Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prayer The Ultimate Act Of Faith

(John 3: 16) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
This verse clearly indicates that God loves all of humanity and not just a select special class and that He has offered freely the gift of eternal life to anyone and everyone who believes in him so that they will not perish and live for eternity.
(John 1: 12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Unfortunately there are many who refuse to believe in Him and receive him and although many seem like fine people, they are opting for eternal death over eternal life. This condition exists solely due to a total lack of faith, there is no sin black enough to keep anyone from the love of God and from receiving the free gift of eternal life other than one’s own stubborn willfulness and refusal to accept God’s grace.
When Jesus appeared to his disciples following his resurrection he spoke to Thomas who had believed that Jesus had died and was simply rotting in his grave.
(John 20: 29) Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

This identifies the basic reason why the heavens just don’t burst open in a sudden brilliant kaleidoscopic light event showing the Creator and all the glories of heaven, because God requires us to believe through faith which comes from a deep inner desire to know Him and not by way of some cheap quick acknowledgment by those whose hearts remain unchanged and who continue to rely on their own righteousness rather than the righteousness of God imparted through Christ. Herein lies the reason for prayer, because it is in and of itself an ultimate act of faith!

(James 5: 13 - 16) Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

So often people pray fervently for the total healing of a loved one who is dying with a cancer ridden body, or for someone who was horribly injured in an accident. When that person dies some who prayed fervently will become bitter, feeling that their prayers had been ignored or that God wasn’t listening, or even worse that God may not really exist. The sad truth is that we are only human with finite minds set primarily on the present, their prayers were actually answered and their loved one is with God, complete and whole just as requested. 
(Luke 18: 1 - 8) And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man; and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’ For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus made it a clear point that God will answer prayer but then asks if when He returns will He find faith on earth? (Will we still be praying or will we have faithlessly given up and quit?)

Jesus gave us an example of how we should pray when he said “Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name…” And sadly the intent and meaning of what Jesus had prayed has been rendered into something of a mantra that is mindlessly rattled off by many church members. Then there are those who love to lead others in prayer with flowery and pious renditions of their own which leaves one wondering if perhaps they want to be admired by others for their piety and eloquence at praying. But here then is what the Lord has no regard for and then also yet another example of how we should pray.

(Luke 18: 9 - 14) He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I do my most fervent praying while I’m in the shower with my exhaust fan running so that there is no one who can hear me other than God Himself and often times those prayers come with tears and an admission of what a pathetic human being I am. My family doesn’t need to hear these things as they lean on me to be the head of their household and strong for them. Little do they know that my strength doesn’t come from within but emanates directly from God in answer to my prayers.

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