Sunday, November 11, 2012
In Everything By Prayer and Supplication
How's your prayer life? It's an honest question. I'm not trying to be facetious. If you're a Christian, your relationship with Yeshua is THE most important relationship of your entire life. More important than your spouse, your children, your family, your friends. In fact, Christianity is nothing BUT relationship with Yeshua. The True Gospel of Christ has NO religion whatsoever.
If you think Christ is all about religion, you've been talking to the wrong Christians. Or you're mistaken about the Gospel.
"Religion" is a list of do's and don't's. A set of rules. Things that are expected of you. Appearances to keep. Hypocrisy. "Holier than thou". Judgment. Bigotry.
A true Christian enjoys a relationship of FREEDOM in Christ. Our Lord has released us from the bondage of a Law we have no hope of keeping ourselves. Through Christ's perfect life and sacrifice, we are now freed from that bondage to live lives of GRACE. Grace is freely given to any who ask Him. Why? Because Love is unconditional! If you have a condition on love, it is no longer love. "I'll only love you if you lose another 10 pounds." "I can only love blonde women." "If you're not rich, I can't love you." "I love you because you'll be a very handsome older man."
Who says that?! I mean honestly? Only shallow people who don't know the meaning of love, right? So if we, who are not God, know that true love is unconditional, how much more is the God of Love's affection for us unconditional through His Divine Grace?
By definition, if love has conditions, it is not love. Love is unconditional. Therefore, God Himself, in order to teach us that His love is unconditional, had to show us a love act of such "shock and awe" that it absolutely proved once and for all how He feels about us -- and He did that at the cross. God's Own Law showed us that no human being is justified in His sight by works of the Law, because it pointed out our sin (Romans 3:20). Therefore, only HE, a perfect, sinless Being, had any hope of upholding it. And that's exactly what He did for us.
Then He imparted HIS life to us at the cross, taking OUR lives upon His shoulders and taking our sins to His grave. The cross forever unites us to Him, which is wonderful news, because He rose again on the third day! Now that we are united to Him, we will likewise rise again at the Resurrection.
That is the True Gospel. When you realize that love has no conditions, it frees you, because you know God doesn't love you due to your performance, but simply because He loves. God IS Love.
But getting back to your prayer life...now that you know Christianity is a relationship with Yeshua and not a "to-do list", how do you pray?
"God is great, God is good, thank You, God, for this food..."
Do you do that much? Or do you just bow your head when someone else prays?
Are you frustrated because God never seems to answer your prayers? I've noticed through my experiences that people don't pray because they feel God rarely (or never) answers them. Some people have even asked, "If God knows everything, then why should we pray? Wouldn't He already know what I'm going to say or ask for?"
The short answer is yes, He already knows. However, we pray, not to continuously petition God for a need, but to talk to Him, to enjoy Him, to LOVE Him.
How often do you talk to your spouse throughout the day? Would you have a strong marriage if you never talked? Why is it any different with your Heavenly Bridegroom?
Now, here's where some Christians have a disconnect with regards to their prayer life. They seem to think reading the Bible is spending time with God. They think singing praise is spending time with God. Or maybe going to church. Or small group. Or book club. Or a mission trip.
Those are all wonderful ways to be in God's presence. But I can be in my husband's presence all day long and never TALK to him. Being in his presence doesn't make our marriage any stronger. What makes a strong marriage is communication.
And Yeshua desires an open line of communication with you! When's the last time you came before Him without asking Him for this or that? How about the last time you just came before Him to say "Hi"? When have you just talked about your day? Shared your hurts and happiness?
When have you simply admired His creation? When did you stop and thank Him for your blessings?
Here is the secret to a successful prayer life. The secret to having your prayers heard and answered, the key to hearing God's voice, can be found in James 4:8 - "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
If you treat the God of the Universe like a doormat, not thanking Him for every good and perfect gift you have, or like a genie in a bottle, pulling Him out only when you need Him, then He only honors you with the same measure of honor you give Him.
What husband honors a wife who ignores him? What husband draws near to a wife who only wants him around when she needs something from him?
A healthy prayer life is exactly how you abide in Yeshua. He even told us this. If we abide in Him, He hears us and gives us what we ask of Him.
Why did He tell us to do this? Why must we remain in Him? Because He is a God of LOVE, and the God of LOVE deeply desires a relationship with you, wayward believer! When we are close to Him, when we abide in Him, we are more in tune with His will. And when we're in tune with His will, we're less likely to pray for a flashy car, and more likely to pray for peace, humility, and love. Drawing near to God strips away our selfish tendencies because our focus is on HIM, not on ourselves.
When we begin to abide in Yeshua, we begin to really LOVE Him. Most believers would say they love God. But you can love your roommate. You can love your co-worker. But you're not madly, deeply in love with them.
A healthy prayer life is like tuning the rabbit-ears of your heart to pick up the signal of the Most High. Once you're "tuned in", life seems to have new meaning. I absolutely and 100% believe this is what the Scripture means in Song of Songs 8:4 - "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." Folks with healthy prayer lives are those kind of Christians who are "different", they have a quality you admire, there's something "otherworldly" about them. You want what they have. God rests on them like a dove.
This isn't some mystery, folks. Draw near to God and He draws near to you. This is why some folks say things like... "We have a God-shaped hole in our hearts..." It's actually kinda true! God created us to commune with Him. And we're not satisfied until we do. The amazing thing about it all is that once you start seeking Him, the more you want to seek Him. The more you find Him, the more you want to find Him. It's mind-blowing, how tuning into God makes one "hunger and thirst" after righteousness.
And Righteousness personified is YESHUA.
A relationship with God goes far beyond salvation itself. A person can be saved and not have a healthy prayer life. It's actually not a requirement of salvation. The only requirement is to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9). However, the believer with no prayer life is quite literally ROBBING THEMSELVES of the ABUNDANT life! And in all honesty, who DOESN'T want to know the One who saved their soul?! Christ's work on the cross is THE most important thing to happen to you in your entire, eternal life! How could you NOT want to know this amazing God of amazing Love?
There is no time like the present to begin your prayer life with Yeshua. He needs no pomp and circumstance. He did away with religion, remember? Tell Him anything and everything. Make "Pray without ceasing" your mantra. Be constantly tuned in. It's a discipline to carve out time from your busy day to pray. But that's why we're called "disciples".
Don't be the one to tell Almighty God you didn't have time for Him today. Get to know the One who lived and died for you.