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The Mystery of Prayer

Praising and Calling God by Name

Devotional by Judy Douglass 

I am a fan of prayer. I believe in prayer.

I say often that “the work of God is done on our knees—then we go find out what happened.” I lead a virtual global prayer for prodigals community.

Yet to me prayer remains such a mystery. How in the world could the Most High God, who created it all, invite me to talk with Him, to make requests, to ask for His favor and His action on my behalf?!?

How, indeed! And yet He does.

He says: Come. Ask. Confess. Inquire. Thank. Trust. Cry. Wait. Pray.
He says: All the time. Without ceasing. Without worry. Without fear. Without giving up. With thanksgiving. With faith.

He says: “I will listen.” “I will hear.” “I will respond.” “I will answer.” “Wait.” “I have a better idea.”

He adds, “Ask for more—I have more to give.” “Ask for the impossible—nothing is too difficult for me.” “Ask for your heart’s desire—I am already answering.” He reminds: Ask in My will. Check your motives. Be bold. Believe.
Mystery, for sure.

Yet God says I can move His hand. I can affect those I love and the world beyond. I can see miracles. “You have not because you ask not. Ask. I love when you come to talk with Me, to share your hurts and confusion and fears and hopes and needs and desires. To open your heart to Me. When you love and obey and trust.”

Praise at all times

We most often think of praise as part of praise and worship music and singing at church—which is wonderful and uplifting and freeing. But praise as a way of life is life changing.

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord….Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)

Notice the “all” and “always” in this verse. Seriously? I am to praise the Lord all the time? How is that possible?
Consider this:

But You are holy, O You who inhabits the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3)

God inhabits—lives in—our praises. Our minds have far greater capacity than our immediate thinking/conversing/acting. We always have thoughts about other things even as we chat with someone or work on a project. In that reserve space we can engage God in all we are and do by praising Him—by acknowledging who He is and what He is like. 

Call Him by name

Praise is basically lifting up the name of God. I often praise Him by naming His names. Whatever my need, He has a name for Himself:

He is Jehovah Jireh—the provider. And Jehovah Raphe—the healer. And Jehovah Shalom—peace. He is Love, and certainly I need that. Gratefully He is full of mercy—something I require often. He is Jehovah Roi–the God who sees everything–and El Shaddai–the mighty one in every circumstance. 

And so many more. One way I can be praising Him always is to lift up who He is and what He is like by speaking His names. 

I find when I remember to praise Him, my focus changes. Instead of dwelling on my worries, concerns, fears or troubles, my mind and my heart instead remember what an amazing God and Savior and Redeemer and Friend He is. And His presence in those remembrances gives me peace and hope. 

Praise not only puts us in the very presence of God and lifts our eyes from our problems to His ability to solve those problems, but it also gives us plenty of practice for Heaven. There, as we go about the real life God has for us there, we will truly be praising Him all the time.

 

Adapted from Global Staff Women Forum posts.

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