Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet hour of Prayer...

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

You know how sometime you go to church and you can totally tell that God is speaking to you? Well, church on Sunday was such a blessing to me. I don't get to go to my home church, Midway, very often... but Bro. Carmichal sermon on prayer really made me think about a few things. I wanted to share the lyrics of the song "Sweet hour of prayer" because I think it has such a
strong message...

- We can find relief through prayer...
- Prayer can keep us from things we are tempted by...
- God wants to share in our happy moments, so tell Him about them!
- God wants us to seek Him, study, Him, trust Him, and rely on Him!

The book of Philippians, though it's a letter... relates a lot to the prayer life of a believer...

  • Philippians begins with Paul and Timothy thanking God for the friends they are writing to. What an encouragement!! We should always remember those who we love in our prayers.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making requests for you all with joy." (Philippians 1:3-5)
  • In a time of loss, the following verses really opened my eyes and are easy (in my opinion) to personalize to one's situation. Paul is talking about his imminent death... but read these verses thinking of the person/s in your life that have passed away or may be facing a hard battle.
"For me to live in Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you." (Philippians 1: 21-24)
So let's be honest with ourselves, which is a hard thing to do (I'm talking to myself more than anything), How selfish are we to want the "I" in these verses to "remain in the flesh"?? If I would have asked myself this question a month or so ago... I would have had a totally different answer. Of course I would have wanted my Daddy to stay "in the flesh" with me... but lately (and after some conversations with mom) I have really considered what Daddy's life would have been like as he recovered and recuperated and lived life with Leukemia. He would have had to wear long pants and long sleeves and really only spend time outside in the early morning or evening. Now, anyone who knew my Daddy could tell you that would be a hard sell to make him stay inside... for more than an hour or more if he wasn't taking a nap! So... how much better (for him) was it to die and GAIN CHRIST! I truly believe Daddy chose to go on to Heaven. Maybe he could have fought the Leukemia harder and remained here with us, but Daddy was truly a God seeker, and if God gave him a choice... I am confident that he chose to go and be with Christ... "which is far better." (I'm crying as I write this... and I have to continually remind myself that Daddy is much better off, and that I am growing stronger and closer to God from dealing with his death.)
  • Prayer can help you deal with the past and prepare for the future.
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." (Phil 3:13)
This verse says two separate things to me about the past.
  1. Don't hold a grudge...
  2. You can't change the past, so don't worry about it.

For the future, this verse says to me that I should pray about things ahead... not worry about them. If you know me, then you know this is a hard sell for me! Not as much now as in the past... but I have always been a worrier. I love my job, but definitely feel that it is time for me to start exploring other options since I have started my 4th year in my current job, and have now lived on campus for (working on my) nine years. (If mom reads this... she will probably start recruiting you all to pray that I'll move home)

My pastor at Shades, Dr. Danny Wood said the following during a sermon not too long ago... and it's SO true!! "If it's big enough to worry about - it is big enough to pray about." Read Philippians 4: 6-7 for some more insight into worry... or lack thereof. :)

  • God will supply our NEEDS!

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 19)

Keep in mind that God knows a lot more than you do... and you can't fake, fib, or fabricate God. God knows the difference between our wants and needs a lot better than we do... and sometimes He will say no to our requests. But He has your best interests at heart because He loves you!!

My prayer for us all is that we will pray!!! It is so important to communicate with God... and SO easy!! Just like in any relationship... communication must occur for the relationship to flourish and develop... so to develop our relationship with God... we have to talk to Him!! I have been praying that my convictions, observations, thoughts, and emotions that I express on this blog will help some of you who read it... and I continue to pray that is the case.

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