Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
When David wrote this Psalm, his life was in turmoil. David was on the run from King Saul who desired to kill him. David’s crime? He was chosen of God to be the next king of Israel, as God was going to dismiss the lineage of Saul from the throne. David, a man who had a heart for God, strove to behave himself wisely, but Saul’s jealousy could not be quenched. David found himself running for his life to the point he ran to the Philistines to find refuge a couple times with no avail! During this period of time though, God was making David into the man He wanted David to be so that he would handle the responsibilities & privileges of his future kingship in a righteous way.
We all experience fears from the trials we face. Maybe we are like David, trying to do right, but somebody is out to get us. Or maybe we are facing daunting circumstances or problematic scenarios that leave us awake at night. During David’s days of running, I believe David learned an important truth about God that he would have to use many times as a King. That truth was simply this; that God could be sought for relief! God doesn’t want us to live stressed out lives, instead he desires to aid us and deliver us from our fears. The Bible tells us 366 times, “Fear not.” If we’ll take our fears to the Lord, He can help us deal with them. Somebody once said, “God either calms the storm or calms His child.” Are you overrun with fears today? Then you are a prime candidate to find relief from the Lord. He wants each of us to bring our fears to him as David did and find relief in Him.
Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
Have you ever talked on the phone and struggled to hear what the other person was saying because of poor reception? Whenever we have poor reception, its said that we have “static in the line.” In other words, we are struggling to communicate because something is causing interference between the two phones. “Static in the line” can be very frustrating as we try to communicate with others. Sometimes when we pray, we may feel the same way with God. We are trying to communicate, but our prayers don’t seem to be reaching Him and He doesn’t seem to be answering back. If this continues, we tend to give up on prayer because we feel that God is not hearing anyway. We could say that static exists in the line between us and God. What do we do when we sense this?
The first thing we should not do is blame God. The Bible states in a number of places that God graciously welcomes us before His throne. He desires to converse with us anytime & anywhere. The problem isn’t on God’s end, we must understand that. The problem actually lies on our end. In our text, God identifies the problem, iniquity (or sin). Sin will very quickly disrupt our communication with God. Isaiah 59:1-2 states, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that is cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” If we want the “static” removed from our line with God, then we must be ruthlessly honest about our sin through personal confession. God will abundantly forgive if we willingly come clean. But if we choose to retain sin in our hearts, our prayers won’t go any higher then the ceiling. May God help us remove the “static” out of the line between us and Him!
Isaiah 64:4 – For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Many Christians struggle with their prayer life for a variety of reasons. One reason centers on the fact that God often requires that we “wait” for the answer. In our society, the idea of waiting does not sit well with the average individual. As a result, we, who are tainted with that mentality, get disillusioned with prayer because nothing seems to be happening or worse, what we are praying for seems less likely to be obtained. We want answers and we want them right now. However, that isn’t how God works. All over the scriptures God commands His people to wait patiently as He works in ways often unseen by us. Unfortunately, sometimes Christians get discouraged and just give up on prayer. As a result, victories are not obtained that could have happened.
The Bible tells us that we will be blessed if we wait on the Lord to answer. Waiting, though difficult at times, is designed to test and strengthen our faith. The longer we wait, the great the faith needed to see the blessing at the end. Our text verse indicates we have yet to see all that God has for us and certainly that includes the prayers that He’ll answer. The Bible says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” We can’t even begin to dream what God can do in answered prayer. To see those extra special blessings, we have to be willing to wait and persevere in prayer till the answer comes. Too often, we may have stopped too soon and missed God answering our prayers. God has promised to answer our prayers and if the answer hasn’t been obtained yet, just keep praying until the answer is known. God’s best blessings come to those who wait on Him. May God help us to embrace that truth as we seek answers to our prayers.
Matthew 21:21-22 – Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Sometimes we face daunting obstacles that appear impossible to move. These obstacles seem so overwhelmingly difficult that we sense our abilities and available resources are far from adequate to overcome them. Sadly, we often get discouraged, defeated and simply give up and just settle for “this is just the way its going to be.” We don’t recognize the great power our God possesses and the fact that we can petition God to use some of that power. We fail to understand that He can step into the most difficult of circumstances and make the impossible, possible.
In our text, Jesus states that if we have faith, we’ll in essence be able to “move mountains.” Mountains are symbolic in scripture of difficult and insurmountable odds against us. They are obstacles and challenges that cannot be moved unless God moves them. Only His supernatural strength can do so. Jesus here is trying to communicate our prayer’s potential in the fact it can “remove mountains” that we cannot do ourselves. When we pray, we see the arm of God move things for us we couldn’t do ourselves. So often, our unbelief limits God and we don’t diligently seek and wait for the Lord to fulfill His promise. But what would happen if we got serious with God about an obstacle in our lives and diligently prayed until the “mountain” was removed? Verse 22 says we shall have it. What obstacle are you facing? Can I encourage you today to making it the Lord’s business to remove your mountains? We don’t have to settle for anything less then that. God help us to believe and pray for those “mountains” to be removed!
Hebrews 4:15-16 – “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Have you ever had a burden or a problem that was hard to communicate to others? The people you tell just can’t seem to relate despite the fact they try to empathize with you. The Bible tells us here that we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who has felt those same infirmities we experience living in a sin cursed world. He never sinned, but certainly understands the pain associated with sin as He suffered immensely for the sins of mankind. Despite being God, Jesus came to this earth to experience human life first hand, having gone through every aspect of it. As a result, He feels our burdens and connects with our struggles.
Based on the Lord’s understanding, we are encouraged in verse 16 to come “boldly” before God’s throne for the grace and mercy we need. Most people are sheepish when it comes to asking for something. We don’t want to feel like we are imposing or we are asking too much of somebody. We fear how people will respond to our requests. However, God is much different. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” God encourages us to come anytime before His throne with boldness, in other words, with confidence that He’s hearing and will respond appropriately. We can bring anything before Him, regardless of how “silly” we may think the request is. We can pour out our hearts unashamedly before Him and never have to feel that we are asking too much of Him. God delights in hearing and answering the prayers of His children. Today, don’t be bashful before God’s throne, be respectfully bold, desiring that God hears and answers the requests that burden our hearts.
Acts 4:31, 33 – “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness….And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”
Peter & John had performed a great miracle which opened an opportunity to preach the Gospel to a large crowd. However, not everyone appreciated their witness. The Jewish religious council felt their teaching was very problematic and dragged these men in for questioning. The council went further and before letting the men go, vehemently threaten them with the hope of silencing their witness. Afterwards, Peter & John brought back word to the church regarding the hostilities they experienced. Instead of being silenced through these fear tactics, the church began a prayer meeting, asking God for boldness to proclaim the Gospel. Our text picks up with God’s answer; the sending of the Holy Spirit and the power they received to witness and maintain their faithfulness to Christ.
Regardless if we are facing the pressures of persecution or the pull of our sinful nature, we need God’s power upon our lives to remain faithful and steadfast for the Lord. The Christian life cannot be lived right without the assistance of God’s power. Christians cannot be fruitful for the Lord without God’s power enabling their service. How do we get God’s power? Take the example from our text and other passages that clearly communicate that we must seek it through prayer. We must ask God to strengthen us to fulfill His will and obey His precepts. Without a consistent prayer life, we are going to have an inconsistent Christian life. Have you “powered up” today by spending time with God in prayer?
Matthew 11:28-30 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is
easy, and my burden is light.
All of us go through periods in life where we feel overburdened. Every person’s experience is different, but at times, we feel like we are laboring, attempting to carry a heavy load and struggling under the weight of it. That heavy load isn’t physical, but emotional, which can often be the hardest thing to bear. Our load is often an assortment of many things creating stress, anxiety & fear. Common things include the welfare of our family, our financial footing, health issues, people issues, job issues, uncontrollable circumstances and questions about the future. Sometimes those burdens are also the result of wrong or sinful choices that have brought consequences difficult to handle. Regardless of where they come from, we feel within our hearts like we are laboring strenuously to carry a heavy load that will crush us.
Thankfully, the Lord is not turning a blind eye to our burdens. Instead, He desires to “yoke up” with us. He desires to help us carry the load as His shoulders can make the burdens lighter. His peace can override the stress we feel inside. His presence can bring security to the soul. His power can help us overcome the struggles we face. The key to finding some relief is simple, “Come unto me….” We’ll find rest for our weary souls when we humbly come before the Lord and ask for His help carrying the load. Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We don’t need to shy away, but come humbly for help! Are you carrying some burdens right now? Have you poured out your heart to God, laying those burdens out to Him? Maybe you have, but decided to pick them back up again? Life and all the cares that can be associated with it requires we take advantage of our Lord’s offer. Will we do so today?
Isaiah 59:1-2 – “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Sometimes a sense of discouragement and unbelief sets into the hearts of God’s people when they hear about the subject of prayer. Prayer, “though it seems to work for some, doesn’t seem to work for me” is the underlying attitude too many of God’s people take. According to scripture, prayer is the one of the most potent things we can do as it stirs God to action. James 5:16 states, “The effectual fervent prayer availeth much…” But why does that seem like an “idle tale” to so many?
We must first understand one thing, the issue is never with God, period. The issue is always with us. Our text verse tells us that God certainly isn’t lacking in ability to accomplish anything. But why isn’t He answering my prayers some wonder? Though many reasons could exist, including God’s timing, God’s will, etc, one thing is often overlooked, that’s our own sin. Verse 2 of our text shows us what puts “static in the line” between us and God. To get access to the throne of God, we must clean our hearts through personal confession and repentance of sin. Psalm 24:3-4 states, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” If we want access to the throne, we must remember who we are approaching, the Almighty Creator God! Sin will stonewall any attempt to speak with God. We need to examine our hearts today and come clean with any sin God brings to mind whether it was a word, thought or action. We’ll have all the access we want to the throne room of God with the sin in our lives cleaned up through personal confession and repentance. We need our prayers answers, but before that happens, we have to get clean. Will we do so?
John 16:23-24 – “…Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Over and over, the Lord expresses a great desire to hear our prayers so that He may answer them. He tells us that whatever it is, He’s willing to hear and respond according to His perfect will. God’s will always brings joy in the life of a Christian. Prayer is one of the great privileges we get the day we get saved and there is no limit to what we can pray about. God delights in blessing His people by showing His power in answering our prayers. Like a father who delights seeing the eyes of his child light up when a blessing is given, God enjoys seeing our hearts light up when we receive an answer to prayer. We receive great joy when God hears and answers a prayer that we have been praying. Sometimes, those answers seem surreal, but we have a God that can do anything.
We are often robbed of this joy though. The reason, we simply don’t ask! James 4:2, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.” God cares about you, your family, your every need, etc. Have we been bringing these things before Him in believing prayer? Or do we, but with a half-hearted unbelief that doesn’t really believe the prayers being prayed make a difference? The God of Heaven, the Creator of all, the Lord of all the universe, the Omnipotent Potentate has given us access to Him 24 hours/7 days a week and we don’t take advantage of it? I believe a Christian is missing some of the greatest joys they could experience by failing to bring their desires and burdens to God and seeing Him step in and respond. Too often we just don’t think God is interested or able, but that’s a satanic lie that robs God’s people of wonderful blessings God has for them. What would you like to see God do in your life? Heal your marriage? Help your children? Bring you a spouse? Lead you into God’s will? See a lost loved one saved? The list could go on and on, but ask, seek, knock and the answer will come that will be a joy to your heart!