Not every day is filled with sunshine here in Glasgow. Most days are filled with grey skies and rain puddles. However, as the ladies of Refuge gathered for another Coffee Morning on Saturday, 25 August, we reminisced how almost every Coffee Morning for the last several years has been a bright, beautiful, sunny day. What a sweet gift from God as meet together, desiring to become more like Jesus, the “radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).
After a good cuppa and plate full of (too much!) cake we enjoyed a game. We then had the great honour of hearing from Janice as she shared her story of coming to know Jesus. She recounted her journey from a painful childhood, to years struggling with doubt and how God rescued her from herself and brought her into His family. There was hardly a dry eye in the room as she shared how Refuge had been a safe place for her to grow in her faith. Janice is such a gift to our family, full of wit and wisdom and so much creativity. God has walked with her through hard days and has faithfully carried her each step of the way. Through Janice we were reminded that God is near to those who call on Him. He is quick and mighty to save and is always, always faithful.
Rachel then taught on the subject of prayer—something she was quick to admit was a big struggle in her own faith journey. She offered a method of prayer that had helped her come to know Jesus in a more intimate way: praying PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
Praying Towards the Past
(Praying the Promises of God)
Charles Spurgeon said, “Banquet your faith upon God’s own Word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father’s note in hand, saying, Remember your Word to your servant (Psalm 119:49).”
Our prayers gain confidence when we pray the Word of God back to God. God is Truth. His promises are Yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). When we pray His Word back to Him, we are acknowledging His character. As we pray the promises of God, two things happen:
We pray in line with His will. We are centred, safe and aligned—
like the spine on a back.
God will respond with Yes and Amen.
In praying God’s promises, we look BACK at His faithfulness and allow that to be the rock beneath our feet.
Praying in the Present
(Praying the Names of God)
In the book of Exodus, we see God introducing Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM”. This powerful name of God shows that our Yahweh God is, was and always will be. Psalm 9:10 says,
And those who know Your Name put their trust in You.
Knowing the names of God allows us to know the character of God. Just as we see different facets of a diamond when we hold it under a bright light, we see different traits of His unique character, ability, purpose and mission when we identify His different names. When we declare, “You are Wonderful Counsellor”, we exalt God to be the One who guides and teaches us as He comforts our hearts. When we say, “You are the Feeder of Sparrows” we remind our hearts that He is the God who provides for every need. Minute by minute as we pray the names of God, we are reminded of the fullness of God; present, incarnate—God With Us.
Praying Towards the Future
(Faith in God’s Future Grace)
Hebrews 11:1 says that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Faith is a key element to our prayers, however, it is something that we get wrong a lot. The faith we need to have is NOT in our ability to be good at prayer. We don’t need to try harder or work to conjure something inside us. The object of our faith is the person of God. Faith is REST. Faith is to cease striving and to believe and trust God’s future grace to answer and provide as we believe and ask. To pray in faith means to lay our prayers in God’s hands believing that He can and will answer. Praying in faith means asking, then laying down our prayers, stepping back and allowing God to be God. The word “amen” means “let it be” or “so be it”. To pray in faith means to humbly say to God, let it be, as it is in heaven, let it be on earth.
Finally, Rachel shared about what to do when prayers just aren’t coming. She offered four practical answers:
Do things that stir your affection for Jesus (worship, take a walk, have a friend pray for you, etc)
Preach to your own soul, like David in Psalm 42. STOP listening to your inner voice and START speaking to it instead. You are not controlled by your emotions. Tell your soul to put its hope in God.
Be honest with God. Tell Him you are struggling to pray. C.S. Lewis said, “We must lay before God what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” God is big enough to handle your doubt and honesty.
Pray anyways. Sometimes we just have to sit down and make ourselves pray. “Pray for prayer—pray till you can pray, pray to be helped in prayer.” (Spurgeon) The more we pray, the more we will want to pray. Intimacy breeds intimacy.
We had a wonderful morning together and look forward to our next Coffee Morning on Saturday, 24 November. We hope to see you there!