Friday, May 17, 2013

Praying? Don't Be Shy!

God's people are encouraged to pray boldly.

Nehemiah 1:3-7  They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire."

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.  Then I said, "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of unfailing love with those who love Him and obey His commands,  listen to my prayer!

Look down and see me praying night and day for Your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against You. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!  We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that You gave us through Your servant Moses.

Psalms 102:1-2  A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the LORD.

LORD, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!  Don't turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to You.

I have been in church all of my life and I have never seen anyone pray the way God's people did in the Bible. In the Bible there is a forceful passion without any messing around these people pray what they feel. It makes me wonder how we can see their prayers and the results that they achieved and yet we don't follow their example?
"Hey God, it's me again, I know you are busy and you have other more important things. I know you already know this but let me just ask this one thing if it's your will. Sorry to bother you."
That's not the kind of prayer that Nehemiah prayed! Nehemiah spoke to God with passion, he wasn't afraid to say "Listen to my prayer!" God wants to hear the emotion, he wants to hear how we really feel, he can handle it! Nehemiah wasn't being disrespectful, he showed that he revered God. He began by saying "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God."

We don't dare pray with an exclamation mark! It seems too demanding and rude we come to God all shy and timid afraid to make a request. We know that God knows everything and he has a plan and a purpose for everything so we think that maybe we shouldn't bother God with our little problem.

Keep on asking boldly! 

Luke 11:8-9  But I tell you this--though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.  And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
The way that Jesus taught us to pray is nothing like the average Christian today. In Luke 11 Jesus lesson on prayer was about a man that won't give up, this guy is shameless and bold, he has a lot of nerve to wake up the man and his family and make him get out of bed to help him.

In this lesson on prayer the guy is talking back to his neighbor and he isn't taking no for an answer. Jesus gave us three verbs for us to get busy doing: keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.

Besides teaching us about prayer Jesus also gave us an incredible example on praying with force and boldness. When he came to earth he knew why he came, he knew the terrible way that he was going to die, nevertheless he still prayed with great passion for God to make another way.
Matthew 26:39  He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine."
Jesus prayed boldly, he didn't want to suffer such cruelty and yet he was willing to accept the Father's will, he didn't think that it was wrong to ask boldly for a different plan. I need to follow Jesus example and quit praying like a wimp.

Lord help me to stop praying so weak! Wake up the passion in me and help me realize the power that is available in prayer.

Additional scripture on bold prayers: Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 3:12