Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Shepastor: "The Neglected Practice of Prayer..."
The hymn writer declared, “Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pains we bare, all because we do not carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” by Joseph M. Scriven, 1855). What victories might we win, what obstacles might we overcome, what pitfalls might we avoid if we would spend dedicated time with the Lord in prayer? In this text, Jesus is toiling, laboring, heavy with dread, before the Father as He prepares to sacrifice His life for our sins. He asked the disciples to “watch in prayer” with Him for an hour. The scripture says that when he returned unto them, he found them sleeping.
Jesus then gave them this somber warning…
41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26: 41, NIV
Over the years, the people of God have come to equate “temptation” with “BIG” sins. We have developed categories of sin. We deceived ourselves into believing that “sin” is something that other folks do! But “sin” is simply, disobedience to God.
Disobedience takes on many forms. Sometimes it is ignoring God’s still small voice that speaks to our spirits and says, “do this, not that…” Yet we follow our own way. Sometimes it is using our words to hurt instead heal. Sometimes it is allowing fear and cowardice to govern our action or inaction. Sometimes it is a refusal to give when we know there is a need. Sometimes it is laying in the bed when the Spirit has beckoned us to get up, read God’s Word and pray.
Yes, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!” While our hearts may have every good intention, we are no match for our own flesh. Without the power of prayer, seeking the will, way and work of the Lord, without the power of His precious Holy Spirit, without our request for the Lord to order our steps, set a watch over our mouths, keep our feet from stumbling, keep our minds stayed on Jesus, without the Lord’s blessed hand to keep us, WE WILL enter into temptation.
The Lord told Peter, “satan desires to sift you as wheat…” the devil desire no less for us. Our only true weapon is communion with the Lord through prayer.
Through prayer, we gain strength
Through prayer, our spiritual sensitivity is sharpened
Through prayer, our hearts of convicted of wrong and we are led to repentance
Through prayer, the Lord speaks to us and leads us in the way that we should go
Through prayer, our eyes and ears are open to the will of the Lord
Through prayer, we are empowered to overcome the tricks, traps and tactics of the enemy
Through prayer, we become more than conquerors.
May we diligently pursue the practice of prayer so that we will not be governed by the whims of our flesh.
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,