A couple of more thoughts related to a call we received this week on Prayerline.
You will remember that the woman said that she was “offended” because she thought we were “taking prayer lightly”...we were “communicating with one another”, while one prayed another was writing, etc.
She stated that this was “very sad to me, very offensive to me”.
Then with a righteous, declarative voice stated that “I am a southern baptist, and we…”
Her phone was cutting in and out, so portions were unclear. But, it is clear that she was speaking of the awe of God and reverence of God.
This is good.
I am not questioning her faith.
I am not questioning her prayer.
I am making some observations.
She could only “see” prayer in a particular style. Anything else was “offensive.”
It goes without saying...though I’ll say it… ...that we are not to “take on an offense” for God.
She was exalting her experience, her denomination, her “style” above God…
Now, hear what the Lord has to say about prayer. He says much, but one particular passage comes to mind.
1 Thess. 5:17
“Pray without ceasing.”
We are called to never cease praying.
What does this mean?
Well it can’t mean to “never cease assuming the position.”
If I were to say to most of us “let us pray” we would immediately assume a position like a group of spiritual Pavlov dogs.
Some would bow their heads.
Some would close their eyes.
Some would genuflect.
Some would kneel.
Some would question “but we are not ‘in church’ ?“
Prayer is simply communion with God.
We are to be in constant, never ceasing communion with the Lord.
Yes, there is a time of private prayer.
Yes, there is a time of quiet, contemplative, meditative prayer.
Yes, there is a time of corporate prayer.
Yes, there is a time of loud, unrestrained crying out to the Lord.
But, the reality is that all that we do is prayer/communion...either to/with God...or to/with something else...
I was asked recently, “doesn’t God already know what we need...what we want, etc. Why do we have to ask?”
Prayer is not for the benefit of God...He doesn’t have to be “clued in” to what is happening with us.
It is for us.
It is for us to hear the Lord.
It is for us to receive the revelation of the Lord.
It is for us to hear the heart of the Father.
True prayer comes from the throne of the Lord through us to Him.
True prayer comes from us to the throne back to us.
It is a symbiotic mystery that is to never cease.
We know that in the Lord we live and breath and have our very being.
This is the life of the Spirit...the life of prayer...the life of the true believer in the Lord.
How then are we to react when we have an encounter with someone who has...well...?
The Word tells us…
The context of the passage above explains our response…the Spirit fires off a series of commandments...
1 Thess 5:14-22
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint-hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
16 Rejoice always
17 Pray without ceasing
18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil
Our response to the caller?
“be patient with all”
“in everything give thanks”
More later...too long now… ...but, there are a couple of interesting things yet to examine…
Here is a phrase… “upon your night bed”...think on it.
Also, there is a phrase in the passage above that is often asked, often taught about, but rarely do folk realize that the answer is so simple and straightforward. Do you see it?
Today’s reading from the “So That’s Why?” Bible consists of pp. 1167-1172.