How’s Your Prayer Life?

How’s Your Prayer Life?

When asked about their prayer life most people would answer with responses like: “Well it’s not too bad, but it could be better” or “It’s not very good.” Both sets of people will readily agree that God hears and answers prayer and that they should pray more but we have become accustomed to functioning without the blessings, unction, and sweet fellowship with the Lord that only comes with true praying. I mean after all, things are pretty good for you right now. Right? Or the busy pastor may say we had a good attendance or good offerings and all the while much of it can be explained away as the result of a good web site or an enticing promotion on that particular Sunday.  There was a time when we really did rise early and seek the Lord and saw His power and presence in our lives only to have the busy schedule of our lives or the hectic pace of the ministry (pastors) squeeze our closet time out. We think about prayer, believe in prayer, maybe preach about prayer but how much true praying is done?

Poor Excuses For Little Or No Prayer

I was privileged to hold a weekly Bible study at a state prison for seventeen years and  I was making an appeal to the men in the study to schedule  a large amount of time each morning to seek the Lord, to worship Him, to cry out for revival in the prison or in America, and to sing Psalms to Him. I was quickly shot down by a prisoner who said, “I kind of just talk to Him throughout the day.” Now to be sure I recommend constant fellowship with the Lord all the day long but can you see how this violates the command to enter into our closet, (place of prayer away from other people)  shut the door, (remove all distractions) and to pray to your Father in secret (total focus on Him) ?  Matthew 6:6  I know that when my wife and I talk she wants my full attention.  I need to put the newspaper down and refuse to take any calls or texts on my phone. She deserves my full attention when we talk. Anything short of that is disrespectful and rude. If you think about it many of us  have had lunch with a friend and we are not conversing with the person we went to lunch with but we are checking our phones or taking and receiving texts. There is hardly any deep communication anymore. We are a world set adrift with our eyes on the screen of the tablet, desktop, or cell phone. Sadly, this is how we function with our communion with our heavenly Father.

I understand that you are busy but it is also true that we find time for what is important to us. Many times we just vegetate on our smart phones playing games or checking social media. I will never forget when we had evangelist Byron Foxx with us for a meeting. We were going to do something we had planned and I said, “Yes, we will do that but first I need to spend some time in prayer.” His eyes got real big with excitement and he said, “Yes that’s right! Our prayer work is our most important work, isn’t it?” I have never forgotten that statement. Is it not our most important part of our life? Our time alone with almighty God? Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of heart; if you have the heart to pray, you will find the time.”

Then it may be that you prayed and it did not come to pass right away. Please get with a godly Christian who prayed for years and it was finally answered! Ask him or her how they stayed motivated to pray and just hung on! When we do not want to pray or we feel weak that is the very time to press on and keep praying. God admires and delights in the person who will not give up. Brother this shows faith! In the parable of the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8 we read of the challenge of God encouraging us to “cry day and night unto Him”. Importunity is the constant asking to the point of annoyance or intrusion. Just recently my precious dad passed away and two days before he died I was privileged of the Lord to lead him to salvation! This came after over thirty years of praying with tears and loud groaning for him. Many of us are not passionate or fervent in our prayer life and so it becomes an exercise in boredom or it is tedious to us. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b If prayer is boring to you it is not God’s fault. It is your low view of Him and your preoccupation with the things of this world that is out of sync.

The Warfare Around You

The Warfare Around You

He Is Looking For You

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 Most of Christianity today has no idea of the battle that rages on around us in the unseen spiritual world. To begin with, it seems like God is merely an attachment to our lives who is kind of like the rich uncle that lives in Texas. We know he is there and have warm thoughts of him, that he loves us, but we really don’t stay in contact very much. He is not our reason for existence. We do not greet Him in the morning as we rise from sleep. He is just another App on our screen. We believe in God and occasionally pray to Him but we only visit Him once a week. Then there is the devil. We believe that he also exists and then we trivialize him to the point of a cartoonish devil that wears a red jumpsuit, has horns, a thin mustache, and oh yes, a tail. I really want my readers to learn to lift up our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and not give any undue attention or fascination to Satan but brother he exists! He hates you with a passion and rages against you and your family. He works 24/7, 365 days a year and does not really want the attention for what he does. In fact he would rather go undetected and work undercover where he does his best work. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:11 “We are not ignorant of his devices.”,but tragically we oftentimes are very ignorant and even complicit in his plan without knowing it. He would love for you to have a failed marriage. He wants your children to rebel against you. He wants you to be offended and leave your church. He does not mind if you skip the Sunday night service or Wednesday prayer meeting. He wants you to compromise just a little and will wait patiently for you to get cold and indifferent to the things of God.

Ignorance Is No Excuse

Those who do not know God very well and are ignorant of Satan’s devices will have flesh and blood battles against people and miss the real source of the conflict. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 we should, “…look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen,…for the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Spiritual warfare is a subject that every believer should study and be aware of. We have the weapons listed in Ephesians Chapter six but very few believers use them.

Where Are Your Priorities?

We are encouraged to have a heavenly vision when it comes to our brief journey on earth. The Lord knew that we would be tempted to view life through the natural man instead of the spiritual man. In 2 Timothy 2:4 we read, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” This battle as was mentioned before is an ongoing fight to the finish. We must understand who the enemy is and fight not fight a carnal (fleshly) battle with people. When we encounter strife and trouble with family or coworkers it is a natural response to push back at the one who hurt or offended us. In so doing we miss the true culprit who is the liar, accuser of the brethren, the deceiver, who is also known as an angel of light. When we battle flesh and blood (people) Satan gets the victory and we are further from victory than when we began. Let us never forget…”the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 To complicate matters many believers are filling their minds with the things which will eventually pull them away from the things that speak of Christ. It is a subtle tactic of the enemy and does not seem so wrong at first. But when this is the philosophy of life of one who will be leaving this world soon, it is a waste of time at best and will lead to further erosion of the testimony of the Christian. One secular writer lamented that just when the world needs the church the most the church has become just like the world. Those who are a child of God truly need to set their affections on things above. Instead of being heavenly minded many men are sowing seeds of destruction by spending huge amounts of time on social media. The shocking fact is that over 70 % of the men in the United States view pornography on a regular basis and according to study by The Barna Group 64% of “Christian” men admit to watching porn. Where are the blessings of God when this is happening? They certainly are not coming down as we need them to. One of the ways we can fight this scourge is to be held accountable, knowing that what we view will be known to our accountability partner. Covenant Eyes is an online company that will help us men to stay pure in God’s eyes. In their own words it will help us to “maintain our online integrity.” Satan has done a masterpiece of a job in the area of lust to render men helpless in this area of spiritual warfare. It is bad enough when our public world is so lewd and now with the click of a button or a tap of the finger, the vilest and most wicked things are right in front of the viewer.

Hell Is No Joke!

By now you are either on board with this blog or you think I am making much more of Satan than I should. Friend, we are warned many times in the New Testament of our fallen foe who seeks to devour you. If you are not viewing the reality of Satan, Witchcraft, and evil spirits from the perspective of the Word of God you will fall prey to the deception that most of the world has bought into, namely that he either does not exist or “Hey It’s all in good fun! i.e. Halloween and Buffy The Vampire Slayer et al. Hollywood has so muddied the waters in many ways but the most powerful trick they have pulled is to make you think this is harmless fun. Take note of how wildly popular the Harry Potter series was or the Disney kids cartoon, Vampirina. These subtle tactics have won thousands of young potential converts to the dark side as parents are left thinking, “How cute!” I have personally dealt with a young teenager who wanted help in getting out of witchcraft. Her sister meanwhile was happy to continue in a vampire-themed game complete with a playbook full of rules. In the NAVY I met and debated with four different practicing Satanists who were very devout in their worship of their Lord Satan. They were not joking at all! Hell is no joke and Satan plays for keeps.

We Are On The Winning Side!

Before you think the devil has the upper hand, remember that He was defeated at the cross where our Lord Jesus Christ paid for our sins and took the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and nailed it to the cross. Satan WILL be cast into the lake of fire and we DO have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Never think we are to stand against the devil in our own strength.  We stand in the power of the Lord and we clearly state, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13 Let me encourage you to be a man or woman of intense, fervent, red-hot prayer!  Again, have a look at what The Barna Group has found about the prayer habits of evangelical Christians and you will be shocked! Other sources suggest that the average Christian spends 3-7 minutes in prayer daily and that includes meal time prayers! That “rub a dub dub thanks for the grub” praying just won’t cut it, friend!

It should give the devil a fit when he sees you bow in prayer. Your prayers, if prayed with a holy life will be like thunderous cannons destroying the kingdom of Satan. What a shame it would be if ole smutty face were to say to you, “Paul I know and Jesus I know, but who are you?” Leonard Ravenhill says you should be such a threat to Satan’s kingdom that you would be known in hell. Brother the time is short. Darkness is coming when no man can work.The devil knows it. Do we? Let’s get in the business of praying down the power of God and I believe we can still see revival and see many captives set free. Please feel free to leave a comment to encourage other believers in prayer. Let’s get some commitment. Can I get an Amen?