Joni reminds listeners that talking to God in prayer is one of the most profound privileges we have.
I hope God blessed you on yesterday's National Day of Prayer!
I'm Joni Eareckson Tada for "Joni and Friends" and I trust that you sensed God's favor yesterday as you and your church or maybe your family interceded for our great nation. What a privilege it is to go before the God of the universe... And it is a privilege, much like Abraham's comment when he said in Genesis 18, "I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes." Wow!
Now that's the attitude to have in prayer, right? As far as Abraham was concerned, it was unthinkable to actually talk to God! Why, he could have been burnt toast approaching a holy God. What man had ever talked to God and lived?! It was enough to lay Abraham low and make him say, "Who am I? I'm nothing but a pile of dust and ashes in God's presence."
I'll tell you what, I need to have that attitude when I pray... and I'm not kidding: I need to remember that were it not for Jesus Christ, I would be burnt toast. Talking to God? Were it not for Jesus, I'd be destroyed in a nano-second; that's how praying to Almighty God, the Lord of the universe, should make us feel. But all too often, my prayers are neat and orderly arranged... like in a formula; an acronym that spells ACTS: a little adoration, then confession, thanksgiving, and finally, supplication... all in a neat, tidy row. Too often, I follow a proper progression of praise and petition, all dry and mechanistic, as though I were kind of like going through an exercise, just following an outline.
But then I look at Genesis 18, and think about Abraham's cry to God. It was a cry. His emotions were involved, his whole being; his was a cry that had nothing to do with a mere arrangement of words in proper order. When I consider Abraham's heart and attitude, his approach to God, it's clear that spiritually-ordered prayers consist of something far more than a cluster of requests all offered up in a prim, prescribed fashion.
I've got to remember - and I'm talking to myself here, maybe talking to you, too - we've got to remember that spiritual prayers are all about praying to someone who is real. When you pray like that, you realize - oh my goodness - you are actually conversing with the unseen Creator of the universe as though he were standing visibly and terribly in front of us. When we sense the reality of God's presence in that way - and sometimes we have to pray that God will open our eyes to see it - when we pray that way, we can't help but be humbled. Like Abraham, we'll feel like dust and ashes and our prayers will be something much more than a mechanistic arrangement of words that we don't really feel anything about.
How long has it been since you felt the dust and ashes in prayer? If talking to God doesn't strike you as being one of the most profound privileges imaginable, then perhaps Genesis 18 is a good place to refresh your prayer life (I know it is mine). Finally, here at Joni and Friends, we're focusing on a national week (not just day of prayer), but a week of prayer, so please take a minute to join me in prayer today at joniandfriendsradio.org. Just click on the video and pray right along. And from all of us here at the ministry, bless you for taking the needs of this great nation before our great and awesome Lord.
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