Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Did You Think to Pray? (from the archives)

Pray without ceasing. I Thess. 5:17

Did You Think to Pray?
Words by Mary A. Kidder

Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor,
As a shield today?

O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.

When you met with great temptation,
Did you think to pray?
By His dying love and merit,
Did you claim the Holy Spirit
As your guide and stay?

When your heart was filled with anger,
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother,
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?

When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was bowed in sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?

As children of God, we have a wonderful privilege – we can go to God directly in prayer, with praise and petition. We also have the promise that Jesus lives to intercede for us (Romans 8, Hebrews 7:25) when we don’t have the words to pray.

Prayer should be a regular and natural part of our life. But as sinful humans, we don’t always commit ourselves to prayer as we should. This hymn reminds us to pray, because prayer makes a difference.

So many times I have caught myself in the midst of worry and have thought, “why am I spending time stewing over this? I should just be praying!” I love how the refrain states it: “O how praying rests the weary.” I know that I often find rest after releasing my burden and giving it to the Lord. That’s what He promises us:

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

I have found this promise to be true in my life: God has sustained me in a miraculous way when I have cast my burdens on Him. He doesn’t want us to bear them alone. He wants to bear our burden, and encourages us to bring them to Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

In addition to finding relief from trials and burdens, this hymn covers many different reasons for praying: to find strength for the day ahead, to be able to resist the temptor’s power, to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to plead for grace and the ability to forgive another. God wants to hear from us in all our situations. And though we may not get the answer right away, we are to keep on praying.

I love this parable that Jesus shared with his followers about prayer:

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8

Our earnest prayer is pleasing to God, and He will not delay long over us! Thanks be to God for the beautiful gift of prayer.

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