June 11 2018
My former pastor, Dr. Rouse, in Nashville, says this line often: “the very thing we know is the most important in Christianity, we do the least of.” One of those things is prayer. We know we should spend time in prayer. We know that it is more than just reading a short devotional and even more than just acknowledging the Lord in our day. Yet, priorities get in the way, and fervent, effectual, prayer seems to not always be at the top of the list. I think mainly because of the amount of time it takes.
Tim Keller, a well-known author and speaker has the following to say. I felt they needed to be shared with those that read this blog.
- Do it. Motivate yourself, and say, “It’s gotta be done.” If somebody said to us, “You’ve got a fatal disease, but as long as you take a pill every night at 11 o’clock, and never fail, you will live. But, if you ever miss, by the morning, you’ll be dead”, would you forget? We would never forget. I’m telling you prayer is as important as that. We have to do it.
- We do it until it engages the affections. Your heart. Martin Luther never said just go to prayer. Meditate on the words of the scripture until your heart catches fire, and then pray. We believe things that are not real to our heart because we do not know how, in prayer, to make them real to our heart. It takes years of prayer to make those things so real that they control us so we don’t lie, so we’re not angry, so we’re not devastated by criticism, so we don’t tend to get resentful, so we’re not prone to self-pity, so we’re not self-justifying in the way in which we treat people. That only happens when the things that I just said are worked into our life day in and day out, every morning, every evening.
- Look at our besetting sins in prayer. It’s too horrible unless we adore God in prayer for His love and His joy and His greatness. Only after we’ve just gotten a great sense on our heart of how much He loves us! We need to turn and look at our heart at the worst. And, it’s called mortification. Mortification is not the John Owen term. It’s an old term. Mortification is not repenting for sins we’ve done. Mortification is knowing our besetting sins, and looking at them in light of Jesus Christ, and incapacitating them and withering them because we rejoice in Jesus Christ. As we look at those things and we say, “This is ugly. I don’t need this if I’ve got Jesus.” Do we know how to do that? There should be a program. We should do that once a week. Once a month. Once a year. We should learn how to do it.
- Lastly, be expectant. There’s an all kinds … John Calvin said there’s all sorts of things God wants to give us but can’t give us until we pray because until we pray for them, they’re not safe to give us because we won’t know where they’re from. Prayer is powerful. There was an evidently true story. Centuries ago, the Anglo-Saxons were invading England, and the people who were already there were the Welsh. The Welsh were Christians. The Anglo-Saxons were pagans. And, one day, one of the Anglo-Saxon kings … the night before a battle … went up to a high place to look at the Welsh army and the encampment. He noticed a bunch of people over here … in these tents over here that didn’t have any weapons. So, he brought one of his captains and said, “Who are those people over there? There’s no weapons.” All the rest of the army … no weapons. Who are they? And, he was told … the king was told … “those are the Welsh monks, and they come and they pray for the success of their army.” And, the Anglo-Saxon king says, “Oh. Well, listen, tomorrow, attack them first.”
He wasn’t stupid. He knew more about the power of prayer than you and me. “If thou art coming to a king, large petitions with thee bring. For his grace and power are such none can ever ask too much.”
When I heard these four points, they resonated so much with me. I hope that they will be an encouragement. We quote Malachi 3 about the windows of heaven opening up when we do what we are supposed to do with the tithe. I believe it applies here. Do we want to see miracles? Do we want to see greatness? We have the best tool at our disposal….prayer.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. I hope that every Father feels appreciated. We are going to start with a new song for us. It is called “Who You Say I Am” by Ben Fielding. The choir is singing a song by Steve Chenny and Rebecca Speck titled “There is No Other Name.” We continue our worship with “Good Good Father”, and “God, You’re So Good”. Tina Braswell will sing one of the most captivating songs I have heard in a long time titled “Psalm 13” by Alisa Turner. I suggest you go listen to this one. The first time I heard this song, I listened five times in a row. For the response time, we will sing the Paul McClure song “Jesus We Love You”.
Okay, I will see you Sunday. I hope that you have a great rest of the week.