I became involved in an interesting conversation about prayer at the Monday evening Bible study. It was not the focus of the study for the evening, but it came up and being ladies, we ran with it.
I asked the question, how would it change our prayer lives and our entire perspective on life if the focus of our prayer time were more about God and less about ourselves? Intercessory prayer is so important; there are so many deep and significant needs in the world around us. Many of us have family members who are dying, either physically or spiritually. There is so much illness, so much tragedy, so much violence and hatred for Jesus in the world around us. These things are so important to remember in our prayers. Yet how often do we spend all our prayer time talking to God about ourselves and these important needs, and how often do we talk to God about...well...God Himself?
Several years ago I spent one morning a week at the large church where we were members to pray for some specific needs in the church. I discovered that when all the time was spent praying for those particular needs it was difficult to stay focused and difficult to stay for the committed time. I decided to try spending the first hour talking to God about God.
In the Westminster Shorter Catechism Question #4 asks, "What is God?". There is a fascinating story behind the answer which you can find here but the answer to the question is, "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."
That's a big answer so I like to break it down this way.
God's being and therefore presence has no limits in space or in time, and never changes.
God's wisdom is unlimited in space and in time and never, ever changes.
God's power is so great that it has no boundary in space and extends throughout all of time and eternity and never changes.
God's holiness is so perfect and complete that it is unlimited in space and in time, and never changes.
God's justice is without limits in time or in space and can not change.
God's goodness extends through all of space and all of time and can not change.
God's truth has no beginning or end in time or in space and will not ever change.
As you can see, this one brief question and answer is quite large! You can also extend this to Galatians 5:22-23.
God is Himself perfect in love, and the source of all love.
God is joy, and the source of all joy.
God is peace, and the source of all our peace.
God is patient, and the giver and worker of patience in the lives of His children.
God is kind and all that is truly kind flows from Him.
God is good at all times and in all situations ~ whether we recognize that or not! ~ and all that is truly good comes from Him and through Him.
God is faithful, and our faithfulness is a gift from Him.
God is gentle, and all gentleness comes from and through Him.
God is in control, and our ability to control ourselves begins in Him.
So for the next several weeks (at least) on Wednesdays I want to encourage you to talk to God about God. Let's focus on one of His characteristics or descriptions each week. As we pray for the needs around us, let's ask God to reveal that particular characteristic to the person in need.
This week, let's focus on God's unlimited and unchangeable presence. You might even pray about how God wants you to have a "ministry of presence" for the people around you. He is here. He is Immanuel.
Please remember the following needs this week:
- Pray for France. There are so few believers there; pray that God's people would speak God's truth to the hurting. Pray for a spiritual awakening!
- Brenda's husband was able to get home in time for her surgery. She is recovering well and waiting for the pathology report. Please pray that in the waiting, they will be very aware of God's presence.
- The mother of Pat's co-worker died last week. Because of this, he was not in Paris on Friday. Please pray that he would come to recognize God's presence in this situation and be drawn to that presence.
- Doug needs wisdom and guidance in some business decisions. Pray that he would discern where God wants him to be.
- Anita's nephew finds out this week if he has cancer. More than physical healing, this young man is very much in need of spiritual healing. Please pray that he would open his eyes to the presence of God.
- Jenny is ill this week. Please pray for her as she rests and pray that she would be very aware of God's presence.
- Pray for Denise and her sweet baby as he has some procedures today.
- Little Miss Catherine (the Princess) will have to have surgery soon. Please pray for her and her Mama as they prepare for this. Pray that they will be overwhelmed with the presence of God as they wait.
- There are so many in our lives who are battling cancer and chronic illness. As you pray over them this week, pray that they will recognize God's presence in their lives. As you pray for physical healing, pray too for healing from any spiritual wounds or illnesses.
- We are coming into one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Please pray for those who are on the road or in the air. Pray that they will have many opportunities to share God's presence with the lost, and to encourage fellow believers.
- Remember to keep your pastors and their families in your prayers this season. Ask God to speak to them and through them as they proclaim His word. Pray that they would be re-directed when necessary as they prepare their sermons, pray that they would succeed in balancing church and family, and pray that they would rest in the goodness and presence of God.
God's peace to your home.