Category Archives: Prayer

Pray That They Might Follow Jesus Despite the Fray.

According to Dictionary.com the definition of fray is:

 

1. a fight, battle, or skirmish

2. a noisy quarrel or brawl.

 

Today for better or for worse those who are choosing to come to Jesus in America must do so in the midst of a spiritual fray.

 

With heightening societal opposition it is no longer as easy as it once was to stand up and choose to become a follower of Jesus. Currently people, especially young people must run a gauntlet of cultural antagonism toward Christianity in order to come to Christ.

 

 

The celebration of Resurrection Day 2009 is right around the corner and in my life this provokes an opportunity to pray. I am prompted to call out to God for the people who will hear the claims of Christ as they are brought forth in churches throughout our nation this weekend.

 

I see a need for a great harvest for the Kingdom of God and I am praying that people will be able to tune out the din and the fray that the world supplies and come to Jesus in spite of it all.

 

 

Jesus had similar sentiments early in the week before his crucifixion. He was growing mournful over those who were rejecting Him. In John 12:37, we are told… But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him.

 

Jesus had been faithful; He had done the Father’s bidding and fulfilled the Messianic duties God had put before Him. He had performed great miracles and yet the majority of the people were choosing not to believe and a growing resistance was resulting.

 

Later in the same chapter we are given one of the reasons why, Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).

 

 

Many in Israel were choosing not to become followers because they feared losing their reputations among those who were in power. They feared man more than God and they did not want to face the ultimate rejection that belief in Jesus would cost them.

 

 

In verse 44 of chapter twelve we are told, Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life.” John 12:37-49 (NKJV)

 

 

These words in John 12:44-49 are the last comments of Jesus Christ in a public setting before his arrest. From that point on we know from the gospel accounts that He went into hiding. He withdrew to prepare Himself for His impending death.

 

 

The distressing truth was that, in spite of all the clear evidence that was presented to them, the majority of the nation Israel simply would not believe. They had heard the message and seen the miracles, and they still would not confess that Jesus was their Messiah.

 

 

It is a sad reality that when people start to resist the light of Christ, something begins to change within them. And it is even sadder that concerning such people it is eventually true that it becomes almost impossible for them to believe.

 

The Scripture teaches that it is a serious thing to treat God’s truth lightly, because people can miss their opportunity to be saved. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” Quite simply, it is important that people respond when they hear the truth because there is no guarantee that they might ever get a second chance.

 

Amongst the nation Israel at the time of Christ there were those who would not believe, and there were those who would not openly confess Christ even though they had believed. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea belonged to this group of secret followers. They were two examples of individuals who were unable to pay the price of open acknowledgement, but who eventually came out and confessed Jesus.

 

This insight is encouraging as we consider the many around us in this day and age who have heard the message of the gospel and appear to approve but seem reticent to follow Jesus.

 

Could it be that they also want to believe but are being hindered because of their own fear of what man will say or do? Are they being hindered because of the societal voices that are ringing so loudly in their ears?

 

As you pray for the salvation of those who do not know Jesus—among your friends and relatives this season; pray for them wisely.

 

Realize that many people neglect responding to the truth simply because of the fear of man and the possible rejection it will cost them. As you pray for those you love pray specifically that those fears would be shown for what they are and be broken around the lives of your family and friends.

 

It is much better to fear God and go to heaven than to fear men and the rejection of men and go to hell! Jesus did not come to judge; as He points out in this passage–He came to save. But if the sinners will not trust in the Savior, their own choices will spell judgment.

 

 

Through failing to come to Jesus and trusting in the salvation that he offers the sinner who does not believe is actually passing judgment on himself. Jesus never refuses to bring anyone to salvation and eternal life but people often refuse Him and by doing so they choose their own consequences.

 

 Countless people in the U.S. today are like the unbelievers of Israel in the time of Jesus. Because of the freedom of religion we have in the U.S. many have received a clear presentation of Christ and in fact the majority have heard it again and again. Many American citizens are like the inhabitants of Jerusalem so long ago in that they have had the opportunity to see it all and hear it all. And like the unbelievers of Jesus time they are also hearing the threatening and mocking accusations of the current culture sounding off in the background.

 

 

Seekers are being forced to deal with the noise and the spiritual competitive brawl that the societal status quo who oppose Christ provide. In post Christian America people now know that they will have to pay a price in terms of reputation in order to become associated with Christ. Christianity is no longer as popular as it once was and the church has a spotted and soiled status at best.

 

For the first time in decades there are clear and present mounting societal barriers in our country to all those who would seek to call Jesus their own.

 

But Christians can not just sit back and whine and moan. What we must keep in mind is that these barriers are not insurmountable, we must remember that they can be overcome. We are not the first generation seeking to share Christ in a hostile environment but with that said what may be required of us is a commitment to pray. It may take prayer, prayer and more prayer to see our loved one’s successfully birthed into the Kingdom of God.

 

 

I would exhort you to pray with commitment and wisdom for the unbelievers you know. Pray that the unsaved would hear the clarion call of Jesus’ invitation to eternal life rising above all the background societal flack and noise. And pray that those you know who are in the process of being drawn will be like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who persevered and finally found the courage to cross over to being true disciples–despite the fray.

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Ready for Battle and Dressed to Kill: Ephesians 6:13-20

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The average woman in the U.S today can easily recite some fundamental fashion knowledge. She can probably tell you what colors she looks good in, what styles work for her figure and the foundational must-haves of a wardrobe. Some women might even be able to tell you what it takes to dress for success or how to accessorize effectively. But in today’s world the majority of women are ignorant regarding the most essential fashion basic of all – the spiritual wardrobe – offered to us by God himself. In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul lays out piece by piece what every successful Christian should be wearing: a set of spiritual armor. Paul draws upon the image of the finest of ancient warriors – the Roman soldier – and dials in a picture of a Christian who would be spiritually “dressed to kill.”

 

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – Eph 6:13-18 (NKJV)

 

Paul wrote this passage while he was a prisoner of Rome, chained to a Roman soldier. And although the soldier assigned to him probably was not dressed in full armor Paul knew exactly what that Roman soldier’s war gear entailed. His many imprisonments and multiple excursions in the company of Roman infantrymen had inscribed a mental picture on Paul’s mind. It was not an easily forgotten image and employing the illustration came naturally. Paul refers to our spiritual protection and weaponry as “the whole armor of God.” This simple phrase reinforces two important facts. First, our supernatural set of military hardware comes directly from God. And second, God has provided a complete set of spiritual covering for us, not a partial one. He has given us the “whole” armor of God. The phrase “whole” armor is taken from the word panoplia in the Greek and it pictures a Roman soldier who is fully dressed in his armor from head to toe. Everything the soldier needed to successfully combat his adversary was provided for “Rome’s best.” And God has similarly given us everything we need to successfully combat our opposing spiritual forces. Nothing is lacking. Paul specifically mentions five pieces of spiritual armor and two offensive spiritual weapons that God graciously provides to each Christian soldier so that we can effectively stand against our evil foe.

 

The loin belt or girdle of truth. The Roman soldier wore a loin belt which was also referred to as a girdle. Although it was the least impressive item amongst the soldier’s gear, it was the central piece because it held all the other parts together. The loin belt held the breastplate in place and the shield rested on a clip on one side of the loin belt while on the other side was another clip from which the Roman soldier hung his sword. In the ancient war garment, the girdle about the loins held in place every other part of the uniform. It was an essential. If the girdle was lost, you lost everything. The garments would fly open and the other pieces of weaponry would fall off the soldier and onto the field of battle. This integral piece of armor corresponds in Paul’s spiritual regalia with the belt of truth. Satan is “the father of lies” but the believer whose life is controlled by truth will ultimately defeat him. The loin belt holds the other parts of the armor together, and truth is that integrating force in the life of a Christian. A person who knows the truth and possesses integrity, with a clear conscience, can face the enemy without fear. The belt also held the sword and unless a believer walks in the truth he cannot effectively use the Word of truth. If a believer begins to live a life of hypocrisy – if lies and falsehood begin to permeate the life of a believer – everything begins to fall apart.

 

The breastplace of righteousness. The second piece of armor that every Roman combatant added to his collection was a magnificent breastplate. The breastplate was constructed of two large sheets of metal. One piece covered the front of the soldier and the other piece covered his back, and the two sheets were attached at the top of the shoulders by large brass rings. Frequently these metal plates were comprised of smaller scale-like pieces of metal that, when joined together, comprised a coating that protected the wearer’s torso from his neck to below his waist. This vital piece of armor covered the most vulnerable parts of the body and in Paul’s analogy the breastplate symbolizes the believer’s righteous life in Christ. Only the righteousness of Christ can enable a Christian to stand before God, but a heart that is well-protected is a heart that is not condemning the believer. It is very difficult to have sin in your life while at the same time trying to fight a spiritual battle. According to Ephesians 4:27, we are not to “give place to the devil.” What this refers to is that sin in the life of a Christian gives Satan a place of occupation; a stronghold to use against his foe. Paul instructed the Ephesians, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception and…Put on your new nature, created to be like Godtruly righteous and holy. Eph 4:22-24 (NLT). Satan’s job description is that of the “accuser of the brethren” but he finds it much more difficult to accuse a believer who is living a godly life; one whose breastplate of righteousness is intact.

 

The shoes of the Gospel. The Roman soldier also wore a third piece of gear – a pair of treacherous looking shoes. These shoes were unlike the sandals worn by civilians which were merely flimsy soles held on by pieces of twine wrapped around the heel and the toe. The shoes that the Roman soldier wore were primarily made of metal. The first piece was called a greave. It was a tube-like piece of brass that wrapped around the soldier’s lower leg, beginning at the top of his knee and extending down past the calf, coming to rest on the top of the foot. The greave almost gave the appearance of boots that were made of brass. In addition, the top side of the foot was also encased in a piece of metal and on the bottom, the Roman soldier’s shoes were affixed with a set of spikes. The Roman soldier wore these shoes with soles that were thickly studded to give him better footing for fighting. Paul makes it clear that if we are going to “stand firm” in battle, our feet will need to be shod with the shoes of the Gospel. Shoes are necessary for standing. They speak of the foundation. In hand-to-hand combat soldiers are taught to make sure their feet are anchored. Romans 5:1 tells us, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.” Because we have the peace with God that comes from the knowledge of the Gospel, we know that God is always on our side and we need not fear Satan’s attack. This assurance is the foundation we stand on.

 

The shield of faith. A fourth important piece of protection, a large, oblong shield which measured about four feet by two feet, was carried by every Roman warrior. The shield was shaped like a door and was made of multiple layers of animal hide tightly woven together. The outside rim of the shield was framed in meta and the shield’s size alone provided good coverage. As the soldier held it in front of him, it protected him from spears, arrows, and “fiery darts.” Faith is a defensive weapon which we can take up as a shield to protect us from the fiery darts of the enemy. The actual “fiery darts” were arrows dipped in pitch and set ablaze. In the spiritual realm Satan gives no mercy as he shoots all types of “fiery darts” at the hearts and minds of Christians. These flaming missiles come in many varieties: blazing lies, profane fixations, hateful combustible thoughts, smoldering doubts, burning passions; the list goes on and on. Satan utilizes all their forms and enjoys pelting us with on-going assaults. Failing to quench these “fiery darts” with the shield of our Christian faith can spell disaster. A blazing arrow – a strategic attack on the mind or heart – can cause a fire which can quickly spread and the internal inferno that results has the power to change a vibrant disciple into a charred and ineffective believer. We never know quite when Satan will shoot a well placed dart at us, so we must walk by faith, holding steadfastly to our beliefs, effectively wielding the shield of faith.

 

The helmet of salvation. Every Roman soldier also wore a helmet. This all important piece of armor protected the soldier from receiving a fatal blow to the head. The helmets of the Roman troops were made of brass and ornately adorned with feathers or animal hair. Satan always wants to target the mind. It was the initial way he defeated humanity as he came to deceive Eve and he has used it ever since. The helmet of salvation refers to the mind protected and controlled by God. It is sad that many Christians believe that having a strong mind and intellect for Christ is unimportant. A keen God-controlled intellect plays a vital role in Christian growth, service, and living. The Christian who studies the Bible and learns the meaning of Bible doctrines is not going to be easily led astray. We are to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The Apostle Paul, when he ministered, always made it a priority to teach new converts the truths of the Word of God regarding their salvation in Jesus Christ. He did this because he knew that this “spiritual” helmet would protect them from Satan’s lies. Likewise we all need the helmet supplied by adequate study of the truths of the Gospel; we should not approach life and the spiritual warfare it brings without protection for our minds.

 

Two offensive weapons: the sword of the Spirit and Spirit-led prayer. In addition to their basic armament all ancient warriors were also equipped with at least one offensive weapon – and the weapon of choice in the first century was a sword. Although there were many kinds of swords, the blade that the Roman soldier most often carried was a very heavy broad sword specifically designed for jabbing and killing. Hebrews 4:12 compares the Word of God to a sword that is sharp and able to pierce the inner man just as a material sword pierces the body, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12 (NKJV) A material sword pierces the body, but the Word of God pierces the heart. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Christ used the sword of the Spirit and defeated the enemy. Three times Jesus said, “It is written” (Luke 4:1-13) in thwarting the enemy’s attacks. Satan also quoted the Word as he tempted Jesus but he did not quote it completely or use it accurately. Satan tries to use the Word of God to confuse us, so it is important that we familiarize ourselves with the Word of God and that we study it regularly and thoroughly. The better you know the Word of God, the easier it will be for you to detect Satan’s lies and reject his offers—it is your sword of the Spirit.

 

Last but not least, the final piece of spiritual armor and our second weapon of offense that is listed in Ephesians 6 is prayer. Paul tells us “pray at all times in the Spirit.” While no part of the armor is given to correspond as a symbol of prayer, prayer is nonetheless an important part of every Christian soldier’s weaponry. And “praying in the Spirit” – as Paul refers to it – is not just turning in your grocery list to God. Praying in the Spirit underlines the fact that you and I recognize our enemy and that we are seeking to lay hold of God to provide the spiritual resources that He knows we need. Paul was reminding them not to forget to ask God to back them up in their attempts at spiritual combat. As soldiers in God’s army we can never afford to be without the cover of the big artillery that God alone can provide.

 

Finally, as we come to the end of Paul’s listing of our spiritual weaponry, it is important to realize that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is not his only NT reference to the need for spiritual readiness and protection. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he also warns those disciples about their need for spiritual armor. He writes, “It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12 (NKJV). Paul told them, wake up, cast off your sin, and “put on the armor of light.” As believers today we can choose to heed Paul’s cry to arms and put on the armor, or like ostriches we can choose to bury our heads in the sand and deny that there is even a war on. Can you hear the trumpet sounding, calling you to spiritual battle? If you can, be obedient, don’t delay, get up, get off your bed and get dressed. Find that belt and breastplate. Pick up your shield. Put on your helmet and don’t forget your shoes. Grab your sword on your way out and, above all else, don’t forget to pray. You must not remain asleep another minute because the battle is real and you are on the frontlines!

 

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Pray for Our New President

 

Many Christians were inspired by Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation prayer. 

 

Pastor Warren was straight forward in his prayer and was in no way subtle or apologetic about his faith in Jesus Christ. 

 

In the New Testament we are advised by the Apostle Paul to pray for our leaders.

 

Let’s use Rick Warren’s prayer as inspiration for our own prayers offered for our new president and his family.  Here is the text of the prayer as it appears on the Associated Press website. 

 

Let us pray, Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone.  It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.  History is your story. 

 

The Scripture tells us, Hear, oh Israel, The Lord is Our God: The Lord is one.  And you are the compassionate and merciful one.  And you are loving to everyone you have made. 

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time.  We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our fist African-American president of the United States.  We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. 

And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.  Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity.  Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and everyone of our freely elected leaders. 

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.  When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.  When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us.  When we fail to treat our fellow human beings an all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. 

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in out attitudes even when we differ.  Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. 

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.  And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. 

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughter, Malia and Sasha into your loving care.  I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray,

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, they kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

For more excerpts of the inauguration and comments from a Christian perspective click on the following link and view the post entitled “A New Era Begins.”
What are your opinions about Rick Warren’s dynamic prayer at the inaugural, please take the time to comment!

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Has your prayer life taken a turn for the better?

What benefits have you experienced during our recent season of prayer at Crossroads? 

For the past eight weeks we have seen a large number of the women at Crossroads commit to improving their prayer lives.  Women have been attending the Wednesday night service and or Thursday night Bible Study and or Friday morning Bible Study and have been participating in what has amounted to a “great prayer experiment” on the part of our church.  Now we want to measure the results. 

How have you benefitted personally or seen others benefitted as a result of our recent season of prayer?  Have you had prayers answered?  Have you developed a habit of more effective prayer?  These are the questions on the floor, please respond to this thread and let us know you are out there.

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A Call to the School of Prayer

Effective prayer is not as easy as it seems. While on one level prayer is “just conversation with God” and is a privilege that is available to all believers.  The Bible indicates that prayer also comes with an efficiency rating.  Scripture makes it apparent that prayer can be heard or not, be effective or not, and most obvious of all be answered or not.  The disciples who were the fortunate witnesses to the awe inspiring prayer life of Jesus quickly learned an important insight about prayer.  Not all prayer is created equal.  They were swift to notice that there was a huge contrast between The Master’s prayer efforts and their own feeble attempts.  On one occasion we are told an unnamed disciple watched Jesus pray and was clearly humbled by what he saw.  In a moment of clarity he turned and asked Jesus the wise and inevitable request “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).   

 

The original twelve saw something in Jesus’ prayer life that made them want to enroll in His school of prayer.  It becomes evident that on top of being a privilege and a spiritual discipline; prayer is also a skill.  It is a competency that must be learned and an aptitude that every believer should desire proficiency in.  To say the least, from a pragmatic point of view, skillfulness in prayer is highly beneficial for all of us. Warren Wiersbe states it simply, when you know how to pray, the Lord can help you meet every need.  There is a reason that prayer has always been regarded as a key part of a successful Christian life, an ability to connect with God in prayer provides the under girding for all other aspects of Christian living. John Henry Jowett, a renowned preacher of the early 20th century felt so strongly about the advantageous nature of prayer that he wrote, I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.   

 

There is no way to get around the fact that there is much to be understood in the Bible about prayer and that most Christians have stopped short of an adequate education on the topic. Scripture teaches that prayer when it is practiced well is able to produce great benefits in the spiritual realm but few take the time to tap into it as a dynamic resource. James 5:16 promises us that, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  Two adjectives “effective” and “fervent” are used to describe prayer that works. The English word effective is translated from the Greek word energeo and means capable of putting forth much power.  While the second term, fervent means; to glow with heat, or to exhibit great intensity of feeling.  In one verse we have two clues to the kind of prayer that accomplishes much.  Prayer that bears spiritual power coupled with genuine passion when offered from the righteous heart has the ability to hit the mark.

 

Many after surveying James 5:16 might think that not being a righteous person is the problematic factor that would disqualify them from a fruitful prayer life.  However righteousness according to New Testament standards is often misunderstood.  Being a “righteous” person according to New Testament definitions requires being a person who comes by righteousness from being “in” Christ. Romans 3:10 states it plainly, There is none righteous, no, not one.  The painful truth is that on our own none of us are capable of having a right standing (being righteous) before God.  It is passages such as 2 Cor. 5:21 that point out where our righteousness must come from.  The good news is that, God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Our righteousness comes from being in Him.  Jesus Himself laid out the truth in regard to the connection between intimacy with Him and a successful prayer life.  He made “abiding in Him” and acceptance of His words pre-requesites of an effective prayer.  He taught, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  John 15:7

 

In short, the promise of James 5:16 is that properly energized, genuinely emotional prayer from a believer who is in a loving and dependent relationship with Jesus Christ should accomplish a lot spiritually.  The Bible teaches it and it is fact.  The reason so many of us experience so little in prayer however is that few of us take the time to understand the basics of prayer much less take the time and energy to “do” prayer well.  Prayer like any skill requires education and practice.  In other words in order to excel at prayer it takes time learning about what effective prayer entails and then more time spent doing it in order to get good at it.  If you are tired of experiencing an anemic prayer life the task before you is two fold.  First you must learn how to pray; that is take time to search the Scripture and discover the principles of successful prayer.  And secondly you must take time to diligently practice those principles. 

 

Jesus told his disciples that “they should always pray and not give up” Luke 18:1.  The word translated “give up” means to become weary and to give in to evil.  Despite Jesus’ warnings many Christians today have long ago given up on practicing real prayer as a part of their Christian lives.  In this “fast food” society that gets all its needs met on the run, many believe they are satisfying the divine mandate to pray by merely sending up self-centered S.O.S’s to God throughout the day.  They throw up regular brief petitions to God as they go about their daily grind but their prayer lives are largely unfocused and their agendas are largely uninterrupted. 

 

I believe that a call to pray and a spiritual unction to enroll in “the school of prayer” are going forth from the heart of God God into the church today.  God is calling us to His throne of grace to “wrestle” with Him in prayer as the saints of old wrestled with him.  Colossians 4:12 gives us the account of Epaphras, a believer who was held up as an example in prayer by Paul.  Epaphras the text tells us was known as one who was “always wrestling in prayer” for the work of the Church (Col 4:12 NIV).  The Greek word translated wrestling is agonizomai and gives us the English word agonize. This word agonizomai perhaps describes most adequately the level of intensity that is required to produce true effectiveness in prayer and it draws a stark contrast to the effort that most of us are willing to extend. 

 

In conclusion, too few of us have sought to be educated in prayer, fewer still have the time set aside for practicing prayer and the I believe fewest of all of us comprehend the intensity that is required in order to see results in prayer.  There is no doubt that the lack of effective prayer amounts to a great weakness in the church today. The unnamed disciple of Luke chapter eleven when faced with the embarrassing contrast of his prayer life with that of Jesus knew enough to ask “Lord teach us to pray.”  That simple prayer is the prayer that first and foremost needs to be on the lips of those that Jesus is currently calling to prayer. Let’s acknowledge how far we have to go as we evaluate and acknowledge the efficiency ratings of our own prayer times and let us vow today to become willingly enrolled in the school of prayer.

 

 

 

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