It has been said that we are living in unprecedented times. As the government takes measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 upon the lives of everyone in our nation. Yet no one knows where, when or who will fall victim to this virulent virus.
What can clearly be seen is the good and the bad spilling out of humanity. Selfish attitudes and actions, an unwillingness to conform to rules and guidelines, depletion of supermarket stocks etc. Many are complying to government guidelines, while others argue that our basic human and democratic values have been taken away from us.
The bible tells us “look up… your redemption draws near” in Luke 21:28. (I’ve used this verse out of context as a means of diverting your attention to a higher authority. Be positive, because our “help comes ‘not from’ the hills, our help comes ‘from’ the Lord”.)
Scripture is littered with the prayers of desperate people. All kinds of prayers, from all kinds of people. People in different situations, each with different needs, and each looking for different outcomes to their own particular needs.
There are prayers in times of battle, prayers in times of trouble, prayers in sickness, prayers for guidance, prayers in times of blessing, prayers in times of strife and prayers of desperation. But the good news is that our God answered their prayers, turned their lives around and provided the help that they desperately needed.
Here are just three examples:
Some prayers are born out of fear (Peter walking into the water) – Matthew 14:30
Some because of broken relationships (Jacob wrestles with God over the imminent encounter with his brother Esau) – Genesis 32:24
And some out of shear desperation (Hannah prays for a child) – 1 Samuel 1:13
How we pray in times of difficulty (or any other time) often reveals something about ourselves:
• Highlighting our lack of trust in God. Calling into question our lack of confidence in His ability to act on our behalf.
• We question the bible and the promise of God to be with us in our troubles.
• We struggle with our feelings of guilt and unworthiness.
• Our lives and our time may be too full of other business.
• Or we just can’t be bothered.
However, “Praying in difficult times” (or at any other time) should be as natural as breathing. We must remember these basic truths:
- It is redeeming grace which carries us into the holy place. (Colossians 1:22, Jude 1:24)
- It is saving grace that enables us to stand before God ‘who’ makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:26-27, 34 Hebrews 7:25)
- Grace gives us boldness in the presence of our Heavenly Father ‘who loves us so much’. We come to God not because of our own goodness, but because of “the blood of Jesus”. (Hebrews 10:19)
Take encouragement from John 15:16, Jesus tells his disciples all about his loving Father, and he tells them that “they can ask Him”. He will listen to them (us) because they (we) are joined to Him.
In John 16:13-14 we are reminded that the Holy Spirit is our guide, as we pray – He who helps us. The one chief aim of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus.
John 16:25-27 informs us that the Father will hear our prayers out of the deep love that he has for His Son.
We should never feel intimidated at the prospect of prayer. The Holy Trinity are united in purpose and will to work and to do whatever we ask in prayer.
In closing I would encourage you not to give up praying.
Luke 18:1: “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,”
Luke 21:36: “Watch therefore, and pray always…’
1 Thessalonians 5:17: “pray without ceasing,”
1 Timothy 2:8: “I desire therefore that you pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;”
Ephesians 3:21-22: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”