Our Prayer Life Is Important!!!

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Have A Wonderful and Blessed day!!! Do We Truly Have A Prayer life!!!
1Thessalonians 5:16  Rejoice evermore.
1Thessalonians 5:17  Pray without ceasing.
1Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1Thessalonians 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.
1Thessalonians 5:20  Despise not prophesyings.
1Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1Thessalonians 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 5:24  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
1Thessalonians 5:25  Brethren, pray for us.

As we look at prayer, at our conversation with God,  prayer needs to be more of a lifestyle, not something we do when we feel our backs are against the wall and we’re in deep trouble. We need to be in prayer daily. As getting up in the morning and brushing our teeth prayer should be the same in our life.
Paul commands us Pray without ceasing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17
How do we do that? Some of us look at prayer like it was a call to exercise or workout. We don’t really like to do it, we find excuses, we busy ourselves with other things, then, when we finally do it, we are really glad we did. We feel better walking away,  but it was such a struggle to get started.
But prayer is much more than exercising or working out. It’s not just something you do occasionally, or even for a few minutes every day. We are called to pray, and the essence of what Paul is calling us to do is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week conversation with God. It becomes built into our lifestyle.
Some have said “I don’t know how to pray”, “How do I start praying”, “the Lord knows what is on my heart”. Parents know their children want treats they don’t just hand them to them. He wants to hear from our heart, he wants us to talk to him as we would a parent or close friend. Sure he knows our hearts but he wants us to come before him and talk with him.
We learn to pray by praying! As we get started praying we learn more about praying. We also get more comfortable with prayer. He gives us a sample prayer in Matthew, sadly many think it is a prayer to repeat word for word, and it is not it was the Lord teaching us how to pray.
Think about yourself,  if you want to learn to do something, if you want to learn a sport or a musical instrument you could watch all of the how to videos, you could talk to people who are experts. You could learn and learn and learn, we would find a way to know how too. Prayer is far more important than learning new hobby, sport, entertainment. So if we know the Lord will teach us why don’t we get on our knees and ask, and PRACTICE!!!
You can come to church and listen to message after message about prayer, about serving, about giving, about growing in Christ, but until you do something about it, these will just be good messages which really mean nothing in your life. The best way to learn to pray is to pray!
Begin where you are! I know that sounds pretty basic. And most of this really is. Sometimes we think we are not the least bit worthy to be heard in our prayers. God doesn’t want to hear from me, he’s got more important matters to attend to . . . or I’ve done so many bad things since the last time I prayed, that He will hang up on me when the prayer hotline rings. We may think . . . God doesn’t even know my name. I have to remind Him when I pray. We know that last statement is wrong, he knows his children. As a parent would you forget your child’s name? He knows us better than our parents.
Don’t try to clean up your life before you call on God!  We are all filthy sinners and if we are waiting to clean ourselves up before talking to our Father in heaven we will never pray. Don’t try to make yourself “worthy” to be heard in prayer. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t clean yourself up for God, you come to Him as you are and He does the cleaning.
When we embrace a relationship with Christ, we understand we could never earn or deserve His forgiveness, and it is only through God’s grace and mercy that we receive salvation. But after experiencing His grace at salvation, we often try to earn God’s continued acceptance through our good works. We did nothing to get salvation so therefore we can do nothing to keep it. The Lord gives us the free gift of salvation and will not take it back.
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but it’s happened to me. There have been times in my life when I’ve become a little too comfortable with sin. At those times, when I know I need to turn to God, my first thought is, “I can’t do that . . . I need to clean up my life, get it straightened up before I call God.”
The part about needing to clean our lives up is correct, but there’s a crucial point of getting it wrong. We’re getting the cart before the horse. We don’t clean ourselves up so that we can come to God, we come to God so that He alone can clean us up. He just needs us to be obedient.
Let me say that again – – – – We don’t clean ourselves up so that we can come to God, we come to God so that He can clean us up. When your life isn’t where it should be, the first step toward getting things back on track is prayer.
There’s a great example of this in Luke 18. Jesus told the story of two men who came into the temple to pray. The story:
Luke 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luke 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luke 18:12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luke 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luke 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. This tax collector understood the principle of confessing to God at the point where you are at. He was a sinner and he knew it, so he came to God confessing it.
Too often we find ourselves in the tax collector’s shoes, and instead of turning to God right then, we start thinking of things we can do that will enable us to pray like the Pharisee. We may justify our sin or think it’s not bad compared to others.
That’s not the kind of prayer life God wants from us. He wants us right where we are, to be totally honest with Him and with ourselves.
That’s the first key to developing a prayer lifestyle: begin today, right this moment, where you are. The second thought goes right along with the first . . . and it’s almost a repetition . . . and it’s pretty simple as well – – –
Be honest with God in your prayers! Be who you are! Keep in mind he already knows what we are doing, what we have done, and where our heart is. No sense going before him in a lie.
I’ve heard some people pray and I think to myself I wish I could pray like them. God must listen better to them than to me. They’re so amazingly well speaking. I don’t use big words, I’m not colorful, I’m pretty simple.  Do you really think God could cares if we use big and fancy words? No he doesn’t care about that. As long as I am being me, that’s what matters.
For example, Jeremiah once prayed…
Jeremiah 20:7  O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.
Jeremiah 20:8  For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Can you imagine daring to say such a thing to Almighty God? “Lord, you deceived to me!”
In Psalm 73, David cries out…
Psalm 73:13  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
Psalm 73:14  For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. Can you imagine saying something like that to God? David was saying: “Lord, I’ve been good, and it has been a total waste of effort. You bless everyone but me.”
Or how about Job? Talk about brutal honesty. When Job went through his time of trial, in which he lost his family, his fortune, and his health, he cried out to God…
Job 6:4  For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. Job 10:18  Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! When I read these words – – – these cries – – – to the God of the universe – – it’s like Wow! And they didn’t get zapped by a lightening bolt.
Can I tell you, I’ve yelled at God, I’ve cried out to God, I have told God the Father I thought he was being unfair. I’ve let God know where He stands in my life. Have I stayed there and gotten stuck in times of despair, trials and troubles? NO! But in the midst of dark times, in the not so good seasons of life, I have raised my voice. God would hear the soft whispers, as well as the loud voice.
It’s not sinful to come before the throne of God and plead your case . . . whether it is to cry out, to whisper, to talk. It doesn’t matter how it is done. Of course, we are to be respectful, honoring and glorifying God, but that does not mean we can’t express our deepest feelings to God. He wants us to bear our whole heart.
We must be absolutely honest with God in our prayers, and for a very obvious reason: He already knows what’s going on in your heart, spirit, and mind. It’s not as if your honesty will take God by surprise. It’s not like God will suddenly say, “Wow I never knew this was happening!” He knows. You know that Father knows. And he knows that you know. So be honest with Him about what you’re going through, so that our loving father can help you.
In each of these situations — Jeremiah, David, and Job — these men were restored to a right relationship with God and their situation improved. Sometimes, actually, let me restate that . . . all the time we need to be talking to God. That’s what the pray without ceasing is all about.
It does not have to be a formal prayer, where we sit down and fold our hands and start to pray. We can pray anywhere and everywhere . . . because we have the confidence that God is everywhere all at the same time. It’s a gift given to us through the Holy Spirit – who is with every believer in Christ. Often times if I am in the car driving I turn off the radio and pray all the way to my destination.
When we pray with all of our heart, spirit, mind and body,  we are not only being honest with God and honest with ourselves, we are also at the point our Father wants us to be. When we cry out to God we are now opening the door for the father to work within us.
There have been times when I had no clue what to pray, what to say, how to say it. And if you do nothing because you don’t know what to say, then you’re missing the point. You know what I do when I’m in that situation? If I can’t get myself started, some may think  it’s kind of funny, but  I just start talking to God by telling him, Lord  I have no idea what to say and that is the start to my prayer. Jesus the mediator will give us the words. Sometimes he may want us in the quietness of prayer just to let him touch us and talk to us.
SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”
Love and Prayers
Cheryl

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