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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 32

Prayers of Intercession continued...

1 John 3:21-22, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

We have confidence toward God when our heart does not condemn us. When we know that we are keeping His commandments and doing those things pleasing in His sight, we can approach the throne room of grace, we can approach the seat of mercy with the confidence that whatever we ask, we will receive from Him.

Only when we have confidence toward God, only when we know we are doing those things that are pleasing in His sight can we come before Him with prayers of intercession on behalf of others and know He will hear us and answer our prayers.

When we possess confidence, we possess certitude. When we possess certitude it shows in the way we come before God, in the way we pray, and in the way we present ourselves before Him.

Some time ago I had to retake the written portion of my driver’s license exam. My license had expired, and since I was in Romania at the time, I could not renew it in a timely manner. When I finally got around to it, I was told I’d have to retake the written test, and a new license would be issued to me.

There were others who were taking the same test, and just by looking at them one could tell whether they had studied for it or not. Those who knew the material, those who had taken the time to study for their test, had a certain confidence about them, they had a sureness that could not be quantified, yet was readily visible in their mannerisms.

Those who had not studied, were likewise easy to spot, exhibiting signs of stress from chewing on their fingernails, to biting their lips, to staring at the ceiling as though expecting the answer to come from on high.

We must have confidence toward God when praying prayers of intercession, and the only way we can have confidence toward Him, is if we are keeping His commandments, and doing those things which are pleasing in His sight.

It is a difficult endeavor to attempt interceding for another, when we, ourselves, have not dialogued with God in next to forever. It is a difficult endeavor to pray prayers of intercession that someone might repent, and return to the path of righteousness, when we, ourselves, are in need of the selfsame repentance we are praying for others to experience.

When the heart condemns us, we have no confidence toward God.

If this is the case, then the first step we must take is repenting for that which our heart is condemning us of. Before interceding for another, before praying prayers of intercession for loved ones and neighbors, we must first deal with ourselves, and make certain our heart is no longer condemning us, so we might come before Him with confidence.

God will speak to you through your heart more often, and more clearly, than He ever will through prophecy, or a word of knowledge. When our hearts are tender toward God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit inhabits it, it is through the heart that God will warn us first and foremost. Only when we have discounted the voice of God and ignored the heart repeatedly, will God send a vessel to give us a word of warning or admonition.

The surrendered heart, and the confidence we exhibit toward God in prayer when our heart does not condemn us, is like the canary in a coalmine. It is the first to sense when there is something off, the first to sense when something needs to be dealt with in our lives. Before the advent of ventilation systems, gas detectors and other gadgets and inventions that made the lives of miners a little easier, they used to take a caged canary down in the mine with them, as a warning system as to the presence of methane gas or carbon monoxide. Canaries are extremely sensitive to both methane and carbon monoxide, and they would feel it long before it rose to dangerous levels for humans. As long as the canary kept singing, the miners knew everything was fine, and they could keep working. When the canary stopped singing, they knew this signaled an evacuation.

As long as your heart does not condemn you, and you have confidence towards God, the canary is singing, and all is well. When your heart condemns you, and you no longer have confidence toward Him, then it’s time to seek out the hindrance, seek out the stumbling block, and remove it with all due diligence.

Just like the miners of old took the death of the canary seriously enough to evacuate the mine, not waiting to see if another would die, not wondering if it was just a false alarm, or performing an onsite autopsy to see if the canary had expired of natural causes, we as wise children of God must deal with the issues that arise in our hearts before they have a chance to grow, and bloom and deepen their roots.

With each passing day we ignore that which our heart is condemning us for, it only grows stronger, and what could have been plucked from the soil of the heart with little effort and a solid grip, will require chainsaws, axes, a backhoe and a few strong backs, given enough time.

Because our heart is condemning us, we have no confidence toward God. Because we have no confidence toward God we no longer have fellowship with Him, and because we no longer have fellowship with Him, what caused us not to have confidence toward God in the first place, grows unhindered and unchecked.

This is a preventable death spiral, avoidable if only we would humble ourselves, be sensitive to the voice of God, and remedy whatever needs remedying in our lives and hearts.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

This series on prayer is so powerful! Oh, I am being touched so deeply, with such conviction, that I have allowed my prayer life to become rather rote and superficial. Thank you for rekindling my desire to really reach out to God from my heart. It's so easy to allow the everyday cares and routines of life to steal our focus away from our First Love, before we realize what's happening.

Thank you and bless you,

Melanie

MarsHill said...

Thanks Mike,
I'm enjoying reading through this series and the one on the Holy Spirit. Obviously I'm behind, but slowly moving through it. We are having the girls read both blogs as part of their home schooling assignments. Thanks again.

I'm looking forward to your visit in December.

God Bless,
Jeff