Most people, even Christians, don’t take prayer to God seriously. I don’t pray like I should. I used to pray more. Most people just do things in their own strength. As a Christian I know prayer does at least two things for me. First, I spend more time in God’s presence, focused on him. Second, I am building treasure in my eternal heavenly dwelling place.
God remembers all my prayers. In recent years, my praying has been lacking. I used to have a prayer list. I need to make a new one so I can pray more for my immediate and then extended family.
Prayer helps me be unselfish as I think and pray for people who I really would prefer to not be around or who have offended me through the years. The other day while I was working on my “mono-task” assembly line job I started praying for extended family and then I thought, “No, I don’t like how they’ve treated my family and me. I don’t want to pray for God to bless them when they already have been much more blessed in material possessions of this life (and our family has not) and then they dismiss our family as unimportant and “less than” because we’ve tried to do things according to what God considers good. But the purest truth is, I need to pray for them because I know in my heart of hearts it is right to do and is definitely God’s will. It’s humbling to ask God to bless someone you really don’t like and wish for them good when it seems you and your family don’t even have as much “good” as they have.
Since I mentioned this to you, I’m going to make a new prayer list. And then, at work I’m going to pray more. Right now, I pray for my immediate and extended family fully once during my workday. When I pray my mind wonders to other thoughts and then since the job is so boring, I just wonder back to the next person on the list and keep praying until my thoughts wonder away again.
But I’ve started something new just recently. I do focused prayer and I’m trying to teach my children this also. I have six people in my immediate family, 43 people (!!!) on my side of the family and then on my husband’s side there are 21. I’ve made it a challenge to focus and pray and watch the clock to see how long it takes me to focus pray. I would like to start out doing this twice during my 10 hour shift. I also want to pray for the war and for Americans to awaken and think positively and seriously about God. I will also pray specifically for me to be an excellent teacher.
Yesterday, I read about an instance in Acts where people prayed and God’s angels went into action to help the Apostle Peter (verse 5). This was after Jesus died and ascended to Heaven. It encouraged me that, yes, prayer is still today critical and important:
1Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
11And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the LORD hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
13And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
15And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
17But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
18Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
19And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
20And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country.
21And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
24But the word of God grew and multiplied.
25And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.