1 Thessalonians 3:9-10 - For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
During my family's service as missionaries, we have had a lot of hard times. And every time something bad happens, I go running to a close friend of mine who has the gift of prayer. She keeps a journal filled with requests from people like me, and every morning, during her devotional time, she prays for us. She asks God to give us what we need and to help us in our troubles. This is her ministry, and it is a very powerful one. I always feel more peaceful knowing my friend is praying for us!
Paul the apostle knew what it meant to pray for the people he loved. Day after day he prayed for the various churches he had helped to plant. He asked God to strengthen their faith and protect them from evil. He prayed for any special problems he knew they were having at the time: things he had heard about in letters or by word of mouth. And he prayed, again and again, that God would allow him and other Christian leaders to return to visit those churches, so they might strengthen them in their faith.
How about you? Do you pray regularly for those you love and those who are dependent on you? What about your enemies? Do you pray for their bodily needs, for their problems, for their faith in Jesus?
It can be difficult for some of us to get started with faithful prayer. We may find it boring. Our minds may wander. We may begin to wonder if we are doing it right. Surely, we think to ourselves, surely everyone else is doing a better job praying than we do. And so we feel guilty, or even stop praying altogether -- well, except in church or at meals.
And then disaster strikes: a cancer diagnosis, an accident, a lost job, a broken marriage. Suddenly, we are praying like we've never prayed before. We need help, and we have no one to turn to but God. Suddenly, prayer isn't boring or difficult anymore; it's our only lifeline.
Does this sound at all like you? If it does, don't be afraid or give up on yourself. God knows that we are not by nature good pray-ers. We need His help in prayer, as in everything else. We can ask for that help. Jesus' own disciples did. One day after He came back from praying, they wanted to do like He did, but they didn't think they knew how. And so He taught them.
If you are interested in learning to pray better, ask the Holy Spirit for help. He will gladly teach you. You are God's child, and God will not turn you away or laugh at your attempts to pray. You can read the Gospels to see what Jesus has said about prayer. He who died and rose again to give you life -- He will help you in this area also.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, teach me to pray. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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