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Prayer Brings God To Us
Rick Ezell

“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8 NIV).

Prayer reminds us that we need God more than he needs us. Prayer brings God to us. The essence of prayer is to join God, not God joining us.

St. Augustine, the early church father and theologian, described prayer as like a man in a hapless boat who throws a rope at a rock. The rock provides the needed security and stability and life for the helpless man. When the rock is lassoed it’s not the man pulling the rock to the boat (though it may appear that way); it is the pulling of the boat to the rock. Jesus is the rock, and we throw the rope through prayer.

Prayer is the lifeline that saves the drowning soul. Prayer is the umbilical cord that provides nourishment to the starving spirit. Prayer is the channel by which God’s life-giving presence flows to us.

Think of yourself in a boat being pulled to shore by a loving father as you pray today.

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Experiencing God's Protection

Rick Ezell

 

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name" (Psalm 91:14 NIV).

 

 

Have you ever sent a child off to first grade? Off to college? Off to work in a big city? Off to war? What is foremost on your mind? Probably that they will be safe; that they will be protected; that they will be kept from harm. No longer under your watch or under your arms, you hope, no, you pray earnestly for their safety.

 

How can we experience God's protection when we go off into the world?

 

1.   Pray for God's protection. Our protection comes from our heavenly Father, God himself. Here's the irony: God the Holy Father in heaven sent God the Holy Son into the World. We, his children, are to be holy yet live in the world. In other words, we are to be holy while living in the world. The name Father, determines the essence of our protection. Our guardianship comes from the Father. He is our divine parent.

 

Sort of like, when as a child you felt threatened by bullies, but then your Father shows up and everything is alright. The situation may still be tense, the warring parties are present, but you feel safe with your Dad is close by. Your father is separate than the bullies-he is not one of them; and he is stronger than the bullies-he is bigger.

 

The role of an earthly father and of a heavenly Father is protection. His role is to protect, to guard, to keep his kids safe. It is uplifting to know that God is the sentinel who stands over our lives to guard us from the assaults of the evil.


 

2.   Resist Satan, not temptation. In many respects, it is not so much the world that we are to be protected from, as much as the executive director of the world system-Satan. Through enticements and temptations he will use every device to prey upon our human nature and pry our hearts away from God. He "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). We are called on to resist him. Never resist temptation but resist the temptor.
 
 

3.   Stay in close proximity with other believers. God has role to play in our protection, but we have a role to play, too. Protection comes in unity with other believers. We were never intended to fight our battles alone. There, indeed, is strength in numbers. We are to fight as a unit, a battalion of believers. The Evil One roams about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The lion always attacks those animals that have separated themselves from the pack. The devil does the same with believers. Stay close with one another; stay protected by staying in contact with one another.
 
 

4.    Be mindful of Jesus' promise. Jesus provides a promise. We will be protected. Jesus promised his disciples, "None has been lost" (John 17:12 NIV). Those are comforting words." The miners that were trapped but were rescued; none have been lost. The sailors who were taken hostage, but then were released; none have been lost. The platoon under heavy fire but escapes to safety; none have been lost. Jesus' promise of protection is real, practical, and assuring. Count on it.

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About the Author

Rick Ezell is the Senior Pastor of Greer First Baptist. Rick has a Doctor of Ministry from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theology from Southern Baptist Seminary. He has published over 600 articles and sermons in various Christian publications. While authoring six books he has served over twenty years in pastoral ministry.     

Great image and Phil, thanks for sharing the one-minute uplift

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