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On Prayer June 18, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Luke 18:1-8
What does it mean to be a person of prayer? Many books have been written about great men and women of faith and their exercise of prayer. I have read of men of old who wore out the knees of their pants legs, wore the toes out of their shoes and who even wore grooves into the hardboard floors of their offices in their earnest efforts at communing with God. These great people devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowing the Almighty. We should all strive to be such. But how is it possible in our modern, busy lives?
Just like beginning an exercise routine, one should start small and build up rather than beginning with some lofty yet unobtainable goal. If you desire to begin a life devoted to prayer, just start, and let it develop. Begin with a few minutes every day. The length is not as important as the quality of the time devoted. Just like those glorious people of old, we too can become people with life devoted to prayer. Time is set aside and the rigors of life are off set by the sweet, serene time spent with the Lord.
Daniel was a person of prayer. He prayed three times a day. He is regarded for his faith in the face of severe opposition. Paul was a person of prayer. As a good Jew, Paul would have prayed three times a day. Interestingly enough he also asked God three times to remove what he called ‘the thorn in his flesh.’ It was common practice for Jewish leaders to pray three times a day. I also find it interesting that we typically eat three times a day. It seems to me that if we feed our physical bodies in such a way, perhaps we should care our spiritual selves in like manner. Even Jesus was a Man of prayer. Certainly, if God’s own Son knew the need to commune with the Father of which He was so closely associated while we are not, we should be that much and more devoted to prayer and seeking God.
But, how do we pray? (See also previous blogs on the subject of prayer.) We teach our children to close their eyes, put their heads down, fold their hands… I was once told by another preacher that we should never pray sitting down because the Bible does not describe anyone doing it that way. I do not care for the legalistic approach to religion. If we were to do as Jesus says literally, we would have to enter a closet each time we prayed. Perhaps it has more to do with attitude and a right understanding of who we are, and who we are talking to and what we are asking for than our posture or the position of our bodies.
John 15:7 says, “…ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
James 4:17 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
It would seem to me then that we should ask; we are invited to ask. The response is left up to God and will be regarded in terms of our needs and His will. Sometimes the answer is, “NO.”
Notice these verses though. If an earthly king who cared nothing for God nor man did the right thing for one of his subjects, how much more will the King of Kings do for those He loves? After all, we are worth more than sparrows. But notice also this widow’s request. Her request was for justice. She asked with right motives. Her heart was in the right place. It had less to do with her and more to do with what was right. We should heed her example.
It is one thing to pray for health and children and so on. It is another thing entirely to pray for a new Mercedes. Unless God has need of you having a particular type of car, won’t any car do? I believe God does not much care whether we have chicken or hamburger for supper as long as we are fed. Don’t hear me say God won’t bless exceedingly and abundantly more than what we ask for, or that we should not ask for those things we want. I do believe God will give us the desires of our hearts. I just believe we should be careful of the manner in which we ask and how we respond to the answer He gives to us. Ask what you will. God will answer. He desires to hear from you and will care for your needs and your desires.
When is the last time you talked to God?

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