Some thoughts on prayer

February 25, 2015

When we become too busy to pray, or don’t pray for laziness, we are saying to God, “It’s Ok, I’ve got this now. I know how to build your church. I’ve got everything I need. I’m the one with the strength.”

I read one author who said in America there are thousands of large churches built on the natural–although God-given–talents of men who depend on their own strengths and impress other men with these strengths, but God is not impressed. The author went on to say, if these had been praying men, with praying churches, just think of what God would have done.

On our own, we know very, very little and we have very, very little strength to speak of, muchness boast about.

The great news is we can know our very Great God, and, if we engage our hearts in an endless pursuit of Him, through unceasing prayer, fasting, worship, seeking Truth from His Word, we will see God do incredible things…

And it will have been God, so that no man can boast.

Here are a few notable quotes on prayer…

When man works, man works. When man prays, God works.
~Unknown

Is it not a proof that the Holy Spirit is to a great extent a stranger in the church when prayer, for which God has made such provisions, is regarded as a task and a burden? And does this not teach us to seek for the deep root of prayerlessness in our ignorance of and disobedience to the Divine Instructor, whom the Father has commissioned to teach us to pray?
~Andrew Murray

Praying people are not lazy. Prayer demands will power. Prayer recognizes unfinished business with and for God. Prayer is a battle for full-grown men, fully armed and fully awake to the possibilities of grace.
~Leonard Ravenhill

No man is greater than his prayer life. the pastor who is not praying is playing.
~Leonard Ravenhill

If we do not examine ourselves, we will never truly pray, and our lives will be lived entirely on the surface.
~Martyn Lloyd Jones

One of the greatest tragedies of prayerlessness is unemployed angels.
~Jentzen Franklin

Prayer is the greatest force in the universe. This is no exaggeration. It bears constant repeating… to remember that prayer transcends all other forces.
~F.J. Huegel

If we were truly able to grasp the power of prayer we would be on our knees a hundred times a day.
~Brother Andrew

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
~The Apostle Paul

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
~The Apostle Paul

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
~The Apostle Paul

Be shamelessly persistent and insistent… Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.
~Jesus

If you have faith and do not doubt… If you believe… You will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
~Jesus

If My people, who are called by My Name, will pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
~God, our Father

Killer Habits

February 3, 2015

Habits are learned behaviors. We can acquire them very quickly and sometimes without even realizing.

Habits can be so old, we don’t know how or why they started.

We fall into some habits simply by being with other people and doing what they do–this is socialization; for good or bad…

We may dislike some of our habits but after many years of practicing them, they can be difficult to change.

Our tendency is to live via routine and daily default to our habits because via our habits, we can carry on so much of life without having to think very much (see Our Lazy Brain). Not thinking very much about our habits causes us to become unaware of the bad ones that hurt us.

Some habits can be sending us broke. Others sending us to an early grave. Some can ruin relationships. While others rob us of our confidence and our faith.

Here are a few KILLER HABITS to think about:

Our money

  • Spending without knowing how much is in the bank
  • Not knowing how much is in the bank
  • Buy now–pay later. Anything that depreciates in dollar value is not worth paying for with credit.
  • Not considering the opportunity cost of our spending. A daily $4 coffee will cost $1,460 over a year. $460 will buy a very nice espresso machine and coffee for a year–nice coffee. Then we still have $1000 in the bank. The opportunity cost means we’ve thought about what the money could buy and then made a decision. We may still decide we want the $4 coffee or we may decide $1000 in the bank is better.

 Our health

  • Eating junk food and processed foods
  • Over eating
  • Not eating vegetables
  • Not moving enough
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Depriving ourselves of a regular good night sleep

Our relationships

  • Not listening to others–wanting to be the one with something to say
  • Gossip
  • Cynical and suspicious of people
  • Comparing ourselves to others (see below)
  • Being touchy and easily offended
  • Wanting to control a relationship, manipulative
  • Self-seeking attention-grabbing
  • Unforgiveness
  • Lack of trust and honesty
  • Taking people for granted–especially the people closest to us. Proximity can bring an over familiarity and we overlook our need to be loving, forgiving and appreciative of the people closest to us. They deserve our best; not our left overs.

Our thinking

  • Unchecked habits of mind–an unending, negative, internal self-dialogue
  • Worry
  • Doubt
  • Fear
  • Negativity
  • Comparing ourselves to others—when we come off second best we can end up depressed; or when we think we are better than others we get prideful and arrogant. It’s just not wise.
  • Giving the best our attentions to things other than God. Like our TV’s, our cars and vehicles, or other hobbies. This is idolatry.

God has given us an amazing mind with the ability to think and determine our steps, and the ability to determine our habits. But we have to work to do this.

Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We can and should daily renew our mind by putting God’s Word into our hearts, capturing negative thoughts (2Corinthians 10:5), and practicing good habits. It just take a little work, a little determination, a little humility–in recognizing areas we need to change–and in a matter of weeks, our lives can be turned around.

If you want to be someone who gets in on what Jesus is doing in His church, determine to be someone who will:

  • not play games
  • stay away from bureaucratic politicking
  • stay away from self-professed experts
  • not be bullied by peer-pressure, nor be a bully
  • not be manipulative
  • don’t gossip–not ever
  • live honestly
  • live humbly
  • live according to the Word
  • follow Jesus, eyes only on Him
  • serve
  • love people

Why am I writing this? Because we too easily get in the way of what God wants to do when we start playing games.

Power games and political games reveal an arrogant heart lifted up in competition with another person. It’s a heart full of agenda. It’s loveless.

Manipulation, bullying, peer pressure, all loveless. It’s using our brothers and sisters to get what we want.

The single purpose of gossip is to make me look or feel good–advance me–while making another look bad, pulling them down by creating doubt or suspicion. Again, loveless. It’s self-centered.

A dishonest heart before people shows a heart that is not honest with God–the relationship is shallow, or stale, or maybe there isn’t one.

Over and over Jesus showed us how to love and prefer others. He told us not to look at others jealously or longingly. But to keep our eyes on Him and follow Him only.

We are not in competition with our brothers and sisters.

In relation to Peter having his eyes on John’s close relationship with Jesus and John’s calling, Jesus said to Peter, if I want him (John) to remain alive until I return? What is that to you (Peter)? You just follow me… John 21:20-23.

Jesus was stating the ridiculous to say to Peter, Don’t look at John. You be responsible for you, and do what I’ve called you to do. He was saying, Don’t play games with who gets to do what in the church. Just follow me.