Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday Words of Encouragement: Prayer in the Midst of Life's Storms

A few weeks ago, I started sharing from a recent talk I gave about being in the midst of the storm.  We are looking at Psalm 27 and find that there are four things we can learn from this Psalm.

1. We are to have Courage in the storm.
2. We have a Shelter in the midst of the storm.
3. We are to Pray in the storm.
4. We are to Remind ourselves of God's goodness during the storm.

Psalm 27:7-10 (HCSB) ~

Lord, hear my voice when I call;be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about You,
“You are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me;
do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me.

God longs for communion with His creation.  He wants us to come to Him with our cares and concerns.  And He promises us that He will answer, and will not abandon us.  A few years ago, I remember going through a trial and feeling abandoned by everyone I loved.  It was such a terrible, helpless, and hurt-filled feeling.  And yet, I had the reassurance of these verses that God never deserts us.

The Lord is with me even when everyone I love runs away.  But so often we forget that about God.  We act as if He doesn't exist.  We live a kind of "I'll pull myself up by my own bootstrap" type existence until we hit rock bottom.

Yet, we don't have to sink down into the pit before we call on the Lord.  He is there and He is waiting.  He is speaking to us but we need to slow down, be quiet and listen.

I'm reminded of the verses in I Kings 19:11-12 (HCSB) ~

Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.”
At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.

We look for God in the big and the loud and the powerful things of life.  But often He speaks to us in silence and solitude and with a soft whisper.  He needs us to shut out all the noisy things that distract us to be able to minister to us. 

Just as I pictured God as an eagle in an earlier post, I picture Him wrapping His wings around me and whispering in my ear.  But I need to be able to hear that whisper for Him to minister to me.  Which requires sitting and being still and listening.  That's not always easy when a storm is raging.

The storms will come and the waves will crash and the wind will howl.  But when we spend time in prayer and clinging to God, His peace will also surround us.  Call out to Him.  I know some will immediately think, "I need to solve this problem."  I'm not saying we should never take action.  However, we need to stop frantically trying to fix the situation in our own strength, and listen to what the Lord has to say.  It's only when we can do that that we allow Him to work in the situation and also give us the wisdom to know what to do.  

More importantly, He will calm your spirits and give you an internal peace to face the crashing waves.  He will give you a shelter against the wind, and courage in the storm.