A Voice in the
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him" (Ps37:7)
"Christians" today talk about, and preachers preach about the "Power of Prayer." If we just pray faithfully enough, the Lord will bring to pass that about which we pray.
Oprah Winfrey talks about the "Power of prayer." And a close rela- tive, the "Power of love." If one empties his mind, and thinks positive thoughts of whatever nebulously generic nature, positive results will exist; from healthy growth of flowers and vegetables, to positive interpersonal relationships.
Christians pray "walls around" themselves, their businesses, their friends, their situations.
New Age people meditate and "release their spirits" and "extend their souls" (from within themselves) to the perimeters of their dwellings for protection.
Many "Christians" believe that we "release God's power" through prayer. We must pray "mightily" and "lay hold on" God.
Are we supposed to 'help God out?' Such folly! Such pride! "The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness." (Ps24:1)
When I was growing up the "better" prayer times were the ones where the participants prayed "fervently." One could usually gauge his spirituality in prayer by the vehemence of the "Amen's" and "Yes, Lord's" from those listening. Great was the "gift" of a person who could pray "dynamically" on-the-spot from within the congregation when called upon by the person on the platform. After all, a good preacher should be able to preach, pray, or die at a moment's notice. Jesus judged the hypocrites, "Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." (Mt 6:5)
How many preachers use the pre-sermon "prayer" to adjust their notes on the pulpit without anybody seeing, so they can make a "smooth transition" into the sermon? How often is the pre-meal "grace" a true prayer? "Do not use vain repetitions as the heathen. For they think they will be heard for their many words." (Mt 6:7)
"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place;" (Mt 6:6)
When Elijah ran away from Jezebel and God called to him, he found himself in the midst of a colossal fire, earthquake, and wind. But God's voice was only evident in the "delicate whispering voice." (1Kgs 19:12)
It is not our ACT OF PRAYING that brings results, but it is God. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
It is not our LAYING HOLD OF God, but allowing Him to lay hold of us. "Christ has also laid hold of me...I do not count myself to have laid hold of it" (~Phil 3:12-13) It is "Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27)
We live during a generation of people who DEMAND of God to cater to their desires. It is often dubbed the "Name and Claim" generation. After all, didn't Jesus say "If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it?" (Jn 14:14) They will vehemently yell, "In Jeeeezzzus Name!!" This activity certainly lifts the spirits temporarily. But Jesus said that there would be many who claimed His Name, who would be cast into outer darkness...whom He DOES NOT KNOW! (~Mt 7:21+) These people usually live in depression and sin. These emotional "pep rallies" do not last.
They also say that we won't receive unless we ask.. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Mt 7:7)...and thus they make demands.
Have you ever wondered why most of their prayers are not answered? "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your lusts." (Jas 4:3) Most of their prayers are self-originated and self-centered.
Often God CHOOSES NOT TO HEAR PRAYER. "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He WILL NOT HEAR." (Is59:1-2)
God WANTS TO hear our prayer. Jesus said, "Ask, and you will re- ceive, that your joy may be full." (Jn 16:24)
But THERE IS A CONDITION to having our prayers heard. "And what- ever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."(1Jn 3:22)
How do we know "His will?" We must be saturated with His Word. We must be free of sin. We must be consciously living IN HIS PRESENCE.
There are things WE DON'T NEED TO ASK FOR. My cat taught me this lesson. At meal time it is "Meow, meow....feed me, feed me!" For four years his routine has been the same, morning and evening. He knows where the can of cat food comes from, that I rinse out his dish, put the food in, and carry it to his feeding area. But, every time it's "Meow, meow, meow!"
I then thought..."How often don't we do this to God!" We ask God, "Please, God, be with me..." He has already promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Heb 13:5) His presence with us is a given.
We ask God, "Give me, give me." God says, "Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have." (Heb 13:5)
We implore God to heal us, often doubting His ability. We forget His promise, "He restores my soul." (Ps23) We often don't understand that sometimes it is not His purpose for us to be healed, "My grace is sufficient for you." (2Cor 12:9)
When we feel vulnerable we ask Him to send his protection, not realizing that it is already there. When the Syrians surrounded the city where Elisha lived, he did not pray for God to send protection...rather, that God would open the eyes of his servant "that he may see" the chari- ots of fire that were ALREADY THERE. (2Kgs 6:17)
God knows our need before we pray, "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Mt 6:8) Often, He even helps us to pray because we don't know how to pray, "The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groan- ings which cannot be uttered." (Rom 8:26)
God declares "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand.'" (Is 46:9-10)
Rather than trying to change history through our prayers, we should understand that God "foreknew" us, and predestined us to be "con- formed to the image of His Son. (Rom 8:29) Our attitude should be like humble Mary, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)
Rather than demanding, "Listen, God...I'm talking to you!" our attitude should be "SPEAK, LORD, for YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING." (1Sam 3:10)