Friday, May 24, 2013
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Free from self, Friend.
I was awakened at 3:30 this morning. Nothing happened, no noises or movements. I was just suddenly awake. This has happened from time to time ever since I have been filled with the Spirit. It usually means I get to pray for an hour or so. Over the last two years it has been more frequent, corresponding to a prompting from God about turning up the prayer fire in our church. For the last 6 weeks, since He spoke to me about a new emphasis on prayer in the closet, it has gotten almost predictable. I believe God is doing something serious in the realm of prayer, and I am going to be part of it! As I lay there praying, I noted the content of my prayer: it was not about me. I believe we spend too much of our precious prayer time talking to God about ourselves. Thin how bored you get when someone talks incessantly about themselves. Now how do you think God feels? Two things keep us bound to the tether of self in our prayer life:
· Sin consciousness: I was taught when I first came to the Lord that I should start every session of prayer by examining myself and repenting of every wrong I could remember. What a ridiculous waste of time! I am designed to walk in constant fellowship with God. If I do something that offends Him, I confess it immediately and it is immediately removed. (1 Jn 1:9) I do not have to carry the guilt and weight of my failures around all day until my designated prayer time. I deal with it when it happens. When I enter the prayer closet I go in talking about Him, not about me. I enter His gates with thanksgiving, not repenting. As long as the devil can keep me focused on my failures he keeps my prayer life centered on me. That prevents me from praying about things that might actually be fruitful.
· Need consciousness: Our wonderful message of faith teaches us that our needs were taken care of in the work of Christ at Calvary. When I pray about my needs, I pray one time, believe I receive, then I go on with the business of the Kingdom. It is done! That should mean that my personal prayer time is not taken up with praying repeatedly about my own needs. I am a tither, therefore the window of heaven are open to me. I am healed by the stripes of Jesus, and that is a done deal. Unfortunately, our prayers are often consumed with the recitation of our own needs and desires. Sometimes we dress them up as confessions of “faith” or expressions of feigned thanksgiving, but the desperate tone gives us away. We are really just nagging in the fear-driven hope that He will relent and actually meet the need we claim we have already received. That is not faith, it is badgering. The needs of others are either forgotten or relegated to a quick “God bless Billie Sue,” as we spend our intimate time with the Father wheedling Him about our own fancies. The world waits for a church that is not self-obsessed.
God thinks He forgave your sin when you confessed it, and met your need when you asked Him. Isn’t there something else you could find to talk to him about?
Somebody Said: "Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still." E. M. Bounds
Scripture Reading Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should. (Eph 6:18-20 NLT)
Our closet time with the Father need not be like a visit to the Principal’s Office, or a trip to see Santa at the department store. It can be a time of intimate interaction with a beloved companion, and an opportunity to impact eternity on behalf of others. I encourage you to listen to the content of your closet conversations. Who commands the spotlight?
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