Tag Archive for prayer

God Want’s Christians To Pester and Bother Him

I admit I have always been prideful in my prayer life. That is to say, I make an effort to get by without God until I get in over my head. I sometimes reason that this matter is too small for God, or this health concern is just God’s way of purifying me so I just need to suck it up and keep on going. These sentiments are froth with pride and deny God the opportunity to show Himself the loving heavenly Father that he truly is. I believe this as I write it but I guarantee you I will be struggling with it 30 minutes from now. So to help me remember, and maybe it will help you too, I post the following sermon montage by Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. Enjoy!

 

HT: Tim Challies

The Sin Of Unbelief

Unbelief robs us of our peace and robs God of His glory. It is a canker that eats at the very fabric of our souls. It is subtle and sadistic and is more prevalent than we realize. Consider the following warning concerning unbelief:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

– Hebrews 3:12-14

This passage warns us that the only remedy against unbelief and the deceitfulness of sin is faith in Jesus Christ. If you place your faith in Christ to be your substitute and to exchange your sinfulness for His righteousness, then you will persevere and not be overcome by the deceitfulness of sin. Genuine faith is lasting faith and can never be lost (John 10:27-29; Ephesians 1:4).

Unbelief, however, is not just a danger for those without faith. It is not just a tool that Satan uses to keep people from heaven, but it is also his weapon to keep Christians from enjoying the fellowship of their Savior. The gospel of Matthew gives us a perfect example:

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Matthew 8:23-27

The disciples who had spent time with Jesus, who had witnessed His power, and who had seen his miracles were afraid of a storm. I have no doubt that had you or I been there, we would have been just as afraid as the disciples, but therein lies our comfort and our caution. If the very 12 men whom Jesus chose to carry out His work struggled with unbelief, then we should not be surprised to find that we also share in this struggle. It is common to all Christians regardless of their station.

If unbelief is the cancer then faith must be its cure. Every time we are attacked by satan with unbelief, we must counter with faith. This is a surefire way to glorify God and see His provision realized in our circumstances. The great Puritan pastor Thomas Watson states the case thus:

“He that believes flies to God’s mercy and truth, as to an altar of refuge; he engarrisons himself in the promises, and trusts all he has with God (Psalm 31:3-4)…This is a great way of bringing glory to God, and God honors faith because faith honors Him.”

You may be going through some difficult circumstances that have shaken your faith but rest assured that little faith is great faith when it rests in a great God. Jesus is tender and merciful to act on the slightest evidence of faith. We know this from what is recorded in Mark 9:22-27.

In this passage, a man brings his son to Jesus to be healed. Look at what he says to Jesus:

“…But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Anyone else might have taken offense at this mans statement and sent him on his way, but not Jesus look at His response:

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Jesus confronted this mans unbelief because He knew that this sin was robbing the man of his peace and God of His glory. After Jesus admonition the man responds by saying:

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

This is a very weak but very real admission about his faith in Jesus but it is enough to see the mercy and grace of Jesus realized. Immediately following this confession, Jesus goes and heals the man’s son. The little faith of this man was enough to satisfy Jesus and result in a great miracle. This should give us much hope.

The sin of unbelief is real and potent but it can be conquered by a little faith. If you have never trusted Christ as your savior exercise a little faith and call on Him today. If you are a Christian whose joy is being stolen by doubt, worry, or stress weak as it may, be exercise your faith and call on Him today to be your protector and deliverer. Don’t be a victim of the sin of unbelief.

Is Government Sponsored Prayer Unconstitutional?

Our founding fathers invariably were theists. They all believed in the Judeo-Christian God even if many of them never professed faith in Jesus Christ. To say that this country was not founded in the respect of and desire to pray to God is to be woefully misinformed. Time does not permit me to lay before you the multitudinous quotes of the founding fathers extolling the virtues of prayer and the danger of its neglect.

The ruling of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Ma­di­son, Wisconsin that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional strikes me as very odd. She cites the basis for her decision resting on her interpretation of the First Amendment that states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

I am confident that the good judge knows more of and understands the Constitution much better than I, but I don’t understand how having a national day of prayer establishes a religion. Her ruling seems faulty for a number of reasons two of which I will share. First, reading the notes of the founders and in particular Thomas Jefferson’s explanation of the first amendment in a letter sent to the Danbury Baptists clearly shows that this prohibition is against congress establishing a state church. The concern was about sectarianism something that this national day of prayer stays away from altogether. Second, almost every recognized form of religion believes in some kind of prayer. Prayer is just as common to the Muslim as it is to the Christian as it is to the Zoroastrian. Prayer in and of itself is in no way sectarian and doesn’t establish one religion over another.

Judge Crabb’s ruling gives fodder to those who would argue that she is in fact respecting the establishment of the religion of secularism. The religiosity of secularism can be easily documented according to the activities, writings, and attitudes of its adherents. Whereas prayer is not unique to any religion, avoidance of prayer is unique to secularism. So by ruling against the national day of prayer is she violating the wisdom and the very Constitution that she is attempting to uphold?

In the end, Christians should not look to government to sanction or censure prayer. We don’t get our rights from the government. Our rights come from God. The founders knew this and they built this thinking into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Its sad to see that some justices like Justice Crabb seem to think of nationally sponsored prayer as unconstitutional but that in no way should hinder the fervency and frequency of our prayers. It should in fact increase it.

Do We Know What Prayer Is For?

prayer“You cannot know what prayer is for, until you know that life is war”

“Most Americans have taken a wartime walkie-talkie and turned it into a domestic intercom.”

These two gems came to me from a Pastor I heard at a conference this past weekend. The Pastor was John Piper and the conference was called Advance 09. We invoke prayer as a common practice at sporting events, political meetings, and in times of national crisis. Our society is not a stranger to prayer but having heard pastor John speak so pointedly on the subject, I was moved to wonder, do we know what prayer is for?

The power of prayer is known in its application. How and why we pray means a great deal. An outsider might look at our popular entertainment and be led to believe that prayer is a hot line to a heavenly butler who is on standby to bring us what we want and keep us fed, entertained, and comfortable. To look in the pages of God’s Word and to consider the prayers that are contained therein, however, will lead us to ideate a much different picture more in line with the quotes from Pastor John. Prayer is communication with God but for His purposes and for His glory. To seek that end is to be at war with sin, satan, and this world system. Prayers from this perspective are wartime prayers and come from hearts that have been won over by the loving grace of the gospel.

So why do you pray? What is your purpose for praying? There is nothing wrong with asking God for things as long as your requests have as their end His glory. God delights in such prayers and is eager to answer them. If you are ever at a loss as to how you can pray as you should consider the following model:

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

– Matthew 6:9b-13 (ESV)