Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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30 Asking

James 4:2

You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

Do you act on the conviction that God hears and answers prayer? A commitment to Prayer always involves acting. How do we receive God’s blessings? The answer to that question is a lot simpler than we often make it first:

  • We ask.

“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.” — Matthew 7:7-8

Ironically people are often willing to do great things in return for God’s blessing yet these things are not what God requires or wants, they are unwilling to do the one small thing that He actually requires, pray. Why? Because they want to earn it and they think they can earn it. They’re operating on a merit basis, not a grace basis. The problem for many of us is that we are using the wrong “currency”. The currency of this world is works, merit, and getting what you deserve. The currency of God’s kingdom is grace. It’s like going to some South Sea Island where the economic system is based on barter and livestock, and trying to buy things with paper money, they would laugh at you. The reality is that it insults God when we try to pay for His blessings with our works and try to earn them. First, it makes His relationship with us one of economics, rather than love, like trying to “pay” for dinner at friend’s house. Second, what we have to offer is so pitifully small it just devalues His blessings. In 2 Kings 5:9-14 we see the pride of Naaman getting in the way of healing and blessing. Often people are willing to do anything except what God asks, because His way requires humility. It requires an acknowledgement that we are dependent on Him, that we are indebted to Him, obligated to Him; that we can never repay Him for His blessings to us. So instead they want to bargain with God, make sacrifices, give money, etc. etc. but they refuse to do the one small thing that God requires. In reality, that one small thing is the biggest, most difficult thing that God could possibly ask of them. Because it requires them to humble themselves and come to God, hat in hand, asking for His mercy and grace, and their pride just cannot permit them to. Is there something getting in the way of your asking?

  • In faith.

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”  James 1:6-8

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Often we try everything before we come to God and when we do we say “I guess all we can do now is pray” prayer becomes our last resort because we don’t see the power in it. We cannot come to God with an attitude of, “Well, I’ll try praying and if that doesn’t work, I’ll try something else” because that is not faith, it’s just covering your bases. God is not willing to be just one option among many, He will not be satisfied with a piece of our love, a piece of our devotion, or a piece of our trust. He wants all of us and as He claims His rightful place at the center of our lives He demands that we trust in Him, and Him alone. God is not willing to be put on the shelf with all of the other deities, to be installed as part of our personal pantheon of gods. The key to answered prayer is not the amount or strength of our faith, but the object of our faith because the power doesn’t come from our faith, the power comes from the One in whom we place our faith. Are you asking? Are you trusting?

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The Scope of Prayer – Part 2

John 14:13,14

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Prayer is not the twisting of Gods arm in order to make Him do what He does not want to do. Prayer is finding God’s divine will, coming into agreement with it, and declaring that His will be done in that and every situation. It is vital that we see this very important point it is not that we wait for God, but that He waits for us to come into agreement with His will. Because when we learn to find Gods will and pray it, we become instruments in His hands.

After thinking about the range and requirement of prayer we come to:

  • The Reason for prayer

“that the Son may bring glory to the Father”

When we pray we often forget the Glory factor. Here in John 14 Jesus had just finished washing the disciple’s feet and communing with them in the last supper. Now as He prepares them for His departure he promises them that He will not leave them comfortless but will provide them with power through prayer for the Glorification of His Father. The purpose of prayer is for us to be blessed by God in such a way that He is honored and glorified, and we grow spiritually. God is not honored when people enjoy His blessings and give Him no credit. Or worse, when they give the credit to someone else – such as themselves, or luck, or chance. Are God’s blessings not enough that we feel the need to take the glory as well? Prayer reminds us that all the good things we enjoy, and the good things we seek, all must ultimately come from God. There is no other source for good things.

Do your prayers glorify God or are you just sending smoke signals? The question we need to ask is who’s getting the glory? Are our prayers for our selfish gain or the glory of God? In Joshua 7:19 Achan, violated a sacred ban by stealing gold, silver, and fine clothing. “Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me’” Giving glory to God is to acknowledge His omniscience, His all-knowing and in so doing to confess and repent and present a complete truthful account with nothing hidden. Glorifying God is to take of the mask and get real with the redeemer. In John 9:24 when Jesus healed a man blind from birth, the Pharisees attempted to discredit Jesus while still appearing to honor God. “So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, ‘Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner’”. Hoping to break the man’s testimony, the Jewish leaders badgered him, but the former beggar chose solid ground, his own experience. This man’s open confession provided the weight of simple truth behind it, giving glory to God.

By hiding the truth we fail to give glory to God, in Jeremiah 13:15-17, the prophet, Jeremiah, urged God’s people to repent and confess their pride. “Listen! Do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before it is too late . . .”  Will you come in prayer with truth keeping nothing hidden? In Psalm 96, all earth is summoned to give glory to God and the reasons for giving glory to God can never be exhausted. Those who choose to give glory to God discover reasons to celebrate daily, because in our adoration we set aside our fleshly nature to be set apart for God.

  • The Response to prayer

“and I will do it”

If you need the power to make it through the storm, if your daylight has turned to midnight, if your mountains are high and your valleys are low call out in Jesus name. Jesus can lift the bowed head, dry the weary eyes, love the unlovable, save the lost, heal the untouchable, forgive the unpardonable, strengthen the weak, give courage to the coward, and Hope to the Helpless. Are you weary, and discouraged, wondering “does my praying really make any difference”? Does God even hear me? Most of us know that God can answer prayer and the scriptures all point to this truth and the earnest, diligent, seeking of God is the greatest expression of faith. If you really do have faith, you will diligently seek God, if you do not have faith, you will diligently not seek God. Hebrews 11:16 says, “but without faith it is impossible to seek him, for he that comes to God must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. It takes faith to move the hand of God and when you believe that you have  faith enough to move the hand of God, you will know, because you will be diligently praying.

God’s promise to us is that He will do it, Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Is it time for you to call out to God and get real as you give Him the glory, is it time for you to be reminded that He can do it, that He will do it?