Weekly message from Cypress Church: Prayer works!

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I was sitting down for dinner with our grandkids. We had them over for Valentine’s Day so their parents could have a date night. It was a blast! We had a scavenger hunt where they saw a photo and had to figure out where in our house that was. At each stop there was an activity and a photo opp. They loved it! Oh, and at each location, they got a prize. After that, we had dinner: heart shaped, make your own, pizzas. Then, into the garage for a piñata and a craft. It was so much fun. I can’t wait until next year! Well, at dinner I had everyone pause so we could pray. I started to pray, “Dear Lord, thank you…” and just then one of them interrupted and said, “Papa I want to pray.” “Of course,” I said yes, “but let me finish then you can pray.” I started to pray, “Lord, you are amazing…” and another grandchild blurted out and said, “Papa, I want to pray too.” Well, you guessed it. All of them wanted to pray. So, we did and it was great to hear them earnestly and thoughtfully thank God, ask of God, and appreciate God.

 
This whole scene reminded me of a time I was talking with one of them about praying and asked them why they liked to pray. They answered that they knew God listens and they like to tell Him stuff, even if He already knows. They said that even if God knows we love Him, it’s nice for Him to hear it. They noted that God is super strong and can help us, so we need to ask when we need help. Also, they said that the Bible tells us to pray and that the Bible tells us the right things to do in life. As well, prayer works!
 
I would say they grasp the importance of prayer.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing,
 
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
 
Matthew 6:9-13 Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
 
Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
 
God does hear our prayers and He does answer. It may be a yes, a no, a wait, or here’s more, but He does answer. Now, sure we don’t always get what we ask for. Yes, even if it’s a huge life changing, urgent need where our desired answer seems to be the best and most logical solution. But God’s ways are not always our ways and yet we really wish they were. I know I have prayed for people to be healed, relationships to be repaired, and for circumstances to change, but they have not. In those times, I choose to trust God more than my feelings, and more than my request not going the way I hoped.
 
Yet there is a great benefit to prayer even scientists have discovered. In an online article from Mind&Spirit: Integrating Psychology and Faith entitled “Physiological Power of Prayer,” four key benefits of prayer are brought out. They are a few of the ways that prayer can help us psychologically and physiologically when used in times of stress: prayer increases self-control, prayer regulates emotions, prayer reduces anxiety and depression, and prayer promotes a calm mind. In another online article from the HuffPost entitled “The Positive Physiological Effects of Prayer,” more benefits of prayer were brought out. The article mentions prayer brings hope, helps with concentration, encourages forgiveness, fosters security and comfort, provides an outlet for positive expression of emotions, and helps us to connect with others. Wow, prayer does a lot more than we think. Prayer works!
 
I know prayer feels a bit awkward at times, but it’s much like talking to a loving friend or kind father. Prayer works, and can work in your life.
 
Church is a great place to learn and practice prayer. If you don’t have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church/Neighborhood Church (same church, same heart, just a new name). We have three campuses; our website has all the information. Every Sunday we learn from the Bible and seek to know God more. We would love for you to join us. Her is our website: http://www.cypresschurch.net. You can even attend one of our live-streaming services (see http://live.cypresschurch.net/).