I wish I could say this is original with me; but, I cannot. It was given to me many years ago. I cannot even remember who gave it to me; but, I am glad they did. If I remember correctly I was given a statistic that the average pastor spends fifteen (15) minutes per day in prayer.
As I was thinking about this again it dawned on me that this might be a huge contributing factor to the decline in our nation. No, I am not writing this to slam pastors and preachers. I am writing this to open our eyes to a real problem in Christianity.
Why don’t we pray? Some feel like there is no reason to pray because God knows all and they don’t “feel” like their prayers will make a difference. Wrong! Prayer works! It is one of the mightiest avenues we have to effect the fallen world we live in for now.
We allow anything and everything to get in the way. Then we do not think prayer is important. It was important to Jesus. He commands us to pray. Look at His words in Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
Are you fervent in prayer? Are you faint in prayer? Only you and the Heavenly Father know so you might as well be honest.
As I look at my nation I am brokenhearted, I am angry and a whole host of other emotions. We are seeing our beloved country ripped apart by those who hate her and hate what she stands for. If you don’t like it here then leave!
The Supreme Court slapped the entire nation in the face by defying the will of the people in handing down their rogue decision on sodomite marriages, Now Christians are asking themselves what should they do.
I think we need to follow the example of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:14, ” I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ” We must keep loving people and hating their sin. In doing this we do not hate them and they need to realize that truth.
We are not called to sit, soak and sour. We must be actively sharing the gospel with others and we need to support those who are going to other countries to do the same. They are going in our place and we need to pray for them and support them.
As we look around and see our country in the current downtrend it is disheartening to say the least. As I think about things I wonder what I can do. I think the most important thing that any of us can do is pray.
Far too often we discount prayer because we don’t think that God will really hear us. We think our cares are too small for our God to be concerned with. This is a lie from the devil to keep us from praying,
One if the most powerful weapons we have is prayer. The problem is that we don’t use it. We shy away from it and this is quite sad.
Prayer is more than asking and receiving, It is time well spent with our God. It is time well spent praying for other too. Look at Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; ”
Several months ago my wife and I were channel surfing (watching TV). We came across a movie on a Christian television station. I don’t remember the name of it. It was a great movie about soap box derby racing. There were so many life’s lessons in this movie. I would like to buy a copy of it if I ever remember the name of it.
I want to continue with the thoughts of the past few days. When we are going to accomplish anything for God we must pray, plan, prepare and praise. These steps are all good. However, it is not the end. Doing these things is right. There is one last step that we need to take.
That last step is to proceed. We can prepare until the cows come home; but, if we don’t put the plan in place and act on it then it is all for naught. We will never go anywhere if we do not proceed with the plan God has put in our hearts.
Look at what God told the Israelites in Exodus 14:15, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” We are no good to the mission that God has called us to if we never get up and get out and go at it. We must go forward!
I have to admit that I am not a fan of so-called “Praise and Worship music”. I call them seven eleven songs. They take seven words and sing them eleven times and then you have a modern worship song. No! What you have here is some kind of tribal beat that will motivate the wrong part of you body to do what you really don’t want to do. Then someone calls this worship and praise.
I really think that praise comes from knowing God personally. If I know Him then I will be drawn to praise Him for so much. His love. His justice. His righteousness. The list is endless.
Look at Psalm 7:17, “I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.” I know you have something to praise the LORD for so let it go and praise Him.
Another way we can prepare for Sunday morning services is to pray. All too often we allow anything and everything to interrupt our “quiet time”. It needs to be just that “quiet time”. I know it is difficult; but, it is not impossible.
As I get older I am beginning to see the truth about this. I would not want to ascend the pulpit without first having spent quality time and quantity time with the Father. Why would the LORD Jesus come to Church with me if I never take time for Him? Think about that for a little while.
We must make prayer a priority in each of our own lives. We need to rely upon the prayers of God’s people to carry us through. I am learning this more and more as a Pastor. If God’s people fail to pray then I will fail. If I don’t carry through and pray then someone will suffer consequences.
Jesus practiced private prayer. Look at Matthew 14:23, “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”
Jesus got alone to pray. We must follow His example. You and I both know as soon as you or I sit down to read that the door bell will ring or the phone will ring. Something will happen. The devil will kick against your time of prayer. Get ready!
Let’s continue our thoughts from yesterday. What does it take to get ready for the services at your Church. One man told me many years ago, “Prior planning prevents potentially poor performance.” I made this statement PG rated after I heard it. I did that because it is the truth.
If we don’t take the time to prepare then we will most likely fail. You say, “Fail at worship?” Yes. What is worship? Worship is ascribing worth to someone or some thing. If I believe that my new car has great worth I might be worshipping it. I know that will hit home to some of you. It does not have to be a car. It could be anything or anybody. Yes, anybody.
The problem is that we know we need to take time to prepare for the services; but, we fuss and fight all the way to Church and as soon as we get to the door, “Wham-o!” Something happens and suddenly it is like nothing is wrong. This sounds like a hypocrite to me. Yes, I am guilty just so you know. I don’t like it either.
It all comes down to a heart problem. Look again at Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Only God knows and if you will call out to Him, He will answer you and keep your heart where it needs to be.
The other evening on the way home from Church my wife commented on our music listening. She asked me if I realized that on the way to Church we listened to music. I said yes. She then told me that on our way home I do not turn the music on. Our son watches a DVD in the back seat. I did not even realize I was doing this.
I am sure you do not even care about why this happens. I am going to share with you anyway. On the way to Church we are listening to music that reaches to the heart. We are preparing for the services.
The problem that people have is their heart. We must prepare our hearts to hear and obey God’s Word. Look at Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The unspoken meaning in Jeremiah 17:9 is that God knows our heart. He knows it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:”. We are not fooling Him at all.
So, as we go to Church we must take dedicated time to knock the heart in line with the LORD and the Word. Then we can take the next step to prepare for the services.
This father lived everyday with the fear that his son would be thrown into the fire, the sea or some other place that would be hazardous to his health. Think about the stress this man and his family faced. I cannot imagine how this boy felt either. He was unable to control his own body at times. It would be a nightmare.
The father and the family came to the place that they saw the long awaited deliverance. Look at Mark 9:25, “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”
We all know that if Jesus says it that settles it. There is no room for debate. Jesus spoke and this boy was delivered. He had endured so much. This day Jesus showed up in his life and changed things for him. His long awaited deliverance was now a reality. It was here.
Dear friend, maybe you are struggling with some situation. You might feel like you will drown if something miraculous does not happen. Cry out to God. He is a miracle working God and He is waiting to do something in your life. He might not give you the miraculous deliverance you are seeking; but, He will give you what you need to live. He will fill you with His grace to keep going on. He will equip you.
He is more concerned with our character than our comfort. He wants us to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Part of that process is the unpleasant molding. It hurts! One day we can all rest assured that we will be delivered. It might be the day that we are called home to Heaven. As God’s children we can look forward to that. Then all that we have suffered will seem like nothing as we stand before God.
I remember a number of years ago when our son was very sick. I do mean very sick. We were going through diapers almost faster then we could buy them. It was horrible. I remember kneeling at his bedside and praying. I can still remember the hot tears stinging my face. I remember crying out to God as a father to my Heavenly Father.
Suddenly, I felt like someone put their arms around me. I cannot even begin to describe that for you. I know it happened though. Wow! As I recalled that time I was reminded of “The Unknown Father” and his loving plea.
Look at Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He was rocked to his very core. His emotions had been more than stirred. The Master was ministering where this man lived. I can imagine how this father felt. He was desperate. He needed a miracle for his son.
As Jesus is talking to him, he makes this loving plea. Notice how open and honest this man is with Jesus. He said, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He is telling Jesus that he does trust Him; but, it is hard to trust Him because he has been disappointed so many times by others. We must go to Jesus first. Too many people try to use Jesus like a genie in a bottle. “Lord help!” they will cry out; but, when things are all going their way they think nothing of Jesus.
This father was motivated by love and compassion for his son. We need to get back to having Bible love and compassion for our children and others.