I love to sing. I sing all the time. There’s always a song in my heart. I also really love old hymns. A few days ago I was praying for the church I grew up in, Bethlehem Baptist Church. It was like a lightening bolt pierced my heart as I was struck with the lyrics of a song I had forgotten. It was a beautiful and painful reminder:
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care?Precious Savior, still our refuge – take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised thou wilt all our burdens bear; may we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded, there will be no need for prayer—rapture, praise, and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
What struck me and pierced me so hard is that sometimes prayer feels like a chore on a list. Sometimes making time to pray is like doing everything else that has to be done. When was the last time I counted it a privilege? Christ died for that privilege. He died so I could have my price paid and access to my God today and stand in His presence with a heart full of worship forever. He also died so that I would not have to be burdened but instead could have an abundant life today.
When I am not actively pursuing prayer I often feel the weight of burden. How much joy do we forfeit in pursuit of everything else because we do not spend time in prayer? If I am honest, if we are honest, we would have to say we forfeit so much of all the sweet life God has for us by not seeking to pour our hearts out to Him. When we are not getting into that “tent” or “prayer closet” we neglect a very real thing that Jesus died for.
When waves of trouble and storms of discouragement come is our first response prayer? I know most of the time I curl up with it and let it pound on me for a while before I pray. I am wasting time and accepting burdens already extinguished by the power of the cross when I do this. Jesus already knew what I was like at my worst and He still died for me. He knows how I feel, and His peace is promised to guard me. I can take refuge in Him in these times instead of starting by being beaten. It is because of Him that I start at victory! Where I faulter, He is ever faithful!
No matter who stands against me or betrays me or talks about me or aims to hurt me, they can not win. Who I am in Christ is unshakeable. My very identity is found in Him and when I go to Him in prayer, He builds deeper foundations of His truth into my life and very person. One day all of this will pass away and there will be no more burdens to bear. I will celebrate this unending glory of God unto the praise of His glorious grace forever and ever and ever.
Until then, may I remember the loving friendship, which is better than I often recognize, affords me the privilege of laying down my burdens at the feet of my Jesus in prayer. May I desire and thirst after time in my tent with Jesus.