Tuesday, November 10, 2009
…"Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” Matthew 26:40
…"Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” Matthew26:40
Lately I have had some people state I seem to only focus on what is wrong with the Church but seem to not offer any solutions. I somewhat took some offense to this at first, but then realized it was an honest opinion. I have written much as far as answers to issues and ways to look at how we current do things like evangelism or church… yet I think one of the core things we as the Body of Christ need to grasp is the importance and even urgency of prayer.
So many times I am approached by someone who asks me, (of all people) how one can go through tough times and stay hopeful and faithful. Honestly, I often fail that test myself, yet at times I am able to rise above fear and circumstances when others cannot. I do not mean this as bragging as I owe so much to one thing… Prayer.
When I pray, I am faced with myself. It is often like I am looking in a mirror and seeing who I was, who I am and yet who I will be in Christ when He is finished with me. Of course I do not see clearly who I will be, when Jesus is finished with me. In fact I wonder if Jesus will ever finish with me or if I will be an ongoing hobby in all eternity.
In this mirror though I see flashes of my past that humble me yet give me great hope as I see how far I have come from where I was, and yet also see how much more I need to learn. I also see where I am and at times, Lord willing, I see where I am going and who I will be. Again, there is not single technique… in fact most often the one rule is to pray as simply and honestly as I can.
I was given the gift of tongues early in my walk. For years it was something I struggled with… not in believing it of doing it, but in how it fit into my life in a practical way. I know many do not believe in this gift, yet I cannot deny what God has done in my life, so if you do not believe bear with me a bit out of Grace.
Tongues to me are like a spiritual laxative. I know that sounds a bit too earthy for some, but that is what I found. At times I am so blocked mentally and spiritually I just have not clue how to pray. I will try words, yet they fail me. Often I used to just give up… Yet, I found this wonderful gift will kick in and I will have the Holy Spirit pray in and through me. As I pray, I do most often begin to have a clear idea as to how I am to pray. I may not always be given understanding to the words I spoke, yet also sometimes this weird language will begin to blend and become English and I gain full comprehension of what I was saying. Yet, in the end, it is out of this I gain a heart of worship and praise… I then am brought to a sense of pure humility as to the greatness of God’s Grace.
Now sometimes when I pray nothing great or awesome happens… sometimes it feels like going through the motions. Maybe I am. I do know that even in those times God gives me focus. I can’t recall the movie, yet the scene is that of a Jewish man on a bicycle. He is heading down a hill on and realizes he has no breaks. He begins to pray, “GOD BE WITH ME NOW!” Often that is my simple prayer… yet I found anther way also. I now pray not that God blesses me as I go about my day, but that I am part of what God has already blessed! Think about that. Often we want God to trail behind us as if He had nothing better to do. Then when we need Him, we are like the man on the bicycle… We expect God to be there when we need Him. Now He is, yet, I found in this simple portion of a verse a powerful truth. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matt 26:40) We are to watch with God as He blesses us. Jesus was praying for strength to do His Father’s will at this time. He needed those who would later be the pillars of the Church to watch with Him. To pray WITH Him. In other words be a part of what Jesus was doing. In stead we tend to do as the disciples and do what we want believing God will bless us…even as we fall asleep when God needs us most. We tend to make things all about us… we create a self centered world and still want to be our own god… and want God to bless us as we do this!
Now I am not trying to condemn anyone. We are all on this journey of faith together. But I challenge you to start praying this way. I believe you will find a new power not only in your prayers but in your daily life you never had before. It is learning to turn prayer from a self centered practice to a way of seeing outside ourselves and into what God is doing. In this God will still bring you to the mirror, yet now it is not about keeping the focus on you, but on you in Christ and Christ in you… and together doing the work of the Father you were created to do.