“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the might hand of God so that at
the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him,
because he cares for you.”
I Peter 5:6,7
I think we would all say that prayer should be the easiest thing in
the world, but we often find it difficult in terms of consistency and
fervency. So you find in the Word of God a lot of incentives, a lot of
encouragements, a lot of ways in which God tries to motivate us to come
to prayer—to the Throne of Grace. He knows it is not going to be easy
for us. How does He encourage us? I could say with hyperbole, “in a
thousand different ways.” Not literally, but God seeks to encourage us
to come to the Throne of Grace in many different ways.
One of God’s clearest encouragements is the promises of God. They
are sprinkled through the Word of God. Remember at the end of the
Sermon on the Mount, He describes prayer in three different ways. He
gives three commands, “Ask…seek… knock” (Matthew 7:7). Then, He follows
it up with a promise, “Ask and you will receive, knock and the door
will be opened, seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Jesus brings
together right there encouraging us to come to the Throne of Grace
commands and promises.
We also have the promise, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9) He gives promises with
regard to physical protection, deliverance from all kinds of
issues, temptations, fears all in answer to prayer. That is one great
way, probably the primary way, that God encourages us to come to the
Throne of Grace. There are wonderful promises in the Word of God.
Another way He encourages us—I guess you could call it a promise—is
that He encourages us in terms of fellowship and communion with Him.
“Draw near.” That language is found several times. Draw near to Him
and He will draw near to us. If we desire to fellowship with God, have
communion with God, we will take advantage of prayer.
Another way in which God encourages us to pray is that He puts
Himself under graphic images. There are many different graphic images
to encourage us to come to prayer. Father is the big one: “our Father,
which art in heaven.” He puts himself under the image of a Shepherd, a
Friend, a King, a Priest. Those are all pictures or images of God to
encourage us to pray.
There is another way. God uses the human body to encourage us to
pray. This is what theologians call “anthropomorphic language.” In the
1689 Confession of Prayer, and the Westminster as well, we read that
God is the “most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or
passions.” The Children’s Catechism says, “God is Spirit, He does not
have a body like us.” God still uses highly figurative language—body
language—to describe Himself. That is what is meant by anthropomorphic
language. God condescends to speak to us in ways we can relate to and
I thought about what are the major body parts we read about God in
the Scripture. I think the first one, the major one, is His mouth. God
is a speaking God! Up to five or six thousand times in the Word of
God, we read of God “speaking,” the “Word of the Lord said,” “God
spoke.” God has a mouth. God speaks. Secondly, we have a God Who has
eyes—to point out his omniscience, that He is an all seeing, all knowing
God. He knows all our fears, all our weaknesses, all our cares. That
should encourage us to pray.
There is another body part. This is the one we probably most
frequently think of, and I think it is right that we do. The ear. God
has an ear. Wayne Mack wrote a book about prayer titled, “Reaching the
Ear of God.” That is a good title for a book about prayer. If you did
an examination of the word “ear” and find out how it is used with regard
to God, you’ll find that most time it is used with respect to prayer.
For example, in Nehemiah 1, speaking to God, “let your ear be
attentive to the prayer of your servant” (v. 6). Psalm 17, “I call on
you, my God, for you will answer. Turn your ear to me and hear” (v.
6). Psalm 31, “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue” (v. 1).
Psalm 71, “In your righteousness rescue me, deliver me, turn your ear
to me and save me” (v. 1).
So, we often go to God when we think of God’s listening ear. It is
amazing. Think of it. God has an “ear.” It is not a physical one, as
we know. But, letting us know that He hears us. Anytime, anywhere,
about any care. “Cast all your upon him, for he cares for you” (I Peter
But there is another body part, the one Peter uses in I Peter 5: God
has a Hand. God has an arm. You often hear that language, “God has a
mighty hand” or “right hand” or “right arm.” That captures God’s power
and sovereignty. Listen to Daniel 4:35, “Who can stay or restrain his
hand?” I Peter 5 again, “Humble yourself under his mighty hand” (v. 5).
God has a powerful hand. One of the first thing we see in our Bibles
is that God speaks. But He also uses His hand, you could say, to create
our first parents. God gets His hands dirty. He uses the dust of the
God has a powerful hand. A hand that creates, a hand that provides, a
hand that protects, a hand that governs all the world events.
Everything in this world, all the people in this world: the big people.
Think of the Proverb, “the heart of the king is in his hand.” (21:1)
Everyone in Washington, every senator, every representative, every vice
president, every president, every king, every queen is under the
sovereign control of God. It doesn’t matter how good they are or how
bad they are. They could be an Ahab or a Pharaoh of Egypt. It doesn’t
matter. God has the heart of the king in his hand. That is why prayer
is so powerful. Because God is so powerful. There is nothing he cannot
do. That should encourage us to pray. We have a mighty God with a
mighty arm, working on our behalf.