Tuesday, August 3, 2021

No Microwave Prayers Please

No Microwave Prayers Please 

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. COLOSSIANS 4:12 

Fiercely is the right English word to convey Paul’s meaning here. He says Epaphras labors fervently in prayer, and the word laboring is sometimes translated as “wrestling.” The image is that of Greek athletes who competed fiercely to win a perishable crown of an olive leaf garland. And in our modern day, how many athletes devote years of their lives to preparing for the Olympic games? The sacrifices they endure and the prices they pay are almost inconceivable to the non–Olympically inclined among us. They train and compete fiercely, pushing themselves beyond the limits of endurance. One of the greatest revelations I’ve had in recent years is that prayer is hard work. Prayer requires labor, striving, continuance, endurance, wrestling, and faithfulness. I’ve heard people say, “I would pray more, but it’s so hard.” At least they understood the nature of prayer. It is indeed hard work. Sometimes it helps to begin our prayers by confessing we don’t feel like praying—and ask God to help us with our preference to be doing something else. Be honest with God and ask Him to give you a willingness to do the work of prayer. Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

Reading all my devotionals and my Bible, this one really stuck out in my mind. In my work life I have leaders that have no concept of the flow of things. They lack the concept of how long it takes to get something built. It's been an issue for any who have come into the business without a clear understanding of things. 

In my prayer life and probably yours, there's probably something just as similar.  

Realizing there's all kinds of prayers is one thing, but understanding the need for more intimate prayers maybe isn't. 

Read this other devotional too. 

he children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers . . . and they followed other gods . . . and they provoked the LORD to anger. JUDGES 2:11–12 

Throughout history, God’s people have lived out a perpetual fourfold cycle of apostasy: rebellion, punishment, repentance, and deliverance. The book of Judges testifies to this continual pattern. Whenever the children of Israel finally realized their need for God, they would “[cry] out to the Lord” (3:9): God’s people pleaded for Him to rescue them. This deliverance generally involved liberation from their enemies, but it might also be escape from the consequences of their sin. In the book of Judges, though, the people’s pleas increasingly become nothing more than cries of distress under persecution, with no corresponding remorse for the sin that had brought about God’s judgment. This cycle of turning away from God throughout Judges may mirror a pattern in your life. Do you tend to stray from an intimate walk with God and then cry out for His deliverance as you face the consequences of your own sin? How genuine and lasting are your repentance and grief over your sin? How soon do you, like Israel, forget your total dependence on God?  Blackaby Being Still With God 

In our microwave society we look for the quick fix or give up trying. 

Scripture says the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 

In the opening devotional Dr. Jeremiah points to laboring in prayer. 

God does indeed answer what I have come to know as bullet prayers or arrow prayers. Nehemiah is easily the goto on that. He was cupbearer to the King. He had it pressed upon his heart to do something for Jerusalem which was in shambles. It's recorded that he prayed to the God of Heaven then answered the King's question. 

We look, sadly, at prayer as a worn tool in a toolbox. Something we get out when life has a flat tire. Jesus impressed it upon His Disciples to pray. He impressed upon them what things it was important to pray for and about. He certainly gave powerful examples as to why fervent prayer was called for. The example being the demon possessed person that refused to leave someone. The demon had no choice but to obey Christ, but Jesus said that that kind only normally comes out by prayer. 

Demons are very active in our world today. Look at the realization of the passage from Psalms.  The fool says in his heart that there is no God.  We have around us millions who refuse to believe in God. Yet we are called to pray for opportunities to share what Jesus did to save us anyway. That requires prayer to be able to be ready to give a defense for what we believe and why. 

When we limit our prayers and prayer life we limit God's work in us.

When we pray we see the hand of God working in ways only He can. We see our faith strengthened. We see us growing both closer to Christ and becoming more like Christ. 

David obviously had a really good prayer life as a Shepherd. His faith in God showed him clearly that which escaped King Saul. Saul saw Goliath as something to big to hit. David saw him as too big to miss. David faced lions and bears. God proved Himself easily in David's life as a Shepherd. He got there through prayer. 

I often pray in group settings or just with individuals. That type of prayer for me is different from my one-on-one prayers that I have with Jesus every morning. 

Jesus isn't your Butler. He isn't simply a Spiritual 911 Service either. My Friend, He is your Savior. He is to be the One you are in the closest of relationships with. How will you ever develop a heart that truly follows Christ if you aren't in honest, heart-felt, prayer?  How will you succeed in life if you have no prayer life? You may succeed as far as the world is concerned, but you will fail in regards to growing in Christ. 

Look at your heart.
Look at just where you put prayer in its level of importance in your life. 

If you only use it as a Get Me Out of Trouble Free Card....my Dear Reader...then you have sadly missed what prayer is to be about.  Jesus often slipped away to pray with His Father. He gave that as His example for us to follow. The Disciples learned to do it. The evidence in the book of Acts is overwhelming. 

What will you do now? As I have heard and know to be true...God does nothing but by the prayers of His People. It's time to get real about prayer and to put your heart in it. 

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