Friday, April 1, 2011

Prayer, Part Three: Strength

Our second prayer word is Strength. You may already pray for this every day!

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

Who are we asking for strength?
Our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our refuge, our stronghold.

Why do we ask God for strength? Because He is strong!

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. (Ephesians 6:10)
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. (Colossians 1:11)

God's strength is vast. His might is glorious!

Here's one of Paul's prayers for strength for his friends:

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement
and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts
and strengthen you in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Did you notice why God strengthens us? It's not just so we can feel all warm and cozy and encouraged, but so that our words and our actions will be good and godly and glorifying to Him.

When I ask the Lord for strength, He often answers with a scripture verse that speaks to my current need. Other times He speaks through other Christians.

I prayed for strength constantly when my father's health was failing several years ago. It was so difficult to figure out how to help him when I lived a thousand miles away. Moving my dad away from his friends in the northwest wasn't an option, and my budget didn't allow me to fly up there too often. I had to have difficult conversations on the phone with my dad, and I continually felt I was in a situation that I couldn't possibly handle. God sent little bits of encouragement and strength, one day at a time. Some days I read just the right verse in my Bible. Other days I found comfort from a devotional book. Many nights my husband brought me baklava and a movie and I just sat next to him on the couch and felt encouraged. But the most encouraging strengthening thing was the realization that Jesus was my friend. This is one of those simple truths that I probably heard when I was five, but it was so meaningful to me during that year of Dad's illness.

This year I am especially praying for strength for my oldest daughter. Not because she isn't strong—if you have an oldest child, you know what I mean!—but that God will channel her strength into obedience and godly character.

Everyone on your prayer list needs strength—strength to get through the day, strength to say no to temptation, strength to know when she is too weak to take on one more thing....Look back at the verses above. Which will you use in your prayers today?

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