PRAYER to PREPAREApril 24, 2012
“Pray without ceasing.”
These three words formulate I Thessalonians 1:17, which is one of the shortest passages in scripture. Yet the implementing of this admonition will completly transform the life of one who loves Jesus in spirit and in truth. A sincere and continuous striving to not only remain conscious of, (Isaiah 26:3) but continuously fellowship with the Lord Jesus who is with us always. A life of being instant in prayer will keep one focused on the eternal perspective instead of becoming hung up on the worlds myriad of campaigns. Our conversation will consistantly gravitate toward heavenly things; even to the point where we are acused of being “aloof” or “not down-to-earth.” The closer one walks with Jesus, the fewer people there will be who understand them. When we encounter saints who are detached from the world on this level, the ensuing fellowship is very sweet. (I John 1:7)
Before proceeding farther, it seems necesary to share a decision which has made April of 2012 a most incredible month. On the 4th day, I deactivated my facebook account. During the several months of activity there, I became mired in one endless discussion after another. Some acquaintances were sincere while others were openly contentious. The chatter was deafening! I was becoming spiritually out of balance and less capable of picking up on the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. The moment I left facebook, a heavy burden was lifted. On Sunday, April 8, the restoration became complete. The rest of the family went to my sister-in-laws house for dinner, but I remained home because Matthew was asleep. (awakening a 17 year old, 200 lb autistic boy can rock your world.) That afternoon became one of them most incredible times of prayer that I’ve had in years. It was as though I had wandered through the desert for weeks and suddenly stumbled upon an ice-cold crystal clear spring.
It was confirmation of the need to step away from all of the rapid-fire rhetoric and begin seeking the Lord with renewed fervency.
“How does your prayer life match up in comparison to the time you spend reading the words of men and posting your opinions?” (Nathan Leal.)James 3:16 “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
“Do we anticipate, and rush toward, opportunities wherein we can be in prayer without distraction? Or do we look at prayer as an obligation and somehow try to squeeze it into our hectic westernized lifestyle?” The answer to this question will reveal whether or not Jesus is truly our first love. When we spend countless hours on divers vanities, entertainment, or worldly ambitions, and then give Jesus whatever time is left over, it’s…. insulting….to the one who shed his blood for us. During this month of April, the element of “anticipation” has returned regarding prayer time. There have been nights where I could hardly wait to leave the plant, drive home, and spend “as much time as my heart desired” fellowshipping with the Lord beneath the stars. A time of refreshing, thanksgiving, and worship. Of intercession for the eternal souls in my ambience and inquiry concerning great and mighty things which I know not. (Jeremiah 33:3) A time of just “being with Jesus;” our faithful high priest who was tempted in all points as we are and yet never sinned. He understands our deepest thoughts, our most extreme complexities and he longs for us to spend time with him.
Jude 20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
We enter into his presence and suddenly the bigger picture begins to unfold. Situations which seemed insurmountable a few moments ago, are now placed into the hands of our faithful Creator. The peace of God envelops us, while the contentment is so complete that it cannot be defined with words. The age to come seems so real that one can almost touch it, while the present physical world seems like a faded memory from long ago. It’s an ever so faint taste of what awaits those who maintain the testimony of Jesus steadfast until the end. It’s also a reminder that Jesus will be present in whatsoever situation we may be faced with in this life. And finally, we have finally reached the intended thrust of this post. Prayer is not only our direct line of fellowship with the Lord, it’s an absolute necessity for spiritual preparation. Before continuing, another observation from the facebook season must be adressed.
Lord willing, at the completion of this post, I’ll never have to discuss the facebook season again.
It seemed like……everyone was talking, but nobody was praying. (or listening) There was much discussion about things that we need to be watching as they relate to the end of the age and scriptural fulfilment. Links were featured; containing report after report about what’s developing. More links than anyone could ever thoroughly look into. It appeared that most of the participants considered this endless checking of links and discussing of issues as “preparing” for the manifesting of such. The Holy Spirit began to prompt me (thought it took me a while to realize it) of the need to spend much less time listening to the words of others and spend a lot more time before the Lord in prayer and searching the scriptures. We can invesitgate every facet of the new world order and still be spiritually unprepared to face it. We may have in-depth understanding of their plans, but if we’re not abiding close to Jesus, we’ll not stand in the moment of temptation. If, however, we minimize such input and spend serious time with Jesus, he will prepare us adequately and his grace will be sufficient. Should we be watching? Yes….however,we must be steadfastly looking to, and abiding in Jesus. Otherwise we’ll be consumed by these events. (Matthew 14:30 and Luke 21:26)
John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Before closing, it seems important to identify some of the primary areas of prayerful preparation, although some of these will be repetition.
1. Preparation of the heart/root out contrary motivations. Although one must read the previous verses to grasp the whole, in Philippians 3:15, Paul writes “Let us therefore,as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” As we are pressing in with all sincerety, the Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal areas in which we are contrary. These are the moments when we realize that we’re not nearly as spiritual as we would like to believe. in the past, Ive actually asked “Lord please reveal my areas of contrariness…..but…..not all at once.” It’s an acknowledgment of the fact that “we need Jesus every hour.” Continual examining will cause us to daily become more like Jesus and less like what we used to be.
2. Prepare for war. Binding, loosing, pulling down strongholds, intercession for the lost, prayer for the saints. All the while be listening. It’s increible and humbling, to think that the Lord has placed us in such a critical position and has given us authority over the enemy. Just as an army is properly equipped to go into battle and be victorious, the Lord has equipped us to not just engage the enemy, but to trample on him. Spiritual warfare can be done almost anywhere. We can be in our bedroom, driving down the road, even machining gear sets, and at the same time be pulling down strongholds.
3. Prepare to be used of God. Once again, reference must be made to Ephesians 6:18-20 and Colossians 4:3-4. In both instances, Paul asks for prayer, that he might share the mystery of Christ as he ought. It’s all too easy to go out and give a mechanical presentation of the gospel without power. Of course the word of God doesn’t return void, however, it’s much better to be prayed up and prepared to be led of the Spirit and not bound by a market-tested format.
4. Be strong and do exploits. All around us, souls are perishing. They are in bondage to sin, many are possessed, many more are depressed……and most of them will never excape their situation. We need to be walking in the power of the Holy Ghost. Likewise, these captives “need for us to be walking in the power of the Holy Ghost.” I recently visited a certain blog for the first time and read about a lady who sought deliverance. She had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, however, in reality she was being tormented by demons. She ran to a church where a youth saw what was really going on. He called his parents who were in another location; knowing that they were prepared to address the situation. Sadly, however, before they could arrive on the scene, the pastor of the church had the lady returned to her former place. Here’s a link to this report, entitled “Pray for Carolina.” The site is entitled “Dreams of Dunamis” and is in the blogroll.
5. Prepare to endure. Many have adopted an “oh we’re not going to be here when those things happen” approach to persecution, imprisonment, and even death for their testimony of Jesus. Consequently, many are going to be ill-prepared to stand when it will cost them everything in this world…..including their head. Richard Wurmbrand spent years in a Romanian prison for his testimony of Jesus. This is one of his writings is entitled “Preparing for the Underground Church” which addresses the issues of preparation and endurance. In another place, Richard Wurmbrand once stated words to the effect of “I’ve encountered truly joyful Christians in only three places: in the bible, in prison, and in the underground church.”
6. Prepare for Matthew 24:24 style deception. The implementation of the lie which causes the world to wonder after the beast will be seamless. There will be no holes in its presentation and it will appear to be “the way to truth love, and the betterment of all.” The son of perdition is going to enter in peaceably and destroy wonderfully. Arms shall stand on his side, he shall cause craft to prosper, and supernatural manifestation will make the lie seem as irrefutable as it is irresistable. “Who can make war with him?” It will be so convincing that, in the eyes of those who know not the Lord Jesus, the true gospel message will appear to be undeniably erroneous. We must be grounded in truth and abiding in Jesus when everything and everyone around us provides seemingly indesputable proof of a different way.” (Sorry for meshing so many scripture fragments together.)
The final point is the most incredible. When we get this in our heart of hearts, implementing the previous ones will seem to be a small task.
7. Prepare to be with Jesus forever; world without ending. Our time here is ever so short. We have an inheritance incorruptible, wherein we are going to spend “all of forever” with the Lord Jesus; who bore our sins and rescued us from everlasting destruction. Just thinking about this should foster in us a fervent desire to draw close to him now and learn of him. it should compel us to seek out every possible moment to be with our Savior. To talk, listen, receive instruction……and sometimes…….just hang out with. This may sound weird, but many times in prayer, there are moments of reflection with no talking at all. Just being with the Lord Jesus. (This should not be confused with “contemplative prayer” which is a completely different practice.)
Well, it’s after 4:30 am and I must be going. In regard to the scripture references following the conclusion of this post, they were from a draft which, due to my fifteen month absence from here, never became a completed post. (This post was written over the draft) Each verse referenced is powerful and true, so they shall remain.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
Job 8:9, Psalm 41:1, Jeremiah 24:7, Isaiah 64:7, Matthew 19:29, Luke 9:23-26, Luke 14:28-33, John 12:25