Three Responses to Prayer

When I was a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, fresh out of Officer Training School, I learned to respond to my superior officers with one of three phrases whenever they addressed me:

Yes Sir!” “No Sir!” “No excuse, Sir!

 

Those days of being a G. I. are long gone. I traded dog tags for diaper bags way back when. But I’m still faced with three responses to God’s commands: “Yes, Lord!” “No, Lord!” “No excuse, Lord!

Recently, I had no excuse.

We sat on the edge of the bed, her and me. We talked about the importance of prayer and the book she was reading on that subject.

As I scanned the synopsis on the book jacket, she shared her desire and need to pray more often, be more persistent.

We discussed prayer. Does prayer make a difference?

We discussed scripture about prayer.

We prayed over our meals. We bowed our heads in prayer during church. Can’t speak for her, but I silently voiced hasty, self-absorbed prayers.

But that weekend, we never prayed together for the issues that weighed heavily on both our hearts. Even when tension escalated and the need was great…prayer was absent.Praying Hands

No prayer? No power. No victory.

No Excuse.

Would there have been a different outcome, a different attitude and response toward our circumstances if we’d made prayer a priority instead of a subject for discussion?

 

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed….

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly….

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’” (Luke 22:39-46)  

Exhausted from sorrow? Sounds like a good excuse to me, but Jesus didn’t want excuses. He wanted them to get up and pray. He wanted them to respond, “Yes, Lord!”

After Jesus prayed, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”  

Earnest prayer didn’t change the outcome, but it enabled Jesus to accept God’s will and obey Him even to the point of death on a cross.

If the disciples had prayed that night, would they have run away and forsaken Jesus when he was arrested?

If the Apostle Peter had prayed that night, would he have denied knowing Christ three times before the cock crowed?

 

“Devote yourselves to prayer….” (Colossians 4:2)

“Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

“Pray to the Father…that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16)

And every day, I either respond:

“Yes, Lord!” “No, Lord!” “No excuse, Lord!” 

Even in this……

How To Respond To Pain

“Your grandmother has a beautiful smile.”

The young man nodded. “You’d never know she lives with migraine headaches.”

His comment triggered the same question, the one in my previous blog.

How do people live with pain?  

Some people say, “It is what it is.”

Others credit “God’s grace and people’s kindness.”

When I look at my own life, I realize how I respond to pain and suffering has a great impact on my well-being.

That’s because my response determines my mood which affects my ability to cope.

I’m a slow learner, but over the years, three Biblical principles have shown me how to respond during trials.

Acknowledge

Accept

Adore

Remember Job? His children died, he lost his fortune, he suffered from bodily sores and the insults of foolish friends. He was miserable.

“What is my strength that I should wait? And what is my end that I should endure?”  

Job questioned why these trials happened, but he never questioned God’s sovereignty in his life.   

“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)

“I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

Jesus Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleaded for God, the Father to spare him from the agony of the cross. Even so, Jesus was obedient, and willing to accept God’s eternal purposes.

Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Hebrews 12: 2 says, “Jesus.…for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…”

Habbakuk, the prophet, trembled while he waited for calamity. He knew the people of Israel would be attacked and taken captive.

Even so, Habbakuk adored God regardless of his circumstances because he trusted God’s character.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food …  

yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; … He enables me to tread on the heights. (Hab. 3:17-19)

Learning a lesson isn’t the same as application. 

My first reaction is not humble submission or praise. But whenever I am willing to …..

Acknowledge God’s sovereignty in my life….

Accept unpleasant circumstances because  “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,”(Romans 8:28)

Adore God because He is faithful and “His mercies are new every morning”

Then I receive the Lord’s joy and strength which enables me to carry on even in this….pain and heartache of life.

Illustrations/photos courtesy of Microsoft Office