“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).
As we pray, we need to keep our focus on God. Picture him. Remind yourself of his character traits. Think of him as he was on the earth. What kind of a man was he? How did he deal with people?
Recently, I struggled with a tough relationship issue. Fear was at my doorstep. Could I trust God to meet this need, really? I decided I needed to understand more of what kind of a man Jesus was in order to trust him in this relational struggle. I began an in-depth study of the gospel of Matthew. I carefully studied how, as a man, Jesus ministered to people. I was reminded of his compassion when he cared for the hungry crowd and fed the 5,000; his tenderheartedness as he touched and healed the leper; and his love for the poor as he taught the Beatitudes. Reading each day about his life gave me confidence that he was, and is, someone I can fully trust.
As I prayed about this over the next few weeks, fear concerning this particular relationship was replaced by peace and confidence that God was in control. In every situation for prayer, whether great or small, we will be faced with the choice either to acknowledge the existence and control of God or to allow ourselves to be in control.
Imagine a place without his presence. It would be a pretty miserable place. When we pray we need to remind ourselves of his existence. When we’re aware that the Lord is with us, we act differently. Our thoughts are different. Our concerns are different. I don’t know about you, but when I am aware of the fact that God is present, I’m not only more careful of how I act, but I’m not afraid. I’m at peace. This has to be the way it is when we pray. It’s easy to get caught up in mindless, mundane praying. When we pray, are we convinced that we are in the presence of the risen Christ? Do we see his hand at work in our daily lives?
As we practice choosing to keep our thoughts, our emotions, and our focus on the existence and presence of God, we will have victory in our prayer lives. What an awesome God we serve! Don’t let the enemy or the world steal this joy from you!
Father God, I acknowledge Your patient and loving presence in my life today! Give me the ability to be continually aware of the peace that passes all understanding and the full knowledge that with You I can be victorious in all things. Help me to stand against the attempts of the enemy to steal my joy in the midst of the abundant life You have blessed me with. Keep me focused upon all that You are and attentive to Your hand at work.
–Adapted from Ultimate Connection: Eight Principles that will Transform Your Prayer Life by Barbara Ho. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God as the fair judge and ruler who never lets wealth, appearance, or earthly power influence his decisions. Give thanks for God’s constant concern for those in positions of weakness and poverty (Jas. 1:27). Confess those times when your support of the poor has been in word only and not in action (1:22-25). Commit yourself to seeing people as God sees them, not as our society sees them. Ask God to open your eyes to those who are “poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith” (Jas. 2:5).
Pray for specific individuals and families in your church who may be having a hard time financially. Ask God what you can do to help (Gal. 6:9-10).