The Practice Of Prayer
By ELIZABETH REPPARD
Contributor, Mount Pleasant Campus
As I write this post, a hymn from my childhood comes to mind—“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (Charles Converse/Joseph Scriven). It’s a familiar and simple song—loved by many. The first verse says: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
I listened to it on cassette tape. I sang and believed it with childlike acceptance. I truly believed that Jesus was my friend and that I could talk to him.
I’m not sure what happened as I grew up, but I started to forget. Life got complicated, and I believed the lie that I couldn’t come to Jesus. I would have said with certainty that he was a willing friend to others, but I was losing faith that he wanted to be mine.
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.”
Psalms 34:4-6 (NLT)
We tend to readily believe the lie that we can’t come to God like a friend. But, it isn’t the truth. From the start of creation, God designed us to walk in fellowship and intimacy with him. He wanted to be near us. Sin separated us from that direct fellowship with him, but he still came near. He sent Jesus to come close and carry our sins and burdens to his death on the Cross. When he rose again to life, he restored our right relationship—our fellowship with God.
As children of God, part of our inheritance is the reality that we get to approach him with confidence. Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) says,“ Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Whether or not we choose to use the gift of prayer, it is our responsibility.
I’m constantly learning this practice.
Daily, I have the opportunity to offer up my own needs and experiences to God with boldness and confidence. I’ve learned to “talk” to him as I go. I get to partner with his Spirit and pray for others. It’s truly amazing that we get to have access to the God of the Universe.
I don’t remember the first time I went forward for prayer at Seacoast, but it’s been my most utilized response station. I can attest to the power of prayer and joining in prayer with others. We, at Seacoast, often use the term “borrow their faith” when we present prayer as a response—meaning you may not be believing what is true at the moment, but you can join with others who have sight beyond what you can see. It’s powerful and I’ve never regretted walking forward for prayer.
One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Psalm 34:4–7. God’s Word is true whether we believe it or not. We can look to him for help and be sure that he won’t shame us. We can pray, knowing he hears us and will deliver us. As children of God, we have been given the gift and divine privilege to approach and access the very power and presence of God.
So, what holds you back?
The second verse of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” says, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Simple and true.
- What holds you back from asking for prayer? What holds you back from praying for someone?
- What prayers has God answered? How can you use what he’s done in your life to bless others?
- Did you miss The Cross, God As Light; God As Fire?, Who Will Sit With Me?, Sing, Celebrate The Faith Of The Next Generation, or Multiply Your Talents? Take a few minutes to read the latest Two Big Questions devotionals.