Monday, January 21, 2013



Matt.17: 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Matt.21: 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

I Thess.5: 17 Pray without ceasing.

Perhaps no spiritual discipline or practice is so neglected and ignored as is prayer. It requires time, patience, sacrifice, and a relentless devotion. True prayer does not accommodate itself to the dictates of this fast paced modern world. In fact, it goes against everything we have been taught and everything we have seen practiced by the western church. Yes, the church gives lip service to prayer and there are many “Guides” to a better prayer life, but most of them are just a small part of a well rounded evangelical menu.

The verses I have shared above are a very small portion of the New Testament teachings on prayer, but they do represent some very important principles. And no one can learn anything about pray with a distracted or half hearted heart and mind. This is not child’s play. This is spiritual labor at its zenith as well as a glory that is not found in the run of the mill Christian life. We have so devalued and even belittled the importance and prevailing power of prayer that anyone who says grace over a meal is by comparison almost a prayer warrior in today’s evangelical world. This is a great tragedy and it beckons us to repent and return to the shadow of the Almighty’s wings.

Over the centuries great things have happened when God’s people really entered into intercessory prayer with a broken and contrite spirit. In fact revivals occurred having begun in the Spirit by one or two saints beseeching God. We have lost that kind of prayer, and today’s prayer models center around “Give us this day our daily bread” rather than “teach us Your ways” or even “let me see Thy face”. Oh how much we miss when we treat prayer like one of many things on an evangelical list. No one says they are against prayer but how many of God’s people become drenched in the spiritual labor necessary to first be changed themselves and then to see God work in the lives of others?
But prayer does not fill stadiums. Prayer does not sell books nor elevate a person’s evangelical status. Prayer does not bring in ministry donations. Nor does it lend itself to television makeup and custom fitting outfits. Men and women who are devoted to prayer are not asked to help with Christian telethon fundraisers. Prayer does not boast and lead young people to pull down strongholds during an amped up stadium shouting match. While the conference on prosperity is filled to overflowing, the room where people pray has but a few. But God meets with those who pray.

And whatever became of prayer and fasting? Fasting is usually reserved for dieters or those going for medical tests. But where are fastings today in the lives of believers or even called for church wide? And when we fast our bodies become subservient to our spirits and our hearts seem to be open to God’s voice. Jesus Himself said that there are some demon spirits that will not come out unless it is by the power of fasting along with prayer. But with the number of young people growing up in Christian homes only to go out into the world and leaving Christ, why are there not more calls for fastings and prayer?

And Jesus revealed to us a power about which we are ignorant. He said God would move mountains if we only had a very small amount of faith. But where there is little prayer there is little faith. We all have acknowledged the correlation between hearing God’s Word and faith, but we have failed to see the direct connection between prayer and faith. The two are interconnected, and when observed diligently and practiced with sacrificial devotion, God can infuse us with a faith that stands illuminated in the midst of darkness. Without prayer we are openly suggesting that we do not need God, and a prayerless life is no different than that of an atheist’s except for a trip once in a while to a religious building.

But please do not attempt to fool yourself or God, we all stand in desperate need of a revival in our prayer life. The cares of this world and the activities associated with most local churches have lulled us to sleep and our prayer closets are mostly vacant. But to pray with spiritual energy and humble piety is no small task. If prayer were easy everyone would be prayer warriors. But once you enter into the presence of God to seek His face and beseech Him to move in your life you have entered a battlefield where few even understand, much less place their feet. This is the battlefield where Satan will oppose you most vehemently.

The devil is not afraid of what you can do, but he is terrified of what God can do. So when we go before the Lord as humble and listening servants the kingdom of darkness is alerted. You will find many things that demand your time. You may well have arguments that compromise your spirit. You may feel depressed and defeated. You will sense the forces of evil attempting to suppress you and distract your mind. Warfare in the spirit is vicious and violent. It will test the best among us, and if you have not the stomach for trench warefare you may as well watch television. None of us have the strength in and of ourselves. If we are going to be serious about prayer we will need His strength moving in and through us.

But a prayerless people dishonors God. The western church is so caught up in the cares of this life that prayer is now just a formality and a shallow religious observance. In your average Sunday service there is more singing, more talking, more offering time, more greeting, more preaching, and even more announcements than there is any elongated time in deep and penetrating prayer. A time where God’s people seek His face without time constraints would discourage visitors and make believers look at their watches.

But the Spirit through Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing. That means that we should practice a prayer life that is relentless and pursues Christ with a passion. Away with all this hollow frivolity! Away with much entertainment and little prayer! Away with these “Polly want a cracker” prayers that treat God like a divine waiter! Away with church services that devote much time to hand shaking and little time to prayer! And in the face of what seems to be the coming of the end, the Spirit says, “Watch and pray!” But again, be forewarned. To pray in the Spirit cannot be recreational. It must be vocational. It must be a sacred time in which we not only meet God, but we authenticate our faith.

If the world could ever see the company of followers acting and speaking and indeed praying as if God was always present and real, then perhaps they could see Jesus. In fact, perhaps we could see Jesus.

1 comment:

Goran said...

You are absolutely right dear Pastor!

It's such a shame on us that prayer has became only a "could-do time-spend" instead of "must-do spirit-vocation"... How wrong are we to declare our faith as
big and resounding, and yet it seems we run it by our own (desires and choices), not by the Spirit which is our connection to God. How do we assume a connection if we do not connect duly. Or, if we do not connect at all?

Little prayers as you name them, are more of a frontal cortex activity. To pray in Spirit and Truth, along with humbled and good-conditioned heart devoted to Almighty Himself, is a lot more then just thoughts and mental pictures! It is another plane of existence. It is the Power, Glory and Mercy of God which we initiate when praying!

Can we be worthy without it? Can we live a Christian born-again life without surrender? Can we deserve God's Mercy without asking for it? Can we help the lost without turning to God to help them? Can we participate in God's Will without asking him to point it out to us? Can we walk by faith in HIS Ways if we have our own? No.

Glad you pointed this out Pastor, as we must examine the quality and quantity of our Prayer life... And indeed we must.

God Bless you! May He give you even more Strength to reach out our souls and make us aware of our mistakes and sins!

All Glory to the Lord! Hallelujah!