For those who have already experienced the grace of Almighty God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, prayer becomes the catalyst for fellowship with the Lord of our souls, redeemed by His blood.
By tapping into the channel by which we commune with the One who calls His children ‘friends,’ we can receive His strength in our weakness; His guidance in our steps; and His mercy when we stumble along life’s path.
The Bible has a great deal to say about personal relationships between the Lord and His Creation. He deals with each of us individually. But He is also the Lord of the Universe and His eyes are fixed upon the nations and deals with them individually. The heart of a nation cannot be connected to God if the nation’s people are far from Him.
We have some serious work ahead of us if we are to see our beloved nation restored by the Hand of God. When God’s people go wandering it is not so easy to get back on track. So where do we begin?”
Christ’s followers are instructed to pray. You may ask, “What are we to pray for?” First, we should consider where we stand before the Lord so that our prayers will not be hindered. The Bible teaches the multi-facets of communing with Almighty God. We should praise Him for who He is, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
The Lord’s heart is delighted to hear the praise of His people. When we acknowledge Him above all things—our worries, our fears, and even the requests we plan to make of Him—these begin to pale in the light of His abundant love toward us. This helps prepare our hearts to receive His word of rebuke or blessing; conviction or comfort.
When Paul and Silas found themselves persecuted and imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, we are in awe to read their response. They prayed to God and praised Him (Acts 16:25 KJV). What follows thrills my heart. The Bible says, “And the prisoners heard them.”
Can you imagine the power of the preachers’ testimonies as they focused their thoughts on the Lord Jesus and raised their voices with assurance that He heard them? I am sure that their worship, while in chains, silenced the other prisoners’ cursing and filled their darkened hearts with hope.
Another important element of prayer is repentance. When I think of how we have collectively strayed from God as a nation, this word repentance comes to mind. If we as His people do not repent of our own disobedience, if we as the collective Body of Christ do not repent of rebellion against His commands, how can we expect America, a country founded on His principles and truths, to keep its heart focused upon Him? The Bible says, “Your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of your wickedness, and pray“ (Acts 8:21-22 NKJV).
When we come to a merciful God with an attitude of praise and a spirit of repentance, we discover His peace. We learn the comfort of abiding in His presence. We don’t hear the word abide very much today. It’s a word that means remain. You may ask, “How does that apply?” The Gospel of John records the words of Jesus that speak of oneness in Christ, “I pray the Father [will]…abide with you forever” (John 14:16 NKJV).
Have you ever gone on vacation and never wanted to leave…you wanted to remain and bask in the warmth and carefree environment that gave your body and mind complete rest? This is what Jesus was saying in John 15:4 NKJV, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” He will never leave us and, in Christ, we never outstay our welcome.
I have to admit I like to stay in motion—and I’m not alone. Most of us lead busy lives. But if our lifeline of prayer is to stay connected to the Power Source, we must learn to yield our wills in favor of God’s will. We have to ask God to empower us to put ‘self’ on the sideline and put on Christ—for it is only in His steps that we can walk with Him in victory.
The apostle Paul prayed for the believers of his day and exhorted them, “Yield yourselves unto God” (Romans 6:13 KJV). This command is for us also. And when we do, we learn more of Him and we experience blessings that overflow from the salvation He died to give us.
Praise His Promises.
Repent by His Power.
Abide in His Presence.
Yield to Christ’s Plan.
So while we are ultimately citizens of heaven, until we get there we are pilgrims living among the nations with the responsibility to pray.