Tag Archives: prayer

When There Is No Answer

We’ve all been there, praying for a heartfelt need and feeling there’s no answer. Perhaps it’s a needed medical healing, a loss of income, a wayward child, or for a loved one to accept Jesus. We pray, but we hear nothing. All is quiet. The doctors say it’s terminal. The unemployment marches on with no hopeful prospects. The child continues in his rebellious lifestyle. And, your beloved person still hasn’t said yes to Jesus.

Why do I continue to pray?

Scripture instructs us to pray. Prior to teaching His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus stated, “When you pray ….” (Luke 11:2, NIV) Our Lord didn’t say if, He said when—an important distinction.Furthermore, in Romans 12:12 (NIV) we’re instructed to, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” And, in case we still don’t get it, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) sums it up with, “Pray continually.” Why is there such an instruction and urge to pray if our prayers didn’t matter or if God didn’t hear us?

Prayer is how we communicate with God. In the physical realm, scientists are now investigating the mysteries of quantum physics and prayer. My brain starts to hurt when I read articles on quantum physics, but research shows invisible-sized particles having visible consequences. Similarly, our prayers are not evaporating into thin air, as prayer is our means of interacting with our God who we cannot see, but still fully experience. I find reassurance knowing prayer is real.

But sometimes it feels like we pray and pray and there’s still no answer. Luke 18:1-8 tells the familiar story of the persistent widow and it gives me hope. Jesus is speaking to his disciples and illustrating why they should pray and not give up. In this parable, there is a judge who showed no concern for others and a widow who continually came to him appealing for justice against an adversary. After many refusals, he probably grew weary of her persistence. But, that tenacity is what ended up granting her the justice she desired.

It’s a tough place when our answers don’t come quickly and in our timeframe. We’re wondering what God is up to. The pause seems infinite, but we know in our hearts that we need to persevere and present those requests before our Father. Sometimes silence will be the answer as we wait on Him, and during this interval, I pray our Lord will use this as an opportunity to increase our faith. I’m realizing God instructs us to pray and desires “prayer stamina” when needed. Prayer is our method of communication with Him, so why would I not pray?

Father God, Teach me to pray. Help me during the times I don’t hear you. Enable me to be persistent in my prayers and please give me the confidence to know you hear and you care and you answer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Proverbs 15:29 (NIV): “The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV): “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Philippians 4:6 (NIV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

James 5:16b (NIV): “The prayer of a righteous [woman] is powerful and effective.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Pin It:

Comments Off on When There Is No Answer

Filed under Archived Devotions, Winter 2016/2017

Postponing Time with God

Here I sit in my office with the best of intentions to spend some time in the Word and praying.  First, I check my email and think, “Just one game of Spider Solitaire and then I’ll spend my time with you, God.”  watches-1204696_640My computer is not a terrible thing, but it is powerful enough to pull me away from God, my Father, and I wonder why I once again fall into this trap.  It’s painful and I don’t like what I see in myself when I repeatedly take this direction.

Distractions that take us away from God may not, in themselves, be bad things.  But, we’re allowing stuff to fill our God time rather than soaking in His presence, His Word, and prayer with Him.

And none of us seem to have enough time anyway, so why are we squandering the time we do have?

Scripture exhorts us to, “Come near to God,” and in return, “He will come near to you.”  (James 4:8a, NIV)  I desire this nearness with God, but some days it’s a struggle releasing encumbrances so I can run into His arms.

Here are several steps I’ve found that will enable us to pull closer to God:

  1. Pray daily for the Holy Spirit to fill you. I actually ask God to fill me to overflowing; perhaps I’m greedy, but that’s what I do.  Even before getting out of bed in the morning, being empowered by God’s Holy Spirit sets the tone for the day.
  2. Get in a routine. It doesn’t matter when you have your time with the Lord, but allot something which works for you and your schedule.  Then, close up the computer and push the cell phone aside, knowing those devices will still be waiting for you after you’ve abided with the Lord who also waits for you.
  3. For real change, though, I also need to address the deeper heart issues. Proverbs 27:19 (NIV) tells us, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”  My heart needs renewal in order to accomplish what I desire.  Pulling away for a walk in the neighborhood, at a park, or on the beach usually provides the space I need to examine my heart and ask the Lord to reveal which areas need change.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.”  (Psalm 1:1-2, NLT)  I want that joy, and I know meditating on God’s Word and spending time in prayer with Him will provide it.  Desiring His blessings, I must draw near to Him.

Father God, I ask you to enable me through your Holy Spirit to address the areas of my heart which need change so I can experience more of what you have for me.  Please renew my heart and help me not postpone time with you, so I can draw closer to you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 119:11 (NIV):  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Joshua 1:8 (NIV):  “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Pin It:

Comments Off on Postponing Time with God

Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016

When the Answer is No

It’s solid oak and it’s gorgeous, but it’s formal. Very formal. So describes our dining room furniture. Since moving to the coast, we downsized and have quickly adapted to a more casual lifestyle. I’ve prayed for the last year or so for new dining room furniture which would better fit our lower-keyed lifestyle.girl-1126008_640 What I desire to purchase, even though it’s simpler and more relaxed, is still a substantial sum of money. My husband was not 100% on board with my objective, but was willing.

But God’s answer was, “No.” Maybe another time; maybe not at all. The Lord impressed me to use the funds to protect the investment we already had—our home. It needs a new coat of paint, which certainly isn’t as glamorous as new furniture.

I understand my particular situation isn’t life altering, but what about other petitions we take to the Lord and our spirit hears, “No”?

Perhaps it’s a job change you desire, but after praying about it you feel no peace.

Maybe you feel it’s finally time to move to a new location, but all you’re hitting are roadblocks.

It could be you’ve been dreaming of a big trip or vacation, but nothing is falling in place for it to happen.

Or, possibly it is a big purchase and the Lord tells you to spend the money elsewhere.

During the Apostle Paul’s second missionary trip, he deeply desired to travel into the province of Asia to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit turned Paul and his companions back, and instead, God directed them into Macedonia. “… having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (Acts 16:6b-7, NIV) From there, they traveled down to Troas, bypassing Mysia, and Paul received a vision of a Macedonian man pleading with him to, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 16:9b, NIV) When the Lord reordered Paul’s steps, the result was abundant fruit, beginning with the salvation of Lydia, the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. From there the gospel spread throughout the continent. God’s plans were definitely larger and better than Paul’s intentions.

What blessings might we miss if we go our way instead of yielding to the times God says, “No”?

Perhaps in the future there will be a good time to donate the dining room furniture we have, and purchase something more practical. However, right now, the house needs painting and there are ministry opportunities which need financing.

Father God, It seems I’ve been praying so hard about a certain desire or situation and I’m impressed it’s not something you wish for me at this point in my life. Help me to yield to your Spirit and realize “No” is not a bad thing, as you have superior plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 32:8 (NIV): “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Pin It:

Comments Off on When the Answer is No

Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016

Don’t Miss Spring

Spring is my favorite season, and goes away all too quickly in the area we live. tulip-683989_640Echoing what I pray for myself, I pray for each of my readers you will not miss spring. Take the time to savor the budding trees, emerging plants and bulbs, and greening grasses. Along these lines, my new favorite word is renascent which means “being reborn; springing again into being or vigor.” (Dictionary.com, 2016) This week I am particularly enjoying watching my day lilies push out of the ground with their leaves first crumpled over and then gradually strengthening each day. May you also pause this Holy Week to reflect on the new life we have available through Jesus Christ, and how the Holy Spirit renews, strengthens, and sustains us.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Pin It:

Comments Off on Don’t Miss Spring

Filed under Archived Blog Posts, Spring 2016

When We Say We’ll Pray

Do you feel guilty, and wonder if you’re praying enough, or to your personal embarrassment, you actually forget to pray about something you committed to?  statue-1106976_640We all experience times of feeling like a failure when we become aware of a prayer request, we respond we’ll be praying, and then several days later we realize we never took the time to take that request or petition to the Lord.  Paul describes the struggle within, in Romans 7:15 (NIV), by stating “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  Jesus also exhorts us to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41, NIV)  How do we discipline our minds and bodies to do what we want them to do when it comes to our prayer life?

Accordingly, we need to recognize by God’s design, various needs affect us differently and our response levels will vary, as some concerns will simply resonate more within our souls. During last summer’s shark attacks on Oak Island, NC, my heart felt like breaking for those two children and I found it was a natural response to pray, pray, pray for them. At other times for various requests, I will pray, but perhaps not as fervently, confident God guides me in my personal prayer response.

Our prayers are most effective when we focus our minds and ensure they are not obscured. 1 Peter 4:7 (NIV) tells us, “. . . Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” If our minds are dull, we’ll have difficulty remembering and concentrating. Our responsibility is to keep our minds sharp, and as we grow older it becomes more challenging. I’ve learned, and several friends confirm this, it helps to find a tool to assist you. Suggestions include printing out prayer requests which come to us via email and keeping them on our desks, in our Bibles, on the refrigerator, or wherever we will see them and lift them before our Father. Personally, I like to keep requests in my email inbox as a ready reminder to pray. And, don’t be afraid to write prayer needs down, whether in a group setting or alone with another individual, as our minds will focus more readily when we have made this physical effort.

Many times we wonder how to pray and I’ve learned to pray scripture, which is God’s Word, over the concerns as I come across passages while doing my devotions and Bible study. Just simply insert a person’s name in the scripture, and pray it out loud. Also, don’t be afraid to freely call out names to the Lord and trust He knows and meets their needs.

All of our minds wander as we pray, so I’ve found it helpful to keep a notepad close by and jot down those “things to do” which pop into my mind as I’m praying, then go back and refocus on the prayer.

Our days can easily become hectic, and your prayer life will benefit when you commit to praying at a certain time of the day or during a specific activity such as walking. Yes, this requires some discipline, but find what works for your schedule and don’t be daunted by changes in this from day-to-day. Rest assured the Holy Spirit will guide your prayer life when we come before the Father committed to pray for one another.

Father God, please help me to remember to pray for people and needs you bring my way. I ask you to teach me to focus my mind and show me how and when to pray. Please grant me confidence in my prayer life as I seek being a better pray-er. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Bible Truths:

Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV): “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV):  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

Print this Post, Email to a Friend, or Pin It:

Comments Off on When We Say We’ll Pray

Filed under Archived Devotions, Winter 2016/2017