February 9, 2023 / by Pastor Scott Boerckel
I want to invite you to a joyous, holy place. It is a place of both kindness and improvement. It is kind because the company is kind. It improves us because the company will not leave us to mediocrity.
The place where I am inviting you, of course, is the place of prayer. As we meet with the Lord in prayer, we will receive both His kindness and His improvement.
Consider first the kindness of the Lord. Our Lord Jesus beckons us to prayer fellowship with Him because He is gentle and lowly of heart. There, we find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). The sons of Korah challenged their own souls in this song: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11
Are you feeling blue, out of sorts, or a bit lost as you begin a new year? Look unto your Savior, dear one. He is good; He is kind. He wants to hear your prayers!
Consider next the work of the Lord in the improvement of our souls. We tend to begin the new year with all sorts of plans for improvement, whether in diet, or in exercise, or in relationships. May I commend to you the act of prayer as a means to improve your soul? It is as we pray that the Lord impresses upon us our need of Him, our sinful condition, and His great means of transformation.
It is true that the devil can get us to think that, while we are in a state of distance, rebellion, or apathy toward God, we should stay away from God until we “get our act together.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is just at these moments that we most need time in prayer before the Lord. The verse often used to describe national revival also is applicable to personal revival: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
So, run to the Lord in prayer. This is fellowship that you need. You need it to receive the Lord’s kindness. You need it to receive the Lord’s improvement. God has opened the door for us to access Him. He has made it easy. The devil wants to keep you from prayer. He tries to make it hard. Prayerlessness will keep you needlessly discouraged. Go to the Lord in prayer.
Jesus Christ died to provide you access to the throne of God, now and forever. Jesus continues as our advocate so that our prayers are an offering to the Lord, acceptable and pleasing to Him. This is why both Revelation 5 and Revelation 8 describe the throne room of God as having the prayers of the saints before the presence of God. Jesus makes our prayers so holy that they are preserved in some way in the throne room of God. “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8 “Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.” Revelation 8:2-4
The Holy Spirit stands ready to help our weakness in prayer. We do not have to be afraid that we don’t know what to say in prayer. As J. C. Ryle notes, “The Spirit will give us words if we seek His aid.” “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 What encouragement is this! The Spirit of God intercedes for us in exact accordance with the will of God.
We eat; we drink; we sleep; we rise; we go to work; we return home; we breathe God’s air, see God’s sun, walk on God’s earth, enjoy God’s mercies. (This paragraph is a paraphrase from J.C. Ryle) Those are all wonderful. We have dying bodies. We have judgment and eternity ahead of us. Those are painful. Whether painful or wonderful, I invite you to speak with God. He is kind. He will improve you.
This invitation is for you: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
Warmly in Christ,
Senior Pastor Scott Boerckel loves being a pastor and teaching God’s Word. He is married to Carol, a watercolor artist who knows how to think Christianly about the arts. In his free time, he enjoys cycling with friends, enjoying his ever growing family, and learning from the community of God’s people at East White Oak.
February OakLeaf Articles:
Prayer as Fellowship with God by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Prayer in Children’s Ministry by the Children’s Ministry Team
Engaging Your Neighbors Through Prayer by Pastor Justin Waples
Prayer for Your Pastors by Richard Verdery
Prayer in Moments of Crisis by Jeff Fritzen
Praying for Prodigals by Jeoff Jenkins
Prayer as Worship by Meg White
Prayer for Refreshing Our Building and our Hearts by Dave Rowden
Praying in Jesus’ Name by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Resources for Your Prayer Journey by Monica Ball
Prayer Questions and Conundrums by David Congdon