Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 121

Hindered Prayer continued...

Luke 12:15, “And He said to them, ‘take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”

To look at some of the things being passed off as gospel today, one might tend to laugh copiously until they come to realize there are people, and by all accounts many, many people who actually believe the foolishness spewing out of the mouths of some of the more notorious pulpit pimps.

I’m still waiting for one of them to take that final step in attempting to outdo all the others, get a ‘greed is good’ tattoo on their forehead, and be done with it.

It astounds me how readily and flippantly we disregard and ignore the words of Jesus, teaching the diametrical opposite of what He taught and passing it off as Scripture. Jesus said that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. What this means, is that if your identity, purpose, self-worth and self-esteem are tethered to your car, your home, your salary, your title, or your position, you are indeed a sad, sad soul who needs to rediscover their identity in Christ, and Him alone.

You are not what you own! You are not what you drive! You are not the thread count of your bed sheets, the value of your wristwatch, the name brand of your suit, or the famous label of your dress shoes. Your life does not consist in the abundance of the things you possess!

The insidious thing about coveting possessions is that we covet certain things hoping they will give us joy, peace, fulfillment or purpose in life. Very few individuals in the world covet possessions for possession’s sake. Most people covet as a bridge to what they desire, or hope to experience once the thing they coveted is theirs.

No one covets a million dollars just to have a million dollars; they covet it because of the perceived security they believe the million dollars will provide them.

No one covets a new car just to have a new car, but because of the perceived awe and respect others might show them as they are driving it.

What I find inexcusable and unacceptable is that supposed shepherds of God’s flock are telling the sheep they can have the peace, the joy, the fulfillment, the hope, the comfort and protection only God can give, if only they have enough possessions or possess a certain thing.

Because the sheep are told that possessions will give them what only the hand of God could, they prioritize their lives in such a way wherein they no longer have time to pray, they no longer have time to read the word of God, they no longer have time to fellowship, because the entirety of their existence revolves around accumulating possessions.

It is clear in such a case that the desire for possessions and the coveting of possessions has become the idol that has supplanted God in one’s heart.

Whether we admit it grudgingly or readily, it is known that idolatry is rampant within the house of God, and it is due to said idolatry that many a prayer goes unanswered.

Selfishness also hinders one’s prayers and keeps God from answering. Yes, you read that right, selfishness, or selfish prayers are off-putting to God, and He does not answer prayers prayed selfishly.

James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

God knows why we pray the prayers we pray. He knows the intent of the heart; He knows the preeminent desire driving us to pray for a certain thing or another.

What motivates your prayers? Why do you pray the prayers you pray?

Do you pray for the edification and exhortation of the entire Body, or do you pray selfish prayers that focus exclusively on you?

These are questions that must be answered if we ever hope to get to the root of why God doesn’t answer certain prayers. Is it uncomfortable to be honest with ourselves, search our hearts and discover if our prayers are selfish in nature? Yes, of course it is, but it is also necessary, and so we must.

Some individuals would rather not have to deal with the inner workings of their hearts in an honest and unbiased manner, and so they find reasons and excuses as to why God isn’t answering a certain prayer that has nothing to do with the real reason why He isn’t answering it. We would rather deceive ourselves into believing God is impotent, or that His hand is short, than acknowledge and face up to the reality that our prayers are selfish and this is why He isn’t answering.

Even the best of us have prayed selfish prayers, and have seen them go unanswered. The wise ones among us however, take the time to meditate upon the prayer we’ve prayed, the reason why God hasn’t answered it, and make certain we do not repeat our previous mistake.

We all fall short. It is a Biblical tenet, so pretending we are perfect and that we’ve never prayed a selfish prayer, is not only childish and immature, it is also foolish.

Do we, in our prayers, desire to be servants and nothing more, or do we ask of God as the mother of Zebedee’s sons did, that we be glorified to the extent that we sit at the right and left hand of God in His kingdom?

One prayer God honors and answers…the other He ignores.

Desire to be a servant, desire to walk in obedience, and God will equip you, and mold you, and call you to greater and greater works. Pray unselfishly, and you will reap the rewards of the Kingdom.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


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Anonymous said...

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Other "shepherds" won't touch such topics as you expound upon.

In Christ,