I don’t know about you, but sometimes, in the midst of praying, I can get a bit discouraged. It seems there is no end to the dire prayer requests popping up on my phone and in my email. I can’t say for certain whether things are worse than they have ever been, but I can say we are more aware of the problems Christians are facing than at any other time in history.
It can be overwhelming until we remember to Whom it is we are praying. God is not overwhelmed. He is not caught off-guard by what is going on in the world. Best of all, He remains the answer to all the problems and heartaches. The world may change, but our God never does.
As we pray for the needs of others, our country, or even ourselves, we must remember to make time to be still in God’s presence and just listen. For me, this works best in a rhythm. After a time of praise and being thankful, I’ll just stop talking to God and worship Him in silence. These are the best moments in prayer and perhaps a lesson for us all. It’s the highest privilege to talk to the God of the Universe. But lest we forget, we are indeed talking to the God of the Universe. My point is we should be far more interested in what He has to say to us than we are about what we say to Him.
We should repeat the rhythm of listening often as we pray. Praise Him; thank Him; bring your concerns to Him. In between, take regular intervals of just listening to God. You’re not listening for a voice so much as you are humbling yourself in silence. Let God’s Spirit refresh you and renew your strength. He will cause His peace to come over you. Just be still in His presence and let Him heal the wounds of your soul. He knows what you need far better than you do.
While God already knows what’s on our minds (Matthew 6:7-8), His Word commands to brings our petitions to Him (Philippians 4:6-7). Like a good Father, He is patient and listens to what we have to say. And like typical children, we often go on and on, breathlessly jumping from one topic to the next. Too often, prayer is little more than a relentless ramble at God instead of humble submission to God.
If the massive needs of the world discourage or overwhelm you, stop talking. Remain in prayer, but sit quietly and wait for His refreshing Spirit to calm and comfort you. Prayer is more than a conversation, it’s also a time of renewal for your heart.
The needs around us are great and we should never neglect to bring them to God. We must also never forget to be still and focus on the One to whom we are praying. He is magnificent beyond all words. He is loving, thoughtful, and capable of all things. Most of all, He is in control. He is not dismayed, and He is waiting to heal you of all your anxiety and fear. Don’t let the constant flux in the world discourage you. Trust in the God who is in control and who does not change.