Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 137

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

Another aspect of Abraham’s attitude when communing with God that is worth noting is that he came near.

Genesis 18:23, “And Abraham came near and said, ‘Would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked?’”

Prayer is the awareness that we are speaking to God, but it also necessitates coming near to Him. If prayer necessitates coming near to the Lord, then the next logical question is how ought our lives to be when we come near to the Lord?

Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Through the blood of Jesus we have the boldness to enter the Holiest, yet it is incumbent upon us as individuals to draw near with a true heart, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

In Christ, through Christ, and His shed blood we have access to the Holiest, because He consecrated this new and living way for us, but this does not mean that we are without responsibility when it comes to approaching God effectively.

When our hearts are true, when they have been sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water, then we can draw near in full assurance of faith, because we know Jesus made a way for us, being the High Priest over the house of God.

Man does not like conditions and stipulations, but they exist nonetheless. Yes, there are conditions and stipulations to effective prayer, and one of these conditions is that our hearts be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Did I come up with these stipulations? No, it was the word of God, so it is the word we must contend with if we desire to change or twist what has been written.

There is so much that must be set aright within the household of faith before we can hope to have a dynamic, powerful, and ongoing relationship with God, that we have not a minute to waste.

It all begins with whether or not we are willing to surrender, disavow, and do away with our preconceived notions, pet doctrines, hidden sins, and other stumbling blocks hindering the lines of communication between ourselves and God. Are we willing to humble ourselves, are we willing to approach God as servants even though He might see us as friends?

Are we willing to lay aside the foolish notion that we can somehow dictate terms to God, or as little gods create our own reality?

Abraham was a man to whom the messengers of the Lord came, with whom the messengers of the Lord dined, and to whom God Himself spoke. Yet Abraham still sees himself as nothing more than dust and ashes.

Genesis 18:27, “Then Abraham answered and said, ‘Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord.’”

I have heard so many flippant prayers throughout my life, prayers prayed by men with diplomas and degrees, graduates of prestigious seminaries, who didn’t seem to grasp the basic and fundamental essence that prayer first and foremost must be a humbling of oneself, and a glorifying of God.

We don’t pray to accentuate our own self-worth, we don’t pray to highlight our own accomplishments, we don’t pray to remind God how good and noble and righteous and holy we are. We pray to commune and fellowship with the Father, creator of all, and ruler of all.

There was no arrogance in Abraham as he approached God. There was no sense of entitlement, there was no glorying in his good works…there was a humbling of oneself long before Abraham asked anything of God.

Before Abraham petitioned God, and interceded on behalf of Sodom, he humbled himself, and bowed himself to the ground before the messengers of the Lord.

Pride and arrogance impede our prayers. They are as lead weights tethered to our words, keeping them from ascending to the heavens.

Job 35:12-13, “There they cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to empty talk, nor will the Almighty regard it.”

God does not listen to the empty talk of prideful and evil men. He does not even regard their prayers, or their words, nor will He answer when they cry out.

Abraham lived a life of self-renunciation, and self-denial. It is next to impossible to still be prideful, boastful, arrogant, and haughty when you are standing before the Almighty, He who knows your heart, your innermost thoughts, and the intent with which you performed every task He has ever assigned you.

It is because men do not know the one true God that they are still able to pray from a position of arrogance and pride. It is because they have never beheld Him in all His glory, nor understood the nature of Him, that they are able to pray from a position of entitlement.

Once we come to know God as Abraham did, we also come to know that we are not entitled to absolutely anything in this life. An entitlement is a right to benefits specified by law or contract. Although God freely gives us salvation, as well as sonship, it does not mean we are, or ever were entitled to these things. What it does mean, is that the grace and mercy of God were such that He chose to adopt us, and make us His own. If anything, this is reason to give glory and praise to God, not to walk about as tough we accomplished something in and of ourselves.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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