Tag Archives: Prayer

The Two Environments of a Christian

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ… — 1 Thessalonians 1:1

When Paul addressed the Thessalonian Christians, he spoke of them living in TWO locations. Geographically, they were living in Thessalonica on earth. Spiritually, they are “in Christ.”  Paul said in Ephesians 2 we live in the world, but we are also seated “in heavenly place in Christ Jesus.

Christians live in two worlds—A visible world and invisible world—A physical environment on earth and a spiritual environment in the heavenlies.

The sustaining of our spiritual life is similar to that of a whale.  A whale lives in a marine environment.  I live in Washington State, by the Puget Sound.  We are often fortunate to see a pod of Orca whales swim near our city.  It is always an impressive site to behold.

A whale would swim along water’s surface for a while.  Before submerging, it would breathe deeply and exhale by shooting up a spectacular spout then disappear beneath the surface in search of food.  That whale could stay under the water for 10-15 minutes, but must resurface for more oxygen or it would die.

The whale doesn’t know much about the world above the water, since most of it’s existence in spent in the water. Yet, although it knows little about the world above him, it still needs regular contact with it to survive.

This is a great picture of the Christians life. We know relatively little about the heavenly realm above us, since most of our activities concern  things on earth. Yet, we must stay in constant contact with the world above us for spiritual breath to maintain our growth in the Lord. That heavenly contact is made through prayer, worship, and nourishment from God’s Word.

While your citizenship in heaven, you live on earth now.  Therefore, in order to grow spiritually stay in regular contact with your heavenly home and heavenly Father.

God’s Prayer Challenge

God’s Prayer Challenge

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. —Jeremiah 33:3

God has been convicting me about my prayer life recently.  It is not that I’m not praying. I do pray (although not as much as I should).  The area God has convicted me is about the content and smallness of my prayers.  My prayers have been pretty anemic at times.

The content of person’s prayers, or their lack of prayer, reflects what they believe about God. For example, if a person doesn’t pray, it says they either don’t believe in God, or they don’t believe prayer does any good. If a person prays very small prayers most of the time, it reveals either the smallness of their faith or they don’t believe God still works a big or miraculous way. If a person’s prayers are usually about themselves — “bless me, help me, comfort me, be with me” — then this reflects their belief that God is there to serve them.  Using prayer as a last resort after you’ve tried everything you know and failed, this reflects that you believe God is like a “spare tire” that you use in case of an emergency.

Can you remember any specific things you prayed for last week? If you cannot remember any, what does that say about your belief in God?  Is He just as forgettable?

Or, to put it another way: If God answered “yes” to all of your prayers last week, would there be any noticeable difference in your life… in your world? What difference?

If we want any big changes in our life or world, we must pray some BIG prayers. God challenges us to pray boldly. God says in Psalms 81:10, “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”  God is saying, “Hey, I’m the same God that delivered Israel out of Egypt. That was a big thing.  Therefore I challenge you to “open your mouth WIDE,” — make some BIG requests—“and I will fill it.” Wow!

God deliver me from small, safe, and sterile prayers.  “Lord, use me today, use me for Your glory, make me bold, stir me up, give me eyes to see the needs of those around me… give me a heart sensitive to those who are hurting…  prompt by Your Spirit to witness to those You bring in contact with.”

Ephesians 3:20— Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ASK or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

MORE GRACE

More Grace

“But he giveth more grace…” —James 4:6

God is the God of all grace (1 Pet. 5:10). God never runs out of grace. His grace is always sufficient. There is always “more grace” where that came from!  It is like a bottomless box of Kleenex—When you pull out one tissue, another appears to use… then another… then another!

An artist once submitted a painting of Niagara Falls to an exhibition, but never gave a title to it. The art gallery, faced with the need to supply one, came up with these words: “More to Follow.” Old Niagara Falls, spilling over billions of gallons per year for thousands of years, has more than met the needs of those below and is a fit emblem of the floods of God’s grace He showers upon us. There is always more to follow! The Apostle John wrote of this reality, “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace,”  literally, “grace heaped upon grace.” (John 1:16).

Just pay a visit to “the throne of grace…and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Delayed Answers

Delayed Answers

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. —Psalm 40:1

It seems now-a-days we cannot get our answers fast enough.  We send an email to someone, but when the answer doesn’t come immediately, we try to text them. If we still don’t get an instant reply we phone them on their cell.  Likewise, we sometimes get frustrated when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers quickly.

We are like David praying in Psalm 143:7, “Hear me speedily, O LORD.”  I can assure you that the Lord does HEAR us when we call, but the answer may come sometime later.  As David learned in our text, God hears our cry, but we need to wait patiently for the Lord’s answer.

Waiting on the Lord helps us to grow in faith and trusting God’s wisdom in the timing of our answer (Ps. 27:14). As James 1:3-4 teaches, “the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, WANTING NOTHING.”

God sometimes lengthens the time before answering our prayer to stretch our faith and enlarge our soul.

“Help, Lord!”

“Help, Lord!”

Lord, help me.” —Matthew 15:25

Such is the desperate prayer of a troubled mother whose daughter was vexed with a devil.  Nothing will stir our hearts to pray like a visitation of trouble at our doorstep.

Prayer thrives best in times of adversity. Help, Lord!” (Ps. 12:1) is our natural cry when we are faced with trouble. I recently read where author Eugene Peterson wrote: “The language of prayer is forged in the crucible of trouble. When we can’t help ourselves and call for help, when we don’t like where we are and want out, when we don’t like who we are and want a change, we use primal language, and this language becomes the root language of prayer.”

When Peter began to sink beneath the water of the Sea of Galilee he didn’t stop to make any special preparation to pray. He wasn’t concerned about his prayer posture.  He didn’t reach for his prayer book for find an appropriate prayer for his situation.  He just cried out, Lord, save me!”

Thank God we don’t have to understand all the mechanics and workings of prayer.  We simply need to call out to God in our distress and believe He hears us.  God invites us, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee…” (Ps. 50:15).