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Heartfelt Prayers

There are some incredible prayers recorded in the Bible that I’m sure you’ve read and or prayed. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-12) is one that nearly everyone has memorized and prayed at one time or another. The prayer of Jabez (1Chronicles 4:10) is a great prayer to increase the things you have in order to be a blessing. I’ve prayed David’s prayer (Psalm 51:10-12) for forgiveness before in order to have a changed heart. The last one I’ll mention is Mary’s prayer of submission (Luke 1:38) right after she was told she would carry the Savior of the world. She simply asked God to have His will and to do what He said.

All these prayers have something in common. They’re pretty short. They are some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible, yet they’re not long or complicated. Sometimes I think we overly complicate prayer thinking that we have to say the right words, speak to God in King James or impress Him with the length of our prayers. While there’s nothing wrong with praying that way, God is simply looking at our heart. All these prayers I’ve mentioned are heartfelt prayers that touched God and resonate with us. You can pray them, but if you do, make sure they’re coming from your heart and not your memory.

Just before Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:7 He reminded us, “And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (AMP). Heartfelt prayer isn’t about repetition. It’s crying out to God in your moment of need. It’s being vulnerable about your insecurities. It’s conversing with God on a personal level. While these memorized prayers have their place, they cannot replace your conversations with God entirely. You must be real with God, and He will be real with you. Open up to Him today, speaking from your heart. He doesn’t measure our prayers for their length or flowery words. He honors heartfelt prayers no matter how long or uncomplicated they are.

Photo by West Kenya Union Conference Adventist Media on Unsplash

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Mary’s Mindset

When looking into the birth of Jesus, you have to look into Mary. She is the first one to get the news that she would give birth to our Savior. We don’t know how old she was or what she was doing when the Angel Gabriel arrived to give her the news. We do know it frightened her though. Gabriel reassured her and said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!” That words “found favor” can be translated to “brought joy, pleasure or delight to.” The Angel was telling her that she lived a life that brought joy to God and he was there to bring good news.

I wonder what went through Mary’s mind as he began to tell her that she was going to be pregnant with the Messiah. Did she start to wonder what kind of mom she would be? When he said her child would reign over Israel forever, did she grasp what he was saying? He gave her a lot to think about as he laid out God’s plan for her child. I don’t know what all she thought about, but I do know she was concerned about being pregnant. She asked, “How can this happen? I am a virgin.” She wasn’t questioning him. She, like you and I, wanted to know the specifics of God’s plan.

I love Gabriel’s response in Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment (AMP).” When God promises something to us, He will fulfill it. It doesn’t matter how impossible it may sound to us, God has the ability to make it happen. He is not bound by our limitations. He isn’t limited by our income. He is not intimidated by our fears. He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond all we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). The angel’s message to Mary (and us): If God said it, He will do it.

I think Mary’s response to that should be our response to God. It showed who she really was and why God chose her for such a task as to bring His Son into the world. Luke 1:38 says, “Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.'” It didn’t matter how impossible it sounded or how big a task it was, she was ready to do what God asked her to do. She pushed past her fear of the unknown. She looked beyond the possible shame of being pregnant out of wedlock. She agreed to do whatever it was that God asked her to do.

You and I need to learn to trust God’s plan above all else. It may seem impossible, out of reach or even outlandish, but if God said He would do it, our response she be like her’s. We should be willing to endure shame, push past our fears and trust that God knows what He’s doing. If we want our lives to bring joy, pleasure and delight to the King of Kings, then we should be a servant who’s willing to serve in whatever capacity He has for us. God’s looking for us to simply trust Him and say, “May everything you say about me come true.”

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