In 2 Chronicles 6:13-17, Solomon says a prayer of dedication for the new temple. Prayers of dedication are reminders for us to surrender all of life to God. Solomon reflects on God’s faithfulness and character. God was faithful to keep His covenant with Israel. God’s lovingkindness was steadfast throughout their history. This is the same God who is in covenant with us. All He asks is that we walk upright; that our lives reflect the God whom we serve. Prayer keeps two things in perspective: who I am and who God is. God is supreme and majestic. I am simply His servant who is called to live life in light of Him. I am to make much of Him just as He has made much of me.
Nehemiah 1:4 shows the connection between vision and prayer. Whenever I am burdened about something, my initial reaction is to do something about it in my own strength. I begin counting my resources to see if I have what it takes to pull it off. Once I realize my resources are limited, I become discouraged. After being burdened for the broken state of the city of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s first response was to pray. The first stop on the journey to fulfilling His God-given assignment was his prayer room. Prayer can be seen as a passive action; a ritual before getting the job done. In actuality, prayer is very active. It is the means by which we call on God and beseech His favor. We can accomplish more on our knees than on our feet.
Yesterday morning, a group of us from The Bridge did a prayer walk in Downtown Silver Spring. It was encouraging to see so many individuals ready to pray at 8:00am. As we walked the streets of Silver Spring and DC, this Scripture came to mind. 1 Chronicles 4:9 – Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me! And God granted him what he requested.” Even though we didn’t pray Jabez’s prayer verbatim, we did in essence. We prayed that God would extend our reach and use us to make a difference in arenas and the lives of people where He hasn’t before. Yet, none of this possible unless the hand of God is with and on us.
One things for sure, we all go through difficulty in life. Life is filled with ups and downs. It is filled with good times and bad times. There are moments of celebration and moments of mourning. Here is the good news. We serve a High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. Jesus was tempted with all things, yet without sin. He bore the cross and endured shame. Very often, we turn to other things and people who either cannot satisfy us nor sympathize with us. God not only hears us, but sympathizes with us.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 introduces to the three key virtues that sparked a spiritual renewal in Thessalonica. They were the virtues that helped shaped the Church of Thessalonica into a model church: faith, hope, and love. At The Bridge, we say “Love God (faith). Love Others (love). Make a Difference (hope).” Regardless of the terminology we use, we must be relentless to our devotion with God, community with other believers, and impact on the world. As we become imitators of Christ, we too can become an example to all believers. Not only that, but may we shine as beacons in a dark world.
Most of us have been in environments where we’ve shared prayer requests. Not only do we share ours, but people also share their requests. Very rarely have I heard someone request the things Paul prayed for the Ephesian church in Ephesians 1:16-21. He prayed that they may have a spirit of wisdom and revelation. He prayed that their eyes may be enlightened and they understand the greatness of God’s power to those who believe in Him. I few weeks ago, I stopped and prayed this specific prayer for some specific individuals. I pray this for myself as well. Out of all the things that Solomon could have asked for, He asked God for wisdom that He may judge righteously. The next time you share prayer requests, wisdom, revelation, enlightenment, and understanding may be great to add to the list.
The Bible is full of similes and comparisons.. Psalm 1 compares the righteous to the wicked. Those that are righteous are like trees planted by water. They are fruitful and flourish. The wicked are like chaff. Instead of being rooted, they are driven away by the wind. Instead of flourishing, they are like dust. The righteous are blessed, but the wicked perishes. Though we are called to be righteous, we can still choose to follow the counsel and path of the wicked. Eventually, our lives can reflect that of chaff rather than a flourishing tree. Yet, if we remained rooted in God, we can experience God do things in and through us that we could never imagine.