Jesus said, Blessed are the persecuted and they are suffering big time right now. This is Bible League International and 19-year-old Aria was beaten by her own father and violated by local authorities. You know what her crime was?
Simply that she gave her life to Jesus Christ after leaving radical Islam. They need Bibles in order to endure and persevere. And that's why Truth Network and Bible League are teamed up to send God's Word to 3500 persecuted believers around the world at $5 a Bible, $100 Synth 20. Call 800-YES-WORD, 800-YES-WORD, 800-YES-WORD, or give at truthnetwork.com. Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network.
This is the Truth Network. Encouraging Prayer. God offers an open invitation for His people to talk with Him at any time about anything. On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the best-selling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray.
And now here's James. One of the greatest challenges we face as Christians is the temptation to compartmentalize our lives. I mean, we don't mean for it to happen, but sometimes we can struggle to make our faith practical and not only bring it to church, but also bring it home and to work and really everywhere else in between, right, James? Yeah, I mean, sometimes it's the in-between that's so difficult, like driving in the car.
Oh yeah. I was transporting a group of kids from the church, and the person in front of us was looking at their cell phone when the light turned, and so I waited a moment, but then it got a little longer, and I got a little impatient, and I think I said something like, come on. And I could tell by the look on one of the kids' faces that he was surprised by that. I mean, look at how pastors respond here, you know? And I realized, I have some work to do. I mean, love is patient, love is kind, right? Sometimes we're not as holy as we sound. We all have work to do, and if we think we don't, then we're really in trouble. So James, let's talk about prayer and how much it matters for bridging those gaps between Sunday and Monday, like through Friday.
Yeah, and Saturday too. One of the things we often talk about when we encourage you, prayer, is the importance of staying in the moment with God, and we need to get used to doing that, to letting God into the most everyday stuff, because it does so much for our relationship with him when we do that. When we keep him close, he pulls us closer still, and we don't want to miss that. You were telling me earlier that your wife, Carrie, had a great example of that just last week, so tell our listeners what happened. Well, I was out of town for a couple of days on study leave, so she was taking care of things at home, and Carrie loves animals. She breeds labradoodles, and two of our dogs got out that morning for over an hour, and with the help of the neighbors, she finally found them, but that afternoon it happened again, and this time they were gone for even longer, for over two hours.
Wow, and Durham can be a pretty busy place, right? So should she stop and pray about it? Well, she did, but only after she had walked for miles and God had reminded her of a time when our daughter was a runaway and we had tried everything to find her, and she thought about what God had told us then, and that was that sense of be still, and she sensed again that God was telling her, be still. Yeah, be still and know that I am God. Yeah, yeah, that came to mind, those verses or that verse, and she really sensed in her spirit that he was telling her this, so she stopped everything, she calmed down, she began to pray, and as soon as she did, she got a picture in her mind of a neighborhood a ways away from ours, and she got in the car and headed over there, and just as she turned the corner to go into that neighborhood, she saw the dog starting to cross a busy four-lane road, and she pulled over her car and put on the blinkers and got them home, and it, you know, it ended well, but it could have ended very differently. Wow, so after she stopped and prayed, basically God showed her where they were, that's phenomenal. Yeah, yeah, that's right, and by the way, while all this was going on, I decided I needed to come back home for my study leave. I got home late that night, and I repaired the fence.
We had had a storm come through that had damaged it, and we weren't aware of it, but again, just look at how practical this is. It makes you wonder, how many times in the day does God want to help us if we'll only let him in? I mean, he's just standing there and saying, you know, I would love to help you.
I would love to show you what you need to do if you just ask. Oh, wow, it's a great question to ask, but it's also about a lot more than just the answers that we're after in the moment, isn't it? Yeah, it is, Robby. I mean, what Kerry really needed that moment was God's Spirit to calm her, you know, so that she could know his presence was with her no matter what. Think of Isaiah's words, you will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because it has stayed on you.
Oh, I love that verse. Yeah, just think about Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm, and the disciples are, you know, wake up, we're going to drown. But how else could Jesus do that if he didn't trust God to take care of him? His mind has stayed on God, so he's at rest.
He lived in constant communication with the Father. And this is what we need to discover as well. We need to learn to be more and more in God's presence like Jesus was. So, like you were saying earlier, it's about more than requests or answers. It's about having a relationship. Yeah, so let's talk about some ways we can pray to encourage, you know, that kind of relational praying.
Awesome. Yeah, I love David's prayer in Psalm 10, I love you, Lord, my strength. If we get in the habit of praying that and meaning it, you know, just telling God we love him several times a day, it can really make a difference for not just knowing, but actually feeling that God is near. Yeah, another great prayer. I pray sometimes, just, Lord, help!
That's what we all need. That is a great prayer. Not just when we're in trouble, but learning to pray more and more, no matter what problem you're facing.
Or, you know, it may not be a problem at all, it may just be whatever you're doing. And I also love praying things like, what do you want me to do today? It's a reminder that we're God's servants.
Think of the Psalm, I think it's Psalm 123, where it talks about the eyes of a servant looking to the hand of the one she's serving. Or, because we've been talking about dogs, think about something Martin Luther said. He was eating at the table one day and noticed how his dog was watching his every move. Every time his hand went to his mouth, the dog's eyes were on him, and Luther said, if only I could pray that way.
That is awesome. I mean, that's kind of attentiveness we need, right? Because when we let God in, right, things get really interesting.
That's what Scripture says, he's a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. And we need to do that, to work on that diligent part. I know I need to. And good things will come because of it.
Yeah, we do. And our time is coming to a close, so I'm going to ask God for help, just like that, for really all of us. So, Jesus, thank you for that picture.
I just can't get that picture out of my mind of the dog looking at our every move. Lord, help us to be that attentive, that we can see where you're at in our daily lives, and that we would get that sense of where you are in a situation so that we can actually orient ourselves. Lord, help us. And we ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray. This is the Truth Network.
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