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Just dropping by... Prayer: A path to peace

Yevet Tenney Published on 14 January 2009

As the unrest in the nation continues to unfold, I turn more often to the Holy Scriptures searching for answers to life’s challenging questions.

Many of us wonder where the next dollar is coming from, and we worry if we will be able to feed our families. Some of us are angry because we have lost much of our investments and even our jobs. What is to become of us? I am so grateful that I have a friend in heaven who hears my prayers. My parents taught me to pray when I could barely talk, so I have had many answers over the years.

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But I fear in our politically correct world that there are some who have not been taught to pray and who have little faith in answers. Let me share the pattern that I use when I pray. Jesus set the example; he said: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt 6:9-15)

His prayer was perfect, and I memorized it when I was little, but Jesus didn’t intend for us to pray His words. His prayer was a pattern for us to follow. He knew we would need to pour out our hearts to Him as one friend speaks to another. It is difficult to have a two-sided conversation using a rote prayer. He knows our needs, but sometimes we just have to express them to let ourselves know how dependent we are on Him for our lives and sustenance. I was taught to pray by first addressing my Heavenly Father as Jesus did. I was instructed to give Him honor and glory by thanking Him specifically for my blessings.

I thank him for my family, their health and well-being. I thank him for the prosperity I have enjoyed. I am especially careful to mention the answers I have received for past prayers. The more detail I express in my gratitude the more grateful I feel and the more I feel my Savior’s love. If I am sincere in my prayers, a sweet feeling sweeps over me. It’s as if I can feel the Savior smiling down on me. I know He is there, and He knows who I am. If I pray with a grocery list of things I need and want, and forget to express my gratitude, I do not have that feeling of love.

I am sure the Savior is still there, but I am not in tune. It’s like tuning the radio; if you don’t get the dial on the right station, you get a lot of static and it is more of an irritation than a benefit. Next I pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come. We need God’s kingdom on the earth more than ever. His kingdom will bring peace to people everywhere, but His kingdom is on earth today. He is setting it up through the people who delight in serving Him. Therefore, I pray that I might listen and become an instrument in His hands to bring about His purposes. It would be so wonderful for the Lord’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. All of nature is under God’s command; it obeys unequivocally.

The sun rises and sets in perfect order. The night comes, and the stars adorn the heavens without a glitch. The seasons follow one after another without an argument. If all mankind obeyed like that, peace would reign on the earth. Praying for God’s kingdom to come is not enough. We need to pray for the strength and the commitment to do everything we can to make it happen. It is appropriate to ask what we can do, then listen. The Lord will allow thoughts to come into our minds. Those thoughts are answers. They come with softness and a feeling of rightness. Sometimes you will think that they are your own thoughts, but as time goes by ideas will come into your mind that you have never thought of before, and you will know God has spoken.

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God speaks in a “still small voice” as he spoke to Elijah. “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). A huge part of getting answers comes through reading the word of God. Someone once said, “If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want God to speak to you, read the scriptures.” Reading the scriptures puts your radio in tune. He will use verses from the holy writ to teach us His patterns of how to live. Often when I pray, I simply open my scriptures, and many times the page falls on a verse of scripture that is exactly the answer to my prayer.

Sometimes a scripture comes into my mind, and I know it is what the Lord is trying to teach me. The scriptures are not only ancient history lessons; they are alive with instructions to guide us through our modern life. After I thank the Lord for His goodness, I then turn to my needs. If I am trying to make a decision, I study the problem out in my mind. I even write down advantages and disadvantages. Then I ask. Sometimes the answer is not the most logical one, and sometimes I want to do what I want to do.

Every time I have gone my own way, I have suffered. I remember once I was traveling on a strange road across an Indian reservation in Arizona. I came to a crossroads and prayed. The thought came into my mind, “Don’t go to Kayenta”, but I thought, “This road seems to be more traveled, and it’s probably faster.” I chose to go to Kayenta. The short story is I traveled 50 miles out of my way and had to come back 50 miles to the same spot where I made the mistake of not listening. The Lord knows about all roads, family finances, jobs, education and childrearing. There is not a subject in the world that He cannot counsel you in wisdom. It is important to ask for “our daily bread,” but it is important to remember, “man does not live by bread alone” (Matt. 4:4). The next part of the Lord’s prayer is vital.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” It is so easy to be offended in these days, and there is so much to be angry about. We can hate, or we can forgive. It is vital to go into detail about our problems and sort out our feelings, and let the angry ones go. Anger festers, builds in our souls and emerges later on in the form of disease and depression. Discussing the problem with the Lord helps us to see another’s actions from the Lord’s perspective. As Jesus hung on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Sometimes people offend us unwittingly. They don’t mean to offend; they just see things differently. If we can put ourselves in their shoes, we will understand.

There are times when people do mean to offend. That is when we have to really pray and allow the Lord to take care of the problem. Let the anger go, and it will turn into compassion. In Italy, I was teaching a lady whose brother had been killed by the Mafia because the leaders wanted his job. My heart went out to this good woman, and I struggled for her, but on my knees, the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt came into my mind. The next time we met, I told her the story, and she was touched deeply. She said, “I will give it to Jesus.”

The bitterness that had festered in her heart for years left her, and she was filled with the light of Christ. What a wonderful transformation! In the last part of the Lord’s prayer, Jesus in essence, asks for protection against evil. We need that so much in our day. Evil is like a deluge of filth swirling around us, but the Lord can help us to avoid it, if we pray for His protection. Finally, we close our prayer in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is our advocate with the Father. Jesus will help us become one with Him as He is with the Father. What a wonderful glorious event that will be! Prayer is powerful and will help us in these troubled times. I know this because I have never walked alone. PD

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