The Importance of Connecting with God
April 7, 2020
Everybody is clamoring for certainty in these uncertain times. “Tell me when the vaccine will be available.” “Tell me when this is going to end,” and more and more. But the fact is, life is changing moment by moment. We can’t find certainty in life, but we can in God. God never changes. He is sovereign. He is not surprised at all by anything that is happening, and He knows what tomorrow will bring.
Here is what I really want us to grasp: God’s heart is moved by prayer and we are changed by prayer. As our thoughts run rogue with ever-changing media reports and exploding social media feeds, the challenge to “take captive every thought” is overwhelming but vital. Prayer and fasting are critical in seasons like this. These disciplines can bring our minds and hearts back to focus on the One who is always in control, even when the world around us is quaking. John Wesley said we often say, “I’ve done all I can do,” but you have not done all you can do until you have fasted and prayed."
We need to remember that prayer is not about getting our will done, but God’s will done. Billy Graham said, “God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should because He loves us, and He knows what is best for us. We see only part of the picture, but God sees the whole. This is why we must seek God’s will when we pray, and not just our own. We all desire and crave a close connection to God. He wants to connect with us.”
Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me”(Revelation 3:20). Doesn’t hearing this calm your heart and mind? As prayer draws us near to God, it cuts through the panic and worry with peace and hope (Isaiah 26:3). God tells us that prayer is powerful, to pray continually (James 5:16), and that prayer moves the heart of God (Luke 18:1).
I frequently say that whatever gets your attention doesn’t necessarily deserve your attention. Prayer and fasting will sharpen our focus, eliminate distractions, and help us focus on God. God is moving and working, but we will remain stuck in fear and worry if we are not intentional with our thoughts and actions. When we sin, our connection with God is interrupted. Confession and repentance clear the channels of communication.
God rewards us when we pursue Him. Jesus personally affirmed that truth about prayer and fasting.
- “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 ESV
- Christ spoke similarly of fasting:“…that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:18 ESV
What did Jesus mean by “reward” in regard to prayer and fasting? The original Greek translation defines reward as “to deliver, to pay off (things promised under oath), restore, recompense.” Jesus advised His disciples and us not to pray and fast for the reward of attention and applause from others, but for the payoff God will give.
We typically pray for God to move in specific ways of miraculous healing and provision in a crisis. Sometimes He does move exactly the way we prayed. But the answer does not signify whether or not we have been heard. Regardless of whether we see the direct answer to our prayers and fasting here on earth, they are heard in heaven, and we can trust God’s goodness and sovereignty in the way He responds. He will always do what is best. Prayer is not about giving God advice; it is about getting His perspective and growing my relationship. Prayer and fasting are important in a crisis because through them we remain connected to God. In Christ, the Living God lives in us.
No question, crisis ushers in fear. When we have experienced complete upheaval, there are very real fears to consider. We are navigating through uncharted days. Our livelihood, and our very lives, are suddenly on the line. Fear and worry are an inevitable part of the crisis, but we must not let it control and direct us.
Prayer and fasting are important tools in the fight against fear and worry. The truth of God tells us we are not to worry. Consider the sparrow and how God cares for it. Are we not worth much more to Him?
David testified, “I cried to the LORD and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” The way He did it for David is the way He most often does it for us. He reminds us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
I trust that you are committed to praying during NewPointe’s 30 Days of Prayer in the month of April. Follow your campus’s Facebook Group to view the daily prayer directives. God will deliver you from fear and give you confidence in your own life. And He will use you as a warrior for your family, our church, our community, our nation, and our world.