LAME! That’s how I would describe many worship services that I attend or am a part of. All that was alive (the Word of God) gets smothered by a rules-oriented religion. How many people have only experienced worship in that way?
Most of the people love God with their minds but they miss the part about their hearts. This ritual religion may think and act biblically but it doesn’t prompt the followers of Jesus to FEEL what they should be feeling. There’s no passion, just listlessness and watch-watching. You might label it apathetic, formulaic, even perfunctory. I just call it lame.
Some will argue that the dramatic encounters of the Bible are not essential today because we have the Bible in our hands and the Holy Spirit in our hearts. But don’t let that allow you to settle for a faith from the shoulders up. God needs to penetrate our hearts through the Word’s truth and drive the indifference and complacency from our souls.
Lord, disallow that indifference in my heart.
In a survey of 90 year-olds they were asked, “If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?”
Their top answers?
- Reflect more: slow down, savor sunsets, laugh more, enjoy life.
- Risk more: Take more chances. You can’t pick the fruit unless you’re out on a limb.
- Do something with your life that would live on after you’re dead and gone.
What about you so far?
R.F. Horton said, “Therefore, whether the desire for prayer is in you or not, get to your closet at the set time; shut yourself in with God; wait upon him; seek his face; realize him; pray.”
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
What is your closet? Your closet is that place wherre you can be alone with God to share whatever is on your heart and to listen to His voice speaking through the Bible or in your spirit.
This intimate prayer is what Jesus longs for us to experience. This prayer brings us into a place where our soul is touching the heart of God.
Jeremiah said God long to show us secret, hidden things. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)”
Asking is a vital component of our relationship with God. This is true because He has commanded us to seek Him as our ultimate Source in all things. He has ordained prayer as the means by which we depend on and trust in Him. He answers our prayers to give us what He knows we need to bring Him glory.
Too often, we pray to escape our difficultites rather than to embrace discipleship in Christ.
We know we are supposed to bring our requests to God, but the prayer requests we find in the Bible seem dramatically shorter, deeper, and fundamentally different in nature from the lists that tend to dominate the prayers of modern Christians.
If you review all os the content of Jesus’ prayers, you will find that He always prayed for the glory of our Father and was in complete submission to His will. His prayers always focused on His mission and the fruitful mission of His followers.
We see the early church in prayer most often seeking the advancement of the gospel in virtually every situation. They prayed daily (Acts 2:42). In the face of attack, they prayed for fresh power for boldness (4:31). See also 5:41; 12:5; 16:25.
With Paul, every one of Paul’s prayers springs from expressions of thanksgiving, truths about God, and notes of praise.
The fundamental difference between our prayer lists and the prayer concerns we find in the Bible is that we pray about personal problems, while most of the biblical prayers focused on Christ’s purposes.
The Apostle Paul asked his brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for him. Why?
Paul knew he had to rely on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance to complete his task. Paul needed the encouragement of his brothers and sisters lifting hiim up in prayer before the God of heaven.
In Ephesians 6:19, Paul asked the church to pray specifically that he would “fearlessly” declare the message of salvation in Jesus Christ in every situation.
Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT), “I lvoe the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
The Lord wants to hear my needs and requests! He wants to be a part of my life, and I need Him to be in my life. I need His life flowing down to me, flowing in me, and flooding my mind, body, and spirit. I need this because I need healing every day.
My mind, body, and spirit are attacked every day. Life crowds in and tries to steal my intimacy with God. Busyness leaves us rushing through the day, failing to see those around us, failing to see the needs around us. When we don’t have new strength from the Lord every morning, we don’t want to look and see the needs of others. We can’t! The burden is too great; so we just walk on by.
There is only one way off this merry-go-round, and this is prayer.
Prayer was the greatest tool Jesus used to change the lives of others.
We have to understand this! Jesus spent hours communicating with His Father in prayer so that He could accomplish the Father’s will every single day. See Luke 6:12. After His prayers times, Jesus could say, “I only do the things I see my Father doing (John 5:19).”
In the end, prayer was the time Jesus spent in close communication with the Father. Through that time of fellowship, Jesus was given both the knowledge and the power to do what His Father wanted Him to do on earth. To forgive, to heal, to comfort, to feed, to set free–Jesus accomplished all these things as a result of His time of prayer.
Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Prayer is first and foremost our fellowship with God the Father; Jesus, His Son; and the Holy Spirit.
We know that prayer is communication with God the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is what enables the Holy Spirit to use a man or woman or a church for God’s glory.
Prayer is how God uses time to show us His wonder. Prayer is the activity that God uses to enable His presence to penetrate our consciousness. His presence is the only thing that can literally change any dynamic that exists. His presence contains power that the world cannot understand and power that is reserved only for His redeemed.
Prayer is God saturating our minds, our thoughts, with His influence. Prayer will control our emotions to permit His truth to bring down the negative forces of darkness that are speaking lies to our minds and trying to corrupt our thoughts.
The Holy Spirit will pray through us; He will also pray for us when we are not sure how to pray for any given situation. Romans 8:26-27(NASB), “Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Prayer is the most powerful thing humans can do, so why don’t we want to turn to prayer to answer the problems in the world and in the lives of those we love? We should be quick to pray in the supernatural before we try to do anything in the natural.
Prayer is accepting the rights and privileges of a citizen of heaven. Prayer is declaring once again that God is mighty and that He has our lives in the palm of His hands. Oswald Chambers declared, “Prayer does not fit us the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”
The fact is that prayer is the hardest work we will ever do…and the most rewarding.
Father God, in the name of Jesus, pleaes use me today to make faith come alive in someone’s heart, somewhere. Lord, please help me share your love with somebody today.
Why is prayer so hard? Why don’t Christians and the Church take prayer as seriously as the early Church? Why don’t we want to gather together as a body and honestly ask and believe God to answer our prayers? After all, the Church was born in a prayer meeting in the upper room. Why has the privilege of personal and corporate prayer become so unattractive to Christians?
I think our level of expectation for God to truly answer or intervene is low. Do we really believe that God answers prayers that move mountains?
Can you imagine what a church body that met regularly and sought the face of God with a humble and contrite heart would look like? Throughout the Bible, God encourages us to embrace the power of prayer to change everything in our lives.
See 1 John 5:14-15 and Matthew 6:6.
If we believe that these biblical texts are true, then why is prayer, both personal and corporate, not of vital importance in our lives?