Day 1 - Is It Worth It?

Day 1 - Is It Worth It?

Written by: Pat Hardin
SCRIPTURE
For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10-12, ESV)

 
DEVOTIONAL
As we embark on a 28 day journey of prayer and fasting, perhaps we wonder if it is really worth it? Does God really hear our prayers? If so, then why do so many prayers go unanswered? Perhaps we have all entertained thoughts like these at times, but today’s Scripture reading states that God’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous. Which begs the question, “Am I righteous?”  

The verses just before this passage give insight into how we are to treat those closest to us, and how we are to align our attitudes with God’s. Once we have done this, then we begin to act like Jesus and ultimately pray like Jesus, who said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “…yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42b; NIV) If the past year or two has hammered you with loss and anxiety as you watch those around you suffering, or perhaps deal with the loss of a family member, you could be wondering how that is God’s will, right?

It is not easy to walk in God’s will, but we find a map for that journey in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)  That clearly states that God is thinking and planning outside of our circumstances, and that His will is concerned with our attitude and subsequent behavior, not the removal of our obstacles. This may seem harsh, but it is quite loving, as God offers us hope in the midst of grief and chaos. He promises us that His eyes are fixed on us and His ears are listening intently to our prayers. He uses our submission to His will to glorify Himself. Are you rejoicing and giving thanks for everything in your life?
 
ACTION STEP
Consider making a list today of all the people and things you are thankful for in your life, regardless of whether you consider them to be good or bad, and then spend a few minutes in prayer rejoicing that God has chosen to give you this unique opportunity to display His joy to the world in the midst of your circumstances. We have seen some of our church family pass away this past year, we have seen friends and relatives succumb to the coronavirus, to cancer, to other health related issues, and we have wondered how to rejoice and thank God for such loss. Praying over the life and legacy of your lost loved ones is a way to keep their memory alive. Sharing with others your grateful heart that God is teaching you to trust Him, even in the most difficult circumstances, is a way to glorify Him and remember them. 
 
PRAYER TIME
As you pray, won’t you ask God to show you any evil ways that remain in your heart, in order to repent and turn them over to Him? Perhaps the tragedies of the past year will be instrumental in drawing you deeper into the arms of our Savior. Repent and draw near to God by confessing your own sins, so that you may pray more effectively for those on your list. Pray for those in need, those in pain, and those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. His love cleanses, humbles, and heals us. 
 
Father, I confess my own shortcomings to you, ask for Your forgiveness, and pray for the strength to walk away from the temptation to sin. Cleanse me, heal me, and renew Your Spirit within me. Oh God, bring that same healing and comfort to those who are in need of a special touch from you this year. May we come together as the Body of Christ and glorify your Name by our love and unity, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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