Do you pray? – April 5th
In the book of Matthew chapter 6 Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer and He doesn’t say “if you pray” but he tells them “when you pray”
Martin Luther said "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."
Billy Graham said "To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees."
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are:
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions,
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: And the he leads them through the Lord’s Prayer.
Corrie ten Boom ask a great question, "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?"
I am afraid that the one thing that is missing from many people’s lives is a strong prayer life. Prayer is essential and should not only be used during the bad times but it should become a daily routine in our lives.
When I think about prayer and how people use the great weapon that God has given us, I can’t help but think about the story of Jonah.
Jonah 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.(Just because you can lay your head on the pillow at night and sleep like a baby doesn’t mean everything is alright between you and God) 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, (Really) which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah isn’t just having a bad day, he’s having a bad week! In verse 9 he says that he fears the Lord but have you noticed something? There is something missing. He has not prayed!
Reminds me a lot of us, we get so caught up in the cares of this life and we forget to do that one thing that can change us, that one thing that can sustain us, that one thing that can keep us. We forget to pray?
What does it take to get you to pray?
Our finances are hurting but we do not pray.
Our kids are wayward and away from God but we do not pray.
Our Job is in limbo but we do not pray.
Our health is failing us and we just take what the doctor says and we do not pray.
We are looking for peace in midst of the turmoil but we do not pray.
Marriages are falling apart but we do not pray.
We talk about the way our community is but we do not pray.
We talk about how our nation is but we do not pray.
People are living in fear right now because of a pandemic but we do not pray, we don’t see and end and we can’t figure this thing out and we still do not pray……but
2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people, which are called by my name (Did you catch that? He’s talking about the church the Christians.), shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
I’m going to say something that a lot of people won’t like. Maybe, just maybe this world is not the problem. When I read that scripture, maybe the church is the problem.
We need to get on our knees and cry out to God!
So what did it take for Jonah to pray?
Jonah 2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.