Jesus’ Prayer Request For His Followers

Transformational Truths

Do This One Thing When Trouble Comes To You

Are you in a disturbing, troublesome time? Has something happened to you, your family, or a circumstance threatened to tear you down, put you down, depress you, or discourage you? Likely, you are in a life storm, just coming out of a life storm, or about to go into a life storm.

The book of James, in the Bible, tells the Christ-follower, there’s just ONE thing to do. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” James 1:2

COUNT
Other ways of saying this word is to say consider, suppose, or think about.

IT
The time in your life, opportunity, or experience.

JOY
Calm delight, cheerfulness, or gladness.

TRIALS
Your difficulty, calamity, affliction, trouble, problem, or circumstance.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, is telling his readers to think about the difficulties and problems in their life with calm cheerfulness. We are to listen to this same instruction today, but it is difficult to hear. It is hard to live out. Walking this path is almost impossible. Instead of exercising “joy”, we often exercise our right to ask WHY!

  • WHY am I going through this circumstance?
  • WHY is this happening to me?
  • WHY can’t I have a moment’s peace in my life, everything has to be so difficult?
  • WHY does my family have to be sick and not seem to be getting better?

James understood the WHY questions and provided the proper response. We can learn from James’ teaching the following explanation to our WHY questions. (James 1:3-4)

  • The testing of your faith (confidence in God) produces endurance.
  • Endurance is also known as steadfastness and patience.
  • Perfected endurance causes you to lack nothing.

THESE TROUBLESOME TIMES IN YOUR LIFE ARE BUILDING YOUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD WHICH WILL PRODUCE A TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON HIM AND CAUSE YOU TO LACK NOTHING.

James knew his readers would need encouragement to “hang in there” when the times get tough. You also need encouragement to keep looking to God. The best way James could encourage his readers was to tell them to conduct themselves with cheerfulness and calm delight.

He didn’t tell them this because it would be easy, a pleasure, a piece of cake, or anything else pleasant on the journey through the circumstance of pain, difficulty, and calamity. James told them to count it all joy because he knew the end result. He knew those who endured the hard times, kept trusting in God, depending on God, and leaning in toward God would receive “a crown of life”. (James 1:12) James remembered Jesus said “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

James wanted his readers to remember the goodness of God. He wanted them to remember there was a reward for keeping their eyes on God, despite their circumstances. In James 5:11, he reminded his readers, “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

Side Note – Let’s remember one more thing about Job, God knew Job was a righteous man. That was the justification God gave when recommending Job to Satan to “try to get”. God knew Job was already approved by God. God knew Job would be able to stand the troublesome, difficult, distressing, hard times. Job endured to the end. He kept looking to God and endured. He consistently kept God in the place of control. God was compassionate and merciful in the end. Job was able to experience first-hand the faithful love and care of God.

Your life circumstance, troubles, difficulties, and discouragements may have you feeling anything but calm delight. Find encouragement in the message of James and Job. Do this one thing James teaches when trouble comes your way. Practice it today. It does not come naturally. It must be learned, practiced, remembered, and rehearsed again and again.

THINK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTIES IN YOUR LIFE WITH CALM DELIGHT. GOD HAS ALREADY CONSIDERED YOU APPROVED BY HIM. CALMLY DELIGHT IN THE DIFFICULTY AND HOLD TO GOD UNTIL THE END. YOU’RE IN LINE FOR A CROWN OF LIFE.

Transformational Truths

ONE BENEFIT OF A PRAYER HABIT

Someone once described a habit as “something you can’t stop doing”. How great is that in terms of a prayer habit? Can you say you “can’t stop praying”?

That’s exactly what Daniel said. We read in Daniel 6 a great story of a man who had a prayer habit. He could not stop praying. His life was even put on the line . . .and he still prayed.

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 

Daniel 6:10

Did you see it? It said, “as he had done previously.” Daniel had a prayer habit. He couldn’t stop praying . . . even for 30 days.

Read Daniel 6 to experience the full story. Here’s a recap. Daniel was one of the highest 120 officials in the territory of King Darius.

Daniel was an impressive individual who was distinguished and of excellent spirit. Because of the type of person Daniel was, the King wanted to put Daniel in charge of the Kingdom.

The 119 other leaders didn’t like that. They were jealous and wanted to be rid of Daniel.

They could find nothing Daniel had done wrong. The only thing they could say was “this man prays, he has a prayer habit.” They thought, “we can catch him in that and be rid of him.”

So the leaders set out to do just that. They contacted King Darius and told him he needed to set up an agreement that no one could pray to any man or deity for 30 days. King Darius thought that was a great idea, so he signed it. The punishment for anyone who broke the agreement would be an escort to the lions’ den.

That’s where our verse comes in. When Daniel knew King Darius had signed this decree, it didn’t make him stop praying. Daniel had established a prayer habit. He went to his home and prayed, as he had previously done.

You may remember the rest of the story, but let me tell you what happened. Daniel was “caught” in the crime, and put in the lions’ den. King Darius was sad he had signed such a decree. He wanted to spare Daniel, but had no legal way of doing so. Daniel was dropped down in the lions’ den. The stone was put over the door. The king sealed the closure and returned to his home to spend the night fasting, with no entertainment, and sleepless.

Early the next morning, King Darius went to the lions’ den and called out to Daniel. Here’s their conversation – “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”  Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel 6:20-22

You may be thinking the one benefit of a prayer habit is that you’ll get all your prayers answered just the way you want. Well, that may be true. But the more important benefit for Daniel and for us comes in verse 23. “So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”

Did you see the one benefit of a prayer habit? HE HAD TRUSTED IN HIS GOD. Daniel was able to trust God for whatever the outcome of his circumstance because he had spent time, lots of time, without being able to stop, in communication with God.

When we have a habit of prayer, one benefit is we trust God. Do you need more trust of God? Maybe you need to work on your prayer habit.

Daniel had a choice of not praying for 30 days. “It was just 30 days!” It would have saved his life. He was a valuable person for the kingdom. He could have prayed to King Darius to make an exception for him before he got caught. Instead, Daniel chose to continue his habit of prayer thought he had a really great excuse for not praying.

WOW! The benefit Daniel got by having a habit of prayer was trusting God through a whole night in the lions’ den. When Daniel got out of the lions’ den, do you think Daniel would say “I’ve had enough of this prayer time. I’ve conquered the lions. I think I’ll cut back to only praying two times a day”? I don’t think so. I think the TRUST IN GOD Daniel experienced would have so energized him that he absolutely was not skipping his prayer habit. He may have even increased his prayer habit.

How’s your habit of prayer? How is your trust in God? Read Daniel 6 today and be encouraged to cultivate a habit of prayer, reinforce a habit of prayer, or begin a habit of prayer. A habit is, “something you just can’t stop doing”. The one benefit of a habit of prayer is TRUST IN GOD.