Clay L. Marais
Ever get yourself in those situations that require you to pray for 300 people (or at least you promised you would)? What a dilemma.
Ever have one of those situations where you have been praying for someones need for months, only to find out they had their prayers answered 2 months ago and “forgot” to let you know? Makes me wonder if the guy really didn’t expect you to pray for him. Worse yet, It makes you wonder if he takes your prayer requests seriously! How sad
to miss the joy of answered prayer together, because the one who requested prayer was too selfish to share his joy.
This is serious business! I think we all need to THINK about how quickly we say, “yea, I’ll pray for you” and “Will you pray for me?” Can we really be so flippant about something as important as ASKING GOD to grant requests – without realizing that every answer is done solely for His own Glory?
How quickly we tag on the end, “In Jesus name, amen” without even stopping to think we are attaching ALL of the attributes, Holiness and HONOR to our prayers! What terrible motivation lurks behind that large desert that makes us spend more time dieting when we could be serving Christ. “Lord Bless this oversize desert to my waist line that I may continue to gain weight and spend hours jogging instead of witnessing and being a good steward of my body, In Jesus Name, Amen.” Or, “Lord bless this purchase that will launch me further into debt to Visa, causing my unsaved relatives to stumble, and enslaving me for 3 months at 19% interest to Chase Manhattan instead of giving to
missions, In Jesus Name, Amen.”
When ever we attach the “NAME” of Jesus Christ to anything, we are in effect saying, He fully approves my actions as His representative, in His Spirit with His goals, and signifies the closest possible union with Him. We are “praying” with His divine authority, over food we should not eat, purchases that will enslave us, and prayers better left unanswered!
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes of the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26- 27)
Do we realize that as Born-again Christians, that the Holy Spirit is living in our bodies? Paul does, “Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:15-17). We actually have the Spirit of God living IN us, every moment we sin, think, pray – He is FORCED to go along with us. We can choose to yield to His direction and glorify God, or bring shame to Jesus Christ through disobedience.
How much more will each one of be held accountable than the Old Testament Saints, for we have the PRIVILEGE of God dwelling in us! Paul was not speaking to unsaved people when he penned Romans 14:12 “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.” For what? For every violation of the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He prods us to purity of conscience. For every time we are lead to pray and refuse, and for every stumbling block we place in our brothers path.
“Please pray for me….will you remember to pray for this… I desperately need your prayers”, and how quickly we lie and answer “YES, I’ll pray for you DAILY… I’ll remember you in my prayers.” No less than 3 days later we have forgotten to pray, lost our zeal, and rationalized our release for the promises we made. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit grieves. We really should have said, “Yes, I will pray for you as I’m lead to, or as I remember to.” Why lie about it?
Maybe a better response would be a limited prayer commitment like, “OK, yes, I will pray for you about this matter for one week, and at that time, you call me and tell me if the Lord has answered OUR prayers.” Now it’s a partnership! Both parties are responsible to pray together, and best of all, both can REJOICE together over answered prayer! Sure would make praying for some people more fun…
Ever wonder what the Lord thinks of these generalized prayers? “Lord meet our financial needs… we need so-and-so saved… Brother John is sick, can you heal him…” So broad and wide almost anything could be taken as a fulfillment. How is God ever going to get any glory and pleasure in answering general prayers? When the prayer is answered, we aren’t quite sure it’s even from God, it was so vague. If we prayed, “Lord my phone bill was too high and I got myself in a real jam, can you move someone’s heart to help pay it? Lord, my mother is still unsaved and she’s coming over for dinner. Can you please impress upon her heart to ASK me why my life has changed so much? Lord, Brother John is so sick; can you help him to use this illness to depend more upon you, trust you, and thank you for the illness. Lord
if it is your desire, please clear up his strep throat so we can again be united in good health?”
Ever notice that Jesus’ prayers are specific and for the glory of God? Not a selfish prayer in the bunch; prayers for the Father, prayers for us, even prayers asking forgiveness for those who persecuted Him. What an example we have in John 17! Ever notice how Jesus keeps asking that everything will Honor and bring Glory to God the Father? Jesus even asks that we would bring honor to Him. How unselfish the Son of God is to spend nearly the entire prayer asking on our behalf! So much honor is given to the Father, we almost forget that Jesus is God the Son! And lastly notice in John 17 how many times that Jesus thanks the Father. Now it is real interesting how Jesus is saying the obvious, the attributes of God as He prays. He already knows all this, He’s “confessing” Biblical truths about God.
Do you hear prayer like this often? I don’t mean the, “praise you God” stuff, I mean actually quoting Scripture back to God, or telling God about himself. Try it…you’re prayer life will begin to change.
Ding! Ding! in go the quarters, and out pops a candy bar. Lord, Lord! Please give me this. (All He needs is a panel for
selections of different types of prayers, like a Coke machine) I just bet that God gets sick of us constantly BEGGING from him, and never giving a thought of just thanking him like we do the supermarket bag Boy. How about spending an hour a week and just thank God for your good health, your Salvation, wife, material blessings, Job, having the
Bible in English, etc. Oh how we need honest prayer warriors.
Computers for Christ – Chicago