A lot of people live in despair and misery, unaware of the unbelievable power that is available to them. Often prayer is considered as a last resort to solve a problem. I would like to suggest the opposite approach: start with prayer, depend on your loving Father who is always out there to help his beloved children. Why depend on means inferior to the best tool available: prayer?
Letís look at the parable of the prodigal son:
11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'
20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.
24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
This parable is often used as referring to sinners who were lost in the world. This is true; however, it also has practical applications in our prayer life. Too often, we wander away from our loving Father, feeling we can make it by ourselves. Soon we realize that the consequences of sin are impossible to be dealt with by ourselves. We need help, but from where? Just approach your heavenly home through prayer. You Father is waiting for you.
What can prayer do for you? I could answer this question with one word: everything, but this would not answer it concretely. One way to see the effectiveness of prayer in your daily life is to ask for divine help in the smallest possible dilemmas. Have you ever lost your keys? Did you even try asking your heavenly Father to help you find them? If you firmly believe in His promises, you will find them. Let me illustrate a personal experience:
It was two hour before sunset. A young woman went out for a run on the open desert, just south of Tucson, Arizona. In one hand, she had her dogís leash, and in the other, firmly fastened over one finger, were her house keys. An hour later she returned to the mobile home Park where she lived, only to find that she no longer had her keys.
The woman was horrified. Her husband was working late, and she didnít know when to expect him home. Being a graduate student in Speech Pathology, she had homework to do: term papers to type; tests to study for; clients to prepare for. Besides, it would soon be dark, and she had nowhere to go.
In desperation she went to the neighboring mobile home and knocked on the door. The neighbor had a metal detector, and together the two of them went back out onto the desert, carefully retracing the womanís steps. They searched for nearly an hour, but it was to no avail. The keys were nowhere to be found. Finally, in desperation, they gave up, and the woman went to the neighboring mobile home to wait until her husband returned from work.
Fortunately, he wasnít too late that night, and just as the sun was setting in the west, he drove in. Of course, he had a set of house keys, but due to the isolated area that they lived in, both were very concerned that the keys might fall into the wrong hands. The woman was in despair. She was certain the keys were lost for good, but her husband just calmly stated: "Letís pray about it!"
The woman thought this was crazy, but to please her husband, she sat quietly while he prayed, then he calmly took her by the hand and led her out onto the desert. The two searched for half an hour, to no avail. The woman drug behind in total discouragement when a voice sounded in her head: "You donít believe I can find the keys for you, do you?" The woman shook her head honestly. "I donít see how itís possible, Lord!" she prayed. "Ask and ye shall receive" said the voice in her head. The woman stopped in her tracks and stared up at length into the starry night sky. Then she nodded her head in determination and said, "Yes, Lord, I believe you can find my keys!" Thirty seconds later, her husband reached down into the sand and dug down about an inch, then he pulled up the set of keys.
Try it, itís worth the experience.
written by Rob Chaffart
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The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.