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23 November 2011

The Essentials of Effective Prayer - 23 November

We’ve learned that we need to worship God in our prayer life. But to do that, we need to know who God is. He is given many names in the Bible.

After Abraham rescued Lot and defeated five kings, he worshiped God. Here’s what the priest did:

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” Gen 14:18-20 (ESV)

God Most High. El-Elyon. God is sovereign.

This one is easy for me to pass by. It’s “just words in a prayer”, right? Upon reflection, what is Melchizedek saying? I think that phrases like God most high are lost in today’s language. We call a blooming onion awesome and we say we love a certain color. That tends to diminish the phrase God most high. But stop and think.


Why is He the Most High? What did He do to receive that exalted position? For me, it’s knowing that God created sand from nothing. Why sand? Because glass comes from sand, and I spend a lot of time working with glass.  As I form the glass, it’s easy to say I did it, but the reality is that without God, the Most High One, creating the sand… we are so unworthy of His love! But He loves us and wants to talk to us, and He does – through His Word. Shouldn’t we exalt Him in our conversation to Him – our prayers?

The Psalmist has many names for God. How is He described in these verses?

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalms 91:1-11 (KJV) – italics in my King James version

Wow! Not only does God promise to deliver me – he sends angels to help! Why do I bother to worry when I have all these promises at my disposal?

How do these promises help you? Was there a time that you clung to the promises and came through a trial with peace and calm? Or are you a worrier? Do you forget all the amazing promises of protection that God gives us?

One more description of God this week, and then it’s off for Thanksgiving festivities:

“If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”  Ex 15:26 (ESV)
Jehovah Rapha – the Lord Who heals. He can heal me physically. He can heal my wounded spirit. He can heal my nerves. He can heal my relationships. He heals.

It is helpful to pray the scriptures. It brings them to life in our mind, and it reminds us of God’s promises. I close this week with Psalm 107. Use it to remind yourself of the greatness of God the next time you pray! It’s a great scripture to read before your Thanksgiving meal, too.

1      Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble 3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; 5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. 6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. 8  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. 10  Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. 13  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. 15  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 16 For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.  Psalms 107:1-16 (ESV)

Happy Thanksgiving. And please keep in mind the real reason for the Christmas season.

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