This is the post excerpt.
The Forgotten Aspect of Prayer
January 31, 2017
I was in a corporate prayer meeting last Thursday and God was speaking to me as I was sitting quietly. He began to speak to me about prayer. The Church (Christians) talk so much about prayer and many recognize the importance of prayer but many are missing one very essential part of what having a strong prayer life should mean to us. If I were to ask people what prayer means to them, some of the answers I would probably hear include “prayer is asking God to do things” or ‘prayer is asking God to bless my family and friends.” These things are definitely a part of prayer but unfortunately, many people think that is all there is to prayer. I want to draw your attention to something that should be a very huge part of our prayer life that is overlooked or neglected. In order for us to have a prayer life that is effective and one that brings about greater results, we must understand what should really be included in our prayer life.
When we talk to the Lord, we need to recognize that He is the greatest, most faithful and loving friend that we could ever have in our lives. It is true that He is the Supreme Being, the Maker of Heaven and earth and He deserves great respect from us but He is also the best friend we could ever hope to have and He wants a personal and intimate relationship with us. If you have a best friend, when you get together with that friend, a big part of the friendship is conversation. If you did all of the talking and your friend could never get a word in edgewise, your friend would begin to feel like you did not care enough to listen to their feelings and hear what they had to say. That is not a conversation but a monologue! Now, try to imagine what it would be like to be God. Day and night people are pleading with you to meet their requests but they don’t stop to be quiet and let you talk to them. God is Wisdom and He desires to speak into our lives and give to us wisdom, knowledge, understanding and revelation but are we listening? Do we take time to be quiet as a regular part of our prayer lives or do we just submit our requests to Him and then go about our business as usual. What message are we sending to the Lord? Lord, I just need you to do these things for me but I don’t really have time right now to be quiet and still to hear what you want to say. How sad! That is not a relationship with the Lord but it is using God as a sugar daddy in Heaven who is the one that we run to when we need something.
Many years ago, God showed me that most people are geared towards activity. Quietness can actually be uncomfortable to people who are so used to activity and noise. I have been in “churches” where people get very uncomfortable if there is quiet. You can hear feet shuffling or nervous coughing because they are not accustomed to being quiet. God, on the other hand, loves the quiet because it is an opportunity for Him to speak into our lives, if we are listening! I have some questions for all of us. When is the last time that you just got still and quiet and listened for the still small voice of God? Was it uncomfortable? Did you find your mind wandering? Were you able to truly quiet your mind enough to listen? Think about these questions and answer them honestly. If quietness and stillness was uncomfortable and you wrestled with it, you need to spend more time on it and learn how to appreciate the quietness and having that time as a regular part of your prayer life. Doesn’t God deserve our time? Don’t we need to hear from God? I know that I need to have a conversation with God instead of a monologue because I need His guidance in my life. There used to be a commercial for a company that said when they spoke everyone listened. Don’t we need to hear from God more than any person or company? I challenge all of us to start being quiet as a part of our prayer lives. Start with just a few minutes and as you learn to be still, increase the time. Pray that God will teach you to be still and really listen for Him to speak. You will be amazed at how God can and will change your life as you learn that He has awesome things to share with you that are life-changing! Try having a real relationship with Him and watch what happens!
So often we think in terms of “doing” so we try to do what we think we must do or need to do to win or stay in the favor of God. When we think like this, we are missing the point. Please read this whole thing so you don’t misunderstand what I am trying to convey. We know that faith without works is dead so I am not saying that we should not do certain things but we must never think that if we “do” enough then we will gain the love and favor of God. God loves us unconditionally and there is nothing we can do to earn His love. He loved us while we were still sinners even before we came to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus! My point is that we cannot earn favor with God by works!
What God really wants is for us to “be” who He wants and has called us to be in Him! He wants us to spend time in His presence in fellowship with Him. When we are being who He called us to “be”, we will naturally “do” what He has called us to do. The being is what produces the doing. If we are doing without being, we are striving in our own flesh and abilities and the works will not produce fruit in the way that God desires. One of the biggest pitfalls of ministers is “doing” so many things that they are neglecting the “being” with God in His presence. God created people because He wanted fellowship! Anything we “do” should be a fruit of “being” who He called us to be, His children who love and spend time with Him! “Being” produces fruitful “doing” because the greater (being) includes the lesser (doing). Many ministers burn out, get depressed or fall because they neglect the “being” because they are so busy “doing” but God just longs for them to spend time being in His presence so He can have fellowship with them. If our ministry to people is not a fruit or result of the time that we have spent with God, we are into dead works because we are doing things in our own flesh and God is not pleased! Although I have referred to “ministers” in this paragraph, EVERY Christian needs to have the primary purpose of being in God’s presence first so the works will be a result or fruit of what has taken place in that precious time of fellowship spent with God!
Enjoy “being” with God and you will be amazed what HE can “do” in and through you!
The term “status quo” basically means keeping things as normal and staying in the same state without making changes. You might have heard the saying “don’t upset the apple cart” or in other words, leave things as they are and don’t do anything to change the way things are presently. Some would say that if things seem good the way they are, just leave them as they are because change might be bad.
It is a great thing that inventors don’t think like this because if they just settled for things as they are, no new and better things would ever be discovered and invented. They think creatively and in order to do that they must think “outside of the box” in order to think about how to make good things even better!
So many people hate or fear change so they settle for what is familiar and comfortable to them. If we do this, we can become stagnant and never grow because we don’t want to take a risk by moving out of our comfort zones into new areas. We stay status quo.
The Bible makes it clear that God does not want us to stay the same. We should be growing and moving with the Lord when He moves. When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they were moving out of the familiar into the unknown. The familiar had been a life of slavery and torment but some feared change so much that they even began to think fondly of their days in slavery and wanted to go back to Egypt. Imagine that! However, when we choose to stay in the status quo, we are doing the same thing! We are fighting against changes that could bring us further than we could imagine and let us experience new and better things. God wants to transform us. He wants to shake us up and make us better. God wants us to grow. Change is not a bad word and we should not fear it but rather, we should embrace it and have faith that God has our best interest at heart!
God warned one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation about being lukewarm. When we do not embrace change, we stop growing and become stagnant or lukewarm! Change challenges us because we must learn new things and get out of our current comfort zone. Change CAN be uncomfortable but if we embrace it, we might discover that our lives are so much better and more productive than we ever thought possible!
Don’t fear change! Have faith that God is stretching you, taking you to greater places in Him and teaching you new things! Walk in faith and not in fear!
God bless you as you allow Him to take you to greater heights in Him,
I have a friend who travels for ministry across the USA and also internationally. This involves a great amount of time on airplanes and in airports. She recently posted on Facebook about having extra time in the airport while waiting on a her next flight. She decided to try one of those message chairs that you put money in and it messages you. It sounded nice and like a relaxing way to spend some of the extra time! However, she soon found out that it messaged the legs also and was clamping down on her legs. She could not escape the grasp of the chair and there was not a panic button to release her legs and let her up. People who tried to rescue her from the chair only made things worse as they tried pushing different buttons to try to free her. As I read her account, although I felt bad for her, I will admit that I could not help but chuckle as I vividly pictured this whole scenario taking place!
There are some spiritual lessons I thought about from her ordeal. Sometimes things can look or sound like great ideas but once we are engaged in them, we find out that we really wish we had never gotten involved. Satan is always looking for ways to catch us off guard and entrap us. He can appear even as an angel of light so he can make something seem like a great idea but it might be a trick to get us into his chair. The Bible tells us not to be ignorant of the devices of Satan. As Christians, we need to be vigilant in prayer and ask for God’s discernment in our lives. Not everything that looks or sounds good is God, it could be a trap!
There are many things that can distract us in our lives. If we are Christians, distractions are a big tool of Satan to draw our attention away from the Lord and what He has called us to do. I have seen so many people, even ministers, who have been distracted by many seemingly good things and veer off of the path that God has for them. Good does not always mean it is from God. Some get so busy “doing good things” that they get confused and may not even realize that they are not walking on the path that God has ordained for them. It is SO easy to fall into this trap and eventually, we will get burned out and wonder why it seems like God has gotten further away from us. In reality, it is that we have gotten distracted and are not as close to Him.
Stop before you jump into another area of ministry and ask God if it is Him calling you to do it or if you just “want” to do it or it “seems like” it is a good thing to do. Satan is so subtle in his tactics and it could be a trap. Some Christians seem to be trying more to build an impressive resume than wanting to follow God. Some are distracted by trying to add more titles to their names. Many times the motivation for “doing” things is wrong. We all need to stop and ask the Lord if we are doing it to for fame, recognition, to get a bigger ministry, to get more money, or for other reasons that are not right. We should never do things out of pride or ego! Everything we do needs to be led and directed by the Lord to bring glory to HIM! We can get so busy with ministering FOR God (or so we think, when we are doing it) that we are slacking on ministering TO God and letting Him minister to us in our personal one-on-one time with Him. Our primary calling is to fellowship with Him! ALL ministry needs to be birthed as a result of our time with Him and the direction He gives us! That is the ONLY way ministry will truly be fruitful in God’s eyes. Anything that pulls our attention off of Him and onto the thing (whatever it is…even ministry) can quickly become an idol in our lives and keep us from what HE has called us to do.
Blessings to you!
I have loved God since I was a young child! God just put a desire in my heart for Him. In my case, I was never required to “go to church” by my parents and there was not a great amount of talk about the Lord or the Bible but I just always had a desire for learning more about the Lord. When I got in my teens, I studied different religions and Christianity is the only one to which I was drawn. I mark the date I got saved as January 15, 1969. I was not quite 16 years old at that time. Although I had loved God and wanted to serve him for years before that, in 1969, I had a greater understanding and made a decision publicly at a Billy Graham crusade. I have always felt called to ministry and have done various ministries throughout the years, but don’t feel that I have fulfilled what He called me to do in the way of ministry. I have NO fear of death but I have feared dying and not having fulfilled the call on my life and my purpose. I am still here on this earth so there must be a reason that God still has me here. Sometimes it seemed to me that there must be more and I should be “doing” more ministry. I have been frustrated at times because I am not doing what I had envisioned I would be doing at this point in my life.
Sometimes we make things way more complicated than what they are and miss the simplicity. This morning after I woke up, I asked God what He wanted to talk to me about. He began to say that the purpose for which I was created for is to have fellowship with Him! That is THE purpose for which we were ALL created! God desires to spend time with us and He wants us to spend time with HIM! A good Daddy wants to spend time with his children and his children should also long for time with him. Unfortunately, many parents and children are so busy now that much “family time” has been sacrificed to other things like various other activities. This is true with God’s family also! The difference is, God (our Heavenly Father) is never too busy for us but WE are so involved in things that we are too busy for Him! We might be involved in doing all kinds of “good” things (even ministry) but if we are not fulfilling the main purpose for which we were created (to have fellowship with God), than we are just doing things in our strength and they will not be fruitful (as God sees it). It may seem that things are doing well and ministry is flourishing but if our primary purpose of spending time with our Daddy God is not being pursued, we will either get burnt out because we are doing things in our flesh or we will fall into sin and away from the Lord. There are so many times this has happened throughout history so we have many examples.
We were created to have fellowship with God and that is our primary purpose! There is absolutely nothing better than being in the presence of the Lord and worshipping Him and hearing what He wants to say to us. We need that time with Him every day and yet we get so busy (even in “working for Him”) that we miss the most important thing!
Look at the story in the Bible about the sisters Mary and Martha. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus because she longed to hear what He had to say. Martha was up doing “things” and complained that Mary was not helping. Jesus said that Mary had chosen the better thing because being with Him is our primary purpose. Fellowship (spending time with the Lord and hearing from Him) should come before ministry because we MUST hear from Him in order to be effective in ministry. Our primary ministry is to spend time in His presence!
Have you ever had a boss who does not communicate so you really don’t know what is expected of you on the job? Then maybe at some point, you are told something that you did incorrectly but the boss never communicated with you on how to do that and what he/she wanted? On the flip side…bosses, have you had employees who did not listen to you and went off and did things their own way and it caused issues? With God, communication is key! We need to have conversations with the Lord daily! That is not just spending a few minutes asking God for what we want but the key is hearing from Him so we know what He wants from us and His instructions for the day.
Are we fulfilling our primary purpose? I have been failing at this but having consistent time in His presence will change me! Thank God that He desires time with me because He loves me! We have an AWESOME Daddy who is never too busy to spend time with His children. Do not walk out of the door without expressing your love for Him and taking time to hear from Him!
Enjoying the presence of God,
I am sorry that I have not posted on here for awhile. My Daughter, Janice Russell and I were taking care of my Mom since she got sick in March. She passed away peacefully on September 2nd and we are so grateful that Janice and I were by her side as she took her last breath! We miss her but are so grateful that we know she is celebrating with the Lord, my Dad and all of the loved ones that went before her who also knew and walked with Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I had the privilege of preparing and officiating her funeral as I had also done for my Dad’s funeral in 2015. The day after Mom’s funeral, the hurricane came and after that, I went back to work. We are also in major transition in our lives. We got my Daughter moved out of Mom’s mobile home and we are gradually working on going through everything my parents accumulated over the years and things at the house we rent in order to condense things and move into the small mobile home that belonged to my parents. Please pray for us because it seems that it has been one thing right after another and we desperately need some time to get away and just relax! We are very grateful to God that He has been, is and will always be with us! He is faithful and we give Him praise!
On August 26, 2013 I wrote the following and put it on my Facebook page. I thought I would share it now on my WordPress blog.
If you were told you only had a certain number of days to live, would you consider that a blessing or a curse? What would you do with your remaining days? Would you spend them fulfilling your pleasures or building up more treasures? Would you surround yourself with things? Would you still be a workaholic and spend the time you had left doing things to fill your days? Would you cherish every moment and be thankful for the time or spend each day lamenting about the time you will not have?
What would you change about your life? Would you start to see that things that seem so big are really small? Would you try to mend relationships that are broken because of silly things or would you carry unforgiveness, hatred, bitterness, resentment, and anger to your grave?
Would you impart what you have learned into the lives of others or would you be self-absorbed with the short time you have left? Would you hug your loved ones more and tell them how you love them? Would you express your gratitude for every moment you have been given?
I have things on my bucket list that I would like to do like go on a cruise, go skydiving, go deep sea diving, and go snorkeling but these things seem much less important when put into perspective. If I knew that I only had a certain number of days to live, I would want to spend my days with those I love doing something to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Would knowing how long you had to live be a blessing or a curse? It depends on your perspective! What are the things that REALLY matter in life? What changes would you make? Make them NOW so you have NO regrets if your time here is short. Only God really knows when we will take our last breath. There is a song that says to live like we are dying. It talks about doing things you want to do before it is too late. I encourage all of us to live every minute in a way that REALLY matters and will make a positive impact in the lives of others. Let go of unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, strife, resentment, hatred, and anything else that hinders you from REALLY living! Choose to forgive and love! Life is a blessing from God, don’t waste it!