Recently, my daughter Lori called and said, “Daddy, I’m having my devotions and I’m looking at a verse that is perfect for you to develop into a devotional thought for your website.” It is not unusual for Lori to call with an idea for a sermon or devotional. We have always been soulmates, and she knows my heart. During her elementary, high school, and college years, I pastored a church that was two and half hours away. Every weekend the journey with my wife and daughter was ‘a family affair’. Lori also liked to travel with me during the week to revivals and retreats closer to home. Her insight and support has proven to be invaluable.
The verse that was gripping her heart and now grips mine is this: “Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word the Lord has spoken against him” (Isaiah 37:21-22, NIV). The phrase ‘Because you have prayed’ resonated with her and prompted her call.
As we talked, we both recalled with joy the times that we had experienced God’s hand in our lives because we had prayed. God had so often intervened to our benefit in times of crisis and distress. We also considered times we should have prayed and didn’t. The words of the beloved hymn came to my mind: “Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”.
Both of us have since spent time reflecting on those challenging words of scripture. They are helping refocus our attention on prayer. While there is a cornucopia of wonderful verses of scripture on prayer, I’ll share just two:
- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12, NIV).
- “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).
May I encourage you to consider how God has touched your life ‘because you have prayed’. Pause and give Him thanks. Consider how different things might have been if you had prayed and didn’t. Determine to be more faithful in prayer.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV).
~ Brother Roy