Always remember to pray
No matter how rich, intelligent or successful a person is, everyone has problems. These problems range in varying degrees of difficulty and subject matter. Both Christians and non-Christians alike have obstacles they must deal with.
Peter teaches, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Paul tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6)
Trouble only intensifies when we forget to pray.
Consider the example of the four lepers during the days of Elisha (2 Kings 7:3-ff). We remember them for finding the abandoned supplies of the Syrian military during a famine and a horrible siege of Samaria. What can be overlooked is the presence of Elisha who was in Samaria at that time. Earlier, he had given instructions to Naaman for him to be cleansed of his leprosy. After some reluctance, Naaman followed Elisha’s instructions and was cleansed.
The four lepers outside the gate could have inquired of Elisha also, that they too might be cleansed. However, they did not. Jesus later brings this point to light in His hometown of Nazareth.
He said, “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27)
Note the contrast. Naaman willingly traveled to Samaria to find a cure for his leprosy. Although he was not a Jew, God cured him of the dreaded disease due to his faith and obedience. The four lepers could have enjoyed the same benefit but did not. This raises the question, “What about us?” While we may not be suffering from leprosy, there are other problems that we are confronted by. How do we handle them? Let us consider a three-fold answer.
Faith. Each time a problem arises, we need to properly focus our faith. Our faith should be grounded in the power of our God. We must believe that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). We must also believe that there is nothing too hard for our Lord to accomplish (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17).
Failure to do so results with the false paradigm that the problem cannot be solved. When one believes that a problem cannot be solved, he will succumb to the tragedy of acceptance. However, when faith is implemented, a ray of hope shines brightly upon the heart motivating the person to pursue a workable solution that only God can provide.
Knowledge. The type of knowledge one must have during a crisis is the knowledge that God loves you. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, made his point clear.
He stated, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Since Christ died to set us free from sin and eternal condemnation, it is logically conclusive that God continues to aid us throughout the Christian life. After all, God desires us to be successful when we stand before Him (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, the knowledge of God’s love and continual abiding presence aids us during trials and tribulations.
Action. While faith and knowledge are two foundational qualities necessary for spiritual success, neither are complete without action. Faith is dead unless there are works that accompany it (James 2:14-ff). Knowledge that is not used becomes useless. Therefore, action is imperative.
The specific type of action needed during times of trial is prayer. Faith and knowledge only become valuable when we take time out and approach our God in prayer with the needs of our hearts. It is during this time of prayer that we find peace, comfort and the strength we need to continue.
The four lepers suffered from their disease until their eventual death. What sufferings do we endure simply because we do not ask? Remember the words from our hymnals, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
God bless each of you.