One of the unofficial names given to Christ's followers in the New Testament was "all that call on thy name" (Acts 9:14). What does this unofficial but inspired label say about us?
It reveals Jesus's followers are a praying people. Some folks worry, reason, or imitate their way through problems. Others steal, cheat, or bribe their way to get what they want. Still others lie, fight, or manipulate their way through life.
Unlike these self-sufficient individuals, Christ's born-again people pray their way through life. Our biblical watchword is, "In everything by prayer" (Phil. 1:6). What makes us this way?
We have an advantage—an all-sufficient, ever-present, super-attentive, marvelously loving heavenly Father! Whether we were well or poorly parented, as God's own adopted children we may now call on our wondrously faithful Father for every need, worldly or spiritual. As we learn to lean on Him for everything, we begin thriving.
Soon we're overcoming problems, perplexities, and persecutors the same way Jesus did—by praying early, often, simply, patiently, expectantly, and with praise. Let's review this prayerful lifestyle.
We pray in private, "When thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, who is in secret" (Matt. 6:6), and in public, "They continued steadfastly ... in prayers ... in the temple" (Acts 2:42, 46). We pray at set times, "Peter and John went up ... at the hour of prayer" (Acts 3:1), and at all times, "Praying always" (Eph. 6:18). We pray with purpose, "If we ask any thing according to his will" (1 John 5:14), and with persistence, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). We petition with faith, "When ye pray, believe that ye receive" (Mark 11:24), and with thankful praise, "In everything by prayer ... with thanksgiving" (Phil. 4:6). We pray with obedience, "Whatever we ask, we receive ... because we ... do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 3:22) and without presumption, sure that "God heareth not sinners" (John 9:31). There's more.
We appeal in the city, "Prayer was made. . .[in] the house of Mary [in Jerusalem]" (Acts 12:5, 12), and in the countryside, "We went out of the city by a riverside, where prayer was [offered]" (Acts 16:13). We plead for kings, "I exhort ... supplications, prayers, intercessions ... be made ... for kings" (1 Tim. 2:1-2), and for criminals, "If he [Onesimus] hath wronged thee ... put that on my account" (Philem.18). We call on God in palaces, "The chief man of the island ... received us, and lodged us ... to whom Paul entered in and prayed" (Acts 28:7-8), and in prisons, "They cast them into prison ... And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed" (Acts 16:23-25). We pray for our ministers, "Ye also helping together by prayer for us" (2 Cor. 1:11), and they pray for us, "We will give ourselves continually to prayer" (Acts 6:4). We intercede in our native tongue, "And I will pray with the understanding" (1 Cor. 14:15), and in other tongues, "I will pray with the spirit" (v. 15). That's not all.
We offer petitions for friends, "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorous, for he often refreshed me" (2 Tim. 1:16), and for enemies, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts 7:60). We pray for messages, "[Praying always] for me, that utterance may be given unto me" (Eph. 6:19), and for missions, "When they had fasted and prayed ... they sent them away" (Acts 13:3). We request open doors, "That God would open unto us a door of utterance " (Col. 4:3), and closed doors, "For there are many ... deceivers ... whose mouths must be stopped" (Titus 1:10-11).
We appeal for boldness, "Behold their threatenings, and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word" (Acts 4:29), and for wisdom, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God" (James 1:5). We cry out for the Spirit's fullness, "I bow my knees unto the Father ... that we might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:14, 19), and to have our worldly needs fully supplied, "Pray to thy Father ... seek ye first the kingdom of God ... and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:6, 33). Thus, "in everything by prayer" we prevail—thanks to the Father!
Born-again one, have you forgotten to lean on your fabulously faithful Father lately? Are you worrying, reasoning, or arguing your way through problems? Are you fighting, manipulating, or imitating your way to what you want?
Are you stressed out, exhausted, miserable? Remember your New Testament name: "All that call on Thy name." Live out this label and be a light to this hopeless, prayerless, Fatherless world. Awesome answers await.
"By awesome things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God" (Ps. 65:5), and all that call on Thy name.
Adapted from "Sweeter Than Honey" Volume 2, by Greg Hinnant, copyright 2013, published by Creation House. Taste for yourself and savor these devotionals, pouring them into your soul. With the Holy Spirit's blessing they will satisfy and energize you. To order your copy click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of December 1, 2014
This week as you embark on the Christmas season, remember the reason for the season and the faithfulness of God. Remember to bring every request, with thanksgiving, to Him. Ask Him to help you use this time to carry His presence and light everywhere you go. Thank Him for every opportunity to spread His joy, peace and message to those around you. Pray for His kingdom to spread to the uttermost corners of the earth. Pray for those suffering from persecution for their Christian faith, for Israel, our allies, for civic, spiritual and government leaders. Pray for revival to engulf our nation. Ask God to direct you to where you can represent Him and be the greatest blessing (Psalm 65:5; 1 John 5:14; Mark 11:24).
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