Tuesday, April 12, 2016

People of Prayer

This week Michael writes that prayer is aligning my heart with God's heart. Sometimes God's answer to prayer is for us to dance ... unashamedly and unabashedly. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.  Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  For this is the will of God concerning you.

In Luke chapter 11, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus said after He had driven out the money changers, "my house shall be called a house of prayer."  Why are many churches no longer houses of prayer?  "Ichabod" in the scripture means "God is not here." When the church doesn't pray, it's name is changed to "Ichabod."  Prayer brings us into close proximity with our Heavenly Father. To know Him and to understand God's purpose for our lives we must abide with Him and within Him in prayer.

If you were discipling a brother or sister in Christ, what one thing would you teach them? Sharing the faith, witnessing, teaching the Word? The hub of the wheel of discipling is prayer. Jesus Christ said, "come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." The Word of God is profitable for doctrine, for rebuke, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. People of this world are taught to avoid entering God's presence. That's why it's so important to teach your children to come boldly before the throne of grace while they're young. The first principle is to approach a loving God with meekness and humility ... to acknowledge that all I need is Him. This is diametrically opposed to the world's "human code" that says, "You can’t' cry. You can touch but not be touched. You are self-sufficient and independent. You shall stand alone on your own two feet." The world's conditioning teaches men and women to be fearful to be found out that we are inadequate in our own power. This code of manly behavior has not served our culture well. It leaves people incapable of turning to the Word of God. The first requirement for entering God's presence is to forsake our pride, and approach the throne of grace with a heart of meekness and humility. The emotion that trumps fear is regret. This is why there are no atheists in foxholes. Life's greatest regrets are the sins of "omission." I would have, could have, and should have. The greatest challenge in life is to live with no regrets.  

To overcome the sins of regret, prayer is the answer. Prayer is drawing our hearts closer to God's heart. The way to the prayer room should be a well worn path. To pray is to be prepared for the heat of the spiritual battle. We need men and women who are eager to come boldly before the throne of grace. Jesus Christ died so that we could enter boldly into the Holy of Holies and to approach our Heavenly Father without guilt, shame, sin or iniquity.

Psalm 1 says, Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But in his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night... And he shall be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of waters that bringeth forth his fruit in his season.  We run to God in prayer because when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To know the heart of God, we must spend time in His presence ... this is the essence of prayer. In learning to journal, tell God about the storm you're going through. God knows our hearts. He knows our weaknesses and the struggles of our sin nature that we inherited from Adam. The first line from our Father's answer is "My child I love you, and my child Jesus Christ died for you that you may be made my righteous child."

To approach the throne of God we must repent, turn from our sinful selves, and turn our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faithTherefore humble thyself under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you in due time.  The question is, "Do I want to spend the rest of my life learning to become just like Christ?" If this is my sincere desire, my need will be to draw closer to Him in prayer. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our grieves and pain to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Therefore, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.  

God has called his men and women to be people of prayer. Therefore, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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