The Purpose of Prayer: Stefanie McGowan

Hi, Friend!

I wish you were sitting here with me. If you were, we’d talk. Really talk.
I’d ask you how you’re really doing.
And I’d hope you’d ask me some of these same hard questions: 

  1. How are you and Jesus doing?  
  2. How’s it going making time for Him each day?
  3. How’s your prayer life?
  4. Are you talking with God often?
  5. Are you spending time listening through His Word?
  6. What’s the purpose of prayer?

I love when you can really talk with a friend – a safe space where you can open up. It changes things:
Weights are lifted. Walls come down.
Grace pours in… and mercy triumphs.
It’s a place without judgement.
Requiring trust, and an intentional heart.

This is prayer. This is talking with Jesus.

Hallelujah that we serve a God who calls us his friend. (John 15:5)
Where His mercy triumphs over judgement. (James 2:13)
Where we’re invited to come boldly before the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

The Lord listens when we pray.
What a wild thought, to know that Creator of the universe would listen when we talk with Him. But He cares and responds, even if it’s not in the way we might expect. 

Psalm 116:1-2 says: “I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”

He inclines His ear to hear us, bending down to listen.
He cares what you and I have to say!
And prayer changes everything.

God’s huge heart to respond as we talk with Him, is one of my favorite things about 2 Chronicles 20. It’s a story of prayer, praise, and defeating the enemy all by crying out to the Father, first.  Proof that He intercedes on our behalf, and that prayer is powerful!

An incredible enemy army is marching toward King Jehoshaphat. Surrounding nations are at war, and three different enemy armies are closing in. King Jehoshaphat is terrified and begs the Lord for guidance. (2 Chronicles 2:3)

As he prays, He thanks God for who His is, and describes God’s character at length.
Not to remind God of who he is, but to remind the people as he stands before the community of Judah, begging God to save them. 

As the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones and wives, the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man named Jahaziel, which means “who looks to God.”

“He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat!
This is what the Lord says:
Don’t be afraid!
Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
Tomorrow, march out against them.
You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that
opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 

But you won’t need to fight.
Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.
He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem.
Do not be afraid or discouraged. 

Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 

Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord.

Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout. Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. 

On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem!
Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm.
Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. 

This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!” 

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” (2 Chronicles 20:15-22)

Not a single enemy escaped.
The victory belonged to the Lord, as King Jehoshaphat sought God first.

Could you imagine heading into battle and hearing worship?
The sound of praise confused the enemy so much that they turned on each other, versus attacking God’s people.

Friends, we fight this same battle every-single-day. Surrounded by an enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy us.

But we fight from victory, not for victory!

Our battle is already won through Christ Jesus, who stands in our place, and paid the penalty for our sin at Calvary.  

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

I love that there’s nothing fancy about King Jehoshaphat’s prayer. It wasn’t his words but his heart.
And The Lord delights in His kids coming to talk with him.
“You will seek me, and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Prayer changes everything.  

It shifts our thoughts back to the One whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) 

Prayer leads us to commune with the very one who knows exactly what we need before we even ask, as we come and talk with Him. (Matthew 6:8)

Thank you, Lord, that “you will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)

Dear Father, thank you for the ability to talk with you! As we seek your heart, will you give us an unquenchable thirst for more of you? Let us be women who talk with you often, and send out praise to you ahead of our battles. Let our hearts reflect yours, as the posture of this sweet psalm. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Psalm 63:1-8)

 

 

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