When I try to pray while walking, or in the car, I use the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6 9-13) to organize my thoughts, and am often astonished again by its richness. Forgiving aught against any as a condition for receiving the Lord’s forgiveness, for instance.
“Do not bring us to the test,” the Lord instructs us to pray. Would he instruct us to pray this if testing were inevitable? Is it possible that one might be spared soul-wringing and heart-wrenching testing if one prays to avoid it?
And then, the lovely sentence, “Deliver us from evil.” Would Jesus instruct us to pray to be delivered from evil if he did not intend to deliver those who requested deliverance? So deliverance from evil is a strong probability for those who pray for it.
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I am reminded of Jabez’s outrageous prayer, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (1 Chron 4:10)
Be free from pain? What a huge prayer! And it was granted simply because Jabez asked.
I feel sad I have not asked more that I might not be led into temptation, not be brought to the test and that I might be delivered from evil and “be free from pain”. But these are prayers I will assiduously pray for the rest of my life.
Isn’t it scary to think that the life we lead might just bear a faint resemblance to the life we could have had if we prayed more?
Oh, what grace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
But it is never too late to ask God to wrap our lives in his protection. And I am going to ask him to right now!