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Today’s culture mocks devotion to the Christian lifestyle and obedience to God’s Word. Declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ is unpopular. Even sharing the truth of God’s Word and reminding Christians of the consequences of disobedience to God is unwelcome. When the truth falls on deaf ears it can be heartbreaking, we can feel ineffective, become discouraged, angry, disappointed and selfish in our prayers.
Can you imagine how Jeremiah felt after proclaiming God’s messages and warnings to the Israelites, God’s chosen people? From his prayers we can imagine his disappointment, frustration, discouragement, and yes, even anger. Consider Jeremiah’s prayer:
Jeremiah 17:14-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
if you save me, I will be truly saved.
My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
Why don’t your predictions come true?”
16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
Yes, bring double destruction upon them! Yes, bring double destruction upon them!
What is evident when you read this prayer?
I saw and heard three (3) things in Jeremiah’s prayer when I read it ALOUD:
- Personal relationship. Jeremiah’s attention is on his personal relationship with Jehovah God. It’s personal; it’s all about him (Jeremiah).
- Emotionalism mingled with faith. He acknowledges his faith in God to heal him because he is distressed, hurt (broken in spirit). He also acknowledges his faith in God to save (rescue and protect) him from the attacks of those who scoffs and mocks him because of his messages and warnings of disastrous judgment from God.
- Personal defense. He continues by expressing his faithfulness, consistency and persistence in his assignment. In essence, Jeremiah defends himself by saying, “I’ve done my job—I have done what You chose me to do, and I’ve said what You told me to say. Lord, this is Your plan; not mine.”
- Personal vindication/retaliation. After presenting his defense by reminding God of his obedience in carrying out his assignment, he then ask God to not let him be the object of terror or let him be destroyed. He acknowledges his hope (expectation) is in God alone when the time of disaster comes. However, he closes his prayer by expressing his desire for retaliation (vengeance) against those who persecuted him for doing his job. Basically, he unashamedly ask God to follow through with His plan to destroy those who persecuted him.
Important to note: God does not acknowledge Jeremiah’s prayer! In verse 19, God gives him another assignment with the command: “GO and stand in the gates of Jerusalem…”
Can you relate to Jeremiah’s personal conversation with God? Jeremiah’s prayer is really no different than ours when we are feeling overwhelmed in life and ministry, frustrated by challenges, and disappointed by people who hurt us, particularly those we are trying to help. Sometimes we may feel ineffective, yet we must be careful not to let our feelings of rejection and discouragement sabotage our faith and trust in the sovereignty of our God to the point that we are praying out of emotions instead of our spirit, which should be aligned with God’s will.
The next time you are frustrated, feeling overwhelmed, disappointed and discouraged, how will you pray?
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
I am so thankful that Father God is kind and forgiving. After all, it was kindness and unconditional love for us that He made Jesus Christ, who had no sin be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). And He continues to forgive all who will acknowledge/confess their sin to Him now.
Confession is an essential form of prayer (communication with God); it is also a serious aspect of the Christian lifestyle. When we acknowledge or confess (admit) our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
In order to confess/acknowledge our sins, we should be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrongdoing; He shows us the sin in our life so that we deal with it. If we don’t confess our sins, receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing power, we will continue to commit sinful acts. If we continue in sin, we cannot continue walking in the light and enjoying relationship with Christ. Sin can be compared to an infection that if goes untreated will spread and result in death. Spiritually speaking, if we don’t confess our sins to the Lord and allow Him to cleanse us, we risk being disconnected from Him and dying spiritually.
We should prayerfully examine our lives frequently, daily if necessary, to make sure we don’t allow sin to fester in our lives. I might also note that sins of the heart (jealousy, envy, covetousness) are sometimes easier to overlook than sinful acts such as fornication, adultery, theft, murder. Sin cannot be classified or categorized as “small” and “big”. We must confess all sin.
Also, use Scriptures when confessing your sins to God. Here is an example of a prayer of confession:
I come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. I ask You to have mercy upon me, Father, according to your loving kindness. Wash me and I shall be clean; purify my heart, cleanse me from all unrighteousness as you said in your word according to 1 John 1:9. Lord, I confess I sinned against you; I acknowledge my disobedience. I ask that you forgive me for grumbling and complaining and not walking in faith. I know that without faith it is impossible to please you. My desire is to please you, Father. Help me control my anger and have the right attitude that reflects your character. I am sorry;I turn away from my sin toward you in all honesty. Create a clean heart in me and renew my spirit to remain loyal to you. Thank you, Father for forgiving me and cleansing me. In Jesus’ Name with thanksgiving. Amen.
I recommend that after you pray, remain in silence to listen for Him to speak to your spirit concerning your confession and request for forgiveness. Make sure you confess all known or revealed sin; you may want to be specific about your sin (in your private prayer time, of course). After you’ve finished praying, He may give you Scriptures, or speak in a still small whisper to assure and comfort you. However, if He does not speak immediately after your prayer, let your faith and the Word give you the assurance that your prayer was heard, and you are forgiven, if you prayed earnestly in faith.
- Repentance Prayers – 5 Prayers to Help Free You From a Sin (christiansinspirational.com)
1) To provide prayer coaching insights to inspire and encourage you to keep praying in spite of external circumstances and even though present conditions seems to worsen;
2) Enhance your knowledge about your position, perspective and perception of prayer; 3) Provide wisdom and understanding to new converts struggling to develop and maintain a consistent prayer life; 4) Give you a Rhema Word from the Lord about prayer.
Hear the Word of the Lord, “Tell my people do not be dismayed by what they see. My plan is in motion to bring about My purpose. You keep praying, keep asking, keep believing, and keep trusting (resting) in Me. The Word I have spoken shall stand forever!”
The question many are asking is the same concern the prophet Habakkuk asked God…basically, how long will I have to pray and you don’t answer and do something about all the evil and injustice that’s going on… Read it for yourself, Habakkuk 1:2-4:
How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry,
but you do not come to save.
3 Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
4 The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
so that justice has become perverted.
The first thing I noticed is that God did not rebuke the prophet for his inquiry. This helps to understand that God does not despise questions when they are brought to him from an honest heart in prayer. The truth is it is the responsibility of the prophet (five-fold ministry leaders), men and women of God to inquire of the Lord. Address your concerns to Him, and express your innermost thoughts so that you can get “first-hand” knowledge, insight and revelation from the mind of God. This is what Habakkuk did —went to Adonai, expressed his concerns, presented his case to God from his perspective, based on his perception of present circumstances and waited in confidence for an answer.
NOTICE I said Habakkuk presented his case from his perspective based on his perception of things. Whenever you go to God with complaints, or concerns that suggest His inactivity, it is usually from your viewpoint because you’re looking at present situations and circumstances that cause you to question God’s control and sovereignty.
Nevertheless, God will answer us. Although His answer may be perplexing, and His way may not be comprehensible to us, we can rest assured that His purposes will prevail (Proverbs 16:4, 19:21).
I encourage you to study the setting in the Book of Habakkuk to get a better understanding of the conditions. Basically, Judah had sunken deeper into sin and idolatry. All Habakkuk saw was wickedness and injustice; and it appeared as though God was doing nothing about it. Not only that, but when God showed Habakkuk his plan, it didn’t make sense to him—using the cruel and wicked, idolatrous Neo-Babylonians to judge His people—using the wicked to punish the wicked. Although it may seem as though nothing is changing for the better, always know God is working. And His plan is always laid out to bring about redemption, restoration, reconciliation, and relationship. (Read God’s reply to Habakkuk (1:5-11).
How can you relate to Habakkuk’s complaints to God ?
What have you been praying about for a long time but have seen no change?
Gleaning from this insight, how will you approach God differently in prayer?
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