SHELTER IN PRAYER
16 Rejoice always,17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
As we have been walking through the essentials for life with our students on Wednesday nights, we have been breaking down the essentials we need for physical survival and the essentials that we need for spiritual survival. For example the 5 things that we are told the we need to survive are: food, water, shelter, air, and sleep. And so I went a step further and said these are the things we need to survive as Christians spiritually. Food=Discipleship, Water=Gifts, Shelter=Prayer, Air=Worship, and Sleep=Sabbath or Rest. I think that when we look at our physical needs to survive, we also need to be able to place a high expectation on the spiritual needs that we need to survive as well. These are the essentials, not the only things, but the bare essentials that we need to be able to grow in our spiritual journey, and the things that continue to help us walk others into a deeper commitment with Christ. So each week we have really focused in on one of these areas and last night we focused in on our physical need for shelter and our spiritual need for prayer.
With any survival show that we watch, one of the very first things they try to do is find a shelter that is hopefully going to protect them from the elements and provide safety during their time in chaos. They will search for the perfect spot that provides relief from the sun, close proximity to food and clean water, and the potential to provide warmth during the
inclement times. Shelter is one of the primary necessities for survival, and I believe that prayer plays the same role for our spiritual survival. Prayer is the shelter that we need to surround ourselves with on a daily basis. It gives us the opportunity to provide protection for ourselves, our families, our friends, our community and our world. It allows us to feed our soul and helps to quench our spiritual thirst. Prayer is the shelter that we need to help thwart of the evil that surrounds us daily and helps us to find safety in the darkness. Prayer is essential to everything that we do and it requires a heart and a desire to seek God's plan in humility every day. We lay out our lives and ask God for discernment as we step in each day and we are thankful and rejoice as each day comes to a close. Prayer is not meant to be a wishing well, but is used to provide a connection with God that is intimate and intentional. The conversations are not meant to go just one way, but allows us an open line to speak with the CREATOR unhindered by anything else in our lives. A shelter amidst our life's storms that draws others in the safety of God's arms.
So with our lesson from Paul to the people of Thessalonica, I wanted us to really begin building a plan for our daily prayer. I wanted to give us an opportunity to use a simple method that helps to set us a pattern for prayer and protection. 1. Find a quiet place to connect with God. Mark 1:35. This is a place where you can get away from some time and peace to be with God. It can be your prayer closet, it can be your office, back porch, but we all need a place where we can literally step away and spend time focusing on God. 2. Pray scripture to prepare your heart Hebrews 4:16 or Psalm 119:18. So many times our prayers seem to be reactionary or proactive to the stresses in our lives. Prayer can be used as a survival tactic, but we really want to have the time we need to step into the moment and find peace. Using scripture to center out hearts and minds is a great way to push out the world and focus on God's voice. 3. Use Scripture to shape your prayer Psalm 24:1, Colossians 1:3-13. It is an amazing way to allow God's Word to guide our prayer life if we are not sure how to pray. I am not saying you don't know how to pray, but just like survivalist continue to build their shelter stronger and stronger, God's Word can be something that is powerful in building a stronger connection with God. 4. Use scripture and pray it in 1st or 3rd person
2 Timothy 1:9. In other words insert your name or the name of others into the scripture to be intentional about your prayer. God has provided so many things in the Bible that we can use to be intentional in our prayers. 5. Use scripture and declare it daily in your prayers Acts 2:21. If we honestly want God to heal or to save the lost, we need to pray that with intentionality and direction. 6. Ask the Holy Spirit to help in our discernment Romans 8:26-27. When we are in times and we cannot find the words, God knows our hearts and our circumstances. The more we open ourselves to God's ownership, the Holy Spirit will intercede and give us the words we need to speak or pray.
Paul knew how the power of prayer was essential in the life of Jesus and the disciples. That is why the disciples wanted to model their lifestyle of prayer after Jesus. It is essential for us to have communication with God every day. It is vital that we are securing our shelter from the evils that are ready to attack us each day. We are in need of once again realizing the need
for and the power of prayer that exists for God's people. Lord teach us to pray and when we do pray may we rejoice with You. May we continually connect with You in humility and a desire to see Your will be done. May we continue to give thanks for the many blessings that we see each day and the ones that we never see. Help us to realize that through our prayers lives and situations can be changed. Help us to see that need our souls have to daily be refreshed by just having a conversation with You, and help us to never stop having a desire to meet together daily. There is power in prayer that can supersede any situation we find ourselves in during this time we are alive. The foundation of prayer is essential for our personal survival and the survival of generations that will follow. May we plant the seeds and model Your example to the world. Thank You God for providing a way for us to connect each day and for helping us to draw strength, exude joy and lay a foundation that is rock solid.