I think we would all agree that it is a great privilege to be invited to come before the throne of grace and offer our prayers to the Creator of the Universe. But there is something even beyond this great privilege of which we must be mindful: we are commanded by God to pray to Him both day and night.
Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
The command is clear; we are to “pray without ceasing,” as many English translations render this verse. And why would we not want to call on our Lord, who encourages us to, “Call to me” and promises, “I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3)?
Perhaps you should pause for a moment and marinate in that word from the weeping prophet Jeremiah. God promises to answer our prayers. Now, as I have said many times before, we may receive one of three answers: YES, NO, or WAIT. But regardless of which answer we receive, our God promises to tell us great and unsearchable things that we did not know before we came to Him in prayer.
Remember what the psalmist tells us:
Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
God not only hears our prayers, He knows them before we know them and He is always available to give to us a ready answer. Think about this for a moment: looking back on your life, aren’t you glad God answered some of your prayers with a resounding NO? Or with WAIT? I can tell you from personal experience that I certainly am! So much of what I cried out for years ago did not come about, and I praise God today that He withheld it from me. God always knows what is best for each of us and knows exactly what we need, moment by moment. He may not always give to us everything we want; but He will always give us everything we need, exactly when we need it, which is why WAIT is such a great and gracious response from God.
So . . . how is your prayer life today? Do you find yourself in close communion with Jesus? Or are you in the habit of calling on Him only when you are in desperate need? Remember, if the gates of Hell shall not prevail against our Prince, nothing will stand in the way of your petitions other than God’s omniscient understanding of your needs and the best way to meet them at the best possible time.
Let me close out today’s message with a few verses that I pray will encourage you to pray continually.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. (James 5:13)
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 17:6)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!