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!
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!
In the last week, God began to show me some things. He has confirmed what He was showing me in a couple of unusual ways so I really feel I should share some of it. I will try to express His thoughts and heart to you in this blog.
Have you ever had some part of your body disjointed or seen someone that has experienced that? As an example, if the arm is out of the socket, it just hangs there but is not useful until it is put back in its’ proper position. It needs to be connected to the proper place in the body so it can function as God intended it to function.
Let’s apply this in a spiritual sense to the Body of Christ (the church-believers). Just as our physical bodies are designed to work in connection with all of the other parts, spiritually we are designed to function together in order to accomplish what God wants done on this earth. Each part of the body (physical and spiritual) has a special function and is important. We have many members but we have different functions. Romans 12:4-8 and I Corinthians 12:12-27 talks about that so I would encourage you to take some time to read and meditate on those passages.
I will give some personal experiences I have had in different “churches” I have seen throughout many years of my life. I use the term “churches” only because most people relate to that terminology when referring to a building that they go to at certain times to meet with other people BUT the church is NOT a building or denomination, it is the Body of Christ (believers)! I have seen what a disjointed body looks like and it is not good because the body is not functioning in alignment with all the members doing what they were designed to do with the full encouragement and support of the other members of the body. In many cases, it is disjointed! There are members who are separated (some by choice, others not by choice) and there are many who have never been encouraged or given the opportunity to function in what God has gifted them with and called them to do. I have seen people who think they are the head of the body (Jesus is the head!) and because of pride or jealousy will not allow members to function. Many “churches” are places where people go and are entertained by some good music and a certain person who stands up and speaks. After that, they go home and nothing was expected or required of them except their tithes and offerings. God has given each member a function and although giving money is great and we should give, He has called us for much more! He wants ALL of us and not just a little of our time on a certain day or our money. It may sound like I am bashing “churches” but I assure you that is NOT my intent at all. I am just trying to express what God desires and that is to have a body that is FULLY functional with ALL members doing their part. What gifts has God given you to share with the rest of His body? Are you able to function in those gifts? You may NEVER get encouraged to use your gifts in a “church” but find a place where you fit and can function in the Body of Christ. It may be in a hospital, nursing home, jail, or in a park or wherever God places you! We need to minister what God has given us to other members of His body and encourage one another to use our gifts. The Bible tells us to encourage one another daily. Are we doing what He called us to do? If His Body begins to function as GOD intended, it will be amazing what God can accomplish through us!
There are many things that you cannot put a value on because they are priceless and there is no amount of money that could replace them if they were lost. Think about what is priceless in your life and don’t ever take it for granted! Be grateful!
God is AWESOME! I had an issue that needed to be fixed and I had NO clue how to fix it. God gave me the answer. It was something I never would have thought about and it worked perfectly to fix the problem! God has ALL of the answers that we need if we just ask Him.
I posted the following on Facebook one year ago:
I have been a Christian for over 47 years now and I thank God for His love, mercy and grace throughout the years. For anyone who does not know this, being a Christian does not mean that we have arrived and are walking in perfection. Some people who are not Christians are quick to point that out as a reason to not have anything to do with Christianity. However, for anyone who has done that, don’t judge a perfect God by His imperfect people! If you are a Christian and judge other Christians because they sin in other ways than you do, stop that! ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God! We should be praying for each other.
I will be quick to admit that I am far from perfect and have made some bad choices in my life which took me wondering down a wrong path for awhile. The great news is that once we realize we are on the wrong path, if we genuinely repent, God not only forgives us but He FORGETS our sins! God is AMAZING! HE is perfect so He is the ONLY one who would have a right to judge us but He forgives and forgets!
In my case, I have always been my harshest judge! Even after I repent for bad decisions that resulted in sin (anything that pulls our attention from God and what He wants for us) , I have continued to lament those decisions and condemn myself. Satan wants to keep us down by reminding us of our imperfections even after we repent. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and he wants to keep us from what God has for us. The Christian singer Carmen says that whenever the devil reminds him of his past, he reminds the devil of his (the devils’) future! In my case though, I have been a harsher judge of myself than satan has. The funny thing about this is one of my main spiritual giftings from God is mercy! I have no problem extending mercy to others but it is different when I need to show myself some! Our judgment of ourselves can hold us down and back from what God has for us. This morning I was thinking about times I have missed God and He spoke to me to “Get over it!” With God’s help, I will extend the same mercy to myself that I extend to others and learn from it!
What I have learned is that ALL failure is a prayer and relationship failure! When we become distracted and our one on one time with the Lord diminishes, we are opening ourselves up to deception and sin. Satan does not come to us and tell us to commit a sin because we would recognize that was wrong and not do it. What he does is try to distract us with things that will steal our time with the Lord and hinder our relationship with God slowly. This can even be done by seemingly good things like ministry. We can get so busy with ministering to others that we lack in our time ministering to the Lord and letting God minister to us! We need to watch out for anything that starts taking our focus off of the Lord and make sure that God truly comes FIRST in our lives!