Ezra 8:21-23 NLT – So we fasted and earnestly prayed…

And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemento accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and He heard our prayer.

The people gathered together and prayed.  They prayed that God would give them safe journey and protect them.  The people told the King that, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship Him.”  And this passage ends with, “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and He heard our prayer.”

The people knew what they would face and also knew that they could go to God with their prayers.  Scripture commends a life of prayer, characterized by the simplicity of expression, sincerity of the heart, and trust in the promises of God.  Scripture stresses the importance of prayer.  “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)  In this verse it is clear to see what God’s will is concerning you.  Literally, prayer is in the center of God’s will.  It really is.  (1) Be joyful.  (2) Never stop praying. (3) Be thankful.

Scripture points to the need for humility in prayer “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6 NLT) and also to be expectant when we pray.  “And it is impossible to please God without faith.  Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” 

But as we look at our foundational Scripture we see another key point.  That point is worship.  God’s hand is on all who worship Him.  When God appears in His awesome power, those things, the enemies of God (sickness, disease, conflict, unforgiveness, strife, heartache, fear, sorrow, pain, sin) have reason to fear Him and flea as they will be destroyed.  In the midst of worship, God moves.  Worship demonstrates our dependence upon God.  We are literally saying, “Only You Lord can take care of this.” 

Worship is turning to God in awe, praise and joy and release to Him how wonderful He is.  Prayer is a natural part of worship; to know Him is to want to worship Him and pray to Him.   Prayer embraces God for who He is.  Prayer is conversation with God and connects us with His mighty Power.  Prayer says to God that we know we are powerless and we need His power to get through whatever we are facing.  And God’s power is released through our faith.  “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NKJV) 

Friend, we know the things we face and we know which things we find ourselves powerless against.  When we come to that realization that is our cue.  A cue to go the God in prayer.  Begin with worship to Him and acknowledge Him for who He is and the promises He places in His Word.  Place yourself and your heart in a humble and contrite position.  Then go to God in conversation, believing that He Is; the I Am.  And as you pray expect God to answer you.  Expect God to bring you through.  Expect God to heal you, to restore you, to deliver you, to protect you, and to save you.  God loves you with an everlasting love that will never change and can’t be taken away.  There is nothing that you can do that would cause God not to love you.  And there is nothing that you can ask that would surprise God.  “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and He heard our prayer.”

Precious Lord, thank You that You care for us.  Thank You that You are above all things.  Thank You that we can place our complete trust in you.  Teach us to pray, Lord.  Teach us to humbly seek Your hand over our lives.  Guide and direct us into the center of Your will.  We give You praise. We worship Your Holy Name.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!