Now I lay me down to sleep … that’s a start

Do you pray? No, really. Do you pray? I’m not thinking of the simple ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’ or ‘Bless us oh Father and these our gifts’, although that’s a start. I’m talking about praying to the almighty and holy God who is omnipresent (everywhere at all times), omnipotent (all power to do all things), and omniscient (all knowing of all things at all times). I mean praying to that God.

Do you ever wake up praying? Many of us have made a habit of praying as we tuck our thoughts in for the night. ‘Now I lay me down to sleep …” It’s like creating a comfortable nest for our last moments of the day. “It’s just you and me, God. This is what I want to tell you now because tomorrow is coming up pretty fast.” Prayer, a simple heart to heart conversation with the creator.  Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” He will not grow tired of me no matter how often I talk to him.I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

Please pray … Think for just a minute. In just the past week, have you read those words? And in that moment, didn’t your heart melt and fill with compassion for the person who needed, right then, to know that someone was asking God for favor? Psalm 6:9 says “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Some years ago, I was introduced to a structured method of prayer. ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I could say that’s God’s ordained structure, but that would be pretty presumptuous because I don’t see any place in scripture where God says, “You must pray in steps 1, 2, 3 or I won’t hear you”.

Please pray … When someone asks us to pray, we don’t have to worry about whether we have the structure in place and follow prescribed rules. This is what the Bible says about praying.

Come clean before the Lord. If you know you have anger, resentment, envy, any unconfessed sin in your heart, God can’t hear you. This isn’t my rule, it’s God’s. Psalm 66:18 “If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

Be sincere and stay faithful. Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

It’s OK to tell God what you want. Please heal … Please spare the life of …. Please send someone to help … Please give them a job … Please be near to this family … God I don’t understand, please help me accept …. Please bring comfort …. They need peace, Lord, please fill their heart with peace …

Ask for the right reasons and with the right motives.  James 4:3 ”When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Be thankful for God and his omnipotent power. Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Expect a miracle. God is still in the business of making miracles every day. He doesn’t have a Magic Kingdom, he owns the Miracle Kingdom and He has the power, the glory, and majesty to do what is best for everyone. Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Please God, do this …. Or something even better!

Something to think about – Expect a miracle, because when we go before the Lord and pour out our hearts to him, don’t we often expect a miracle? Even some of the smallest things turn out to have the biggest impact. We don’t know what God has planned, but we know that nothing catches him by surprise. Psalm 135:6 says “The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” Then why ask?

We pray because we worship God, we acknowledge His awesome power. We pray because it is our privilege to enter his presence and talk to him as a child to a Father. We pray because we have faith. In Proverbs 1, Solomon tells his people that their life is in the condition it’s in because they have not honored God, worshipped him, or recognized his power. Notice the comparison in these few verses of Proverbs 1.

Proverbs 1:28-29 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.”

Proverbs 1:33 “… but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

There are books written on the subject of prayer, and if you want recommendations, I can provide them. What we’ve read here is at the most elementary level of prayer. Why do we pray? The reasons are limitless. But one reason could be because we seek peace that only God can give. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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