BY ALDO MARAGONI
There is no shortage of verses about the importance of prayer, how to pray and why we pray. A few of my favorites include:
- Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
- The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalms 145:18)
It's amazing how my spirit is lifted when I pray these kinds of prayers and simply reflect on the words of these verses. I run into lots of people who are unsure how to find God's will for their life. Well, the first verse of my list is a great place to start—given how it even says, "… for this is the God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Life can be crazy and there are deadlines at work, issues at home, planning for a financial future, concern that your kids will stay in Christ as they grow older, wonder whether you're being the best husband/dad (or wife/mother) you can be. It can all wind me pretty tightly, yet how blessed are we that we can bring all this—and likely more—to God and not be anxious.
And it's not a God who is far, who is hiding. It's a God, says Psalm 145, that is near to all who call on Him.
Prayer, at least for me, not only provides an outlet and calms me, but it takes my thoughts and my attention off of—me. You probably thought I was going to say prayer takes my thoughts and attentions off of my problems. Yet, the problems I bring to God in prayer remains—at least as long as He chooses to let them remain. Prayer is not a magic formula that immediately makes everything better and we feel as though we walking on marshmallows.
Prayer's biggest aftereffect is surrendering and placing out thoughts and hope in our Heavenly Father, and in return, finding peace and joy knowing He is there, knowing He cares and knowing He has a plan for us. It is and always has been a matter of trusting Him.