Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do You Pray?

“Faith is to the soul what life is to the body. Prayer is to faith what breath is to life. How a man can live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a man can believe and not pray is past my comprehension too.” Quote taken from J.C. Ryle’s book, A Call to Prayer.

I started doing a study on the book mentioned above. I know that prayer is so vital to our walk with the Lord but often it is the one thing that gets so neglected. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and justify our lack of time to pray. However, if we look at it from a little different perspective, it seems absurd not to make the time to pray. Food feeds our body and we always remember to feed our bodies. When was the last time you let three, four or seven days go by and then suddenly realize, “I’ve been so busy that I forgot to eat; I just haven’t had the time”? Well, likewise, prayer feeds our faith. When we go without prayer, our spiritual life becomes weak and suffers from malnutrition. What happens to our bodies when they become weak? Sickness and disease set in. The same with our spiritual life; sin sets in (which is sickness and disease to our soul).

We may be tempted to defend ourselves and deny that we are in sin. I know that personally, this is something that I would do. Sure, I would feel bad for not spending more time in prayer and communion with the Lord, but I didn’t see it as “that bad”, until now. While doing this study I read something that brought immediate conviction to my life. It gave me such a different perspective of prayer. A perspective that I’ve never had before.

Like many of us, I know the scriptures that talk about praying without ceasing, in all things making our request known unto God, giving thanks in everything, etc., but I have never seen it the way that I see it now. Here is what I read that changed my view completely:

“I have looked carefully over the lives of God’s saints in the Bible. I cannot find one of whose history much is told us, from Genesis to Revelation, who was not a man of prayer. I find it mentioned as a characteristic of the godly, that “they call on the Father” (1 Peter 1:17), or “the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:2).”

And here it is, folks:

“Recorded as a characteristic of the wicked is the fact that “they call not upon the Lord” (Ps. 14:4).”

That sentence cut through me like a knife! When I’m not calling upon the Lord for everything in my life, I have the characteristic of a wicked person!

As a woman of God, with the desire to live a holy life, I must call upon the Lord in everything. If not, I’m deceiving myself. In essence, I’m saying that I don’t need the Lord, that I can do all things through myself (which is NOT what Phil. 4:13 says). This is how the wicked person thinks and lives their life. They go about their daily schedules relying on their own wisdom and strength. How could I ever think that I’m a holy woman of God if I’m living in the same manner?

My heart is truly broken but at the same time, I’m so filled with hope and joy. I know that my Father in heaven has revealed this to me with the purpose and intent of helping me to change. He is working in me to mold me and shape me more into His image. He chastens those whom He loves. It is painful to see who I really am but so encouraging to see who I’m becoming.

It is imperative that we not only spend private time in communion with the Lord daily, but also, throughout the day, call upon the name of the Lord. When we’re making decisions, as we’re teaching and training our children, when we’re tired and run down, when we’re giving an answer to someone - in all things. All it takes is a quick acknowledgment in our heart to the Lord asking for his wisdom, guidance, strength, etc. As we practice doing this consistently, then it becomes so natural that we do it without even thinking about it. As J.C. Ryle says, “Prayer is to faith what breath is to life”. We breathe without thinking about it. Let’s get to a place where we pray without thinking about it.

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