Thursday, January 2, 2020

It is for Everyone...

Continue earnestly in prayer. Colossians 4:2 NKJV 

It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Scripture is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26 ESV), and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Specific examples are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob, there a Daniel who prayed three times a day, and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elijah; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands and myriads of promises. What does this teach us but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it. So deep are our needs that, until we are in heaven, we must not cease to pray. Do you think you have no needs? Then I fear you don’t know your poverty. Do you feel as though you don’t need mercy from God? Then may the Lord’s mercy show you your misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian. If you are a child of God, you will seek your Father’s face and live in your Father’s love. Pray that this year you might be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ; and enter more often into the banquet-house of His love. Pray that you might be an example and a blessing to others, and live more to the glory of your Master. The motto for this year must be, Continue earnestly in prayer. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

If there's anything at all that I can and will point to in what's changed my life in recent years is this:  real prayer. 

The thing about real prayer is the more you do it the more relaxed you get in the conversation.  

The worst part of conversations with people are when you have gotten far enough to see through their cracks to who they really are.  This isn't necessarily a good or bad thing.  But it's what happens. 

Sometimes 10 minutes into talking with someone you really want to be rescued. Sometimes it's the opposite, you really want it to last.

Isaiah fell to the ground in woe because in his encounter with Jesus he saw clearly his own sinful condition.  

I imagine my own reaction would be the same. I am no where near as sensitive to my sinfulness as he was that day.  Isaiah found forgiveness soon afterwards and then sought to serve.  Really think about that.

Isaiah lost all the sin baggage off his back up to that point in his life.  Poof, gone.

He never thought more clearly.  Never knew such joy.  Never had so much lifted from his heart and mind than at that moment. 

What's changed me, year upon year, has been praying.  I have opened up more and more with Jesus and He always listens.   Yes, there's been times He has spoken back to me.  Verbally.  Oh no, now he is hearing things.  Is is really so crazy to believe?  What does Scripture say? "My Sheep hear My voice..."

I thoroughly enjoy peace and quiet for medical reasons as much as for the Spiritual reasons that Jesus gave examples of in the Gospels.  Look for them.  How it speaks of Him often getting away to be with His Father.  For me, my hearing is also sort of hyper hearing.  I hear frequencies that most people don't.  Long ago especially, but big tube type televisions, I could tell you how many and where in your home they were at and if they were on. So peace and quiet sometimes help me to think more clearly.  I used to visit my grandparents in a very off the beaten path small village in my youth.  After 1 day I would begin getting a headache.  It wouldn't go away till day 3. 

But that's not to put any focus on me.  It's an example of my realizing that I needed to find my time with Jesus.  It's hyper easy in this world to be sucked into this or that. To be truthful it's insanely easy to find idols to worship.  You can fill your time in a heartbeat with anything.  For most it's as close as where your phone is. 

But look at what Spurgeon is saying.  Prayer IS the heartbeat of the Bible.  If the Bible is the story of God then prayer is the heartbeat.  

When was the last time you got honest with Jesus?  Not as honest as you think is safe, but honest as an exposure like Isaiah had?

I am still on the path towards that kind of experience.  He had all his baggage dropped in an instant.  Jesus is still helping me to disentangle myself from mine.  

We don't give prayer enough of our time. 
I often am busy at work and find myself praying at the same time.  I do it because the need is that great.  The more you pray the more sensitive your heart is to the things of God.  You begin to hear from Him. Look at King David.  A man after God's own heart.  It was from his times of being open and honest with God.  Look at all the hundreds of prayers in the book of Psalms alone!

The situation with Bathsheba came at a time when David's prayer life had fallen off due to age and success.  He got too comfortable in life to stay in close communion with his God. 

I pray because if all in this Universe who knows me best it's my Savior.  He knows me at my worst, He knows me at my best. 

He had freed so much of my mind from my own misconceptions of Himself and His Word.  He's more than kind to me. He's caring, He's a fantastic listener.  He isn't judgemental when I fall and ask for His help getting back on the path again.  He is not my butler.  Only coming around when there's a need.  He's my friend.  He's certainly no figment of my imagination.  He's alive and real.  He's shown me how to really look at people in light of the hope He has given me.  As long as the breath of life is in someone there's hope for change.  He forgave a murderer on the cross and told him he would be with Him in paradise.  He forgave the likes of Saul and renamed him Paul to become one of the greatest contributors to the Bible.  Paul who spoke out so horribly against the Church.  People today have spoken like Nebuchadnezzar, whom God forgave and whose life was changed, yet in today's world, the Church often will forgive but won't forget their past. Jesus did. Jesus forgives and forgets. 

Prayer works, prayer should be like breathing. If you think you don't know how to pray, oh dear reader yes you do.  If you can think then you can pray.  Most first conversations we have with people we stumble through.  God doesn't want big words or flowery speeches.  He wants your heart.  The Pharisees and Sadducees used a lot of big words and meaningless repetition.  There was no heart in their prayers.  Jesus also wants honesty.  Don't for a second think you can get away with telling Him what He wants to hear. He sees right through everyone. 

So start off this year with honesty. 
Start today with a real prayer. 

Clean the house of your heart of all your idols.  That's part of being honest with yourself.  And don't lie to yourself and say you don't have any.  We all do.  Else it wouldn't be something we are all warned about in the Bible. 

Talk to Jesus, He's the friend you have been looking for all your life. 

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