MAY 1

Devotion to Prayer

Bible Reading: Acts 2:42; Colossians 4:2-4

“They were continually devoting themselves…to prayer” (Acts 2:42, NASB).

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2, NASB).

Put simply, prayer is conversing with God.  As a Spirit-led discipline, it plays a vital role in the spiritual health and growth of the believer in Christ.  Prayer is an act of worship in which we praise and thank God for who He is and what He has done in our lives (Colossians 4:2).  In prayer, we confess our sins, reminding ourselves of His holiness and our ongoing need of His mercy and transforming work in our lives (1 John 1:9).  In prayer we bring our requests to His throne of grace, “that we might receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). 

It will encourage us in our devotion to prayer to be ever mindful of Who it is we are praying to.  We are not bringing a laundry list of wishes to a genie in the bottle. Instead, we are speaking to Our glorious God, creator of all things.  The God who has lovingly worked through the Son to save us from our sins and with Whom nothing is impossible.  We have confidence to approach His throne of grace because of the shed blood of Jesus, who has ascended to the right hand of God, from where He even now intercedes for us.  We pray by the Spirit, who indwells us and leads us, who also intercedes on our behalf.  We pray to our God, who is good and does good!  To Him Who loves us always, Who can do all things, and Who always knows what is best for us!

Prayer is an expression of dependence upon God.  And prayer changes things, though frequently the biggest change it brings is to ourselves.  Sometimes God works through prayer in miraculous ways.  In response to the prayers of those early believers, God shook the earth (Acts 4:23-31) and on another occasion delivered Peter from prison (Acts 12:6-17).  I’ve witnessed in my own life some amazing answers to prayer, as I’m sure you have too.  Sometimes God answers yes to our prayers. Yet sometimes, according to His sovereign plan, He answers to the contrary.  Paul prayed three times for a thorn in the flesh to be removed from him, but God had other plans (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  

The birth of the church was preceded by a prayer meeting (Acts 1:12-14) and once born, it brought forth folks who were steadfast in prayer (Acts 2:42).  Their devotion to prayer is our spiritual heritage and our calling.  How encouraging is the account of the growth and expansion of the early church.  Three things were happening simultaneously: 1) The Spirit was working; 2) the people were praying; and 3) the church was growing and expanding.  What was true of the early church has remained accurate throughout the history of the church. When God’s people pray the church experiences its greatest growth and influence.  As we individually commune with God in prayer, we experience His grace through the manifold blessings associated with maintaining a closer walk with Jesus.  

Those of us who’ve been around for a while know we live in times of unprecedented change and uncertainty.  Consider the changes which have taken place in our society and in the church over the past half-century!  No one fifty years ago could have predicted or imagined the events we are witnessing today.  One of the most grievous things we face is the threat our present society poses to the well-being of our children and grandchildren!  It’s distressing, is it not?  What’s to be done?  There’s a tendency to complain or get angry about things, but the best thing we can do is pray regarding the things that worry and bother us.

I’ve said before if there was ever a time for believers in America to pray, it is now.  And not so much to pray for our country (though there’s nothing wrong with that), but to pray for one another and to pray for the church!  And to pray for the lost!  I’ve a confession to make.  I don’t pray as I should.  But I’ve heard the same from so many others.  So, I’m hopeful this focus on prayer in these devotionals for the month of May, will encourage us all to rededicate ourselves in devotion to prayer.  That God might work through our prayers so we will be strong in Jesus in the face of the great challenges that are soon coming our way, that we might bear a credible testimony before the lost, and that God will intervene in the lives of others so that they might come to know the Savior!  Let’s pray for one another that this will be so!

Devotion to Prayer is Both the Believer’s Heritage and Calling

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge–
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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