Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Praying Properly (4)

The True Goal of Prayer: the pleasure of God (1 Kgs 3:10-14).  Would you have said this is the true goal of prayer?  Would you have said that when you come into the presence of the Lord and bring to Him your desires and wants and needs, the pleasure of God is your goal?  You know when the Lord is pleased with your prayer, He grants you your requests.  God was pleased with Solomon's prayer.  He asked for a hearing heart and the ability to discern between good and evil.  He got these (vvs 11-12), but He was given more; the Lord also gave him what he did not ask for (v.13).

You know, there is something very pleasing when you bring pleasure to someone you want to please.  It thrills your soul to know you've please that other.  And when that other is the Lord Himself, my, the pleasure you experience is indescribable.

Why pray?  To please the Lord.  "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."  When we glorify Him, we please Him.  Glorifying Him is much more than just saying, "And to Him be all the glory." It is about bringing pleasure to His heart.  True prayer pleases God.  There is no greater lure to prayer than God's sheer generosity.

When you bow before God in prayer, set your heart and mind to pleasing Him in all you say.  Remember, He knows your heart.  Be focused upon Him.  Seek Him.  Lift Him high.  Make sure your prayers please Him; for if they do, they will be answered.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Praying Properly (3)

The true anxiety of prayer: the people of God, (1 Kgs 3:7b-9).  When the Lord said to Solomon, "Ask what I should give you" (v.5), His Word was both a gracious invitation and an inevitable test.  He was being invited to come with big requests and to 'ask anything.'  Here's the challenging point: your response to such an invitation reveals who you really are.  Your true spiritual character comes out when you are given such an invitation.  How?  Because we either act on it as it stands, or else we just do not believe that the Lord is serious and is making such a gracious offer to weak believers like us.

Also, what we ask for reveals what is most important to us.  Whah!  What Solomon asked for revealed what was important to him.  He asked the Lord for a 'hearing heart' and the ability to discern between good and evil, so that he could rule the people of God well.  He wanted his entire being to be geared toward pleasing God through serving Him well.  What was it that drove Solomon's prayer?  The well-being of others; in this case, God's people.  He was anxious over the people of God, and that motivated his prayer.

It was the same with Moses.  When he saw the burdens under which his fellow Hebrews were living/existing,   he was moved to pray for their deliverance, little knowing that God would use him as the answer to his own prayer.  Lesson: be very careful what you ask for - you might get it!  His prayer was not asking God to advance his own political career; it was Israel's need for deliverance, regardless of cost to himself, that drove him.  In Solomon's case, his prayer was driven by the need for a discerning heart to rule the people of God.  His was a holy anxiety, concern over the well-being of God's redeemed people.

The leaders of God's people ought to exhibit a watchfulness over them; they ought to have a watchful worry that trembles for the welfare of the people of God and that always prays with one eye on their good.  And that ought also to drive us in our prayers.

Are you concerned about the low level of true spirituality there is in the church today?  Are you anxious about your own poor spirituality?  At the beginning of a new year (2013) is a good time to take spiritual stock of your own soul, and of that of your church.  Don't settle for second best either personally or for your church.  Seek the Lord and He will reveal to you what you need to do - for yourself and for your church.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Praying Properly (2)

The true incentive of prayer - the faithfulness of God (1 Kgs 3:6, 7a, 8).  When we begin our prayer, we must do as Solomon did - start not with our request, but with God's past faithfulness, with what He has done.  No better place to start.  Indeed, there's no other place to start.  What an incentive is here to speak to this great giving God.  Whilst we know in our heads God's liberality when it comes to blessing His children, we still come to Him as if He were an unwilling Father who is reluctant to give to His asking children.  But He is faithful - look at His track record.  His covenant faithlessness was experienced by Solomon's forefathers in ancient days.  He promised that Abraham's seed would be as great as the sand on the seashore, and Solomon now declares that God has kept His promise and has done just that!  Whatever promise the LORD has made, he has kept.

Tell me if you know of a greater incentive to prayer than this fact.  Solomon began with God's faithfulness, His dependability, His fidelity.  So must we.  Praise Him for His faithfulness.  This gives us confidence in prayer.

Why pray?  Because the One to Whom we pray is utterly faithful.  We can trust Him completely and in every situation.  Begin here.  Let me give you another little incentive to pray.  Just this week, my wife came under another strange Satanic attack.  He tormented her all afternoon, and refused to relent.  That is, until about tea-time when she experienced a lifting of her burden, and the rest of the evening was great.  Why did this happen?  Because someone had been praying for her at that moment.  It may have been a Christian friend in Northern Ireland, or England in far away places like India or Panama.  Someone unknown to us had uplifted her in prayer, and God answered.

Why did He do that?  Because that's the kind of God He is; and that's the kind of God and Father we have.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Trusting In The Lord

The other morning in our devotions, we read these marvellous words: “To trust in God is not a gamble, it’s a sure thing.”  We have proved this numerous times in the past, but definitely during the past four months.  As Hebrews tells us, “He who promised is faithful” (10:23).  When our Lord makes a promise to His children, one thing is sure – they can bank on it totally and absolutely.  After all, it is the Lord Who makes such a promise.  But look at what follows – the Maker of the promise is faithful

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is faithful.  We can rely totally upon Him.  He is as good as His Word.  We can stake our all, nay, our eternity, upon what He says by way of promise.  Our God is dependable in all things.  Oh, trust Him to see you through. As the old Gospel hymn puts it, “He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.”  It assures us, “Ask the Saviour to help you...”  Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  What a question?  And written in words of one syllable so all can understand and ask Him.