Thursday, October 01, 2009

Our Self-indulgent Prayers

Ephesians 6:18: 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. (Emphasis mine)

I was called to be with a dear brother in the Lord who is struggling in his faith. Yes, we do have struggles in our faith. If you haven’t yet, hang on, you will have one. It’s all part of the Christian walk—tears mingled with joy; that’s life.

As we visited, another friend showed up. We listened, asked questions, and listened some more. Our dear brother said he was paralyzed by fear. David speaks of similar circumstances in Psalm 143. Later in Ephesians 6, Paul asks for prayer to preach fearlessly; two times in two sentences. Yes, he was fearful. He was not afraid of other people but afraid that he would not fulfill his task which was to preach the Gospel in spirit and truth.

Many Christians are afraid; some are paralyzed by fear; rendered ineffective. The devil likes this; another of his devilish schemes (“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” Ephesians 6:11).

In this therapeutic age, we are asked to look deep within ourselves. Look for what; answers? I hope not. Deep inside of us is sin and to deal with that we need a Savior; only Jesus can deal with our sin problem. This can be scary stuff if we let it sit there and simmer, it becomes self pity. We live in a time of picking lint out of our own navel. This continual “delving” and “endless retrospection” makes us self consumed and afraid of the world and ourselves.

We are to go into the world and share Christ in word and deed. When we don’t share and we don’t go, we become self absorbed. Wallowing in our self pity, our prayers become self centered. We pray only for ourselves or we don’t pray at all. If we do pray, we only ask God “to do” and do it now as if he is our personal butler. Please God, forgive us.

Brothers and sisters, get up, put on God’s armor and go to work. Feed the sheep. It’s our job; live out your purpose. May we quit wallowing in our self pity. May our prayers be for the saints not just for ourselves; not demanding of God but asking in love and humility. Let’s stop this endless retrospection and the ongoing regret of the past. Ask the Lord to forgive the past and move on. Reach out. Pray for the saints. Live life with an outward focus; when we live that way, life is purposeful and exciting. It’s time to go to battle for the time is short.


Wayne said...

Thank you Jerry, Keep On, Keeping On in Jesus

Anonymous said...

Navel gazing and picking out lint... You sure do know how to hit us where we live don't ya??!!

Prayer has to be one of the most unused weapons in our arsenal as Christians. Prayer and the Word. Put these two together and you have an unbeatable army of one. Add all the prayers of the Saints and you have the Church Triumphant!

Lord, help us to pray your Word.