Saturday, December 5, 2009

THE CASE FOR PRAYER -- Devotional for December 4, from "Good Seeds"

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work. (Colossians 1:9-10)

In making a case for prayer here are some principles to consider:
#1 Prayer is thanking God for things we know originated with Him.
#2 Prayer is asking God for things no man can provide.
#3 Prayer is telling God things that are for His ears only.
Jesus gave His followers a pattern for prayer in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” A better name for it would be “The Disciple’s Prayer.” Not that Jesus never prayed for the things in that prayer, but His prayers went far deeper, and the disciple who would follow His Master to the extreme will model his prayer life after those prayers as well. Today’s Scripture records another pattern for prayer we would do well to follow: The Apostle’s Prayer. We ask our Christian brothers to pray for us all the time, but how often do we ask for the things enumerated in Paul’s prayer for his friends at Colossae. I’m sure if he had asked, “How can I pray for you?” he would have received a laundry list of their aches and pains and disappointments, the very things that dominate our prayer times today. So maybe Paul didn’t ask. Maybe he prayed for other things, things they needed more than comfort and healing and provision of perceived needs – things that if benevolently provided by God according to the apostle’s requests, would have more than made up for the people not having their own way with God. Next time you ask for prayer, ask for the Four W’s: The knowledge of God’s WILL; spiritual WISDOM; a worthy WALK; and fruitful WORK. And next time someone asks you to pray for them, go ahead and intercede for the thing they requested, but then, keep going. And if they’re within earshot of your prayer, they will be blessed to know that God is interested in them, and will care for them, way past the body, deep into the soul; way past obvious hurts and expected cures, deep into surprising serendipitous solutions; and way beyond the painful past, out into a glorious future! When we ask God for the Four W’s for our friends, and we hear them praying them for us, we stop treating God like a divine genie, and learn to know Him as the all powerful creator of the universe who can take care of us without losing track of the rest of the world or hurting humanity. When we learn to pray in this deeper way, we begin to recognize God for who He really is, and a fourth principle of prayer begins to dominate our prayer life:
#4 Prayer is the heart of man reaching out to the heart of God.

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