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Prayer Is about Love

Today’s Reflection

IN A SENSE, stories of answered prayer are thrilling, encouraging, and hopeful. Yet often I let out a sigh of despair when I hear a miraculous story or read a study about answered prayer. Even if God dashes off a miracle now and then, most of the time, if we are really honest, prayer just doesn’t work at all. Haven’t you pleaded with God for the recovery of a loved one, only to have those prayers seem to fall harmlessly to the floor? Who believes that God answers only the super holy, or those who pray more minutes, or in greater numbers, or with more fervor, or utilizing the proper formulas? If prayer works, it doesn’t seem to work very efficiently, or frequently.

Perhaps we need to reexamine this whole business of praying for this or that. Prayer’s value for Jesus did not rise or fall depending on whether it “worked” or not. He prayed in Gethsemane to avoid death! For Jesus, prayer was about love, not consequences. His relationship with God, whom he called “Abba,” an unusually affectionate word, was so passionate that the two of them had to be together regularly.

Prayer is actually an end in itself because it is communion with God. That same God is full of compassion, gravely concerned about the troubles of the world. Prayer called us into communion, not only with God, but with all God loves. Therefore, prayer, practiced even amateurishly, catapults us out into the streets to be in service.

– James C. Howell
Yours Are the Hands of Christ

From pages 28-29 of Yours Are the Hands of Christ: The Practice of Faith by James C. Howell. Copyright © 1998 by James C. Howell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How have your prayers prompted you to action? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”

Mark 8:29, NRSV

This Week: pray for people with chronic illnesses. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: John Chrysostom (September 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Jill September 16, 2018, 5:04 am

    I reached the point this week where I was sick and tired of praying for mom. I admitted it to God, to my closest friend – who was dealing with her own intense emotions with the loss of their friend’s daughter, and I admitted it to my spiritual director on Thursday. My spiritual director encouraged me to sit in quietness with God and to not strive to pray, but to just sit with Him. Of course, He knows the longing of my heart – will he grant it – if I just pray for it one more time? Or just seek His face, seek to dwell in His Presence and know that He has got this, all of this, all of us. And, somehow, ask Him to once again, align me with His Will – that this would be my utmost desire.
    I sent dad an email yesterday morning and told him I would meet him for a walk when mom took a nap. He texted me and we met. I just shake my head that this is where we are at – doing covert ops just so the two of us can meet. We had 35 minutes to walk and talk. He can be so discouraged by mom and her reactions – yet his love is so steady. God is sustaining him and I am so grateful. He thinks mom may consider going to counseling – but everything hinges on Tuesday and what we hear at the oncologist office. Dad dreads the day we receive bad news. While they were eating lunch yesterday, they received an automated call from the doctor’s office reminding them of the appointment on Tuesday. Mom just broke down sobbing.
    She had it together when they arrived for dinner and I thought we had a nice few hours together. She loves to play with Roger – so that kept her occupied while dad and I watched some college football.
    UR family – it encourages my heart that you faithfully pray for my family, especially when I am at a point where I struggle to do so – at least for my mom. Thank you for bearing my burdens, when I am unable to do so.
    May our Savior be glorified today in our worship and praise.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 16, 2018, 5:24 am

      Jill, keeping you in prayer.

      May God be your source of strength and ever present help.

      May your mum be well and you and your parents be filled with God’s love, joy and peace!

      Blessings

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 16, 2018, 5:28 am

        Grateful for our trainer and my classmates.

        Grateful for moon cakes from my dear sister, Molly.

        Grateful for the joy of meeting my school mate after so many years

        Grateful for the joy of counting my blessings

        Thank you God for the many blessings!

        Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!

    • Marcy September 16, 2018, 7:41 pm

      Always praying for you, Jill! I’m so glad you had your Mom and Dad over for the dinner yesterday, despite the reminder call. Roger is doing his part, too, in entertaining your Mom. I will be praying when the results of the scan come in on Tuesday, that God reaches down from heaven and comforts your Mom, bringing her peace of mind. I’m praying for you and your Dad as you continue to lean on God together, spending time with one another. Sending Love to you!

  • robert moeller September 16, 2018, 5:55 am

    Lots to be thankful for. My financial situation is improving, it will make the planned and needed move next year possible. The long awaited sale of the condo may be coming as well. The end of October is the projected date.

    Church, choir, and fellowship hour today.

    I don’t think prayer ends with Amen. As best I know that word means so be it.
    Adding more to a prayer or starting a new prayer is definitely possible. God asks us to pray constantly.

    Prayer is answered, perhaps not as we always ask, but in God’s own way and we all trust that God is always good. Sometimes a person’s passing is better than enduring hardship in this life.

    Thankful for the prayers made here for all who come. The concerns and needs of all are met as best we know how. In some cases very specifically and in other cases more generally. God has no favorites so all are treated equally.
    That we pray is what is essential.

    Health wise I am doing quite well. No longer see a cardiologist, my meds have been reduced, I’m exercising and eating. Thankful for your prayers and concerns. They play a role in being well.

    Thankful for more new posts, wish the system that sent messages in response to posts was working, not sure what happened. I have to look back at previous days, glad that is possible, but it makes it harder to write as what I start is not saved by the system.

    Prayers for well being and assistance for Marcy, care for hands, progress finding a job, and resolution of home life for Julie, God’s peace and comfort for Gloria, better working conditions for Mary, strength and guidance for Jill, Becky, and Larry, and abundant blessings from God for all. Hope to read posts from Andrea. Thinking of Rusty and K. Prayers for Anneliese as she deals with pain, thankful there is progress in many areas of her life, and prayers for Erich as he prepares for the future. I lift up the congregation at church, thankful I met them and will be with them for a while yet. Grateful for pictures from my daughter. God is with us, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Thank You, Lord.

    • Marcy September 16, 2018, 7:59 pm

      Thank you, Robert, for your continued prayers. I’m uplifted and strengthened by God through the prayers of others and not so lonely. My Pastor didn’t phone today for the well check as usual; the family of the young man who recently passed, needs counsel and comfort at this time, much more than I do. I continue to pray for his parents and sisters and brother and mourn his passing. To paraphrase: God is our strength and a very present help.

      I am so ready to get better! I pray it’s God’s will. There’s work to be done!

  • Marcy September 16, 2018, 7:33 pm

    Although prayer is communion with God, and speaking and listening to Him, I believe in praying for people too; their circumstances, the sick, the needy, the hungry, the frightened, the persecuted, the grieving. I pray for people who are happy, regaining health, getting married, young people graduating, finding work, maybe buying a home and having kids. I believe when lots of people pray, great things happen. When I pray, I pray in thankfulness for the blessings God provides, for His Love of His children, all of us. More importantly, I pray in patience for God’s will, in God’s time. I understand that it may not be what, when or how I may perceive it should be, but I pray nonetheless, trusting in God. Prayers are so many different things, unique to each person. Reading the Bible and studying God’s word and finding hymns from the lectionary and praising God in song, connecting with my siblings and friends in faith, and yes, definitely praying in different ways; this is what the Holy Spirit guides me to do. And I pray that God gathers together His children who are lost or straying and opens their hearts, minds and souls, to let Him in, most of all!

    And as soon as I get back on my feet, you better believe I’ll be back out in the street serving wherever God sends me!

    Praying for Robert and Erich, and all of Robert’s family and church members; Jill and her Mom, Dad, family members and students, Julie and her daughter and Mom and loved ones, Betsy and her whole family, Lou and her children and loved ones, Connie and her husband and family, Andrea and her husband, and daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Mary and her parents, sister and students, Rusty and K, Patricia Tiernan and her niece, Karen, and so many others. April, Pamela, Francesca, Louise, Gail, Carol and Robin, Chloe and Paige, Eva, Margaret, Jim, Darlene and all who post and/or read, I’m praying for you all, even if I’ve only seen your name once or twice. May God bless each and every one of you and bring you His peace and may you have joy in Him, trusting in Him always!

    And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE! Sending Love to you all!

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 17, 2018, 5:36 am

      Thank you dear Marcy!

      May you have a wonderful week ahead!

      Blessings!

  • April September 16, 2018, 9:37 pm

    Yes, dear UR family, prayer is about Love and in the last two days I have had two songs to remind me of this:
    “What the world needs now is Love, sweet love…”
    “All you need is love”
    Thank you Marcy for reminding us of this every time you post…the greatest of these is love….I pray that your physical issues be lessened…
    Julie, I pray that the Career Center will be a successful connection for you and your daughter….I am praying for you.
    For our UR family, new comers as well as those who have been here longer than I, may we each feel the presence and love of Christ always.

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