Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Not Lacked A Thing!

Work has been crazy lately. I've been working longer hours than normal. The overtime is a blessing, but I'm not really a fan of it in general. There is a lot to say for having time with family and not being completely wiped out upon arrival at home. I'm not complaining... overtime at work is always optional and so it has been by choice. However, it has given me a greater appreciation for those that work long hours almost every day. I am very blessed and thankful.

I was reading in Deuteronomy 2 this evening and a phase caught my attention from verse 7...
These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.
That is quite a statement to make! I am all of 26 and to even comprehend not only my entire life, but another 10+ years all spent in the wilderness is quite something... yet, in all of that and in all of their rebellion, they did not lack a thing because of God's goodness. I also look back on my life and can say that this is true of my life as well. Not only have I not lacked a thing, God has given so much above and beyond what I need. How amazing is the goodness of God?! Though I sin against Him time and time again, He still makes it so I am not lacking a thing. I am so undeserving. He is so good.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

When We Pray...

I won't hide it from you... if this is half as convicting to you as it is to me, it won't be a "fun" read, but it will be profitable. I was about to start praying for someone this evening and thought, "I should tell so and so that I am praying for them.", but gave little thought to actually praying for them. The Lord brought Matthew 6:5-6 to mind...
When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
In a moment, I realized that I had created my own slightly different hypocritical way of "praying". Actually, it was worse in a way. At least they were praying! I was going to go ahead and "announce" my praying and then put half as much time into actually praying for them as it would take to "announce" it. Maybe announcing it to one person is better than on the street corner, but regardless, it is seeking to please man rather than God and it is not the fervent or effectual prayer that accomplishes much.

It is not wrong to encourage someone in the Lord by saying, "Hey, I'm praying for you!" In fact, I think it is quite uplifting when someone says that to me! However, if we say such things to get a "thank you" rather than to be an encouragement in the Lord... and perhaps not even get around to praying about it... what good is that? Wouldn't we be much better off to pray in private and not even speak a word about it to anyone but God?! I expect that when I get to heaven, there will be countless people there that have prayed for me and prayers that God has answered that I was never aware of. Maybe even people who's name I cannot even remember. I want to be that kind of man. Yes, I want to encourage people and let them know I'm praying for them. But, I want to faithfully pray for people regardless of their knowledge of it and witness the Lord's work and praise Him for it. God, forgive me for the ways in which I have been a hypocrite in prayer and make me a faithful prayer warrior for Your glory alone!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Work of Prayer

I don't know whether more people are in need of earnest prayer right now, or if God is graciously making me more attentive to the needs of others around me, but I have been so burdened to pray more. I think it is probably the later as I can be so focused on self at times that I miss opportunities to serve others around me. Regardless, I am thankful for these opportunities to bring others (and myself) before His throne knowing that He hears. Physically doing work often seems like the "more important work", but I am becoming more and more convinced (beyond head-knowledge level) that prayer is the more important work. There are certainly times to get our hands dirty... and we ought to, but if it be (and it is) true that we can do nothing apart from Him, we must be more dependent on Him. I'm ashamed of how many times I do things without even consulting Him. He ought to be at the center of everything! I will even find myself sitting and just thinking about something rather than praying through it to the Lord. So often in my times of prayer, the Lord grants wisdom and insight. He often brings passages to mind as I am praying that speak directly to the situation and it is such a joyous thing to hear from Him. It makes me wonder how I could ever not take something before Him in prayer... and yet I do!

All that to say, I am burdened and encouraged to take much more before Him in prayer. Not just saying empty words to be able to say, "I prayed for you.", but to earnestly come before the Lord and pray big things. It seems like such a huge thing for God to change a heart, but it is big only from our perspective. It is not a hard thing for God to change hearts. I love that verse at the beginning of Proverbs 21:
The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.
I imagine running my hand under the sink and using my hand and fingers to direct the direction of the water... that is how easy it is for God to direct the heart of the most powerful person with the hardest of hearts. Why do I ask Him to change hearts with such little faith? He can do all things and no purpose of His can be thwarted! May we pray with much more urgency and much more faith because He is the one that does the work! Apart from Him, we can do nothing!