“Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands …” – Acts 7: 48I do believe, in the words of the song, “The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.” But I also believe that sacred spaces matter. Our buildings ground us in a particular place and provide continuity with the generations that have worshipped there. But in the wake of the current situation where churches are closed, Christians don’t have to despair. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.“ That’s our greatest confidence. He’s there in our midst and He hears our cries and answers us. So, people of God, pray alone, pray with someone, if you have no one to pray with, call someone on the phone and pray with them. Immanuel-God is with us!
Since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, to receive mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need. HEBREWS 4:14-16 The God of the universe invites us to His presence. We are called into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ! That means we can share everything with Him. 1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 says, God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.God cares about you and nothing that concerns you is unimportant to Him. He wants you to come to Him trusting that He will hear you and answer you and help you in time of need. Take advantage of this tremendous opportunity and talk to Him always.
David said, “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul” (Psalm 138:3). He was saying, “I’ve proven you, God! In all my trials, I turned to no one else. I sought only You and You heard me, answered me, and gave me strength for the battle I was facing.” “The Lord … hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).These are but a few of the promises given as evidence of God’s care and how He listens to our cry. Our lives would be so much richer and more effective in every way if we would put Jesus at the very top of our list, if we spent more time in prayer.
“Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10). I encourage you to go to your secret place of prayer regularly and seek Him with all your heart.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14 After they had prayed, their meeting place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31 How did the early church turn the world upside down? The verses above tell it all. When the church comes together in prayer, in one accord, miracles happen and strongholds are broken. There is true repentance and transformation in the lives of people. Let’s realize the value of prayer, let’s participate and encourage prayer in our churches. No activity, however important they are, can replace prayer in our churches and in our individual lives.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6 Why does Jesus give such a command? Praying in a secret place removes the “trying to impress” element from prayer and leaves us bare and open before the Father in a setting where we no longer have any motivation to pray except to be in the presence of the Lord. Secondly, we have privacy, to pour our heart out, and thirdly intimacy with Him. It’s a place where you meet your God every day in secret. It’s a place where your God waits to meet with you as you run to Him, and rewards you for the times you cry out for yourself and others. Have you found your special place to meet with God?
Praying people always get God’s attention! When Cornelius cried out to heaven, he “saw in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’” (Acts 10:3) “Send for Simon Peter … He will tell you what you must do” (10:5-6). What happened next, His household was saved. God works on all sides when His people get to praying earnestly. Cornelius was prayerful and generous to the poor. He spent time in the presence of the Lord and He gave him specific directions. Likewise, God will show you what is needed on your part and when you obey and pray, you will see revival in your home.
“As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” Micah 7:7 The context of this chapter is one of gloom. In Micah 7, Israel was corrupt, but God was still present and promised to lead the people out of all the darkness they were facing. Despite the corruption that was going on, Micah turned to the Lord in faith. He proclaimed that he would wait upon the Lord. He knew that God would not only hear his request, but He would save him too. This promise isn’t just for Micah, but it is for you as well. God will bring you through your trial. Look to Him for help and wait confidently, not only does He hear your cries, He will answer them too. At just the perfect time, He will deliver you from the pain you are facing.
Psalm 86:7 In the day of my distress I will call on You, for You will answer me.
We have a God who answers us when we call on Him. Our God is alive and every cry proceeding out of our mouth reaches His ear. Throughout the ages, men and women who needed His help like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Hannah, David, Peter, Paul, called on this same God. He answered each one of them. There is no verse in the Bible which says, “God did not answer them” or “God did not help His people.” Right here, right now, you can call on the Lord, the Eternal God. He is able to do much more than you could even ask or think, so call on Him!
I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Prayer is one of the main ways in which we abide. It is how we increase our dependence upon God because we come to understand that without Him we can do nothing. This acknowledged dependence causes us to run to Him for everything and anything. So, when we face difficulty, we run to God first before we run to anyone. If something exciting happens, we go to God in thanksgiving before we text our friends. When we need help or wisdom we ask God for guidance before calling our parents, and when we are hurting or sad we weep to our Saviour before turning to anyone else.
Jesus understands that our flesh is contaminated by sin and extremely weak when it comes to spiritual things. But He tells us to seek His strength so that we may live for Him and not succumb to our flesh. Knowing that our flesh is not able to do what our spirit desires, Jesus encourages us to pray –
“Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41) Each of us has certain areas where we are more vulnerable to temptation and susceptible to sin. Jesus tells us that we should always be alert to the possibility of satan’s temptation, especially in these areas. Jesus also encourages us to pray, bringing our needs and weaknesses “specifically” before the throne of God in order to receive His help.