Day 21 Psalm 23
We can bring our petitions to either God or man, but prayers are only offered up to God. In every life, there are certain needs and desires that only God can supply. We get into trouble when we blur the distinction.
Let’s say you come to me and say, “Pastor, I need a loaf of bread. I don’t have any money and my family is hungry. I can’t meet their need. Please, help me.” I can meet that need. You can also make the same request of God in prayer and trust that He will answer. You see, a petition – especially one like that – is something that you can bring to either God or man.
But, let’s say you come to me and say, “Pastor, I am a sinner. I confess my sin to you now and ask you to take away my sin; to cleanse me of my sin so I may have eternal life.” That is beyond my ability to do. That is something only God can do. Oh, I can pray for you and with you, but I do not have the ability nor the authority to cleanse you of sin or give you eternal life. That authority lies with God alone. So, such a need must be addressed to God in prayer.
Unfortunately, while some people may feel a freedom to share their needs or concerns with another person, they may feel too unworthy or too far away to approach God in prayer. Even within the church, some people approach God wearing a spiritual veil for fear of getting too familiar with Him. If I am describing you, please listen with a fresh awareness. You are not beyond the reach or power of God. God wants you to talk with Him about your needs. That is why He offers us prayer.
Remember, prayer is two-way communication with God. In fact, His Word can even be a part of prayer – both from you and to you. God’s Word, The Bible, was given with you, personally, in mind. It is God’s Word – His written Word – to you. How can that be? It is possible because God knew you before you were created and He knows you intimately right down to the number of hairs on your head. So, as you consider how to talk with God and to listen to God in prayer, begin to listen to His Word in a personal way.
Let me share a familiar verse of Scripture with you that speaks of God’s personal concern for us. Where it says, “insert your name,” do that as you read it aloud.
For God so loved __________ that He gave His only begotten Son, that if __________ believes
(insert your name) (insert your name)
in Him, __________ should not perish but have everlasting life. [John 3:16]
(insert your name)
Did you insert your name in the verse? There are numerous passages of Scripture that apply directly to you and can be personalized in this fashion. Try it with other passages such as Psalm 23. God wants us to come to Him in prayer knowing that we matter to Him and that there is nothing we cannot bring to Him. Remember that the next time you hit your knees and begin to question whether He hears you or not.