Prayer Might Be Harder Than You Think

Are we aware of how large a portion of Scripture is occupied with the subject of prayer? Within the first pages of the Bible we read, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26) The closing plea is “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) Throughout God’s Word are many examples.
Abraham prayed for Sodom & Lot, (Genesis 18:23-32) Jacob wrestled with the Lord and called upon Him (Genesis 32:24-30). Moses begged in prayer for the deliverance of Israel (Exodus 33:12-18) Elijah prayed to prove the power of God in defeating idolatry (1st Kings 18:24-39) Samuel prayed and revealed it is a sin to neglect to intercede in prayer for God’s people, (1st Samuel 12:22-24). Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:6-10). David struggled with sin and strife, his Psalms are full of his expressions in prayer. Jesus prayed always and taught that we should persevere in prayer (Luke 18:1-8) Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God even when persecuted (Acts 16:25). We are certain that whatever God has made prominent in His word, He intended to be emphasized in our lives. Since He has highlighted prayer, He knows we have much to learn about it. So huge are our necessities here, that until we are in Heaven, we must never stop praying. We should continually lift up our requests for strength, wisdom and guidance for our self and this troubled world. To show humility in daily living, and being eager to talk about God’s saving grace. Rejoice in the privilege of God’s presence. Never forget the command of God through Paul, “Be devoted to prayer, be alert in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2)

Some Christians fail to even try to pray like Jesus prayed, they seem to take prayer too casual to their own spiritual detriment. We live in an age, where things are a little too easy and we think prayer should be that way. Point and click! Digital cameras today have made taking a photo as simple as that. And yet sometimes the image returns with the background in perfect clarity and the intended subject fuzzy. The key is to position the camera in such a way that the main point of interest is centered in order to ensure an accurate focus. To stay centered and focus, is important in our spiritual work of prayer. The example of Jesus and the teaching of Paul is related to a constant attempt to pray and stay focused in prayer on God and His grace & wisdom. God teaches us to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12) This is a reminder that no matter what the picture, whether one of joy or trial, we can capture it in prayer. The use of the word constant implies a sense of being steadfastly attentive. It’s not an ongoing “snap and go” approach, but one of continuous awareness and purposeful petitions. We must pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. What are your prayers concentrated on? Is the emphasis on the background or the main subject? In all things, prayerfully keep a vertical focus with God as the center point. Spend time today living with the Lord and placing Him at the core of your prayers. Ask that He be glorified through your personal circumstances, and pray for His will to prevail in your daily lifestyle. “ Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

Praying in the Spirit is a task we must accept as a challenge, especially in view of the order Jesus gives us to pray for our enemies. Hostilities exist. “There is no ignoring the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.” So spoke President Franklin D. Roosevelt on (Dec. 8, 1941) the day following what is marked on my calendar, as Pearl Harbor Day. Jesus did not deny that enemies exist…nor persecutors. It was true then, true on the “day of infamy” and is true today. Nations will rage against nation and people against one another. So does the command to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors sound like mission impossible? Jesus taught clearly, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44) The truth is that only through God’s love and grace shown to me & you in Jesus Christ can each of us recognize that you and I were once His enemy, but He loved us anyway. In our thoughts and actions, He was injured by us. But even Jesus Himself prayed, “Father, forgive.” Today, rise up in the strength of His forgiveness shown to each of us and pray as Jesus instructed. Intercede just as lovingly for who ever our enemy is to find His grace, no matter what we feel they have done against anyone. Read Luke 6:27-36. The effect of this prayer and faith is a reality in our personal lives, and it can be a reality elsewhere. Do you pray like this? God is bigger than us and can forgive in greater ways, but as His children, we can do it too, personally, one day at a time. Try praying like Jesus did, He works!

An Official Victorious Death

Jesus was definitely dead! Pilate had professional soldiers confirm the death of Jesus. Buried in a Tomb! From the event to present day, no one is on record historically to deny the tomb is empty, neither does anyone produce a body. Jesus was placed in an identifiable tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea with burial preparations and women watched as the body was placed in the tomb, when they returned with more preparations, they found it empty. The heavy stone covering was very large, and had been officially sealed by enemies of Jesus, providing an unanswerable witness to the fact that the disciples could not have stolen the body. The official guards of the tomb, faced the possibility of execution upon failure to carry out their duties. The only thing found in the tomb were grave clothes, tidily unmoved, yet stained with the precious blood, the redeeming price for the sin-filled souls of guilty humanity. Jn. 19:38-20:10. It is more than interesting and notable that a certain rich man named Joseph of Arimethea (who seem to want to keep his faith in Christ hidden or out of the public’s eye) was actually the man God used to make a public venue that would prove to the entire world, Jesus died & is now risen.

The Disciples of Jesus, before his death, they proved to be cowards, but after the resurrection, James his own physical brother had a change of heart, Peter’s past denial turned into a proclamation, Thomas’s skepticism turned into confession and in all of them, the message of the resurrection brought upon them brave sacrifice and sometimes even martyrdom. They did not expect Jesus to rise! So why would they plan to steal the body, as falsely reported? If the resurrected body of Jesus was a hallucination, they would need to have had an expectation to have seen it. They were brought to belief after the resurrection against their own will by Jesus himself, who forced them to face the truth, because of his undying love for them and you. Jn. 20:19-29. The change in Saul and the Apostles is proof that the burial & resurrection are key to making our salvation. Without those events, there could be no life changing event in any of us. 1st Corinthians 15:1-17 & 2nd Corinthians 11:22-28.

The Appearances of Jesus, are noted in over 15 occasions in varying times, places and by different people. Sometimes being in small groups or in a large crowd. People saw him, touched him and even ate with him. Eye-witnesses are the best proof for undeniable truth which can never be proven false in the future. In order to logically disprove the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the unbeliever must produce some evidence contrary to these reports. Evidence which could out-weigh eye-witness records in the most authenticated historical document the world has ever known, the New Testament.

The Establishment of the Church verified by the New Testament was completed and recorded within the lifetimes of people who could argue against it’s claims and provide the body of Jesus as evidence against their teachings, but it never happened, and yet the resurrected body of Jesus was central to the church’s message. The new religion was so different, they forever revoked their holy day as the Saturday Sabbath to the Sunday “Lord’s Day” because of the resurrection. The church’s most public displays of faith are the Communion and Baptism, both of which focus their purpose on the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Whenever the day arrives for the unbeliever to present evidence against the resurrection, the Church will dissolve. Until then, the burden of evidence rests on the unbeliever, not Christians. On which side is faith better evidenced?