Madison Christian Church

Devotional for Feb. 11, 2019

Not long
ago a good Christian friend and brother in Christ who was going through a
painful trial in life asked me, “Do you really believe God responds to our
prayers?”  I told him I believe God
really does respond to prayer.  I believe
God has chosen prayer to be a major vehicle for His activity in our daily
lives.  I genuinely believe that with all
of my heart.

Prayer is
when our world intersects with heaven. 
N.T. Wright said, “the person praying stands with one foot in the place
of trouble, sickness and sin and with the other foot in the place of healing,
forgiveness and hope.”  There is an
overlapping of our time and God’s future time. 
Prayer should be something that we are doing not only in times of
sadness or trouble but also when we are happy and cheerful.

To
unbelievers, prayer sounds like a silly superstition and even delusional.  They think we are self-deceived if we think
there is a God actually listening and responding to our prayers.

Read James
5:13-20.  James, the half-brother of
Jesus, clearly believed prayer was meaningful and powerful.  According to him (and many other places in
the Bible), God comes very close to us when we take time to pray and call on
His name. 

One of
the things we lack is patience!  We pray
and want God to act NOW!  How often do we
need to be reminded that God’s timetable is not ours?  He is never late.  He is rarely in a hurry.  We are often in a hurry and we are often
late.   And often times we want prayers
to be answered on our terms too early. 
And then, after the answer comes we realize, “God’s timing was
perfect!!!” 

Prayer is
a time for reflection and self-examination and learning.  James says that sometimes sickness can be
related to unrepentant sin in our lives (verses 14-16).  We are warned against assuming all sickness
is due to sin in John chapter 9.  So we
shouldn’t link the two (sickness and sin) too closely.  But there are passages like this one in James
and in Mark 2:1-12 that suggest a connection between being forgiven and having
health restored.  Again, not all sickness
is connected to sin.  But it can be at
times. 

So when we pray for healing
we should also examine ourselves and pray for forgiveness for our sins.  James said we should confess our sins to one
another.  We should ask elders from the
church to anoint us with oil as a sign of God’s presence and pray for healing.  But never lose heart in prayer.  Pray with patient trust in God’s loving heart
toward you and an eye to repentance also.