Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prayer Beyond the Camera Lens Part 2

Whether He was afar off, or in their midst, we do not know, but what we know as fact is that after Jesus ceased praying, one of His disciples came to Him and said, 'Lord teach us to pray.'
I imagine it must have done Christ's heart good to realize that His disciples had grown in their maturity enough to realize the the importance of prayer. The disciple did not ask Him to teach them how to take up an offering, how to draw a crowd, or even how to perform miracles. They wanted to be taught how to pray, because they realized, prayer opens the storehouse of all of God's gifts and blessings.
Effective, fervent prayer, practiced by a righteous man avails much. They realized that if they learned to pray effectively, they possessed the key with which they could access healing, prophecy, visions, tongues, and all the other gifts.
With what hope remains in our burdened hearts, let us return our focus toward the One who changed the world by His works and words, while He walked among us. What we know, by way of the Word, is that Jesus spent much time in prayer. The hours he spent alone, in fellowship with the Father, are incalculable, and beyond what any of us might imagine. Yes, Jesus prayed, that Jesus, the Son of God, the selfsame one that went about performing miracles, from lame men walking to the dead rising. If Jesus prayed, ought we not also pray? Or is our self image so inflated that we believe ourselves to be above the need for prayer?
Even though He spent countless hours in prayer, there are surprisingly few of his prayers redacted by His disciples within the pages of Scripture. Often times, being sought by His followers, Jesus was found alone, away from the crowds, in less traveled places, praying by Himself.
Jesus did not enter the house of Matthew the tax collector, or Simon the leper, and dripping of the pomposity so often attributed to modern day pastors say, 'now, before another word is uttered, let us pray!' He did not parade his religiosity in front of others, attempting to prove He was a man of prayer, even though they all knew He was a man of prayer.
It is documented within the four gospels that Christ spent much time in prayer. This cannot be disputed, but it was mostly alone, with the Father, not before the crowds trying to impress them with His spirituality. It is only on rare occasions, that we find Him praying in public, and even then His prayers were short and to the point, unlike the endless and winding prayers of the pharisees.
Jesus does speak of public prayer, of coming together in fellowship, but He stresses the attitude, and the motives of those who pray, rather than the public prayer itself. It is the attitude and the intent with which we pray, that either gives weight and value to our prayers, or causes them to go unheard and unrewarded.
When transparency, honesty and humility are combined with the knowledge and respect of God's will, they open up the very heavens, and cause God to hear our supplications.
Although it is not absolutely necessary for other men to hear our prayers, they will inevitably see and be influenced by lives which are fueled and inspired by sincere and intense prayer.
You will not see those who spend any real time on their faces before God in prayer, walking about with their heads held high, hoping to draw the attention of the crowd by their loftiness, but all who come in contact with such men, will plainly read the goodness, godliness, and dignity in their eyes nonetheless.
The power and the efficiency of a prayer does not lie in its beauty, how well crafted and eloquent it is, how well it flows and crescendos, but in how beautiful the life of the one praying is, in the sight of God.
For many Christians today, prayer has become a ritualistic reflex, rather than a natural impulse, or an expression of the liberty which grows and matures naturally in an authentic relationship between God and man. Relationships must be cultivated, and prayer is the means by which we cultivate our relationship with God. When we pray, we ought to be more concerned with the ethic of our prayer, than the aesthetic of our supplication, to be more interested in the content rather than the form.
A man of prayer learns, upon establishing relationship with Christ that he ought to be more captivated by the One in whose presence he has come, and appreciate the privilege he has been offered, than concerned with the wants and needs on his mind, summarily categorized by urgency and relevance.
We have become too interested in how others perceive our prayers, or what impression we are making on them, than how God perceives them and receives them. I do believe there is such a thing as a worthless prayer, and this occurs when men pray simply to impress other men, when sin, such as pride or bitterness, keeps the prayer from ascending beyond the ceiling fan.
For many Christians today, prayer is no longer viewed as an investment in their relationship with God, but as a means of escaping impossible situations. Prayer for many is the last resort, the escape hatch, bending the knee when everything else has failed.
If in times of crisis their prayers receive no answers, in a timely fashion and within the terms they have outlined for God, then they view prayer as a useless exercise.
Tomorrow, we discuss the power of true prayer from a sincere heart, why it is necessary to have a prayer life even when you don't have problems, and the spiritual rewards of a life of prayer.
For now I leave you with the peace of Christ, and am off to make myself some hot tea, since it seems I have caught my wife's cold.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

After thirty plus years attempting the Jesus prayer, the only thing that this prayer has done is make The Lord of Hosts glory easy to fall into.
Like breathing, prayer has become a need. One gets purified and burned more like refined Gold.
It's awsome

Anonymous said...

hey michael,

i hope your health finds you in a better way today, and i may have missed it in this present post, but another of my peeves at a group prayer is when someone (usually a pastor) has a bone to pick and uses his or her prayer time as a platform to preach upon us and the one we have gathered before to seek. i just wonder how the Lord responds to the verbose when our hearts are screaming "Lord, have mercy on us for we are sinners"


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully said, Michael. The importance of prayer cannot be overstated. You have summed up what the intent of prayer ought to be, and summed it up well.

Many years ago I realized that I prayed mostly when I needed something or some sort of tragedy was happening. In my youth, physical and spiritual, it was easy to over look prayer when "things were going my way". As I have grown, I find it to be the complete opposite; If I neglect my prayer life, I find myself slipping into neediness, discontent and I become overly concerned with really ridiculous stuff.

I can immediately feel the effects of not enough prayer in my life, and I thank the Lord that He sees fit to remind me when I slip.

Mrs. Pugh

Anonymous said...

Sobering post. Saying prayers in a particular "fashion" has been taught as the "spiritual" way to demonstrate ones closeness to has led to so many of us carefully crafting prayers, very conscious of the people around us that we have forgotten to whom we are praying and in whose presence we have come. In many cases, prayer has become a demand to make God do something for us and not to hear what He wants us to do for His kingdom.

You make an important point that I've never really considered "an expression of the liberty which grows and matures naturally in an authentic relationship between God and man"...


Anonymous said...

If the Lord leads would you mind summarizing what you believe are the foundational “routines” a child of God should be practicing on a continual (daily) basis. By that I mean (as an example); a daily/weekly routine of study, prayer, fasting, and fellowship is needed to be able to have discernment, the ability to work in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ability to work in your called ministry, etc. I don’t know if I have those in the right order (or if I have the right things in there) but I think you get the idea.

I know scripture talks about a pecking order to things; one thing comes before another. For example, before a Christian can be given responsibility in a “big” thing he/she needs to show responsibility in a “small” thing. Also, before we can offer up praise and thanksgiving we need to be walking in obedience and not have something against our brother, or walking in sin.

My reason for asking is because our church is in transition. We have an interim pastor (being considered for a permanent position) that wants us to identify ourselves and declare what we are, what our focus is, what our ministry will be, etc. I think however he’s asking a bunch of 5th graders to do calculus. We have put together a handbook to help potential pastors understand who we are at present, but to declare some of the things he wants us to do, I don’t think we are there yet.

We have a few people in our church that I would consider mature Christians, but most are still babes in Christ. I think he’s asking them to do something that they are not ready to do. Right now…if they give their opinion, that’s all it will be; their opinion and not one born out of discernment. We even have a few people in leadership that don’t believe that God can actually tell us His will. I’m not saying that I have the answers, but I do know that we need to be in a place to hear what the Lord has to say before we declare anything.

I doubt I will have much influence, but I would like to carry a chart of some sort to one of our meetings that shows these foundational “routines” and then ask, “Is everyone practicing these things? If not, then let’s focus on these before we go any further.”

So far, my wife and I seem to be the only ones that believe that judgment is coming. One other person is in agreement, but everyone else doesn’t seem to share the same opinion. If they do, they haven’t voiced that. Excluding that fact (the coming judgment) from these discussions, I believe, will cause us to head in a wrong direction.

You’re probably wondering if I shouldn’t be in another congregation all together that does share these views; but for now I feel led to be here. Your blog has certainly helped with fellowshipping with like-minded believers.

Obviously you don’t need to post this. Again, respond only if you feel led to do so. I value your opinion on these things. Like Paul, he went up to see the apostles to be sure that he wasn’t preaching in vain.

God Bless,

A Seed Sower said...

Thank you brother Michael for calling us to account, to exhorting us to prayer...we are dumb ole sheep you know and we need to be nudged back on track.. that we may be used to further The Kingdom of God.
Oh and PS..Ebony is home..Praise God, she has a long road (they say)
ahead, but God can shorten that road to full recovery, Praise His Holy name, and thanks to all who have prayed for Ebony..
Helen B

Elm Street Chapel said...


You are correct in inferring that it is always the condition of the heart that God looks at when men call upon Him.

One who loves the Lord and knows Him, knows His voice. I believe that the fervant affectual prayer of a righteous man avails much. I also believe in the mercy of God and that as it is written, His mercy endures forever.

As a son or daughter of God, a true brother or sister of our beloved Saviour, we should always not only be found in prayer, but in communion with God. A man of God once said, if you find me out of conversation with man, you will find me in conversation with God. It cannot be a one way conversation. If we do not open our ears to hear from God, or wait upon Him when He ushers us into His presence through worship (in Spirit and in Truth), we have not understood the whole reason why Jesus did what He did. He came to restore fellowship with the Father.

Whether or not this man (governor of GA) has ever prayed in secret for rain, during a personal time with the Lord, only God will know. But to go on your knees before God, acknowledging that God is our ever present help in time of need, and to call upon His name in public when all else has failed, I believe, is not evil in and of itself,

God alone knows the outcome, but from the scriptures and experience, we know that the Lord can rule in the heart of a wicked king. How much more in one that openly calls upon the Lord for the people of his state when in need?

I could be off here, but I just cannot see any evil in asking God for rain in this situation.

God bless,