We are born with the natural desire to be part of a community, build friendships, and communicate with friends. However, we share little with some, while much more with those we trust, those who don't misjudge, misunderstand, or, worst, make fun of us.
We may have wished to have friends that we could trust so much to share everything in our hearts. But, among all our good friends, our Creator, Lord Jesus Christ, is the only one we can trust! We can communicate our needs, fears, and desires with our passionate, patient, wise, loving, and caring Creator. He listens, cares, and never misunderstands. Instead, he provides us with intelligent counsel, encouragement, and support.
We can’t do many things as humans, but prayers make it possible because there is power in sincere prayers. While our Lord listens to every prayer, his response may differ from our expectations because he sees things we don't. But when we look back into the past, we see God responded to hour prayers lovingly and wisely.
We must admit that we live in a society that may keep us so busy and distracted that we may not have time for prayer. Yet, prayers are our powerful weapon to overcome the most difficult challenges above and beyond our abilities. So, let's set a specific time aside each day to pray, even if only for a few minutes.
Spending a minute in silence in his presence at the beginning of prayer is a good start. Let our minds clear up from the busyness of the day. We learn from the Scriptures that believers often prayed on their knees whenever possible. Each person may have a different praying style and pray for different needs. Sometimes we pray a short prayer to thank him for answering our prayer requests. And sometimes, we may spend hours in his comforting presence in worship.
Here is an example of a simple prayer when facing challenges: "Our Father in heaven, you have always been faithful in your promises. Today, I'm facing challenges that are above my understanding and strength. I'm asking you to give me understanding, wisdom, and the power to overcome. Thank you for listening to my prayers. I ask in Jesus' name."
Approaching God's throne requires humility and openness. Since God knows everything about us, there is no reason to hide anything from him. So let's open our daily prayers by confessing our mistakes, wrongdoings, inappropriate language, and unpleasant attitudes.
While we ask for forgiveness, we should also have the heart to forgive others. The Gospel of Matthew 6:14-15 emphasizes the importance of forgiving others to receive forgiveness. It may seem too hard to forgive those who have hurt us deeply. But our Creator knows all and wants us to trust Him and let go of any hatred or grudge against our oppressors so that we may heal. It doesn't necessarily mean tolerating hurtful actions or putting ourselves in harm's way. But, if we hold on to our anger and don't relinquish our grudges, we'll soon lose everyone, even our close friends.
We can't find a perfect person in this imperfect world, nor an ideal friend! Everyone makes mistakes, some very small and some huge mistakes. And your friends, you, and I are no exceptions. But when we forgive, "we" become free. The person who wronged us may not apologize; however, forgiving them gives them a second chance.
Practicing forgiveness is a choice. God wants us to be bold and the first to take a step and open a respectful dialog with those we have a problem. You might be surprised how many of our issues are due to miscommunication and misunderstandings. It’d be wise to take a wise and trustworthy friend with us to go and restore broken relationships. Jesus said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the letters of the New Testament, was formerly persecuting Christians. But the persecuted Christians prayed for and forgave him. Then, they prayed for him to believe in Jesus Christ. And soon, Paul became the most outstanding Christian evangelist! So when we pray honestly, asking God to help us make peace with others, God responds delightfully and paves the way in advance.
There will be times we will need others to pray for us. For example, when we are ill or facing severe difficulties, we should ask other Christians to pray for us. The scripture tells us that:
“The prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:15
It’s so honorable to reflect on God’s greatness and loving nature before praying for a need. For example, we may pray, "Our Father in heaven. Your creation is beautiful and majestic; you are a loving, merciful, and forgiving God; your plans are wise and good."
Then we pray for our loved ones, friends, and those with special needs. We pray for our needs too. We pray daily to be filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the end, we close our prayers with "Thank you, Lord, for listening. I (we) ask in Jesus' name, Amen."
Our God is a good father and a good coach! And since we are his children, we take courage, do what we can, and call for help for what we can't. But when we let our ego take over and try to do things beyond our abilities, we hurt ourselves. Instead, humility and wisdom call for God's help!
We'll explore the role of the Holy Spirit in the following chapters.
Please click on “Fellowship of the Holy Spirit” to continue.
- God expects us to forgive others.
- When we pray, we pray just for our needs
- True: We may not trust those who hurt us, but we should forgive them.
- False: We pray for many things, for our friends, those who need help, and our needs.