What We Need in Order to Pray
Devotional Thought of the Day:
The LORD is our God, bringing justice everywhere on earth. 8 He will never forget his agreement or his promises, not in thousands of years. Psalm 105:7-8 CEV
But the efficacy of prayer consists in our learning also to say “Amen” to it—that is, not to doubt that our prayer is surely heard and will be granted.
We see this principle reflected in Scripture. The bridegroom in Solomon’s Song of Songs is traditionally interpreted as God the lover of our souls. We are His bride. But this divine Bridegroom says to the human bride: “You are all fair, my love” (4:7). God says this to us!
But how can it be true that we are “all fair” when we still struggle with sin? Is God blind? If not, then what He says must be true. It is true as prophecy, a prophecy of our eternal identity and destiny. Christ refers to this when He says, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). God speaks from eternity and sees us as we are eternally before Him. To us, this “all fair” perfection is only in the future. But to God everything is present. For that is what eternity is: not endless futures but all times actually present with no dead past or unborn future, no “no longer” or “not yet”.
Everyone, at some time in their life, struggles with prayer.
I think Luther has it right when he says it is because we struggle with honestly saying “Amen!”
Perhaps we’ve lost the meaning of AMEN< but it is a declaration of faith, a “this is true” when we ask in God’s name. Itis a statement of dependence, of trust, of faith. It should be said with great confidence, always followed by an exclamation point!
Too often, doubt creeps in, s Satan tries to convince us that our prayers are empty, or vain. If Satan cannot try to convince us God doesn’t exist or at least have us forget God exists, He will try to convince us that we aren’t worth God’s time. He will try to cause us to believe that God will not waste His time on us. Satan and His demons will try to convince us…
…that we are too insignificant,
… that we are too broken,
… that our sin is too great, and we are too evil.
This is were Kreeft’s reminder that we are the Bride of Christ needs to be heard. We need to hear that God, beyond time, sees us one way – beautiful, holy, His beloved.
When we realize it is how God sees us, now and in the future, that prayer becomes more effective. We begin to realize God listens, and in all of His wisdom He does answer those prayers. W just begin to see it, and count on His love to answer it, not just in view of today and tomorrow, but eternity as well.
For as the psalmist rights, God will not break HIs promises. Learn them, know them, but more, know the one who makes them, and as you cry out to Him, as you offer Him your burdens, say AMEN – knowing He is with you.
Marting Luther – The Large Catechism, found in The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.Theodore G. Tappert, ed., (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 436.
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 32.