly man but a man just like us.
“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18)
Surrendering to God – Confess your failure to take intercessory prayer more seriously to God and to the other(s) he has shown you to confess to. Ask them to pray for you in this regard. Commit to pray more boldly and expectantly, knowing God’s invitation and his promise of the difference it will make. It will feel uncomfortable for a time, but as you do it, you will see the results and grow in confidence.
By Bob Boersma
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