From Pastor Leonard
TIME to REALLY PRAY !

“rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing in prayer;” Romans 12:12

“Lord hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” Psalm 130:2

“Give ear to my prayer O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.” Psalm 55:1

Prayer is defined as a petition (supplication) to God; spiritual intimacy with God; the practice (repetition) of speaking to God.

Notice the three words in bold; petition , intimacy and practice . Those words are very deep, much deeper than most people would think of when they think of prayer. I believe many of God’s people’s prayers consist of “phrases” thrown at God asking for something or telling Him what needs to be done. You might think that’s what’s happening in the scriptures above but it’s not; it’s a crying out to God in need of Him, not asking for a bailout but expressing deep dependence on Him.

Romans 12:12 really gives us direction in this time of tribulation we are in. Just two weeks ago before this pandemic broke wide open I had two different people share with me miraculous moves of God in their lives. Paul says “ rejoice in hope ;” that is a directive for us right now, today and every day! Are you rejoicing in the hope, even if you just lost your job as many have? You see for those who have hope (and if you’re a Christian you do have hope) we know that no matter the circumstances, we know God is in control and He knows what our most urgent need is, better than we do.

Paul says “ patient in tribulation ;” we are in a tribulation never before seen in our lifetime; life as we knew it has been turned upside down not just financially, but socially, culturally and hopefully spiritually. Patience is not what humanity is accustomed to; look at the run on the stores we have been seeing in the last several weeks and toilet paper? Only God knows what that’s about! Seriously, we are not by nature patient people; we want our desires, luxuries and our needs met immediately. We don’t like to wait and yet, scripture commands us to “ Wait upon the Lord .”

Are you waiting on the Lord; by not panicking, not listening to the voices of the world that tell you to panic? Are you patient in tribulation by trusting in Him to meet your needs, for provision and protection? Are you waiting on Him by what you say to others, on social media and by what and who you listen to?

This tribulation has brought something to light no one wants to deal with- mankind’s dependence on himself! Mankind has been breezing along in prosperity, power, politics and his own reasoning and wisdom. Suddenly, something occurs that mankind has almost no control over, something that most likely he created by breezing along full of self, and it has exploded in his face! Now it is revealed how dependent mankind has been on his own abilities, own wisdom, own power and his own politics.

When suddenly none of those things can bring a quick fix to the problem, panic, confusion and more irrational thinking and actions kick in. What we’re seeing in America and across the world revealed is what is stated in God’s Word in Revelation 3:17- “Because you say I am rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked-“

I’ve heard it said “ perception is reality ” and that is true to the point that perception controls most people; but the reality is, without the sustaining grace of the hand of God, we are no more than wretched, miserable, poor, bind and naked.

Paul adds “ continuing in prayer ;” if prayer is petition , spiritual intimacy and practice , then prayer is work ! And I believe that and I believe that is why the Church is suffering from the pandemic of prayerlessness ! It takes work to bring petition; petition is pushing through, being relentless, persevering and believing in what you are petitioning for. Spiritual intimacy is being in close contact with God, not just trying to flip Him on like a light switch, but seeking Him, connecting with Him and knowing Him! That’s spiritual intimacy and it takes work ! You don’t get to know another person by meeting them one time; and yet, many Christians try to relate to God that way; when I need Him, I’ll talk to Him but I don’t have a lot of time to spend trying to connect on a close level. Well people, maybe we have more time now!

Honestly most people cringe when prayer is mentioned maybe form guilt or doubt or just laziness. Prayer is not complicated but it does require effort, it requires practice. Practice is nothing more than repetition, continually repeating something until it becomes second nature. No, I don’t mean repeating the same prayer over and over, we need to read the bible and let scripture stimulate our prayers; we should let the Holy Spirit show us what to pray and how to pray; we need to be continuing in prayer as Paul says.

But therein lies the issue; many of us just need to start praying; we are under a plague and it really doesn’t matter where or who it came from, God has allowed us to experience it. I believe it is a wakeup call to Jesus’ Church, a call to take God more seriously, to recognize and understand how much we really are dependent upon Him as our source of living!

Now is the time to REALLY pray, REALLY seek the presence of God and REALLY examine ourselves to “see if we really are of the faith.” This is a time for true believers to rejoice in the hope we have been given in Christs; to patiently wait upon the Lord and to continue in prayer for humanity.

Be encouraged, keep the faith and stand firm in it!

Blessings!

Pastor Leonard
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