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Anxiety Series: #3 Activating God's Promises Through Prayer - Part 1

Prayer, such a POWERFUL and yet under used tool given to us. I mean, just think that it wasn't even until New Testament times and beyond that we, us as humans, Jews and Gentiles, could come to God through his son Christ Jesus in direct prayer whenever we pray. We have an intercessor set up to be that connection to God. That thought and reality alone just makes me say THANK YOU every time I think about that.

At the time of writing this we are heading into Easter, and that reminds us of all those promises that came to pass through Jesus. From breaking bread at the last supper, giving that visual of bread being broken as his body soon would be. To the blood spilled from the cross as they poured the wine. SO many benefits are afforded to us in the New Testament age and beyond, and yet many of us find ourselves just as anxious, worried, stressed, sad, and unhappy. Where is the disconnect happening between what God promises and urges us to do and what we actually end up doing?

We aren't experiencing that shalom that God promises in his word, not by our own works but from that of Jesus, when he died on that cross for those of us that know that truth and have taken that into our lives as fact and reality. Paul states this in Romans 10:9-13 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Just think, when that giant curtain that separated the people and priests from God himself was torn from the top of that massive, thick, heavy velvet curtain to the bottom, our connection to God was restored through his son that paid that ultimate sacrificial/Abrahamic Covenantal price for you and I. We can now go to God in prayer to have our sins heard and absolved without need for an intermediary OTHER than God's only begotten son Christ Jesus. I can't help but just sit in this thought for a minute. We are NEVER alone, even in the loneliest of times, amidst every crisis and beyond, God/Christ Jesus is there by our side.

John 14: 13-15 speaks on that; 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. Please note that this isn't a magic formula that when you pray "in the name of Jesus" that all your prayers come true as you have prayed them. John also goes on to state "14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

How many times as a Christian, being told the John 14:13-14 verse, did you mutter "not MY prayers". It's amazing how we seem to get taught somewhere that verse is all about going to our Father/God and he lovingly just answers our prayers. Just dole them out like we pray them, like Oprah handing out gifts, what ever you wish is somehow God's command.

Unfortunately that isn't how it works, not like we typically envision it anyway. This isn't a magic lamp, this is an all knowing, loving God/Father we are speaking to. Going into prayer should look more like an openness to what God has for you, meek and eager to be open to the path God has over our own path. Jesus is quoted in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” I get we WANT this to all be about us, and it is, but it is also to the glory of God when you go to him in prayer. It is GOD'S WILL to be done, and sometimes that looks very different than what you go in hoping for as an answer. This is where faith, trust and walking IN the Holy Spirit come in to play. I'm telling you that is WORK, it's not easy, but life isn't easy. The one thing you can truly count on is the promise that God has given. Nothing else you are putting your trust in can promise what God can. So why do we find it so hard to walk out trusting that God truly has EVERYTHING.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Jeremiah was speaking to people during hardship and suffering, people who were probably desiring immediate rescue. God doesn't promise them immediate release though, his plans were to prosper them in the middle of their current, right now, situation. Today we can rest in this knowing that God DOES have plans for us also, no matter the situation you are in, God can work through all this and although it may not look directly like what we are praying for. We can rest in the fact that God has plans for us. Whatever situation you are in is PART of that plan. He's got you, he has your back, he has YOU. Right there, from an anxiety standpoint, should be a great truth you can hold up when anxiety tries to get you down.

God's promise is truth and prayer is our way to God through his son, who paid the price for us. There is a plan and we can REST in that plan. Shalom is part of the promise laid out in Philippians 4:6,7 "6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and suppllication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace [shalom] of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" and his word is truth, God breathed truth.

*Sigh*, I wish I could convey this huge reality to every one of my friends that suffer with anxiety. It's not an easy truth to walk out on. I struggle with it all the time. Prayer and then release.... giving it out to God and trusting his plan is FAR better than mine. I'm a "type A" personality, I LOVE control, if I don't do it, well it's hard to trust that others will get it done the way I see it needing to be done. BUT YET, there hasn't been a time when the chips are all on the table and I have gone to God in prayer that it hasn't been answered. The twist to that? NOT ALWAYS HOW I PRAYED FOR IT TO GO. Always beautiful after I look back and see God all over it, definitely not how I wanted things.

Questions to ask yourself is truthfully and honestly, just you and God alone in this, where is your prayer life in relation to where God is asking you to be? What changes can you start making to build healthy prayer habits in your life? Are you willing to hand EVERYTHING over to God in prayer and WALK AWAY without hanging on to any of it?


(Mornings with Tozer: Daily Devotional Readings, compiled by Gerald Smith, Moody Publishers, 2008, entry for Feb. 26).

(from On Earth as It Is in Heaven: How the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us to Pray More Effectively, Baker Books, 2010, p. 78).

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