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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 111

Hindered Prayer continued...

Neither God, nor believers in general need the devil’s propaganda. We do not need the approval of the world, or the validation of the world, and Paul having been on the other side of the isle, knew the ways and means the enemy employed to distract and otherwise cause the children of God to lose their focus.

Even when godless men praise us, we ought not to receive it, or acknowledge it. Far too many believers have been caught up in the need to have the world’s approval, accolades, and honors, so much so that they have even compromised the truth for it, and have in turn been compromised themselves.

If we read the entirety of the scripture passage in Acts, we see that although Paul cast the spirit of divination out of the servant girl, the enemy did in point of fact reach his desired objective. He did in fact stop the followers of Christ from going to prayer, because they ended up in prison.

If it were anybody else, chances are that having just received many stripes, and having one’s feet fastened in stocks would have diminished the desire to pray. For Paul and Silas however, even finding themselves in prison, beaten, and locked up tight, prayer was still a necessity.

If we are truly committed to the cause of Christ, the enemy might set us back momentarily, he might hinder us from prayer for a while, but we will inevitably return to prayer the first chance we get.

It is only when we ourselves give up, it is only when we ourselves break faith and grow discouraged that the enemy can keep us from prayer for a protracted amount of time.

Purpose in your heart, that whatever the hindrance, whatever the obstacle, whatever the roadblock, it will not stop you from coming before God in prayer, and it will not deter you from having fellowship with Him and being in His presence.

You don’t have to be in a fancy church with plush pews in order to pray. Paul and Silas bore this out, and proved it beyond doubt.

So here they were, beaten, their feet in stocks, and rather than bemoan their situation rather than complain concerning their predicament – especially since all they’d really done was cast out a demon and remain faithful to God – Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.

Would you be praying and singing hymns to God if as reward for your faithfulness and obedience you’d just had many stripes laid on you, had been thrown in prison, and had had your feet fastened in stocks? If not, why not?

Is it perchance due to the corrupt doctrine you received as Biblical which says that you must be happy, and wealthy, and fat, and sleek, and never have a care in the world as a child of God?

Paul and Silas were in prison for being servants of God, and manifesting the gift of casting out demons. Nobody threw them a party, nobody had a parade in their honor, they didn’t do interviews on evening news shows and try to weasel out of being servants of Jesus…they cast out a demon, and the multitude rose up against them. Then, the magistrates tore off their clothes, and commanded them to be beaten with rods. This was their earthly reward! This was what they received as recompense for having freed the servant girl, and having cast a demon out of her.

How on earth did we get this twisted as far as doctrine is concerned?

How on earth have we come to believe the things we believe, even though they are nowhere to be found within the annals of scripture?

Acts 16:25, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”

Paul and Silas were not praying and singing from the balcony of their palatial estate, they were not praying and singing from the bow of their yacht, they were not praying and singing to pass the time as their private jet was being fueled, they were praying and singing from a dingy prison cell, after having just been stripped and beaten with rods.

By what we read in Scripture we also realize that the prayers and songs of Paul and Silas were not demure, or reserved. They sang and prayed loud enough wherein the rest of the prisoners heard them, and listened to them.

It is from such fragments in the lives of the apostles, as well as the prophets of old that we are able to glean a priceless truth, one that isn’t being taught in our modern day church, and because of this, we are the worse off for it. The truth I speak of is that true joy, true peace, and true fulfillment do not consist in possessions, positions, or predilections, nor is the source of these things something readily found on this earth. True joy, true peace, true fulfillment and even true strength are found in Christ and Him alone, and they are not beholden to our circumstances, our social standing, or our material net worth.

If, as some prosperity preachers still insist, in order to have joy one must have material wealth, and in order to have peace one must possess earthly treasures, then Paul and Silas ought to have been beside themselves as they sat in prison waiting for their sentence to be passed down.

If having everything you ever wanted were indeed the key to true happiness, then how can we explain the joy of those who came before us in the direst of circumstances.

Then again, perhaps they already had everything they ever wanted, if all they’d ever really wanted was Jesus!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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