Wednesday, June 11, 2014

power of prayerJesus promised us that “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). God gives us power through the indwelling of His Spirit and through the means of grace the Spirit uses to apply that power to us.

Last time we looked at the power available to us in God’s living and active Word. Today we will look at another means of grace —prayer—and see if we are plugged into it . . . or unplugged.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  (Matthew 7:7)

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

(Ephesians 6:18)

Pray continually . . . (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Draw near to God . . . (James 4:8)

So . . . how is your prayer life these days? As you can see from the Scriptures listed above, we are not only invited into prayer, but we are commanded to pray. I believe one of the main reasons we are commanded to pray is to help us overcome our own sense of unworthiness in coming to the Throne of Grace. We may often feel unworthy, especially after we have done something we ought not to have done. Then, when the devil chimes in with his accusations, we can begin to believe that heaven’s gate has been closed to us.

This is simply NOT TRUE; and that is why we must remember that we are commanded to come to Jesus . . . just as we are . . . at all times, on all occasions . . . both filthy and guilty!

The Bible provides a great example of the downside of neglecting to pray. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray and told His disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” So what did they do? They went to sleep. And what happened to the beloved apostle Peter immediately after that? He tumbled face-first into temptation.

Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:10-11)

And as you may remember, having neglected His Lord’s instruction to pray, Peter had not finished his free fall into temptation.

He replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”  (Luke 22:33-34)

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:59-62)

What is true of Peter is true of all of us. Our public fall always begins with our private fall when we neglect the disciplines of grace God has given to us. Charles Spurgeon warned that “A neglected [prayer] closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline.”

Our Lord set the model for a life of prayer. If we truly are His disciples, our lives should be marked by prayer. Remember, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!



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