The Greatest Prayer





Which is the greatest prayer in the Bible?

The answer to this question is usually based on which prayer had the largest, most impressive result. Elijah's prayer in I Kings 17:20-22 brought life to the body of a young boy. Joshua's prayer in Joshua 10:12-13 resulted in altered movement of the sun and an Israelite victory. Moses' prayer in Exodus 32:11-14 caused God to "repent" of His idea to "consume" the Hebrew people. Each of these, in some way, worked for the benefit of the person praying.

I maintain, however, that the greatest prayer of all was offered by Jesus in Matthew 26:39 when He said "...not as I will, but as you will." Simple and short, from a totally submitted heart, this prayer was answered by Jehovah God and ended in Jesus' torture and death. They both knew that death was imminent and both accepted it. The result was the offering of salvation to untold numbers of people throughout the world. And it serves as the type of prayer that Christians should be offering every day.

The greatest prayer resulted in the greatest sacrifice and the greatest resurrection the world has ever known.

Faith and Obedience

Faith and obedience are as inseparable as the two sides of a coin.

God sometimes calls us to acts of obedience that have the possibility of undesirable consequences. We hesitate. We procrastinate. We rationalize. Then, finally, we call our weak faith into play and do the thing He has asked.

And because He is our Father He still supports and protects us. The possible unpleasant results do not happen. Our faith grows stronger. We are more willing to be obedient next time.

So each act of obedience results in increased faith. That increased faith, in turn, brings about a more instant, joyful and confident obedience the next time He calls. We become more mature Christians because of the upward spiraling interplay between these two spiritual aspects of our lives.

James was referring to this connection when he wrote “anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act”(James 2:18 LB) It was obedience that directed James’ actions. He was doing the things God selected for him to do, not the things he had chosen for himself.

If we are disobedient, we need to ask the Father for increased faith that will give us the courage to obey. If we lack strong faith we need to act in obedience anyway and our faith will be strengthened when we observe his protection and provision.

And our reward for increased faith and obedience? The greatest reward of all: “Well done” from our Father. (Matt 25:21 LB)

My Sunday Responsibility

As a Christian, what is my responsibility toward the Sunday morning worship time? What does God expect of me concerning that one hour of “holy huddle” each week?

It begins with prayers on Monday morning. I need to set aside time each weekday to pray for the pastor and each person who will have a leadership roll during the next worship service.

Then I am to ask God if He wants me to invite anyone to attend the next service with me. Do I know anyone who needs what He will provide then?

I should also begin to pray for myself that I will learn what God wants to teach me during that time. I need to give the Holy Spirit permission to start preparing my mind and will to receive His message.

Throughout the week I should plan my weekend so that nothing interferes with my attendance at God’s house. It is my responsibility to control my time to guarantee I will be in my place.

On Sunday morning I must get out of bed early enough to be on time without any hassle, rush or last-minute confusion. The self-discipline of time control is vital.

When I arrive at the worship site I need to focus on God. I must yield my will to Him so I can be taught and molded. The actions of the pastor and worship leader should be secondary to my understanding of God’s word and will. The Holy Spirit will speak to me during the worship time if I want Him to and if I block out distractions.

Throughout the worship time I should be in prayer for others. I should be asking the Father to lead the pastor to say only the things He wants said, praying that all of us hear clearly and correctly.

Lastly I am to continue praying for myself that God’s message will produce His desired results in my life during the coming week. Then, with gratitude for the opportunity to worship and for those who have helped me do so, I must remember the Golden Rule as I drive out of a crowded and confused parking lot.

Musings #4

We have all heard the advice “Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.” In Numbers 14:28-35 the Hebrew people said they would have been better off if they had died in the desert. So God decided to let them do just that – die in the desert.

Should I ask God for what I want? Sure! But I must ask, not demand. And my requests should be accompanied by “But if You think something else is better, I’ll be glad to take that instead.” (And really mean it when I say it.)

After asking, I must remember to listen. Prayer is meant to be a dialogue, not a monologue.

BITS & PIECES, ODDS & ENDS – 11

We should worship God because of his majesty and power – Who He is. We should love God because of his mercy and grace – What He has done.

IMMANUEL – God with us. I have come to believe this is the greatest word of all. Not God above us or God creating us or God judging us. Just God with us.

In my efforts to advance toward Christlikeness, am I a “stroller” Christian or a “training wheels” Christian or a “ten speed” Christian?

When God shows me a sin in my life I usually try to deny it (I didn’t do it) or distort  it (It’s not my fault) or dismiss it (It’s no big deal.) Seems I will do almost anything but confess it and repent.

Prayer was never meant to be a monologue. God intends for our prayers to be as much listening as talking.

I tend to value God’s promises but ignore or resist his commands. Proverbs 2:1-5 tells me to “treasure  his commandments.”

When I meet others will I lift their burdens, ignore their burdens, or add to their burdens?

God is my Father! When people watch my life do they ever say about me “He’s  just a chip off the old block?”