Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Lover Of My Soul"1 (Lyrics)
When the hot, dry days of July arrived, the maple tree that we had planted beyond reach of the garden hose looked dead. Hoping against hope, once a day, I began toting water to soak the soil around the base of the pencil-thin, leafless trunk. Maybe you heard my hoot of delight on the morning when I discovered the first signs of new life: eight emerging leaves.
I found this experience to be a simple illustration of what James, Jesus' half-brother, wrote about prayer:
James 4:2b-3a – You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. (NIV)
James 5:16b – The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)
When all looked dead and hopeless for that baby tree, I appealed to the Lord. As I carried each bucket of water, I asked, "In the name of Jesus, loving Father, giver of life, provide the one thing I cannot for this maple: vitality. Thanks!" My motive for carrying water and saying prayer was earnest expectation for positive change.
Would you use your imagination here for a moment, please?
Let us visualize prayers as pails of compassionate words addressed to God. Think of the name and authority of Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, as faith-carrying containers. What a privilege to put our worship, requests, desire for deliverance from evil, and thanks into the precious name of Jesus — and picture the canisters arriving at the throne of grace!
Prayer: Loving Father in heaven, we ask, in the name of Christ Jesus, for discerning wisdom. Make us sensitive to know when prayer is needed. Enable us to use faithful words and faithful actions in partnership with You. We seek Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done. Amen.