Why do we pray?

There are many different reasons why people pray.  The list I make here is not all inclusive.  I can say this though – we pray for direction and we ask for protection. We pray for His guidance and leading.  Then we ask to be protected from the spiritual warfare that we encounter everyday.  He gives us the armor of God!

Some of the other reasons we pray:  to grow consistently closer to Jesus, to have private worship times be more intense then public worship, to lead out of the overflow of our walk with God, to lead our homes in worship, to reach out to those around us, to live a life of integrity, to be pure as we lead, to worship as we lead others to do so, to lead solely in God’s power, to receive and be open to the gifts and blessings that are sent by God.  All the gifts that God sends us are good.  It is what we do with them that matters.   So the list goes on.  There are those who bear their burdens silently and do not let others know.  We would pray for peace them and for the disenfranchised.  

There are many reasons to pray for the Body of Christ, the church and the world.  A word to the wise – be careful what you pray for.  Take note, to pray is not a simple one time act.  It is a way of life.  Prayer is to the church, as a bat is to a ball.

A Changed Heart

We have all taken a survey or done assessment at one time or another.  A customer service survey or a performance assessment are the most prevalent in the world today.  Everything is built around customer service and we are asked to assess the service that we received.  There is real value in customer service because every business has something to sell and without the customer the business would be unable to exist.  Business needs to retain that customer and have them keep coming back, so they use different tactics and strategies to do that but more important then any of that is the customer service experience.

There are all kinds of assessments out there; a health assessment, workout goals and assessment, teaching assessment, a relative values assessment and the list goes on.   What about a spiritual assessment?  Taking the time to exercise and evaluate where we are in our spiritual life.  Taking the time to see what I need to cut out of my life and what I need to make a regular part of my daily life.  If I think to highly or to little of myself then I am selfish.  I need to be more selfless and more other oriented.

You see, we do not save ourselves.  If we could there would be no need for God.  Nor are we saved by others.  We are saved by grace and that comes by way of faith and not by the mercy of others.  It is God’s grace that upholds truth and eliminates superiority.  There is no heirarchy in the Body of Christ.  As Christians and members of one body, we can get ‘uppity’ or turn up our noses at others and think that we are better then others.  As Christians and members of one body we are all valued the same by God through faith.  Even membership in a church can get askew.  Church membership does not make one a member of the body of Christ or the Church of Christ.

A healthy church body needs each member to be functioning with each other.  Lack of function or disfunction can cause disunity among the church body.  It is according to God’s grace that we have all been given different gifts.  We use these gifts to build the Body of Christ.  We use these gifts to build the Church.  We find that it is in serving that we edify others in the Body of Christ.  God has given spiritual gifts for each believer to use in the spreading of God’s Word.  These gifts must be consistent with spiritual doctrine.   Teaching this doctrine is the transmission of spiritual truthes.

We are humbly to use our gifts given to us by God, for God.  A changed heart is not silent.

One Shining Moment

If we take a look at all the characters or people in the Bible, although all of them are important, there are a few that stand out. For example, Eve and Adam are known for eating the forbidden fruit and causing this whole mess.  The apple was more than a sin of disobedience.  It was a sin that condemned  all of mankind. Another one is David.  Killing the giant Goliath with only a sling shot and stone is David’s defining moment.  There are certainly others but let us move to the New Testament.  The most important here, or rather, in all of the Bible is Jesus Christ.  Death on a cross and rising from the dead is the defining moment for Jesus.  If that never happened then Christianity does not exist.  For the greatest orator that ever existed, the conversion of Saul into Paul and becoming blind by the bright light was his defining moment.  

Again, there are others but the one that stands out to me is in the Old Testament. Siani is the defining moment of Moses’ ministry.  Going up that mountain and still not able to see God but coming down with the tablets of the ten commandments. Then becoming angry about the golden calf and destroying the commandments.  All of this and look at what came of it – the Mosaic Law and a relationship with God that no other prophet has had since.

The passage of time does not change the events of history but the events of history do determine the future.  If we look at the meat of the Bible and the meaning behind the history recorded within, we can be sure that God’s message is clear – love, acceptance, relationship, eternal life. For me these are the key concepts and everything else falls under one of these.

I see myself clearest when I see God fullest.  What is the practical application of this statement?  The best example of this would be worship.  Direct worship is considered to be sacred because it is time alone with God.  Time set aside to be with God and listen to Him and talk with Him.  Every moment of a twenty-four hour day is God’s.  It is time with Him.  It allows me to rest on the truth that God wants His best for me. Indirect worship is those moments of the day that are not set aside for God and this is secular.  Those moments not set aside are “me” time – they are time for “me”.

I live as long as god wants me to live.  I will be on this earth until God is done with me.  In the mean time, do I stand on the premises of the church and seek the support of the church?  Or, do I stand on the promises of God and seek His support?

 

 

Love one another

As we grow and mature in Christian beliefs, we learn that our focus is to be on God and our debt to love one another.  Love goes beyond liking others.  It was because of God’s divine love for us that the law was given to us.  If love is the fulfillment of the law then no law can sqaush or hinder the power of love.  No law is complete if love is not the motive.

It is love that distinguishes us as Christians.  “—and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love – yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”  Salvation is a process that is only completed when Jesus returns.  

A sense of urgency distinguishes Christians.  The power of scripture and the power of prayer.  We fight temptation with God’s Word and prayer.  We protect ourselves with God’s armor.  It is salvation that frees us and saves us from the yoke of this world and from the temptation to sin.  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”(1Cor10:13).  

Salvation is nearer now then when we first believed.

 

God’s Will

If we cannot know God’s mind then how can we know God’s will for our life?  
The Bible is replete with metaphors that make it hard to understand how we are to do this when we cannot do that.   
The removal of the Kingdom of God from Isreal and its leaders.  Is that by election or grace?
Election and grace  —  they are inseperable.
Paul make it clear in his letters that God did not reject His loved ones.  God did not reject Isreal. Isreal rejected God.
Through every generation, God has reserved a remnant, by grace.
The hardening of Isreal’s heart is part of God’s redemptive plan.  He does not harden a neutral heart.
The riches of salvation are given to believers by God.
The fulfillment of prophecy is not a matter of seeing what will happen and acting accordingly.  Rather, it is a matter of living and acting according to God’s word now and when we see what will happen, we let it happen for we are prepared.  We let God be God and do what He does best and that is LOVE us.
God is immutable; man is mutable.  God’s call of redemption is irrevocable.