Sunday, November 25, 2007

Prayer Beyond the Camera Lens Part 3

My grandfather was fond of telling one particular story when attempting to accentuate the importance of a prayer life, one of perpetual fellowship with God, rather than sporadic supplication.
It is said that two men who were neighbors, went to the same church, were of the same relative age, and had been Christians the same length of time. One Sunday morning they were on their way to church, walking together, talking about the week they'd had, the animals that had gotten sick, or the cow that had given birth, just passing the time as they journeyed toward their destination. To get to church, they had to cross a hanging cross way, the only access point that connected their community to the house of worship. The walkway was old and in disrepair, and when the wind blew it shook violently. Both men stopped in front of the miniature bridge, narrow enough that only one man could traverse at a time, they looked at the rushing river below, and while one simply walked across, the other knelt to pray for safe passage.
For those who do not know God, Sunday is laundry day in Romania, so many people had brought their clothes to the river that morning. The village was small, everyone knew everyone else, and seeing the two men, knowing what church they went to, and that they were Christians the people on the banks of the river stopped to watch what was transpiring.
The man who did not pray made it across safely, without difficulty, and rising from his knees the man who prayed, also began his trek over the walkway. Halfway across, a particularly violent gust of wind caused the bridge to shake, and losing his balance the man who prayed fell into the river.
He swam to shore, wiped the water from his eyes, and saw that those who had been standing on the banks of the river, had already clustered together talking amongst themselves as to what had just occurred. One man had not prayed, and he had made it safely across, while another had prayed, and had fallen into the river.
The man who had fallen in, began walking toward church, head hung low, when suddenly he stopped in mid stride, paused for a second then turned to the crowd that was still chattering away.
'May I please have your attention', he said raising his voice so he could be heard over the humdrum of the crowd, 'I have something to say. The man whom you saw walk across the bridge without praying, in fact prays all the time. I on the other hand only pray when trouble arises, or when I am in a difficult situation. Now you know why I prayed and fell into the river, and why he was able to cross without incident even though he did not pray.' With that, the man walked away leaving the crowd to ponder his words.
When it comes to their prayer life, every Christian can be categorized as one of these two individuals. Either they have a continuous prayer life, a continuous fellowship with God, and He is there without being called, or they have a superficial prayer life, only calling on God when they have no other means of escape, and often, God does not answer.
It is easy to know which of the two we more closely resemble, by answering a few questions, if only to ourselves, honestly.
1. When there are no pressing needs, worries, trials, or concerns do we invest time in prayer and fellowship with God, or do we gravitate toward other things, that we perceive as a greater priority than prayer?
2. Do we desire to be alone with God, simply because we enjoy talking to Him as to a Father, because we desire to be in His presence?
3. When we pray, is it to ask God, or to thank God, to request and demand, or to fellowship and worship?
Contrary to popular belief, the time of fellowship with God, the time we spend in prayer, when there are no pressing needs, when we don't need God to help us out with the mortgage, or get rid of a chest cold, is not a waste of time, but it is a redeeming of time. It is during these times that relationships are forged, and when a need arises, the omniscient Father will meet the need even before we ask it of Him.
Our life of prayer, to use an overused cliche, should be like an iceberg. The majority of it's mass, is invisible, beneath the surface, away from prying eyes or camera lenses. The little that people do see, must be exponentially smaller than what they don't see in our prayer lives, otherwise we are praying for the wrong reasons, and in the wrong places.
Not long ago, I preached at a conference where there were other preachers present as well. After the service, we were invited to go to lunch, when one of the preachers, oh so piously said, 'I must decline the invitation, I am fasting.' The host looked at me, and asked, 'are you fasting as well?' to which I answered, 'no, I prepare for battle before going into battle. I fast and I pray long before I get on a plane, or get behind a pulpit, let's eat.'
When a man's heart is sincere toward God, his intent is not to project an air of piety, or a holier than thou attitude, his only concern is that he is ready for the battle ahead, that he prepares long before he is faced with conflict that he may stand, and having done all to stand.
When Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, he did not have time to pray, he no longer had time to fast, but because he did these things long before the need arose, the angels of the Lord were already there, shutting up the mouths of the lions.
A man or woman whose life is dedicated to prayer, true and undefiled, springing forth from a sincere and humble heart, will always reap the rewards of said prayers, will always know the fellowship and intimacy that only a true relationship with God can bring.
Matthew 6:5-6, "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Bonny said...

Thank you Michael, this prayer series has been great. How I need to be spurred on to a deeper prayer life without allowing the daily cares of living to encroach on my time with the Lord......sometimes it takes everything we have to fight for that time and prioritise prayer, often the spirit is willing but the flesh is still weak. The enemy well knows it is our life-blood and power source. thanks Michael.

A Seed Sower said...

God Bless you brother Michael, yes we all must have that one on one with the Lord,, so that we can know when we hit hard places He will hear us, and He will answer, whether or not there is anyone else to pray with us, or for us.
Fasting I am not very good at, but the times that I have, and do Fast, I always hear a Word from the Lord, so I need not to be so dumb and do it more often.
Sheep Helen B

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful post, one that leads right into another topic I would love to hear from you on...


Maybe someday?

Mrs. Pugh

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael Boldea,

I appreciate the wisdom in these words which you have written:

"When a man's heart is sincere toward God, his intent is not to project an air of piety, or a holier than thou attitude, his only concern is that he is ready for the battle ahead, that he prepares long before he is faced with conflict that he may stand, and having done all to stand."

Ephesians 6:10-19 confirms what you have written is from the Lord - that He is using you as His mouthpiece:
"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

I am also reminded of this passage of Scripture, 2 Timothy 2:20, 21

"20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

Truly, the reason you are able to share this wisdom from God is because you are a cleansed vessel, humble before the Lord, useful in His hands. This is a good example to me, and an encouragement to also be eager to be useful, sanctified, prepared for the Master's work.

Thank you, Michael Boldea, and God bless you, your wife, and loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Hello all - I just wanted to say thank you for praying for me over the holiday because I really needed it and the Lord answered. Here is a testimony of what the Lord did.

Thanksgiving day just as I was about to smear the butter and herbs onto the turkey before putting it the oven, a neighbor came by in a panic that my 24 year-old horse had been down for hours laboring to breath and couldn't get up. I left my out-of-town company - a father and his 3 hungry teenage sons - and the turkey on the counter to go tend to the horse, which took a couple of hours. During this time the managers of the ranch where I rent my house and the neighbor who found my horse were telling me he was dying, that I needed to call a vet to come put him down, and that I needed to get someone with a backhoe to dig a grave because he would have to be buried the same day or the coyotes would get him, etc. etc. etc.

I sat with him out in the pasture crying and praying over him while these busybodies flew around the valley trying to control my problem - which really was none of their business! - trying to find a vet who would come out on Thanksgiving or a rancher willing to shoot him for me, etc. I was very confused about what needed to happen and wanted to wait on the Lord. I had to put my beloved black lab down a few months ago, so I could easily have been emotionally overwhelmed.

Thankfully the Lord came and surrounded me and He encouraged and strengthened me to know this was an attack of the enemy. I couldn't even think straight about how to pray, so I just kept saying, "Father let your kingdom come and be glorified in this somehow." Well, that horse (Jonah) suddenly let out 3 huge sighs, yawned, and got up on his feet like nothing. I walked him a mile back to the barnyard, where everyone converged to tell me it was temporary and I still needed to make all these decisions because by morning he'd be dead. They didn't want a dead horse in the corral. I guess that privilege isn't included in my rent or Jonah's board.

Well, it's 3 days later and Jonah seems fine. And as for Thanksgiving, after all that I was so shaky I didn't know if I could stand over the hot stove, but the boys and their father had put the turkey in for me and pretty much cooked the dinner at my directions. The fact that my pride yielded and I let them do so was a miracle in itself! And it turned out delicious. They cleaned, even vacuumed, and their mama who had had to stay behind freely lent them an extra day to help me with some projects around the house and with my car and just to be there for support in case my horse really was sick.

So the Lord was more than good. Abundantly, above and beyond, He ministered to me. Thank you for praying that He would.

Anonymous said...

It's like my husband going hunting, he picks up his gun and walks out of the house to bring home some meat. But lets say that he's never shot the gun before and doesn't know how to load it and never been hunting before.

While figuring out how the shells go in the gun, 3 doe and 1 buck walk by. He's also not aware that he needs to sit still, requiring him to watch and listen. But as he becomes bored over time, he finally settles down and sits back.

He finally sees another deer, but it is spooked by his excitement and him hurriedly raising his gun. After some more waiting now, he becomes discouraged and frustrated, but finally a deer comes into range. He raises his gun, points it while not knowing where to shot for a kill and then pulls the trigger.

He is then knocked back by the recoil, as he didn't have the butt of the gun secure against his shoulder and he feels as if it is dislocated, while the deer runs away.

When going hunting or going into spiritual battle, one must prepare. They need to know their weapon and how to use it before it is needed. Thus it is with prayer.

"the omniscient Father will meet the need even before we ask it of Him."

Just this last year we had this very thing happen for us. We had been requested to move the Mission, as the property had been sold. After our arrival to the new site, complaints about us had gone all the way to Lansing at the State Capital Building. The Capital had made done their investigation through the local police here and the individuals who complained were told that this ministry was in compliance with all the proper paperwork required.

We were informed by the police dept. of all this 1 week after the investigation had been completed and had found favor with them.

God had taken care of the problem, before we even knew that it existed. Praise God!!!

Bro. Michael, I wish I'd had the chance to have met your Grandfather. He would have been interesting to listen to, as much as I loved listening to the stories from my own Grandfather.

Blessings to all you, Nila

Anonymous said...

Praise Jesus!!

A very powerful essay! Truly spoken as one who knows and coverses with HIM. When we live life in this manner:

Ro 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Our prayers to HIM are as close as the next i love you Jesus. We truly ask that HE prepare us long before our next battle.

God be with you Michael a true servant of God.

Hisservant rich