Ruth Mcgorrin

Prayer is a Priority

God is always listening

I was waiting for my order in the fish and chip shop a couple of weeks ago. There were nine other people waiting and I had nothing to do so I decided to pray for each one of them. A couple of elderly gentlemen, grandmother and granddaughter, a lady who smiled at me etc, etc. I prayed for different things for each individual as I was led and then left with my order. This is not something I have ever done before but the point is: wherever you are, whatever you are doing there might just be an opportunity to pray. To worship God, thank Him for his creation, (or a million other things to be grateful for), for family, friends, for sickness, brokenness, for a miracle to happen and of course, for yourself. In my experience God is always listening, always ready for you to press into Him.

Why should we pray though? Doesn’t God already know my thoughts, feelings, plans, joys, hurts and sorrows. I know I can look through my bible and find some excellent answers, but I just feel so much better when I’ve brought it to the Lord. Sometimes it is a burden that is lifted, sometimes ridding myself of frustrations, (real or imagined), sometimes I find no-one else really understands me deeply but my Saviour. Many times, it’s because I’ve felt wronged or annoyed, and need to sit at his feet and learn to get over myself and show some love to others. At times I might feel anxious or stressed about a situation, I might need some guidance on a decision and there are many times when I want (need) to feel His love. However, at the top of the list should be my desire to want to know and build up my relationship with God.

No relationship can survive without communication on a regular basis. Imagine the person you love the most in this world, whoever that may be, not being able to share together your joys and sorrows, talk about and make plans, laugh and cry together, to encourage and bless one another. The more time we spend with someone, the more we get to know each other and the closer the relationship. How much more important then, is communicating with our heavenly Father. Prayer is important because it help us to stay close to God.

When should we pray? Most of us lead very demanding lives that steal our time but if we don’t make time to pray those heavy demands will also steal our joy and I believe we will start to drift away from God who loves us so much that he wants to have a meaningful relationship with you and me. How will you know the one you believe in if you don’t communicate with Him? Prayer is the glue that holds our faith together. Jesus gives us many examples in the New Testament of when we should pray.

‘And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.’ – Mark 1:35

‘And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.’ – Mark 6:46

‘In these days he went into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.’ – Luke 6:12

‘He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ – Luke 11:1

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray because they noticed the importance and priority prayer had in His life. Prayer was the way Jesus communicated with his Father while on earth. I wonder what he prayed about. Did he petition God on behalf of the people, was he receiving the next instruction, was he grateful, thankful or did he at times just need a reassuring ‘hug’. The bible doesn’t tell us, but Jesus stated that he could do nothing on his own but sought the will of the one who sent him, (John 5:30) and whatever he said was just what the Father had told him to say, (John 12:50). Many times, Jesus prayed before or after he performed a miracle. If Jesus spent so much time praying then, shouldn’t I? Important as our daily lives are, the ministry of Jesus was of utmost importance, and he thought praying was essential. When Jesus instructs us to pray, he is setting an example for us all.

How should we pray? ‘Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ Ephesians 6:18. I think I may have been alert when I was in the fish and chip shop but if that is all my prayer life is about then I think I’m missing a very important part of my relationship with God. I actually think I don’t pray as often as I should. I set time aside every day, I read my bible and pray for understanding and direction but if I’m honest, I have problems being consistent, sometimes those demanding, all important ‘things’ get in the way. So, I need to remind myself of the message of the Lord’s prayer: –

To approach God with confidence, he is MY Father
To understand that he has appointed me (as a child of God) to be his agent, of His Kingdom, in His family.
To ask for His name to be worshipped above all else, for others to know and love him.
To petition Him for my own mundane needs to be met every day.
To ask for forgiveness of my sins.

Prayer is a daily requirement because otherwise I might have all these things dumped on me at once, like the manna in Exodus 16:20 and the consequences aren’t very pleasant. I only need enough for today and God will provide for tomorrow when I can pray and petition again. Otherwise, I might begin to neglect my relationship with God and become self-reliant. I will carry the weight of unforgiven sin around on my shoulders unnecessarily and neglect to pray for the salvation of many, to build my relationships with others or to apply myself more to his cause. Most importantly, I will not have the experience of his love and blessings over my life. I may also give up on specific, continued prayer. God wants to partner with him, to rely on him, to sit at his feet and learn that there is sometimes a ‘no’ or even ‘you will never know’, but that I can always depend on him because he always wants the very best for me.

Finally, when we pray, we need to listen to God otherwise it becomes a one-way conversation with us doing all the talking. He is not some benign being waiting with paper and pen to jot down all our wishes. I think that might be Santa Claus and I have long outgrown him. No God, Jesus, Holy Spirit is so much more powerful than this. I think I am also giving myself some advice here too. I’m not very good at listening, just ask my husband. One place to go so you can here God is the bible. He will never ask us to do something that is against his will. When you read his word, there is always an avenue to pray if we are open to him. As we wait for an answer, sit in silence for a while, or recite bible verses that are meaningful to you. Remember the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5: 22,23 and ponder over them. Perhaps he is teaching us something from them too. Spend time clearing your calendar and go for a walk along the beach, or in the trees, listen to some worship music or sing to him.

Many years ago, my son was diagnosed with cancer. Being a young man (and living independently), he took quite a time to tell me. To say I was distraught was an understatement. After he told me, I had quite a way to drive home, and I accidentally took a turning earlier than I should. It wasn’t out of my way but not my usual route. It was getting dark, and I was asking God lots of questions when there in front of me were two deer. One was quite big. No, I wasn’t seeing things and it wasn’t a vision. Deer did occasionally appear because of a wildlife park nearby. But it clearly brought to mind the bible verse from Psalm 42:1 – ‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God’. I instantly felt at peace, whatever the future, God was in control, and I could leave my worries with him. Did I ever pick up those worries again? Yes, certainly but I’ll never forget that moment and the reassurance it gave me.

‘Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.’ – James 4:8

Ruth Mcgorrin

Ruth Mcgorrin

Wife, Mum, Eastlaker and recently retired teacher.

Ruth has been part of our Eastlake family for 10 years. She is passionate about prayer and seeing others come to know Jesus. She loves people, is always vibrant, and we love her!