Monday, July 9, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 115

Hindered Prayer continued...

Praying Christians are rare, which says allot about the state of today’s church. It used to be, prayer took a backseat to no other duty or task, but nowadays it’s obvious that it takes a backseat to almost anything else we might have going on that day.

‘Do you have to water the garden? Well, then prayer can wait. Do you have to pay some bills, run some errands, buy some groceries, or walk the dog? Well, then prayer can wait. God understands you’re busy, He understands you have other priorities, so say a few words halfheartedly whenever you get a chance.’

We can say many things about this present generation. We can say this present generation is more technologically advanced than previous ones, we can say it’s more refined, more educated, more sensitive, but no one in their right mind can dare say this present generation is more spiritual, or in harmony with God than those that came before us.

No matter how swiftly you are humming along the information superhighway, if you’re neglecting prayer in lieu of up-to-the-minute information on the ongoing efforts to save a kitten that fell down a well, the tradeoff was not in your favor. I’m sure it’s a lovely kitten, I’m certain it’s a compelling story, but how will your spiritual man be fed, matured, and comforted knowing the outcome of the kitten in the well?

Even with all that we see taking place around us, even with all the harbingers of doom that are on the horizon, we still refuse to prioritize our lives in such a way wherein being in the presence of God is paramount and vital.

I often wonder what it will take for the church as a whole to return to prayer. I often wonder what calamitous event must take place in order for us to bend the knee, and cry out to God as we ought.

The enemy wants to put out the fire of prayer within the church. This ought to be enough to embolden us to pray all the more, to be in His presence continuously and to pray without ceasing.

Kings, and princes, prophets and laymen all prayed in the word of God. Not one was exempted from the solemn act of prayer. Not one man or woman in the entire Bible took prayer lightly or considered it something readily dismissed or set aside.

Herein we discover another of the enemy’s snares, namely getting us to believe prayer to be less important than it truly is.

Every true man of God within the pages of Scripture knew the importance of prayer. They realized prayer was a fundamental need, something a follower of God, or a disciple of Christ could not do without.

The enemy plays at distraction better than we can ever hope to. He uses every resource at his disposal, intensifying his attacks the moment he sees a child of God get serious about prayer, and having a prayer life.

He hinders, and hinders until some, by now thoroughly exhausted and irritated, give up on prayer altogether. Like anything having to do with sanctification, righteousness, holiness, or growing a relationship with God upon the strong and true foundation of Scripture, prayer is not an easy endeavor, and we will have opposition whenever we attempt to practice it consistently.

Another way in which the enemy attempts to hinder the children of God in their prayer lives is by encouraging them to make their prayers artificial or something ceremonial rather than the heart-cries they ought to be.

I have known individuals who, in an attempt to seem more erudite and intellectual than they truly were, stripped their prayers of all sincerity, and attempted to impress God, and their fellow brethren with their sophisticated vocabulary.

This too is a snare, and we as children of God would be wise to acknowledge it as such. We do not impress God with our mastery of big words, we do not impress God with our ability to enunciate or pronounce words such as cognitive, what stirs the heart of God is sincerity, openness, honesty, and fervency.

The Pharisees knew how to pray great swelling prayers, they knew how to impress those within earshot with the sophistication of their words, but it was not the Pharisee whom God heard and forgave, it was the penitent man who poured out his heart, and acknowledged his weaknesses and failings.

May we be wise enough to be honest with God. May we be wise enough to be open with Him. May we have the strength of character to acknowledge our weaknesses, our failings, and those times when we fall short. May we ask for strength when we need it, may we ask for wisdom when we require it, may we ask for knowledge when knowing will bring us closer to Jesus, and may we stand against the wiles of the enemy with all the strength we can muster, knowing that when our strength ends, His begins.

May we take the time to search our own hearts, and refuse to pray stereotypical, formulaic prayers, doing it more to get it done, than out of a deep and burning desire to fellowship with, and be in the presence of God.

Above all, may we not neglect prayer, no matter the ways in which the enemy attempts to hinder us, or how many roadblocks he sets before us. We know that the more he resists us when we attempt to pray, the more we ought to strive to pray.

The enemy attempts to hinder our prayers for a reason. He doesn’t hinder us when we attempt to pray just because he has nothing better to do, he hinders us because he fears the prayers of the righteous, knowing what they can avail.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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