Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Heart of a Believer


Ps.27: Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

(Please read all of Psalm 27)

Matt.6: 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matt.6: 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

When we use the term “heart” as it pertains to things of the Spirit we are not referring to the human organ that pumps blood. It refers to the inner man. It is the spirit that is you and that which you think and that which controls you and that which you are. It is unseen and really cannot be known except by God and to a lesser degree you. It is your heart that will dictate how you think about things and how you speak and how you will act.

Now before you were saved your heart was completely wicked. Even any good deeds you did were done because it made you feel good to do them. It was all a ministry to yourself. In fact you were your own god and religion was just another way to pad your resume. But to please God we must seek Him diligently and we cannot do that without a change of heart.

We can read all the wonderful theologies about what happened to us when we were reborn, however that does not automatically translate into a broken and contrite heart. To walk in the Spirit requires much more than a correct theology. To be dead to self and alive unto God is a sacred path which I believe is plowed by prayer, planted by God’s Word, and then watered by both the Word and prayer.

So once again I submit that we as western believers know more about Christ in our minds than can be found in our hearts. Theology without a new heart made into His likeness and translated into thoughts, words, and deeds is just theology. Vitamins that are still in the bottle are useless to our health. The change we need begins in the heart and then works its way out into every area of our lives. And when our hearts are changed we often think and speak and do what the Spirit directs rather than having to debate and wonder. And this post is about a changed and malleable heart which is submitted to the will of the Spirit and to the things of Christ. And in that pursuit we turn once again to the sacred place called prayer.

The church has for so long downplayed the importance of prayer and practiced it with so little sacrifice and passion that most believers do not even understand what a passionate prayer life looks like. A fifteen minute verbal prayer spoken over a breakfast coffee is considered vibrant. Or a score of sentences spoken while driving is the usual multi-task exhibition of prayer. How many believers go to a place apart from distractions and literally agonize in prayer? How many have no consideration of time or schedule or phone calls when they go down into the sacred caverns of prayer? How many will take an entire day sometime and just fast and pray and worship all day long? How many? You tell me.

But becoming a believer who prays with conviction and passion and whose walk in the Spirit is fueled by prayer is no easy task. You cannot just “make up your mind” and then go and do it. Like adhering to a diet only to falter so are many believers who sincerely wish to meet with God in a powerful and sacrificial way but who stumble and fall and remain defeated. This is a new day and a new year and our God is s forgiving and restoring God. What a Savior!

We will not “arrive” in prayer during the first week or the first month. In fact, prayer is a sacred journey of much labor and much reward. This is one of the few places that when we arrive we see even more land ahead of us. Even Paul said that he had not arrived but he pressed toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. And to fulfill that calling and please our Father we must pray earnestly. It must not be a perfunctory religious practice which seems benign and has no impact upon our lives.

The particulars can be worked out as the Spirit leads. But the initial question must always be are we hungry enough, and have we had enough of redundant Christianity which has no power and does not affect us on a daily basis? And are we still searching for Christ in a deeper way since we came to faith, or are we moored at the dock with the rest of the professing believers? And if you knew for sure that you could see and experience Christ more deeply than you could imagine, are you willing to sacrifice to find that sacred place? And the question that should make us tremble: How much in love with Jesus are we?

Psalm 27.

Please Lord Jesus, break our hearts completely this year and pour Yourself into them. Open our eyes to whatever displeases You, and use us to openly glorify Your Holy Name. We refuse to be satisfied with a life which only receives comfort through Your Words. We desire to be placed upon the Potter’s wheel and be molded into Your image. Strengthen us in our pursuit of meeting with You in prayer. We need nothing but You in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Amen.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Matthew 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
:13 And He said to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a 'DEN OF THIEVES.'"
:14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

1Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

This is mostly for me but I wanted to share with you all. I need to clean out some things in my walk with the Lord. But you notice that last verse in Matthew that says they came to Him and were healed. All thru prayer and then there are the times that some of the things come out only with prayer and fasting.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate everything that's written here and I know it's all necessary.

But, I have a hard time (sometimes) understanding the definitions of "the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness", "dead to self and alive unto God, praying earnestly", "needing nothing but Him in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge".

I hear conflicting messages sometimes. I don't mean here, but throughout these past few years, in commentaries. Some say we should not seek manifestations, or healings, or go to the Lord with a list of things, and we should accept our fate, but still go to Him in prayer, and laborious prayer at that. Then, others believe in God's mercy and deliverance and feel it's scriptural for them to go to Him and make requests when we are sick or in need of deliverance.

I know we are to pray earnestly. But, what exactly does earnestly mean? It may mean a different thing to different people. My Catholic upbringing told me prayer was done with repetitive prayers; my Pentecostal experience taught me to pray to the Lord in private, giving thanks, worshipping, making petitions for others and ourselves, asking Him to transform our hearts, etc. Yet, what I'm gathering here is that there is something (more?) to a prayer life? I don't yet understand what is meant by hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge to a cessasionist believer.


Anonymous said...

Just finishing here........about getting into a deeper prayer life and deeper relationship with the Lord.

If I talk about my experiences to anyone about the deeper things, I am accused of being 'charismatic'. It shuts me up, quenches me and I don't discuss my personal prayer life with those who would call me of a "strange fire". I'm alone and will never be able to share how good God is to others and that discourages me.

If evangelical christians do not want to have anything to do with the gifts of the Spirit, please tell me, how do they get into a passionate deep prayer life? These past few years, I have not returned to any worship, church services, concerts, and I've allowed, or been influenced by many who judge pentecostals, because so many say that the pentecostal experience is just emotional delirium. If I cry in church in a Baptist church, people would look at me as though I'm crazy? If I keep my emotions in check, I'm accepted? So, tell me, how can a christian seek the face of God without showing any emotion? And then how can they go deep and learn of Him and share it, if we are shunned from a large percentage of christians who won't have any talk of visions, dreams or miraculous touch from the Lord?

I have totally retracted from any of the gifts and am trying to love God without emotion and without expecting any 'manifestation', but it's a very dry place, because I long for the days when I could feel His Holy Presence surround me.

Now, I can never enjoy that, because it appears I am of a "unholy alliance" or of "a strange fire". I feel like I've gone 8 steps forward and must go 11 steps backward.

If someone could explain what "deep" in prayer means to them, without sensing the presence of God, please tell me how that is possible, because I can't do it. If there's a formula where I should not desire to feel His presence, then tell me how those who pray deeply know He hears them?


Rick Frueh said...

Thank you for your honesty, J.
I believe your questions will be answered as go along this year. I am going top write about prayer extensively this year including sharing my own experiences. I invite others to share as well. We will take this journey together in the Spirit.
Have patience and continue to seek His face.

Anonymous said...

Prayer for Jackie to pray!

Thank You gracious God for comforting me through Your words as I study the Bible with my husband.

We both desire to be placed upon the Potter’s wheel and be molded more and more into Your holy image.

Thank You, blessed heavenly Father for strengthening us in our pursuit of meeting with You more wholeheartedly in prayer.

Keep teaching us that we need nothing but You in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom, knowledge and happiness.

Please Lord Jesus, break our hearts completely this year and pour Yourself into them. Open our eyes to whatever displeases You, and use us to openly glorify Your Holy Name.

O yes, loving LORD, may Your Name always be treasured by both me and my cherished husband. Amen.


Josef Sefton

Cherie c. said...

J, if I may,

Earnestly means: deep sincerity or seriousness

But first we must desire to seek Jesus. We have to want too seek Him. An honest and tough look at our heart is necessary or prayer will not be fulfilling or effective or God honoring. There is Scripture regarding this, one is

James 5:16
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

This says it all.

It can be hard dear sister, I know. It is a fierce battle with the flesh to even get there. So I approach Him with a heart of Worship then let the Spirit lead. I do seek him earnestly, but allow things to get in the way much to my shame. I find that when I take ME out of the time spent in prayer, and pray for others I get the blessing. I receive His peace, and for a time I am able to withstand the arrows that fly both from my flesh and those around me.

We both have a lot to learn. Humility is hard, but when we compare ourselves with our Savior, it isn't so hard after all. There really is no comparison. He is the Master for a reason. =D

I am doing what I can to make prayer and time spent with the Lord the priority of my life not just the new year. That means that no matter who needs me, Jesus comes first. I already know this will not make me popular with many. Don't care. It is now or never and His return is so very close.

Take heart J. We will journey together Lord willing. May the Glory be all His.

your sister in Christ Jesus

Cherie c. said...

J, just noticed a question you posted:

"If someone could explain what "deep" in prayer means to them, without sensing the presence of God, please tell me how that is possible, because I can't do it. If there's a formula where I should not desire to feel His presence, then tell me how those who pray deeply know He hears them?

Deep in prayer is not a matter of feeling. I cannot explain it well, but I will try as best I can.

I do not seek an "experience" to feel a presence of the Lord. Especially since Jesus describes the Holy Spirit like the wind. You know it's there even though you don't know how or where it comes from. His Word says that He is with us, so know and rely upon that because its by Faith that we believe He is there when we call to Him.

Get rid of what you've seen or been told and read His Word, never mind "experiences" concentrate on Him. Many a time I am quite silent because I do not know what to say. So I let the Spirit lead.

We know He hears us because Jesus told us the Father does hear us. But He will not hear us if we are not right with Him. There is no formula or process. We get direction from reading His Word. It is that simple.

We tend to let junk get in the way. Junk meaning false teaching or false testimonies regarding prayer. Prayer is our conversation with God. Reading His Word is His conversation with us.

Equipped with the Word of God and faith (belief) that He hears us is what helps us go deeper in our prayer life. Sometimes you will not notice anything, sometimes you will. You cannot make it happen.

Some people say they hear the voice of God. I do not believe this. If you notice those who say they hear from God are usually apostate. By saying they hear from God removes anyone from questioning them if they do or say something contrary to His Word.

It is a blessing to finally have a Pastor who is willing to preach the whole Word of God in truth knowing that he will be under great scrutiny. To God be the Glory. I hope what I have written helps you, but I too have much to learn and I am thankful that Pastor will be teaching on this. Love ya J

your sister in Christ Jesus

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to this years writing on prayer , and would you cover speaking in tongues also, would be appreciated thanks.

michael said...

J, I hear so much of myself when reading your comments.

I know a little about prayer. I'm a prayer warrior you might say. I've been praying for about fifty years now and "turned the corner" in July 1975. I'm Vice President of the ministry National Call to Prayer established by Dr. BJ Wilhite. This ministry had offices in Washington DC for many years and we would attend annual National Day of Prayer functions in the White House and at other ancillary functions over at Congress facilities. I to this day send out a "Saturday morning prayer" every Saturday morning and have does this for many years.

I say all that to say where this daily prayer life began for me was from similar frustrations as your comments reflect. When the Holy Spirit touched me that bright summer morning in July 1975 I began in earnest to pray and pray and pray. I haven't stopped praying daily. What deepened my prayer life was the Spirit. As I read the Bible Words and phrases would come alive within my spirit!

Here's some verses that came alive within my spirit in 1975 that are just as vibrant and active and controlling my prayer life today as when I first read them. I offer them now in hopes one of or two things are true. One, these verses come alive within your spirit as you read my comments and them and or two they have already been quickened to your heart before and they now take on more spiritual meaning to you:

Matthew 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."


John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Our prayer is an active loving and deep communication with the only True God and with The Lord Jesus because They have saved us because we too are His people!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bro. Rick for the encouragement. I look forward to new teachings.

THanks Josef and Michael for your responses.

Love ya too, Cherie. Notwithstanding, I think we have a different view on prayer. I know what my personal relationship with the Lord is, I know what I received, and have met Him and sensed Him, have been ministered many times by Him. I won't wear my heart on my sleeve here and share all things with strangers. But I know what I know that I have been baptized with His Spirit, praise His Name. I could never go back to the place I was before this happened. So, I wasn't asking about whether 'experience' was permitted or not.

I won't get "rid of" what I've experienced the day I was baptized in water and the Spirit. I rejoiced when my husband was also baptized in water and the Spirit. I remain determined that I will never allow a person, even a sister or brother in the Lord, to rebuke me or call my Lord"s Holy Spirit 'false" or "a strange fire". I am not ashamed, nor is it easy to admit these things here with strangers. I don't want to argue about definitions, but I'd think that Peter on the Mount of Transformation probably would say he had an "experience", or those young men and women who had dreams and visions would say they had an "experience". We are human beings who have joy, and even angels rejoice when one sinner repents. I don't see any harm is experience the Lord's joy when we pray.

Cherie, if you read my second post here, you'd see I was asking how possible is it for two camps to come together and be united in their definition of what a prayer life is. I'm preparing myself for the event that there will be a revival, and I want to be ready and know where to go, which people to pray with. It's particularly important to know who we can pray with. We are at a juncture (church and unchurched) where we have to decide who we stand with. I want to stand with those who seek the Lord and who aren't afraid of "tongues". It doesn't have to be loud or dramatic, nor does it even have to be done in public.

I just want to find that 'place' where I've seen some elderly saints pray in past and want to learn by example, and understand why we must press in, like so many pastors have taught, and I want to do it 'right', hence, my need to understand definitions of deep prayer.