Plans, Prayer, & God

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

As you may recall from yesterday, God has a plan for each of our lives, which will most likely contain some hard times. God uses these hard times for his purpose. Sometimes the hard times may be for your growth, the growth of someone else, or for many other reasons unknown to us. Unfortunately, we tend to get angry and withdraw from God during these difficulties, but God wants us to do just the opposite.

Remember, Jeremiah 29:12 states “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Here comes another of those “Oh no she didn’t moments”; when I am angry, I don’t like to pray. When I am angry, I find it very difficult to be with God or communicate with God. Why is that? Because when I pray to God, he softens my heart, and, if I am being honest, sometimes I want to be angry and wallow in my hurt. I have been wronged and I want justice. I have been hurt and I want the whole world to know it. God disappointed me, so I want to hurt him by giving him the silent treatment. Ridiculous, I know, but often times so true. However, when I don’t pray or talk with God, I am only hurting myself because I am the one who suffers. If I pray and give my burdens to the Lord, he will help me, guide me, and strengthen me. When I don’t, I carry those burdens and continue to wallow in my problems. Scripture tells us over and over that if we take our prayers to God, he will listen:

John 16:24……. “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Matthew 21:22………”…whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Jeremiah 33:3……… “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things…”
John 14:14…….. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
John 16:23…….. “…whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”
James 5:16…….. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Job 22:27…… “You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you…”
1John 5:14…….. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
1John 5:15…….. “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
John 14:13…….. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
John 15:7………. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
John 15:16…….. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
Jeremiah 29:12…….. “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
Isa 65:24…….. “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear.”
Ps 91:15…….. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”

And these are just some of the scriptures that tell us God hears our prayers. If it is this easy, why do so many Christians struggle with prayer? The answer is simple; we don’t believe it. Maybe we prayed for something we didn’t get, maybe someone told us we weren’t holy enough, or maybe we listen to the world saying that this is too good to be true. Whatever the reason, the world and a lot of Christians are so busy looking for the “catch” that they don’t accept the gift that has been given. So, the question that begs to be asked is, is there a catch with this whole praying business?

Matthew 21:22 states “whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Okay, to me that means that you have to believe God will answer your prayer. Sounds like a possible catch to me.

John 14:14 states “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”, and John 16:23 states “…whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” So you must ask in Jesus’ name? Another catch?

1 John 5:14 says “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” So now, it has to be according to his will. Hmm, three strikes you’re out?

Like many things with Christianity, I believe the answer is a matter of perspective. You can view these as contingencies, catches, or whatever else you want, but I choose to see them as guidelines. His word is showing us how to pray, what to pray, and so forth. It isn’t about the contingencies at all; it’s about a right relationship with God. If I am walking with God, my wants, desires, prayers, etc. usually line up with the word of God. The biggest obstacle I sometimes face is not knowing the will of God. I often pray “Lord, this is what my heart desires, but if it is not your will, change my heart so I am not desiring something that is not of you.”

In all honesty, God simply cannot answer every prayer, nor would we really want him to. If God answered every prayer, right now I would be married to Donnie from New Kids on the Block with a daughter named Hope and a son named Bo (Yes, I watched too much Days of our Lives as a kid). You many not want to admit it, but we have all had those kinds of prayers and most are grateful God didn’t answer. We have to get away from viewing God as our Genie in a Bottle who will give us our wishes if we just rub him the right way. When God tell us “no” or doesn’t answer right away, we must hold on to our faith and trust that God knows what is best for us and remind ourselves that he has a plan to prosper us and not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future.

On a lighter note (pun intended), have you ever misunderstood the lyrics to a song and only noticed when you were singing at the top of your lungs and the passenger beside you looks at you like you have lost your mind? Nah, me neither. Well, anyway, a few years ago I was listening to a secular song on the radio and I was so happy because I thought the singer was singing the words “pray, just pray”. By the end of the song, I was happily belting out the lyrics until my lovely teenage daughter pointed out that the singer was singing the word “breathe”. “Umm, no, it is clearly pray,” were my first thoughts, followed by “pray and breathe sound nothing alike”. Well, I “googled ” the lyrics later that night and surprise, surprise, my daughter was right; they were singing “breathe.” But God spoke to my heart and let me know that the world may sing breathe, but for you, my daughter, it is pray. So here’s a small rewrite of the song “Breathe” by Ryan Star.

She’s fine, most of the time
She takes her days with a smile
She moves like a dancer in lights
Spinning around to the sound
Sometimes she falls down

Pray, Just Pray
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me
Pray, just pray
Cause I want to be
Be all that you need

She likes New York at night
She dreams of running away
Shine on, bright like the sun
When even the sky turns gray
I need you to hear me say
I need you to hear me say

Pray, Just Pray
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me
Pray, just pray
Cause I want to be
Be all that you need

Let go of the fear
Let go of the doubt
Let go of the ones
Who to try to pull you down
You’re gonna be fine
Don’t hold it inside
If you hurt right now
Then let it all come out

Pray, Just Pray
Take the world off your shoulders
And put it on me
Pray, just pray
Cause I want to be
Be all that you need

Pretty powerful huh? I amazed how the simple change of one word, turned the whole song around.

Lord, I come to you in humble admiration. Thank you for reminding me not to be ashamed to come to you with all my needs. I know you have a plan for me and I am trusting in that plan. Help me to be ever mindful that while things don’t always go my way, you are there and you are still God. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Okay, I will admit that I wrote yesterday and today’s blog about two months ago. After I got done writing today’s blog, I prayed a special prayer asking to prosper my husband and my family. Tomorrow, I would like to share what God did with that prayer. I think you will be surprised.

Until next time, stay safe and God bless,
Missy

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