Greetings to all, seen and unseen, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am glad that you stopped by today to share God’s Word with us. With the cold weather lingering this year I’m getting cabin fever and I am just itching to get outside. We had a special dinner this week that was centered on Japan. Many years ago when we Home Schooled our children we had Geography Dinners. In these we would highlight a country each month and all the children would come up with a presentation. With each country that we covered, we ate food from that country and dressed in the traditional clothing as best we could and really enjoyed learning about it. On some areas we had the dances from that country. We always ended the evening by talking about the spiritual needs and had prayer for the people there. Well, back by popular demand our family has started doing this again. It’s interesting now as we are all adults. Our children are now more interested in doing something because it’s not a required thing but done out of real interest and the fun we have.
Our home was decorated in oriental décor and all the ladies looked beautiful in their kimonos. Last month we had German night. I must admit that I enjoyed the food fromJapanbetter thanGermany. This week we learned that only one percent of the nation ofJapanisChristian. It sounds to me like a good place for a missionary to go.
I was considering prayer this week and a couple of words from the past came up. You may have heard of the business buzz words “proactive and reactive”. Most people are reactive about things. The definition is to react to something after it’s happened. We handle life when we discover the need and don’t prepare for the future. To be proactive is to prepare ahead and make things ready before it breaks, fails or needs attention. One good illustration would be to get your oil changed in your car. If you do this you are being proactive. If you wait until your engine breaks you are reactive. Any kind of preventive maintenance is proactive work.
The company that I work for has electronic and mechanical items that must endure the weather elements and outside extremes. Our department has periodic maintenance that keeps equipment online and working when we need it most. It is a good philosophy for business but also for life. We often don’t deal with things when we should and when they fail or fall apart we panic. Our spiritual walk can be this way but God never intended for it to be so. I want to look at our prayer lives this week.
Turn with me to Isaiah chapter fifty-six. The prophet says in verse seven that God’s house would be known as a house of prayer for all people. Jesus reiterates this again in the New Testament with passages in Matthew 21:13,Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46. In all three verses we understand that this took place when Jesus went to the temple and found something different. Lets’ look at the passage in Matthew. Jesus was upset enough at what He saw that He overturned tables and drove people out. He had a zeal for something that I think we are missing today just as they did then. Jesus wanted the Church to be a place of prayer.
When I was young we used to have prayer meetings. These were events where people came to focus time in prayer. Sometimes it would be for revival. Sometimes, we prayed for a specific need as something arose in the local body. Often times we gathered for major events going on in our country or community. I must say that there was never a major turnout to these prayer times as it could have been. Probably at best only twenty percent of the people I remembered attending regularly would show up at prayer meetings. It isn’t a popular thing for manyChristians. I can’t remember when I last saw a prayer meeting listed on a churches sign inviting people in although there are many “concerts” listed.
I think it’s interesting that whenever a family had a tragedy or urgent need they would absolutely attend. Isn’t that they way we are, though? We take prayer so slightly until it’s our own need at stake. If someone comes to us and asks for prayer do we give it the attention we should? We should always take each need as if it was our own.
God intended for His house to be a house of prayer. When we come together in the modern services are we generally prayer oriented? Yes, we may pray at spots during the service. But can we consider our church services to be prayerful? Think about Jesus turning over the tables of those who sold at the temple. He saw people setting up to make a profit selling doves and other sacrificial animals. It was big business. They might have even called themselves non-profit organizations but they were certainly not in it for the ministry.
What modern day things have we seen in churches? I was once part of a large church in which the lobby was “owned” by the pastor. There was a bookstore on one side just as you came in and it was known by the membership that the profits went to him. Televangelists often imply that you will receive prayer when you send in a “love offering” of any amount. Sometimes they even specify an amount. They sell healings and other miracles for cash to desperate people. Just as Jesus dealt with the moneychangers and dove sellers and He will also deal with these modern day charlatans.
As I mentioned above, there is a mentality to either deal with things once they happen or to try and handle them beforehand. As I write I am in the middle of a water heater repair. Angie andSarahwent to town to pick up some things soHaley,Oliviaand I are here. We noticed that we had no hot water and I inspected it to see what had failed. Our pressure release valve had failed causing water to run through constantly. Why do I mention that? Sometimes there are things that arise that we have no way of preventing. In those incidents we simply handle them as we can. If we have a flat tire our best will be to have a spare tire, a pump and repair kit.
Being prayeractive means that we pray protection around things, pray for things we know will likely happen and pray for things that could happen. How do we know what to pray for? Look at the scripture in Romans 8:26.Paulsaid that the Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses and shortcomings. He said that we wouldn’t always know what we should pray for but that the Spirit would make intercession for us. It says here that He intercedes in groanings that can’t be spoken.
This is a mysterious passage but it indicates that there is a method that God has outlined in which prayer is going on even though we don’t understand it. I’ve had many experiences in the past that point me to this. Many years back my Mother was in the hospital. It seemed clear that she was in very bad shape and that it could possibly be the end of her life. I began to pray the prayer that never fails (Thy will be done) and I had my eyes closed. I saw a vision of her as a teenaged girl (I had seen old pictures of her and knew what she looked like then). She was running through a field of flowers laughing in my vision. I finished my prayer and with my Dad beside me we left it up to God. I don’t think I even told my Dad about it.
When I got home I told my wife that I believed it meant that she would not make it. To my surprise we received a call saying that she had improved and a few days later she went home. She is still with us today and I still don’t understand what the vision was for.
I have had dreams of people who I had not thought of in years or even did not personally know but had met. I would often wake up praying for them even though I did not know why. Often when I pass someone at work I hear the Spirit tell me to pray for them. I have asked at times to see if they knew why God would want me to pray. On some occasions I was told that everything was fine and if I wanted to pray for them I could. Then later they would reveal that they really were in trouble and needed help but didn’t want to talk about it then.
Once when this type thing happened God told me to ask a lady at work if she was alright. She told me that she was fine but the very next day she called me to her desk. Overnight she’d had a very dangerous situation occur and knew that God was showing her He was protecting her.
I am always amazed at the various ways in which God sparks us to pray. In the Romans passage we must acknowledge that He will do whatever means necessary to pray for us and through us. It is important that we keep an alert prayer life.
If you are mechanically proactive you will be sensitive to any changes in your automobile or noises that you hear. That way you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. Just this afternoon as I am writing the message we had a water heater stop working,Olivia’s truck failed to crank as she was going to work andHaley’s computer started giving trouble.Haleyrecognized that something was happening. She came to me a few minutes ago and said “Daddy, we need to pray!” What a great feeling it is when our children are sensitive to the Spirit! Of course, we stood there and prayed and petitioned God for everything that we could think of.
Prayer doesn’t need to be in fancy words. We can speak one word at times and God knows what we mean. But we do need to pray in Jesus’ name. It is only through Him that we can boldly approach the throne of God (Hebrews4:16). There are battles going on around us and we must be alert to the enemies attack. In Ephesians chapter six we are given the elements of Spiritual armor.Paulsaid to put on the whole armor in verse eleven. Then he spells out each piece. Each one is important but this list also includes prayer in verse eighteen. So, what kind of things are we to pray about?
The scripture gives us many things. This list is not all inclusive but here are a few things we should pray about listed in the Word. Pray for each other’s healing (James 5:6)-Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6)-Pray for leaders of our nations (1st Timothy 2:1-2)-pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44)-pray that the gospel goes out (2nd Thessalonians 3:1). The list goes on but I think you will be amazed at how much we should be praying about. How is your prayer life? Do you only go to God in prayer when you get in trouble? Or are you constantly praying to stop things before they happen? Perhaps you are like the man who decided that changing his oil was pointless because he missed it for twenty thousand miles and nothing happened. You haven’t prayed because when you did nothing was happening anyway. Just wait. The enemy is just waiting to catch all of us off guard. Watch diligently and pray without ceasingBrothers and Sisters! Be Prayeractive today!
Prayer-Father, forgive us for failing in our prayer lives. We have wasted so much time with idle subjects and haven’t focused on eternal things that should have mattered. Remind us of what is important. Father, I ask that each man and woman, boy and girl that reads the message would be moved to prayer and petitions about things that are important to You. May each of us be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and what He gives us to pray about.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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