A CALL TO PRAYER
“Pray without ceasing.”
How does a car move without gas? The answer is it doesn’t. It’s still a car and it still may have value and it still may be comfortable to sit in. But it cannot move. It is lifeless and stationary. Who among us can say that 2013 saw our prayer lives filled with much sacrifice and many morning watches and many night watches? Could we be satisfied with what we offered up to our worthy Savior and the time we spent dwelling in His presence? And how significantly and wonderfully were we changed during the course of the year because we had sought Him in the prayer closet diligently?
So here comes a brand new year. The world offers all kinds of resolutions, but we should offer repentance and resolve. This is no game we play. I truly believe the most compromised, minimized, and almost ignored part of the church and in the lives of individual believers is prayer. And I also believe without an awakening to the paramount importance of prayer for our walk in the Spirit we will just recreate what we have always done. There is life in prayer. It isn’t just presenting God with a laundry list of what you want Him to do, but it is in reality a transfer of His life to yours. And there are many giants that work tirelessly to keep us from having a deep and robust prayer life.
We must see our Redeemer as He is and then realize just how He deserves our time with Him. And should we not hunger and thirst to be with Him? And the reason we do not hunger for time with Him is because the cares of this world have choked out any vision we have of Him. And subsequently we live in reliance upon ourselves. Let us be honest with each other. Prayer is the most difficult of the spiritual disciplines because it demands our time and it demands our utter humility. We hold on to our time as if it was gold, but we do not wish to spend that gold upon He who has granted us eternal life? And prayerlessness is the mark of an atheist. But prayer not only summons the powers of God’s kingdom, but it changes us as well.
A car can look like a car and smell like a car and be pushed into a garage like a car and yet without fuel it has no more power than a front porch chair. The question comes down to this: Do we believe in Jesus and do we truly desire to follow Him? This kind of Christian life which prays so little is a fraud. And even we who attempt to set prayer as a religious observance without abandoning our own schedule and time is a feeble attempt to create an observance rather than an elongated time in God’s presence and threshingfloor.
I sincerely believe that the absolute key to walking in the Spirit is prayer. And in this coming year we need to make a commitment to make prayer a priority which muscles out so many other activities and distractions. I hope that we can go deeper in prayer than we ever thought was possible. We need to run to the healing balm of His chastisement.
But can we peel back the layers and expose the church for the harlot she has become? The church frolics in the land of the heathen while the prayer closet is empty. Go to the average church service and prayer is a mere token. Is there wailing at the wall for the souls of sinners? There are mothers and fathers whose children are one heartbeat away from hell and yet the church smiles and nods and claps without a hint of brokenness. The entire thing is an affront to a Holy God. Is it any wonder why the world laughs and mocks us? We are a mockery and a sham!
When the church stops praying then all that is left as a religious shell. And since you will not be challenged by the local church we must challenge each other. Away with all the idols which steal our time and then our hearts! And if the time for the end of all things is near then what must the Spirit be saying to anyone who has ears? Would He not be urging and exhorting all who call Jesus Lord to fall upon our faces and repent? God cannot hear prayers that are not prayed.
What kind of people name the name of Jesus and do not pray or just go through the prayer motions? We are quick to take umbrage when the world approves sin but do we not see our own great sin? The precious Spirit of God told us that Elijah prayed and it did not rain for two years and yet we treat prayer so disrespectfully? There can be only one reason for our prayerlessness. We don’t believe there is a God who listens. But we soothe our prayerless consciences through moral crusades and worthless elections and larger buildings with larger congregations and all sorts of preacher celebrities. But it isn’t enough to see the vacuous nature of it all; we must fall on our faces and seek His face once more. No more “Polly want a cracker prayers”. We must repent and cover our hearts with sackcloth and ashes until we receive His grace and power once more.
Tomorrow is a new year. And we all will give an account for what we do with it. This may be the last year we have upon this earth. Let us be consumed with His power, His grace, His commands, His directions, His presence, and all for His glory! But that will only come to pass if we are clothed with humility and make prayer the power of our lives!
Before you do anything in 2014, lay down a foundation of prayer regardless of how long it will take. The branches are starving for the Vine.