Today, I want to share an acronym we are using at Ephesus for our 40 Days of Prayer emphasis as we begin 2022. Thank you to my pastor, Wayne Sullivan, for sharing this devotional/prayer emphasis as we seek God’s direction as His church. The acronym is H E A R. Two phrases from the Bible I take note of (heed), “Incline your ear……” and “He who has an ear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches…..” BOTH encourage us to truly listen to what God is saying to His people.
“H” is for HEED (notice, give attention, take note). “E” is for EXPLAIN (clarify, defend, describe). “A” represents APPLY/APPLICATION (utilize, employ, put in to operation). “R” stands for RESPOND (give answer, act/react, return). We need to HEAR what the Spirit is saying to His church today! Today is day 15 in our emphasis:
Heed: Take In God’s Word
The scripture listed includes 1 Samuel 12: 23 – 24: “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.”
Matthew 26: 40: “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?”
John 15: 5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Explain: Think It All Through!
Apart from Christ, we can do nothing! With Him, all things are possible! Authentic Christian disciples, true Christ-followers will have a desire to have close intimacy with Christ in prayer. They will pray regularly for their family, church family, and friends.
Unfortunately, desire is rarely enough as we witness in the lives of Jesus’ closest disciples. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before His betrayal by Judas, He asked His closest followers to “remain here, and watch with Me.” “Watch with Me,” was Jesus’ way of saying, “stay and pray with me.” Surely these men loved Jesus and desired to pray with Him into the night, especially since He told them that He was very sorrowful, “sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38). Sadly, desire was obviously not enough as Jesus found them sleeping rather than praying, not once, but three times.
How many times have you recommitted yourself to serious prayer only to find that your desire wasn’t enough to sustain you day after day without something more? Jesus expects us to pray! He said, “when you pray,” not “If you pray.” Prayerlessness isn’t just neglecting to do something! As James taught us, failing to do what we know to be right is sin (James 4:17).
Our prayerlessness is sin. Samuel recognized a lack of prayer as sin. In 1 Samuel 12, he said, “far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23). So should we.
Lack of intimate prayer weakens us because it allows our fleshly desires to overcome the Spirit’s abundant willingness to empower and equip us to know and serve Jesus! Jesus taught us that apart from Him, we “can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we abide in Him, not only are we enabled to bear much fruit, but we get the joy of intimacy with our Bridegroom. As believers, prayer should be one of our greatest priorities.
Flee from the temptation of leaving prayer completely up to chance and emotion. Overcome the sin of prayerlessness by asking God to help you learn to seek Him daily in prayer.
Apply: Live It Out!
EVALUATE your personal prayer life/your relationship with Jesus. God created us to have relationship with Him. Jesus died on the cross for our sin so that we might restore our relationship with Him. Evaluate your relationship with Jesus by asking these questions:
Respond: Pray for God’s Assistance!
“Father, reveal my heart’s desire toward deepening my prayer life by the power of Your Holy Spirit! Help me Lord, to ensure that prayer is a real priority and a real blessing of empowerment in my daily life.
Teach me how to call upon You and spend quality time with You more faithfully and fully, so that my private life will allow You to work in my public life to accomplish Your will.
Lord, help me to hear You when You call me to Your side! Father, minister to our church family as we corporately seek to know Your will and ways as we deepen our daily walks with you! Amen
Suggested Scripture Readings: Ps. 55:17; Isa. 55:6; Matt. 7:7; Mark 1:35
Almighty and Holy Father, I pause to Thank You for who You are and the blessings You have graciously provided for us throughout our lives. Again, Father, I ask that You bless us as we enter the New Year. You are worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving, and we are unworthy of Your abundant love, countless mercies, amazing grace, and forgiveness You have given to us in times past. Thank You for sending Your precious Son, Jesus Christ, for offering Himself the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins. Thank You, Holy Father, that You remember our sins against us no more and that You are willing to use us no matter our failure in days past.
Father, in Your strength, we declare our readiness to be engaged in the “new beginnings” and “new opportunities” You bring into our paths. We pray that Your Will be done in our lives, in our homes, within our communities, through Your church which You positioned to proclaim the Gospel, make stronger disciples, and advance Your Kingdom throughout 2022. We thank You for walking with us through the pandemic. You know the plans You have for us through this year. We pray the plans You have for us will be revealed to us. Help us to believe that in You, we can grow and abide. As Jesus prayed, Father make us one in You. Help us to believe that we can accomplish all You have commanded us to be in Your strength. Let Your Will be done in us daily, and may the world around us take note that we are indeed Christ-followers and have demonstrated such in the ways we love and care for one another as they did in the early church.
Help us become the new creatures You are leading us to become daily. Help us to be forgiving of one another and willing to work together to accomplish Your purpose. Help us to walk honorably, to love purely, to live holy, and may we be obedient to all Your commands.
Father, help us to “Forget the former things;” to “not dwell on the past.? Help us to see clearly that “new thing” You are doing among Your people/in Your church. Help us to comprehend the “new way” You are “making in the wilderness” and the “streams” that are springing up in the “wastelands,” or “deserts.” Help us understand You have invited us to experience them with You. (Adapted from Isaiah 43: 18-19) Help us always to forgive one another as You forgive us and hold nothing against one another as You no longer hold our confessed sins against us.
Lead us away from the temptations that will daily be in our paths. Help us practice the spiritual disciplines that strengthen and enable us to live in ways that bring honor and glory to Your Name. Help us individually to lead our families, our churches, every sphere of influence we hold in a way that will advance Your Kingdom.
Father, give us strength to live out our one resolve for 2022 – that we establish Jesus Christ/His Will/His Way/His Commands as our singular priority of Christ. As He taught us in Matthew 6: 33, help us SEEK FIRST Jesus…..by placing Him first and overall, we can go forward and not be distracted by the priorities of the enemy and those caught up in the ways of the world.
Help us to make the name of Jesus known to all in our path and use our witness to bring people into the family of God. Amen!