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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prayer is...becoming Mark 4:24



Mark 4:34   “When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.”
“God requires us to examine our own souls.” “We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character.” (Oswald Chambers)
Romans 8:26   “Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

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“Prayer can be a weakness,” people say. I have learned that prayer is the blessing of people I know with my intention of asking God’s intervention in their lives. Prayer is God’s blessing of people through us. God sanctifies us through prayer. Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to receive an answer.”  
What did Paul say about prayer and our relationship with God in Romans 8? He said,

“But also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our body…The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (vs. 23 & 26 [NASB])

Am I struggling with prayer, with my prayer life? Are you? Have you given that weakness over to God for Him to remake you? Are you groaning as Paul wrote in Romans? Did you answer maybe? Perhaps you prayed but not to receive the Holy Spirit. You complain/groan because you would rather not have to work on this.
Sometimes prayer appears to be a futile act. Our teachers of the past taught us prayer is necessary. Many people accept that. Others, however, still do not trust enough to accept that we pray with the “groanings” of the Holy Spirit, the fervent prayer of a righteous heart. James said in James 5:16b, “The effective (fervent) prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
“Fervent” is the key, so is the "righteous heart”. Have you considered that sometimes our hearts are not righteous? Our hearts contain flaws due to selfishness, self-centeredness, and willfulness. Added to this, we are not fervent until extreme situations arise.
Are we diligent? Are we faithful in our prayers? Do we believe in God? Do we trust that God wants to be in a relationship with us? Why are we so apathetic in prayer? Do we not trust God will listen and answer our prayers? Perchance, we do not realize God wants to hear prayer our prayers. From this, we reason there are no answers to prayer. Many people say, "No, I understand God answers prayer."
Are our prayers more like begging or wishing for us? We realize God will do what He wants to do in His own time. He is omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing). Does our wishing make Him do what we want?
We cannot control God, so how can we imagine talking to Him through prayer will persuade Him to do something about what we are praying? That is the heart of the matter. We see prayer as hoping and wishing that God will intervene, but we are unsure that He will. Perhaps that is why we are feeble in prayer. We come to God with our heart’s desires and hope He will answer or act, especially the way we want. Yet does He act because of our talking to Him or because He is omniscient God? Does what we wish for cause Him to act? Our wants and desires do not cause Him to act.
Continuing in this line of thought, if when we ask Him to intervene, knowing we cannot control God, how do we imagine this helps? Is God swayed by our fervency of prayer? Does God do things because we ask or because He knows what is right?
Is praying just wishing? If prayer is wishing, why do we even need to pray? God will do what He will do. This sounds hopeless and is contrary to James 5:16. We trust the Bible is true, so we should trust in the above verse written by James. Paul said in Romans 8:26, “The Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” The mind of the Spirit living within each believer intercedes for him or her to the LORD about the truth, sincerity, and depth of the person’s heart cries to God through prayer. He knows the deepest needs of the heart when we live in a vibrant relationship with Him. When the Spirit lives in a person, He knows the depths of the person. Those depths of the heart are the “groanings” of utter-ness, the “groaning” too deep for words, to God. The words “too deep” in Romans 8:26 come from the Greek word alaletos. This word means “not to be uttered or expressed in words.” The thoughts in the deepness in one’s heart are inexpressible. The Spirit expresses these to God. 
Our daily prayer should be, “Lord, help us to believe that You intervene in the world (which we know and believe) and You do it because of our heart’s groaning in “utter-ness” to You.” Teachers teach us that when we pray with that “utter-ness,” that deepness that is too deep for human words, we are faithfully praying as the Holy Spirit leads and what the Spirit desires for others and us. When we pray in this way because of our close relationship with Jesus, who intercedes for us with our heavenly Father, we are praying what the Lord God wants and His will shall be done. 
Fervent prayer is to get us to a closer relationship with God, not so we can get whatever we want through our prayers to Him. We pray so that our hearts will become more like His, that what we want is what He first wanted for us. Prayer becomes the link of His thoughts and His will from Him to us, His children. Prayer is to get each of us to become more like Him – His image. When we pray fervently with a righteous heart, He shares more of His thoughts and will for our lives through His indwelling Holy Spirit. We become more in tune with Him and grow in Him so we become one (He and us/me) like the Father and the Son are one. Prayer is not weakness. When we pray for others, we bless them with God’s blessing, His best care of and will for them. Our praying for people is our intentional blessing of them with God’s presence, guidance, and help. Praying is holy and is God’s answer to our poverty (spiritual, mental, physical, and financial) and the poverty of other people. Real prayer comes from the depth of one’s relationship with God.

That is why we pray, not to get our wishes delivered to us,

but to become one with God,

like His Son, Jesus – who became one with the Father.