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Summary: Learning to pray during the hard dry times of life.

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Nov. 17 Praying in Hard Times

Is God’s primary goal to make me comfortable or make me strong

(comfort = make strong) - To mend my body or my spirit

To whisk me out of every trial and danger or to walk by my side so I can discover how strong and good He is.

Jeremiah in prison, David in the cave. Not to mention Paul

2 Cor. 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Or Jesus Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Gethsemane - what do we learn form Jesus about prayer when things seem hopeless? Paul’s feeling crushed - ready to cave and die - if God didn’t spare...

Could it be that God is trying to do something and we go against it?

Ever hear a Christian say that right after being born again or a breakthrough experience "all hell broke loose?" Lost health, marriage, job friends car keys

Tommy Walker just finished leading worship at a huge Promise Keepers event. Exhausted he goes to his motel room. He flips through the TV channels and stopped briefly at one he had no business lingering on. He shuts off the TV with a prayer "Lord after all you’ve done for me, I’m not going to do this. No TV period" Shortly after he picks up the guitar and words began to flow - That’s why we praise Him, that’s why we sing - that’s why we offer him our everything.

"God bless me - draw nearer to me" and through suffering He gets our full attention

2 Cor. 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us

Tough times come - period

- because wickedness hates righteousness

- because we make mistakes - even if with good intentions

- because God is doing a work in us to make us strong

Rom. 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

JAS. 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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