Friday, July 26, 2019

Not what you think...

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8

In this, I am still learning. Prayer isn't for me what it was before.  It isn't a repetitive grocery list. Persistent prayer isn't repeating that same thing over and over. 

I am learning of the personal conversation that it is. Yes, there are burdens of the heart.  Family, friends and acquaintances and situations to be sure. 

But what got me this morning was were my mind went after reading this verse.  King David to be sure.  Moses as well.
How do we become as they before God?

How do we become known as a man or woman after God's own heart?  How do we?

There are those who struggle with public speaking.  For the longest time that was me. Scared me to death.  In the last several years God changed something in me. For some reason it's not a problem anymore albeit under the right circumstances.  Life changes us for the better if we let Jesus do the changing.

I have been trying to remember when I pray that I am having a conversation with God.  Not sending up a list of selfish wants and desires that have no emotion behind them. 

I know people who repeat the exact same thing every time in their prayers.  I know others who say that their prayers are between God and them. They refuse to pray outloud. 

I would dare to wonder what would happen to the Church if we would pray as David wrote in Psalms.  With that kind of heart.  Maybe then there wouldn't be as much isolation between people who attend.  

And before people try to defend their position...yes isolation between people who attend church exists.  How else do you explain the fact that most never speak to another church member until the following Sunday?

People aren't bearing one another's burdens.  If that were true, what I wrote a few days ago might very well be happening.  Where there actually might not be very many in a service on a Sunday because of people truly living out bearing their burdens together.  If Jesus's first concern is the individual over the group...why isn't ours?  He leaves the 99 to search for the one, right?

Consider the early church.  So many Pastors preach about wanting the Holy Spirit to bring that kind of growth in the church back again.  Yet they hand him a virtual list of what they believe they can't do by their actions. 

It is often that various things happen to us that are beyond us.  What do we do?  I have done, to my discredit, isn't to immediately go to God. Eventually, yes, I am in prayer about those kinds of situations.  But oh that my mind would always go there first.  We are a stubborn lot.   Always trying to fix it ourselves first, then, when it's really broken, we ask God for help. 

Yesterday I was going to mow the lawn.  The side discharge chute was missing. It's the removable type.  So I started with the tunnel vision of methodically moving things to look for it. Many times it's removed to store the mower. After a bit I tell my Wife that it's missing and we need it to mow. Still hadn't prayed yet. So we both looked where we were. I hadn't prayed yet. Resigning myself to needing to either order another or seeing who might have one locally, I told my Wife we need to scour the lawn because it had to be out there somewhere.  A brief prayer of Help! Escaped.  Moments later my Wife went just about right to where it was.  I had walked around and hadn't seen it.
How much of that wasted time could have been averted if I had asked for help sooner from Jesus?
Prayer history should be on our minds when situations strike.  Of when God has already met needs in His own ways.

We have been in another city, over 2 hours away, and God put new gutters on our home when we weren't able to get there to do it.  That was a result of prayer. 

God's goodness and Grace have beyond measure covered my ignorance and self will.

How often do you, in your prayers, tell Jesus that you love Him?  It's not just something that you say to others.

How often do you have a conversation with Jesus?  Not just the list of things that are keeping you awake.  I am not saying that you shouldn't pray for specific people or situations.  Scripture says that's the right thing to do.  But not meaningless repetition.  Saying things for the sake of saying them.

As I read Psalms it makes me see how much emotion was in David's heart.  When he was wrong, or wronged.  When he was being chased.  After he had sinned.  After he had repented.  Solomon's writings sure had emotions too but it was David whom God said was a man after his own heart.

It would be amazing to go to a church service and find the sanctuary full of people meeting with others, bearing their burdens together to the point that the service doesn't start 'on time'. 

Who says it has to? 

Many pray for the Holy Spirit to move in their church yet won't allow Him out of His chair to do what needs done! 

Some have read stories of a man in disguise who is put off by everyone as he enters the church building.  He eventually makes his way to the front of the church.  After a time he asks to speak.  Before them all his disguise falls off and they see that the one they would have nothing to do with was Jesus Himself. 

Well, the Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Paraclete. Another of the same kind.  Meaning another just like Jesus.

Too many Churches are interested in entertainment not in accountability and Discipleship.  Not in repentance or sanctification.  Not in bearing one another's burdens.  Getting what they can get out of church not what they can bring to help.

These are the things to pray for.  Tender hearts. Moldable people to God's will. People sensitive to the needs of others.  People who are willing to spend time together outside of a Sunday morning only in order to fulfill what the rest of the beginning of the book of Acts speaks of the Church being like.

Banners and books by Pastors aren't needed in Churches today.  Sensitive Spirits to the Lord's leading are what's needed.  Praying for your heart to be useful to Him.  Bearing your heart open before Jesus will take you places you never dreamed possible.  Past your fears beyond your perceived desires. 

Go back to Psalms again.  Look at David's heart in a new light.  See what you can do differently.  When we gave our lives to Christ...we gave up our right to our life.  We gave Him the right to full access to our hearts. Not just what we wanted Him to fix.  Don't tell the Spirit oh you can't go in this room, it's not good.  He will go anyway.  Because to make us Christ-like means full access to everything.

If you haven't prayed today...well.. you have something to think about now don't you?  Is your life about you or your relationship with Jesus?

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