Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Shepastor: "Prayers for Life's Seasons..."
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. 3Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
“Prayers’ for Life’s Seasons”
When the writer considered the pain of both the oppressed as well as those with power – their tears, their pain, their toil and struggle – the fact that they appeared comfortless, he declared that those who had not been born were better off than even those who die! What a pessimistic view of life – to go about like Eor on Winne the Pooh – head hung low, depressed, hopeless and too bogged down to try.
But in the eternal words the writer gave in Chapter 3 – there is a time to every season and purpose under the heavens… The good news about seasons is that they change. Change, however, can be slow, especially when we are waiting for a season to pass. That’s why we need to have a prayer for every season of life.
In the spring of life, we experience cool rain drops, green grass and budding flowers. That which has been dormant and sleeping begins to come alive, blossom and grow. Maybe a new opportunity presents itself, new relationships are being forged, a burst of energy emerges, a new job, a new house, the birth of a child, the sun is shinning – you look good, feel good, think good and life is good – the Spring time of life. Our prayer in this season is filled with thanksgiving and praise. We thank and praise God for His goodness, mercy, kindness, grace and peace.
In the summer of life, your flowers are in full bloom. It’s beautiful, but it can be hot! Sometimes the ground can be hard and dry. Every now and then you experience drought. That’s the summer of life – Beauty mixed with drought – things are good overall, but from time to time you find yourself thirsty, dry and hot. In this season of life, you are thankful for the beauty of life, but you are also experiencing some dryness – life feels mundane. You find yourself tired of doing the same things the same way. You are thirsty and hungry for something but you just can’t put your finger on it. You know that God is good and has been good, but you just find yourself feeling bored, tired, hot and bothered!
This can be a dangerous season because the goodness of God and the warmth of peacefulness can lull you into lethargy and passivity. You hit a dry spot – you lose the desire to draw closer to God, you don’t feel like coming to church, study His Word, spend time in prayer. In this season, we need to pray “Lord, don’t let me lose my focus, don’t allow me to become complacent, dwelling on the accomplishments of the past – thank you for the beauty in my life, but keep me from being so wrapped up in what
you ‘ve given me that I forsake you!”
After the summer is the fall or the Autumn of life. Things are still beautiful, but some things are dying. Just as leaves fall from the trees, the Autumn of life introduces loss. We experience seasons of life that bring loss – loss of time, loss of loved ones, loss of dreams – loss. Sometimes it’s the loss of a relationship. Sometimes it’s the loss of health, memory, skill. As leaves fall from the trees, little by little, we may experience loss. Our prayer during this season needs to be, “Lord, keep me from falling, help me not to lose my hope, faith and trust in You. Thank you for the beauty in my life and help me to remember all of your promises. Keep me from falling away.”
After fall, comes the Winter of life – that cold, snowy, blustery seemingly dead season when the ground is snow covered, the trees are naked, the sky is gray, the air is bitter and biting. Statistics show that depression abounds in the winter due to a lack of sunshine. The winter of life can make you feel like giving up. It is the season that is most representative of the gloom, doom and pessimism found in Ecclesiastes. The winter of life can make you feel like you would have been better off if you were never born. The winter of life can make you feel like you will never have a break through.
The winter of life can make you feel cold and isolated. But just as there is a time for every season and every purpose under heaven, you’ve got to remember that winter is just a season. It did not come to stay. In her book, Don’t Die in the Winter, Bishop Milicent Hunter encourages, “discern spiritual "weather" conditions and properly prepare for them. Endure the winter, for in the plan of God, spring always follows winter.”
As we pray for life’s seasons, we should always pray prayers of preparation. In other words, if we just wait until the winter of life to pray, we won’t know what or how to pray. But if we have prepared with continual communion with the Lord, if we have spent time in fellowship with Him, studying His life giving and life sustaining Word – we will have what we need to make it through the winter of life.
Prayer is necessary for every season of life. Prayer will strengthen you. Prayer will encourage you. Prayer will fortify you. Prayer will sustain you. When you pray in faith and stand on God’s promises that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much, you will face your doubts and fears and come out victorious.
When you pray in faith that God can and will see you through, you may go down in fear, but you’ll get up with boldness, you may go down with doubt, but you’ll get up with faith, you may go down in prayer with sadness, but you will emerge with joy. When you go down before the throne of grace, humble your heart, and enter the holy of holies through the purifying blood of Jesus Christ, something supernatural happens on the inside. As you commune with God – He fixes whatever it is that is going on inside of you. The devil can’t steal what the Lord places within you – the Lord will fortify you. The Lord will strengthen you. The Lord will encourage you. The Lord will help you to realize that winter will not last forever. He’ll help you to realize that He can give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Pray in every season of your life. Pray when times are good. Pray when times are fair. Pray when times are hard. Pray without ceasing and the Lord will see you through.
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,