Shaken in Prayer

To begin with, I recognize that this post may not be well received due to the subject matter. I speak of prayer. Some would argue that prayer is a good thing and that they practice prayer in their homes and in their churches. Others ignore prayer because it is something that they seem to be afraid of being present in their lives.

One source defined prayer as – “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.”

As true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that prayer to an object of worship or to any man-made deity is of no avail. Even as Christians, it is important that we come before God in prayer in the right manner or He will not hear us.

On the side of self-deprecation, I know I am NOT where I need to be (or should be) when it comes to the discipline of prayer. Prayer takes discipline and it is hard work. Part of this is because it opens us up the face of the Almighty.

Facing God in His own throne room is humbling and allows no tolerance for the pride of depraved creatures. If we think that we can approach God on our own terms and ask based on the whims of our desires instead of what the Holy Spirit utters from the depths of our innermost being, then we are duping ourselves.

When the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, His prayers were addressed to the Father. Coming to the end of His earthly ministry, His sole prayer was, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

During my weakness in body and having to adjust to the reality of vertigo, the matter of prayer has become more important to me. Maybe, one reason is simply because there are times that I am not able to do much but sit in my chair. The Lord being gracious to me has brought different individuals and situations to my mind and I have used my downtime to pray for them.

Sadly, having served in ministry for over 25 years, I find a horrifying reality is ever-present in our western churches. The reality is so horrendous that it is hard to believe that it would be uttered in more than very hushed tones in the deepest closets of our homes and churches. Yawning open like the whale’s mouth ready to engulf Jonah, it reveals nothing more than this:

The church as a whole does NOT want to pray!

“Whoa!” You, as the reader, would probably implore me to stop for a moment and reassess the situation. But ponder the difference in the church-at-large that we find in western circles and prayerfully, soberly, with weeping read these next three verses from Acts 4:31-33.

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Please, take a moment and go back and re-read ALL THE BOLD parts that I have highlighted.

Dear brothers and sisters, the person that spends time with God in prayer is an oddity. I am, by no means, referring to a perfunctory and ever so brief blessing over our meals. I am referring to that odd person who has chosen to punctuate their days with effectual and fervent prayer.

In my fifty plus years, ten decades, half a century – I have NEVER been to a prayer meeting where the gathered group was SHAKEN IN PRAYER!

I say this to my shame because I was part of the group. There were times I would pray aloud, while at others, I would meditate and commune with God silently in my soul.

But, again I say that I have NEVER been SHAKEN IN PRAYER!

Is it impossible for us to comprehend such a matter in the 21st century? Are we so far removed from the power of the Holy Spirit that we have quenched Him into silence?

Is there any wonder that we do not see revival?

Is there any cause for concern that the last known true revivals have not taken place in the USA or the UK for 80-100 years? Revivals such as the Welsh Revival in 1905, the Revival of the Isle of Lewis around 1950, and the East Anglian Revival in my British home counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.

ALL of these revivals did not come because a notice was put on a billboard, advertising revivals taking place at 7pm each night. They did not come because an entertainment group was brought into the church and whipped everyone into an emotional frenzy.

REVIVAL ONLY COMES WITH FERVENT PRAYER!

James 5:16 is a shame to my own faith, or lack thereof, in my own testimony.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Yet, our prayers far too often are merely a litany of petitions as we beg God for this and beg Him for that. We are like a child going up to Santa Claus at the local shopping mall with our little list and trying to use Him like a genie let loose from a bottle and desirous to give us our three wishes.

Today, we have not seen revival because we lack prayer. We struggle to maintain high levels of missions work because we lack prayer. The world demands our loyalty and our allegiance to their wicked degradations, and the church has long been bowing because they have no great power to give their testimony.

No prayer and we run like a scared dog being pursued by an army of soldier ants. My friends, we read the words of the wise King Solomon and wonder how ashamed he would be to see the redeemed of God turning this next verse on its head.

Pro 28:1 – The righteous flee when no one pursues, but the wicked are bold as a lion.

No, no, a thousand times NO!!! The verse does not read that way. The Holy Scriptures say this:

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

However, the brutal, painful truth is this. If we have no prayer in our lives – if we have not taken to ourselves the WHOLE ARMOR of God – then we will flee when the world is not even taking time to pursue us. The wicked are bold as lions because they think that they can laugh at the God of heaven and His anointed.

His anointed is you and I, if your salvation is found by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. That means that He has called you and I to be holy ones. He has called us and preserved us by His Holy Spirit given as a down-payment against the inheritance that is to come in eternity.

Further, when we are His children, we are to pray, even when we do not know how to. Romans 8:26-28 says that He takes even the groanings of our heart before the Father AND intercedes on our behalf. When the Spirit is helping us in our weakness, there is no wrong prayer that we can offer to our heavenly Father.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Have we noticed that Romans 8:28 is not a standalone verse? It comes AFTER we begin to pray with the mind of the Spirit that we can then claim verse 28.

Why? Because those who love God will have all things work together for good.

Why? Because we are called according to His purpose. It is His way and His will that matters. Prayer is NOT about us and our wants and even our needs. It is about learning to pray in a way that matches the will of God on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

— To be continued —

What if…?

What if life really evolved over millions and billions of years? If it did, then the Word of God is not actually infallible and inerrant. If it did, then God Himself is proclaimed to be a liar, and further, a god who is a liar would be a non-existent entity.

What if humans are merely another species of animal that has evolved? If we are, again, God’s Word could no longer be trusted. If we are, then we should have no reason to fear death and “the great circle of life.” If we are, then Charles Darwin should be feted with great honor and even worshipped for revealing the truth of who we are to a poor world who for millennium had the audacity to believe God’s Word was true.

What if the Great Flood was actually only something copied from the myths and fables already found in other ancient cultures? If it was, then again, God’s Word is with error for it could not have come from the Holy Spirit. If it was, then mankind need have no fear of the judgment of a God who cannot keep His promise to destroy the wicked. If it was, then the rainbow is merely a quirk of nature, not something given by God as a promise.

What if the children of Israel really are not a people sovereignly protected by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? If they are not, they have to be some of the luckiest people in the world. If they are not, their should not be any real outcry if a more highly evolved society determines that a lower society in the chain should be exterminated. After all, isn’t the reality of life that is should be based on the survival of the fittest? If they are not, then the promises and covenants established by an everlasting God hold no value, and if they hold no value, then NO promise and NO covenant is to be held in reverence.

What if the Ten Commandments are merely suggestions dreamed up as society has evolved? If they are, the Ten Commandments would have no true value because they define a morality that did not come from a just and holy God. Killing, stealing, and adultery merely become defined by what each society considers them to be for their people. If they are, then there are no absolutes to control the world in which we live.

What if the Word of God really is just a book compiled by men through the ages instead of a book divinely inspired by a holy and righteous God? If it is, then centuries have been wasted studying a book that should hold no more value than the works of Plato, Homer, or Shakespeare. If it is, then it is full of lies that drive men to worship what they cannot see, to believe what they can never truly know, and to trust in a God that is untrustable.

What if Jesus Christ was merely a good man as taught by many religions?

What if Jesus Christ was merely a good teacher and prophet as taught by the Muslims?

What if Jesus Christ did not provide full atonement on the Cross as taught by the Mormons?

What if Jesus Christ was not the Saviour of mankind?

What if Jesus Christ is not coming again one day in the clouds of glory?

What if Jesus Christ is not the eternal, only begotten Son of God as taught by the JW’s?

What if Jesus Christ must be sacrificed over and over again as taught by the Catholics?

What if Jesus Christ is not the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth, and the ONLY Life?

What if Jesus Christ never really died and rose again on the third day?

If He did not do these things, if He was not all these things, if He will not perform what the Word of God promises He will, if He is not the ONLY Way to heaven, if He really did not die and rise again the third day, if we truly can have no hope in Christ….

Then…

“WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE!” – 1 Cor. 15:19


1 Cor. 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”