Most of us know how to pray. There seem to be a few prayers that are common to all: prayer for help; prayers for mercy and healing; prayer for forgiveness; prayer on behalf of someone else; and prayers for personal riches and blessings. Everywhere in the world people pray these prayers to God or gods or the powers, or even To Whom It May Concern. We also know some of the rituals of prayer. Most of us understand that it is best to approach God in prayer with “clean hands and a clean heart.” I take that to mean that before we jump right in praying, we are supposed to take time to prepare ourselves by evaluating our spiritual condition, reflecting on our own personal sins and broken relationships, and confessing all of this to ourselves before God Almighty. Skipping lightly over this first part helps keep our prayers superficial at best.
I believe God hears the prayers of every person in the world, knows our names and is listening to our heart’s cry. God listens for the cry of confession, of repentance, and for forgiveness. God is listening for His name: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, Jesus, Savior, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. You know some of the other names also.
The Christmas season is about answered prayer, the names of God, the Word made flesh, and God’s love for every person in this world. As you read this, Dorothy and I are on a journey to the other side of the world to share the power of God’s great love as we teach about prayer and grace and mercy to a sister Baptist church in Brisbane, Australia. We are teaching about praying with our eyes open as we walk through the streets of our community. Seeing what God is revealing before us. Praying, as intercessors, for the heartfelt cries and needs of the people who are right in our path. And discovering the way God would have us minister with those people. Thank you for your prayers for us and the people of the Annerley Church this week.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Open your eyes and heart. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.