Jeremiah 29:11-14 Amp.
“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on me and you will come and pray to me, and I will hear (your voice) and I will listen to you. Then (with a deep longing) you will seek me and require me (as a vital necessity) and (you will) find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” says the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and I will (free you and) gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” says the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”
Interesting, the passage says “then you will call, come and pray, and search, and seek, require,” but more interestingly is the how they called. They called with their voice, with deep longing, as a vital necessity, with all of their heart!
That is heartfelt prayer, prayers of passion, prayers showing a relationship not a required religious action. A cry of need to the God of answers, a plea of passion to a God of grace, a prayer of searching to the God of direction.
2 Chronicles 7:14 is a very familiar verse that says: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The seeking that is done by the people calling out to God is in the same heartfelt, passionate, relationship prayerful that we see previously in Jeremiah.
There was a phrase among the ancient rabbis between the first and sixth century that said “When you pray know before whom you stand.”
As we pray in these modern times, are we praying with such reverence and awe as we aught? We are living in some trouble times; and if there was ever a time when we need to pray, it’s now. Because more can be done by prayer than anything else, prayer is our greatest tool, our greatest weapon. We refer to ourselves as children of God, and that is what we are. Do we pray like a child in communion with their father? Again prayer is relational, not religious. It’s a connection of communication.
The Navigators Organization teaches a simple outline on how we should pray. They use the hand is a tool to remember. Starting with your little finger: Confession: 1 John1:9 next, Petition: 1 Samuel 1:27, next, Intercession: Ephesians 6:18-19, then the pointer finger, Thanksgiving: Ephesians 5:20, lastly, your thumb, Praise: Psalm 146:1–2.
Praise is the strongest (thumb), Thanksgiving is toward heaven (pointer finger), intercession the far-reaching and standing in the gaps (the between middle finger), seeking personal needs (ring or gentle finger), lastly, confession (the little finger), digs into the small areas of our lives revealing our need before God and agreeing with God about our need of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-22 Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quenched the spirit. Do not despise prophecy. Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
God’s mercy, grace and blessings.
FYI Reminder: National Day of Prayer is May 6, at 11 a.m. and on the Capitol steps.
Patrick Propster is pastor of Calvary Chapel Carson City.