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Monday, July 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 124

Hindered Prayer continued...

God remembers the times we consider the poor. He remembers the times we reach out to help those in need, and on that great day when we stand before His throne, He will remind us of those instances wherein He was hungry and we fed Him, He was naked and we clothed Him, He was thirsty and we gave Him drink, He was a stranger and we took Him in, He was sick and we visited Him.

He will likewise remind those who did not do these things of their failure to do them, telling them that inasmuch as they did not do it to one of the least of these, they did not do it unto Him.

God identifies with the poor. He identifies with the hurting. He identifies with those in need, and when we as His children and His ambassadors extend a hand of help, and allow God to feed, comfort, and help through us, He remembers it not for a day, a year, or a decade, but for all eternity.

There is nothing we will ever do, no matter how seemingly irrelevant to us or to others, that God will gloss over, or not see. A glass of water is just a glass of water in the end, but to a thirsty person, it is an answer to prayer, and a quenching of their thirst.

God sees beyond what we give, or the value of it, to how it was given, and how it was a blessing to others.

God is omniscient, meaning all knowing, so when you gave a glass of water to a thirsty soul, He saw it, when you fed a hungry person He saw it, and when you were a comfort to someone who was hurting He saw that too.

The principle of reciprocity was made abundantly clear by Christ Himself when He said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Whatever a man sows, a man will reap. Whatever a man gives, he will receive. If we sow love, and give compassion, if we sow generosity and give comfort, when we are in need, we will receive these things in turn.

As children of God, our compassion extends beyond the material into the spiritual. It is the love of God which compels us to preach Christ to the lost and the dying, it is the love of God which compels us to go to the highways and byways and invite all who would hear to the marriage feast. If we have not love enough to do our utmost in plucking another from the mire of death and destruction, then how can we say we have the love of Christ burning in our hearts?

Most often it is the issues of the heart that hinder our prayers, and cause them to receive no answer. Although we like to downplay the importance of the heart, it is nevertheless obvious within God’s word how important it is, and how watchfully we must guard it.

Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

If we consider the words of Jesus as we ought, we come to the realization that even if we didn’t initiate whatever animosity there might be between ourselves and a brother, even if they have something against us, our duty is to first go and be reconciled, then return and offer God our gift.

Even though we might be well intentioned and desirous to bring our gift to the altar, Jesus Himself said that if we know of something we need to set aright, repent of, or fix, then without first clearing up what is weighing on our conscience, bringing a gift to the altar is an exercise in futility.

Jesus didn’t say, ‘after you bring your gift, after you finish you prayer, when you have some time in your schedule, go and make peace with your brother,’ but first be reconciled to your brother, then come to bring your gift. The priority is evident in the words of Christ. First make peace, and then come bring your gift. First make certain your heart is clean before Him, that there is nothing hindering your prayer, then come before God with boldness and ask what you will of Him.

No matter how pretty the wrapping, no matter how priceless the content, our gift will not be received of God, if our hearts know of something that might hinder our prayers, and that something is not dealt with.

Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

The word of God doesn’t say if it’s convenient, or if it’s in your best interest, but if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. How much more ought we to live peaceably with our brothers and sisters in Christ, if the word tells us we ought to strive, and do our utmost to live peaceably with all men?

Far too often we strive against our brothers and sisters, rather than strive to live peaceably with them, only to see our prayers go unanswered, and the unity within the Body start to fray.

Jesus envisioned the church as one Body, with Him as the head, and a body cannot be divided against itself and still function optimally. This is why Jesus was consistent in encouraging unity and being at peace not only with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but with all men as much as depends on us.

Granted, some have taken this notion to extremes, wherein for the sake of living peaceably they compromise the truth, their principles, and their core moral values, but if we are seeking understanding and not excuses for cowardice, we will come to know the balance between living peaceably with all men, and standing for what is right even if it costs us our lives.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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