Advent, prayer, The Lord's Prayer

Day Five: The Gift of Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

I consider prayer a gift from God. Some people consider it a privilege and I can see where they might get that idea. It is a privilege and honor to come into the presence of the Almighty God and talk with Him. Some people consider it an obligation. There have been times in the past when I was not where I should be spiritually, that I’ve considered it an obligation as well. But truly, it is a gift. One that we do not take advantage of—or at least I don’t—often enough.

Prayer is a gift because it allows us to come into the presence of God and communicate with Him. Prayer allows me to share my innermost thoughts, desires, and needs. But it is much more than that.

The Gifts inside of the Gift

Have you ever received a Christmas gift and opened it to find another wrapped box inside? You open that box only to find another wrapped box. You continue to do this until you get to the smallest box and there is the actual gift. I find prayer to be like this.

These “gifts within the gift” are best illustrated through what we know as The Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them this prayer as a guide:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Inside this gift of prayer, we find the gift of praise and adoration.  In The Lord’s Prayer, “hallowed” means sacred, holy, revered. God has done so much for me I cannot help but thank Him when I pray.

Forgiveness is a gift found through prayer. “Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).” God’s forgiveness is a gift given to us as soon as we ask for forgiveness. Inside this gift of forgiveness we find that God remembers our sins no more after He forgives us. Note the caveat here: we must forgive those who have sinned against us, so that God can forgive us.

A third gift of prayer is praying for our needs and the needs of others. “Give us this day our daily bread.” There are those who feel guilty praying for their own needs. “There are so many people who are worse off than I am.” That may be true and you can certainly pray for them. But in this verse, God is telling us to pray for our needs, too.

Protection is also a gift of prayer. “Deliver us from the evil one” is praying for protection against all that the enemy of our souls might try to bring against us, our loved ones, our nation.

We find again in the last verse, praise and worship. This tells us that our praise and worship are important to God. They are sweet to His ears.

In the coming days of Advent, I will be writing more about these “gifts within the gift.”  But for today, I am thankful for the gift of prayer.  There is nothing more enjoyable than spending quiet time with God, communing with Him through prayer.

Oh, Abba Father, how sweet is your fellowship. How wonderful it is to spend time with You. You alone, O God, are worthy of all praise and honor. You alone are worthy of glory. During this Advent Season, may we make the time to spend with You, the Holy Child and the King of Kings. Amen.
Advent, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, waiting

Day One: The Gift of Waiting

The Gift of Waiting

 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Is. 40:31

The above verse is one of my favorites. I use it frequently in my blogs, in counseling and in encouraging myself. I will mention how some Biblical translations use the word “hope” instead of “wait” and that hope can be used as an acronym for Heart Of Peace and Expectation.

More often than not, when we are waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers—to give us wisdom and guidance about a situation we face, to see His healing manifested in our own body, or that of a loved one—there are lessons that God wants us to learn. Perhaps He desires for us to grow in grace and mercy. Maybe He wants us to learn to be more patient. Or He wants our relationship with Him to grow deeper. It could be that the timing is not right for His answer to be known. Regardless of why the answer has not come, there is a reason we are waiting.

Advent is a season of busyness. We go to this party and that gathering, we sing Christmas carols, shop till we drop, bake and cook. I think we have lost the fact that Advent is a season of waiting. We are so busy running from one store to another, one party to another, we have forgotten that Advent heralds the coming of Christ. Just as an expectant mother anticipates, prepares and waits for nine months the arrival of her newborn, Advent is a period of anticipating, preparing and waiting for the birth of our Savior.
 It is my prayer that in some small way, these remaining devotions that you will read during Advent will help you to slow down for a few minutes each day and remember the Reason for the Season. As we look forward to the remainder of the Advent season, may the birth of our Savior renew in you a Heart Of Peace and Expectation.


Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
 

        Come, thou long expected Jesus,

               born to set thy people free;
               from our fears and sins release us,
               let us find our rest in thee. 

               Israel’s strength and consolation,

               hope of all the earth thou art;
               dear desire of every nation,
               joy of every longing heart.

               Born thy people to deliver,

               born a child and yet a King,
               born to reign in us forever,
               now thy gracious kingdom bring.

               By thine own eternal spirit

               rule in all our hearts alone;
               by thine all sufficient merit,
               raise us to thy glorious throne.

             Text: Charles Wellsley 1707 – 1788 

             Music: Rowland H. Pritchard

 Father, as we wait during this Advent Season, help us to take a few minutes each day to think about the Reason for the Season. May we wait with a heart of peace and expectation. And when You speak to us, may we hear with open ears, and a heart ready to receive. In Jesus’ most precious name we pray, AMEN.