Here are five things that should characterize our daily prayer life:
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16)
“Continue in prayer” Colossians 4:2).
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).
“Giving thanks always” (Ephesians 5:20).
Prayer should be more than just saying words, mentioning names, or making requests. It should be with genuine spiritual feeling and exercise. If this were true perhaps there would be more reality to our prayers resulting in more power and blessing.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The word for temptation here is really trial or difficulty. That could be a variety of things, but remember—“God is faithful.” He will not allow you to be swamped by the trial so that you don’t make it. If you feel overwhelmed it is because you are not following the pattern of King David, who said, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).
He has allowed the difficulty for a reason. Ask Him why He has let this trial into your life. Even though it may seem that He doesn’t hear your cry for help, He really does. And He’s ready to help you. He’ll provide a “way of escape.” Take it!
“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
No doubt many of you have your week all planned out. If you’re like me, you like organization and order. But how often do we look back at the end of the day or the end of the week and realize it didn’t really turn out the way we had hoped? Sometimes it’s very frustrating isn’t it?
However, if the Lord changes our plans, it is good to recognize it and accept it. He knows what’s best, and often when He changes our direction it is to keep us from getting into some trouble, physically, morally, or spiritually. Let’s learn, this week, to thank him for the roadblocks, the changes, and the thwarting of our plans, realizing that He really does know best. David reminds: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23).
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head” (Genesis 3:15).
These words, spoken to Satan, by God, after Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, were the basis for God being able to bless, not only our first parents, but all through the Old Testament, and right up until the cross.
From the coats of skin, to the passover Lamb, to the promise to the repentant thief hanging by the Lord Jesus, God was looking on to the fact that His beloved Son, the seed of the woman, would bear the penalty for sin, give His life, shed His precious blood, and rise again from the dead. Peter speaks of it this way: “A lamb…who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:19-20).
Don’t forget to worship and thank the one who had this wonderful plan of blessing from eternity past, and the one who came in obedience and love, and made it all possible.
“I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). “Prepare to met thy God” (Amos 4:12).
On Thursday I mentioned a poster hanging in a classroom in Georgetown, Saint Vincent. In that same classroom there was another poster, with the slogan:
“You are the key to your Future!”
While I realize the thought behind this, to encourage young people to work hard and get through school so that they can secure the necessary employment for life, yet there is something ironic about this slogan that applies to our eternal future.
As to the future after we leave this world, we are not the key. No, Christ and the work of the cross are the key, and everything hinges on whether we accept God’s offer of pardon and mercy on the basis of that work. So, as far as eternity it would be better to say,
“Christ is the key to your Future!”
The door of heaven will never open for you unless you are saved. The Father’s house is prepared, are you?
Q. When I pray it seems that God doesn’t always answer my prayers. Can you shed some light on this subject?
A. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. God always answers our prayers, but it may not be in the way that we had hoped.
There are really three answers to prayer:
1. YES! If our wise Father sees it is for our blessing and according to His will He will grant the request. “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
2. NO! If it is not for our good and not according to His will He will deny the request. That’s why we need to always pray in the spirit of the Lord Jesus, “Not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
3. WAIT! This is perhaps the hardest answer of all. Sometime the request is right but the timing is wrong. Several times in the Psalms, David said, “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
The next time you have a request, listen for the answer of your loving God and Father, and accept the answer whatever it may be.
The other day my missionary friend and I were talking to the students in the electrical shop at the high school in Georgetown, Saint Vincent. As my friend, Mr. Seymour addressed the class of some fifty students I noticed a poster on the wall at the back of the room. This is what it said:
“Infections start from a scratch, get first aid.”
It made me think of the little things we allow in our spiritual life as well. If we don’t judge them and take care of them according to the Word of God, they take root and become bigger problems and bigger sins. That’s why believers need to daily follow the instruction recorded by the Apostle John, who wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
When we judge and confess the little sins in our life they never spread and become big sins. Don’t let the infection of sin spread; take care of it through God’s remedy, and He will “cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” In other words, you will be kept from going any further in the wrong direction…the infection won’t spread, it will be cured instead.
In the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England, there hangs a painting of a Roman soldier faithfully standing guard at his post in the ancient city of Pompeii. The artist, Edward Poynter, painted it in 1865, and entitled it, Faithful Unto Death. The inspiration for this painting was an archaeological discovery in that city, of a soldier encased in ash in full military uniform. The volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 covered the city in lava and ash cutting off the people and halting their activities in a moment of time.
The Christians in the early church at Smyrna were facing martyrdom for their testimony. But they were encouraged to be faithful even in the face of such persecution. “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Most of us will never be called to lay down our lives for Christ in this way, but we need to be faithful in whatever He asks us to do and whatever test and trials He gives us to bear.
Sometimes things look pretty bleak and dismal. I was feeling kind of down recently, but a Christian friend of mine said to me the other day, “If the outlook is dark, try the up-look.”
I took it as good, sound, Biblical advice, and it has helped. In fact, it reminded me of a couple of contrasting verses in the Old Testament.The first one is, “If one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow” (Isaiah 5:30). In contrast David records: “They looked unto Him, and were lightened” (Psalm 34:5). In other words, if we are only looking at things from an earthly standpoint we are going to be discouraged and disheartened. However, looking to the Lord and viewing life from a heavenly perspective brings light and encouragement, even when things aren’t going so well. The days may be dark, but there is light in the midst of it through the Lord Jesus who said, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).