But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. 2 Timothy 4:17
Difficult times and trials can pull the plug on our strength like water draining from a bathtub. Sometimes we have little strength to begin with, and then Satan tries to siphon off every ounce of our remaining energy and enthusiasm. When facing trial before Nero in Rome, the apostle Paul rejected Satan’s attempt to discourage him and declared that while everyone else deserted him, the Lord came and stood beside him, strengthening him.
That’s the common experience of our biblical heroes. When Daniel was about to faint, he said, “The one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me” (Daniel 10:18). Moses promised, “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25). Isaiah said, “And to those who have no might He increases strength…. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:29-31). The biblical record is clear for us to follow, we are strengthened in our inner man when we turn to God for His help and power.
We don’t have enough strength in our bodies and personalities to handle unexpected crises, but remember—there is unexpected strength from the Lord. Draw strength from Him today.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand/upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. From the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation”
The Lord Stood With Me, 2 Timothy 4:16-17 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2
“Prayers are deathless.” These are the attention-grabbing words of E. M. Bounds (1835–1913), whose classic writings on prayer have inspired people for generations. His comments about the power and enduring nature of our prayers continue with these words: “The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”
Have you ever wondered if your prayers—particularly those birthed out of difficulty, pain, and suffering—ever make it to God? The insightful words from Bounds remind us of the significance of our prayers and so does Revelation 8:1–5. The setting is heaven (v. 1), the throne room of God and the control center of the universe. Angelic attendants stand in God’s presence (v. 2) and one angel, like the priests of old, offers Him incense along with the prayers of “all God’s people” (v. 3). How eye-opening and encouraging to have this picture of the prayers offered on earth rising to God in heaven (v. 4). When we think that our prayers may have been lost in transit or forgotten, what we see here comforts us and compels us to persist in our praying, for our prayers are precious to God!
Reflect & Pray
When have you questioned whether God really listens to Your prayers? How can passages like Revelation 8:1–5 breathe new life into them?
Father, I thank You that You care more than we sometimes know. Help me to rest in knowing Your eyes are upon the righteous and Your ears are open to our prayers.
When facing problems, we frequently try to figure out the solution ourselves. If we can patch it up, glue it down, or tape it together, we will attempt to do so. Other times, we may reach out to someone for advice even though we’re actually seeking sympathy and support to make ourselves feel better. What we really need to do in times of trouble is to call out to God for help.
But that wisdom is best cultivated during times of peace, before we find ourselves in a crisis. We should have a habit of seeking the Lord, spending time in His Word, and learning what He desires. When our hearts and minds are set on the Him, our devotion grows and our values begin to align with His. A person truly seeking God finds joy and satisfaction in His presence and talks to Him throughout the day. Prayer becomes a customary and natural response, no matter the circumstances.
Then whenever we face a problem, our first thought will be to turn to our heavenly Father. That instinct acknowledges our relationship with and dependence upon Him. It shows we believe the Lord is a loving Father who promises to provide, protect, guide, and love us.
What if you are presently in the midst of trouble but haven’t been seeking Him consistently? Start with confessing this to God. Recognize that problems are often the means He uses to draw us back to Him, but simply wanting relief from hardship shouldn’t be our motivation for loving Him. Thank God for getting your attention, ask for help seeking Him with all your heart, and entrust your troubling situation to the one true refuge.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5)
Our Lord sometimes contrasted the habits of the religious leaders of His day with that which was expected of His followers. On this occasion, Jesus warned that prayer to the Father in heaven was never to be performed publicly to impress men but rather to be privately presented to the Father seeking His blessing and reward.
Nor are we to use “vain repetitions, as the heathen do,” expecting to be heard for the “much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). Many religions use prayer wheels, hypnotic chants, or formatted prayer rituals to expedite the process.
“Vain repetitions” is the translation of battologeo, which means “to stammer” or to “repeat endlessly.” Paul told Timothy that he must “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16) and to “refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).
The widow whose “continual coming” wearied the unjust judge (Luke 18:2-5) is not to be used as an example to constantly repeat prayers, as is often incorrectly suggested. But rather, “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). It may seem like we are repeating the same things in our prayers over and over again. Yet, we are instructed to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). HMM III
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
If Satan opposes the new convert he opposes still more bitterly the Christian who is pressing on toward a higher life in Christ. The Spirit-filled life is not, as many suppose, a life of peace and quiet pleasure. It is likely to be something quite the opposite.
Viewed one way it is a pilgrimage through a robber-infested forest; viewed another, it is a grim warfare with the devil. Always there is struggle, and sometimes there is a pitched battle with our own nature where the lines are so confused that it is all but impossible to locate the enemy or to tell which impulse is of the Spirit and which of the flesh….
My point here is that if we want to escape the struggle we have but to draw back and accept the currently accepted low-keyed Christian life as the normal one. That is all Satan wants. That will ground our power, stunt our growth and render us harmless to the kingdom of darkness.
Compromise will take the pressure off. Satan will not bother a man who has quit fighting. But the cost of quitting will be a life of peaceful stagnation. We sons of eternity just cannot afford such a thing. TIC073
Oh God, don’t ever let me compromise to take the pressure off! Don’t ever let me settle for “peaceful stagnation” as long as I have breath to serve You. Amen.
Continuing steadfastly in prayer.—Romans 12:12 (R.V.).
Prayer is a preparation for danger; it is the armor for battle. Go not into the dangerous world without it. You kneel down at night to pray and drowsiness weighs down your eyelids. A hard day’s work is a kind of excuse, and you shorten your prayer, and resign yourself softly to repose. The morning breaks, and it may be you rise late, and so your early devotions are not done, or done with irregular haste. It is no marvel if that day in which you suffer drowsiness to interfere with prayer be a day on which you betray Him by cowardice and soft shrinking from duty.
Frederick Wm. Robertson.
Prayer to God regular and earnest, never intermittent for any reason, never hurried over for any weariness or for any coldness; this is one chief means of keeping our spiritual growth healthy and alive. If we would live in any degree by that ideal which our better selves sometimes set before us, we must steadily maintain the habit of regular prayer. For whether or not we are conscious of it at the time, there is a calm and unceasing strength, which can be thus engrafted on our souls, and thus only.
“Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God.” Ezek. 34:30
To be the Lord’s own people is a choice blessing, but to know that we are such is a comfortable blessing. It is one thing to hope that God is with us, and another thing to know that He is so. Faith saves us, but assurance satisfies us. We take God to be our God when we believe in Him; but we get the joy of Him when we know that He is ours, and that we are His. No believer should be content with hoping and trusting, he should ask the Lord to lead him on to full assurance, so that matters of hope may become matters of certainty.
It is when we enjoy covenant blessings, and see our Lord Jesus raised up for us as a plant of renown, that we come to a clear knowledge of the favor of God toward us. Not by law, but by grace, do we learn that we are the Lord’s people. Let us always turn our eyes in the direction of free grace. Assurance of faith can never come by the works of the law. It is an evangelical virtue, and can only reach us in a gospel way. Let us not look within. Let us look to the Lord alone. As we see Jesus we shall see our salvation.
Lord, send us such a flood-tide of thy love that we shall be washed beyond the mire of doubt and fear.