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Monday, July 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 130

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

We are wrought with indecision because although the word of God, our conscience, and our instincts tell us one thing, men who’ve been attending seminaries for decades, have degrees in Hebrew and Greek, and shepherd congregations of thousands tells us otherwise.

The inner conflict arises when we give heed to anyone other than Christ, and the word of God, allowing contradictory viewpoints into our heart because we’ve been conditioned to hear all sides of the story before we make a decision.

The devil is a liar…that’s all the story I need to know. Knowing that our enemy is the great deceiver, and he’s been at this for millennia, it is logical to conclude that if you hear him out, if you give him the time, he will do his utmost to cause you to stray from truth. Sadly, in many cases he even succeeds in drawing individuals away from the love and grace of Christ, and this is evident in all the aberrant pseudo-Christian denominations still sprouting up like fungi after a summer rain.

In a hundred yard journey being off by one degree doesn’t really make much of a difference. In a ten thousand mile journey however, being off course by one degree can very well put you in another country, if not on another continent.

The point is that this journey we are on is not for a day or a week...it is a lifelong journey and any deviation from the path, even one as small as one degree can have dire consequences at the end of it.

The enemy isn’t trying to get believers to become atheists, he’s just trying to get them to believe Jesus can do, or does, less than He promises, thereby doubting the Christ Himself, and allowing uncertainty and unbelief to take root in the heart.

The enemy we face is by no means new at this, and he has made an art form of subtleness and finesse.

‘Hey, come on now, do you really believe Jesus turned water into wine, or walked on water? Don’t you think it made more sense if these things were symbolic representations of lessons He was attempting to teach?’

‘Hey, come on now, do you really think the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost and filled one hundred and twenty people with some sort of power? Don’t you think it made more sense if by the Holy Spirit Jesus really meant our conscience?’

And so, one thing leads to another, baby step follows baby step until we find ourselves in the wilderness, surrounded by wolves, having only an NIV Bible and a pack of Twizzlers for defense.

One of the worst things to happen to the household of faith within the last hundred years is that we came to believe we could let others fight our battles for us.

‘Why tire yourself out? Why spend countless nights in prayer, reading the word, praying for power, when for a small fee we will do the fighting for you?’

It seemed like such a great deal until those we hired to fight our battles took our money and ran, and since we’d gotten so comfortable just being static, and altogether rusty from not raising a sword in years, we decided it was more profitable to wave the white flag of surrender.

Since the beginning of time men of God understood, and inherently so, that no one can fight your battles for you, and if you are called to stand on the frontlines sending a surrogate just won’t cut it.

Another aspect of their relationship with God that all true servants understood, and understand to this day, is the need for obedience, whether the task set before us is great or small. God does not look at the size of the task He assigns us; His only concern is if it was carried out or not.

Some today, look upon their assigned tasks and refuse to do them because they deem them beneath their level of wisdom, understanding or notoriety. They refuse obedience because they feel as though God should have called them to something greater, not realizing that whatever God has called you to, wherever He has called you to, is where He needs you at that particular moment.

There are others still, who attempt general obedience whenever God tells them to do a certain, specific thing. They take it upon themselves to improve upon what God has commanded, as though He needed help, or they knew better than He.

Although a gilded chariot is more bombastic than a glass of water, to a man dying of thirst in the desert, it is the glass of water that he would prize above ten gilded chariots.

Do what God tells you to do, be aware of the details, and follow His instructions to the letter. He knows best…He always has, and He always will.

Not only did Abraham obey God, he also believed God. Doubt in its many forms is the bane of the Christian experience. We start to stand on faith, only to allow the enemy to sow seeds of doubt in our hearts, and if they are not quickly and permanently exterminated, they grow, and bloom, and choke off the faith we once had altogether.

Before you can bend the knee and petition God for anything, you must first determine whether or not you possess faith that your prayer will be answered. Prayer is an act of faith. Absent faith, prayer is just you and I talking to the ceiling.

If you lack faith, then first and foremost pray for faith, then once you know you have come into possession of it, petition God for other things. Faith is a crucial element of prayer, one that Abraham not only possessed, but demonstrated frequently.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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