FIRST-PERSON: Where to turn for solace & comfort
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- Our nation has experienced powerful hurricanes and flooding in recent weeks, along with violence perpetrated upon innocent people enjoying an outdoor concert and raging wildfires.
As we watched these events take lives and destroy homes, we grieved with those who lost so much and wondered when the pain and suffering would stop. In times like these, where do we turn for solace and comfort?
There is only one place, and that is to go to the throne of grace, to petition the Father to be with us, to guide us and protect us.
Too often, the privilege to approach the Father in prayer is taken for granted. After all, isn't God always there? Yes, He is there, but are we taking advantage of our direct access by making the call to Him?
Has there ever been a greater need for us to go to the Father in prayer? The sorrow that our nation feels now is palpable. When we are hurting, when we are confused, when we have lost hope, where else should we go but to the Father who sees all and knows every emotion we feel?
Public prayers during times like this are critical as people draw together in kinship and unity. Having people come alongside to help as volunteers or to give blood or financial assistance is vitally important as well.
But for the earnest cry of our heart, there is nothing like solitary prayer with the Father.
In Matthew, Jesus told us, "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6). The "secret place" in biblical days was like a closet in our homes today. They were small rooms, often crowded with the necessary goods for the home. But it was a place where one could find a few moments of peace and quiet to pray to the Father in solitude.
One of the benefits of our Christian faith is the privilege of instant, direct access to heaven's throne. The line is always open. The Lord is always attentive. To fully take advantage of this benefit, we need to create a set of personal practices involving prayer.
It's helpful to have a regular time and place for daily prayer. Many Christians have learned to begin the day with a time of Bible study and prayer as Jesus did in Mark 1:35. For other people, the evening is the best time for prayer or even the lunch break. Find the time that works with your schedule.
Of course, our prayers are not limited to our daily devotional time. Throughout the day we have the admonition to pray without ceasing. During events like our nation experienced recently, many of us understand more fully what it means to pray without ceasing as we utter prayers throughout the day for the needs of the many who are hurting.
When we reach out to God with our words, we wait with certainty that we will be heard. God Himself has invited us into His presence at any time to make our needs known to Him (Hebrews 4:16). His Son, Jesus Christ, is always there to mediate between God and us (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5), and the Holy Spirit helps us with our words (Romans 8:26-27). The Godhead -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- cooperates to make sure that our words are heard in heaven and ultimately answered on earth. God never turns His ear away from the petitions of His children.
Don't try to carry your grief or sorrow on your own -- you are not alone. Remember, you have a Father who is ready and willing to listen. Have you conversed with God today?