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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pray With Hope, Expectation, and Confidence

Philemon 1:22- And one thing more:"Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers."

2 Corinthians 1:10b-11 “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The apostle Paul was in prison, he wrote many letters while in chains. As I was reading Paul's letter to Philemon, verse 22 caught my attention. It was almost as if God himself was tapping me on the shoulder, saying "Hey Mary, I want you to pay attention to this." Whoa! It's not every day I get messages from my God that are that loud and clear, so I figured I'd better pay attention to these seemingly simple words. "Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you(Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the church that meets in their home) in answer to your prayers." (parenthesis mine) I want to share what God has shown me:

About prayer...Paul asks his friends to pray for his release, then he tells them to prepare a room for him, he has full confidence in the hope that their prayers will be answered at some point. As Christians, so many times we offer up prayers, we know God's always ready to listen, we know we're supposed to pray without ceasing, we often pray with out even thinking about what were praying for. I think that God is pointing out that if we pray with an attitude of indifference or obligation, without really believing that what we're asking of God will really happen, we are cheating ourselves and more importantly God. God loves to answer prayer(not necessarily how we think He should, but in a way that builds His kingdom and brings glory to His name.) He's telling us in this simple verse with what kind of attitude we are to pray. When we send up our requests to our Creator we are to do it with an attitude of hope and expectation.

Paul was shackled in chains in a filthy prison , he had been there for a long time, there was no talk of his release, he had no idea from day to day what kind of torture he would endure, or how much longer he would be there, and what was worse, I'm sure no one told him any hopeful information. To the world's eyes his situation seemed hopeless, he was doomed. But Paul, being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ knew differently and he conveyed it in his letters time and time again. His hope was in Jesus and he expected great things to come from his own prayers and the prayers of others, Paul knew the importance of sharing the trials he was going through and getting other faithful involved in the praying process, i believe this is important for 2 reasons: One, the more people praying to God about a specific thing the less likely Satan will be able to sneak his way in; and Two, because the more people praying, the more who will be blessed by the outcome of the prayer. We were made to lift each other up in prayer and encouragement, spurring each other on to run the race and reach the goal of our eternal life with Jesus. God wants us to hope and expect that what we pray about will happen. That's what faith is all about. God loves the opportunity to answer His faithful. So the next time you sit down with the Lord and send up your requests or share things with Him, do it knowing without a doubt that He is not only hearing you, He is waiting for that perfect opportunity to answer, so that His kingdom and name will receive the most benefit. We play such an important role in helping God grow His kingdom just by our prayers...imagine that!...Think of a time in your own life when God answered your prayers or the prayers of others and how people were blessed by it. And i challenge all who read this to pray with the hope of expectation of believing your prayer will be answered in one way or another according to the will of God.

3 key components to praying with confidence: Pray with Holy Reverence, Pray for God's will to be done, Hope and believe that God will answer prayer.

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