Friday, October 5, 2012

But, I Prayed About It!

Prayer's Overlooked Partner

In Prayer, we release our cares TO God, and receive answers FROM God. Simply put, prayer is the dialogue that a person has with God.

But there is a difference between praying individually by ourselves and praying corporately as a body -- and both are important.

1) Individual prayer is an acknowledgment of God's   
    Authority in our lives and our Dependence on Him. 
    This type of prayer is private and personal.

2) Corporate Prayer, in Church, is public and demonstrates 
    a thing called "Humility."
    Bringing our requests and petitions to the Lord, openly 
    before others, really tends to slam our ego and pride -- 
    which is a good thing.

Why is this important?  Prayer is the vehicle, but Humility is the avenue by which we release our cares to God and receive His grace. You may have a nice car, but unless you're on the right road, it won't take you where you need to go.

Notice what the Scriptures teach about humility and prayer going hand-in-hand:

2 Chronicles 7:14; "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

1 Peter 5:5-7; "...all of  you  be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him,
for He cares for you."

Also, Jesus made this very clear in His teachings. Specifically, when He spoke of the prayers of two men, a Publican and a Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14 NIV)

Prayer is never about how good I am, but always about how good God is. Humility is truly a great reality-check for us. That's basically what the great revivalist, Charles Spurgeon, meant when he wrote, "Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self."  Pastor and Author, Rick Warren said it this way, "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

This is the attitude we must bring, when we come before The Lord in prayer. it is necessary that we come humbly before our God. I believe that Jesus was reminding us of this in the closing line of "The Lord's Prayer" -- which is really a pattern for us to pray by -- that HIS "is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory."

James wrote that we need to be careful, because we can pray wrongly (James 4:3). When our attitude is wrong, our prayers tend to be wrong also. By the way, those prayers do not get answered. We simply need to remember that it's less about us and more about the great God with whom we are communicating.

Finally, I believe that the following is a good, scriptural attitude-checker: "...the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).  We need to follow Micah's advice, simple as that.

Just a thought today to remind us to keep it real and keep praying. 

Have a blessed day.

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