Friday, August 5, 2011

Day of Prayer

1Timothy 2:8  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011 there will be pastors and believers gathered in the stadium in Houston, Texas.  The reason?  A day of prayer and fasting for our nation and the world.  My pastor is flying there to be a part of that.  And he suggested to our congregation that we could similarly either gather or individually spend the day in prayer and fasting.  A good suggestion for all of us.  So, I want to share some verses and thoughts on prayer and fasting.

1Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I like to consider these verses as a unit.  If you’ve read my earlier posts on prayer, you know that I consider it, in one sense, to be one side of a divine conversation.  So that we communicate with God.  But even more, I believe God gives us the option of prayer so that we can see what’s important in our hearts.  So, in these verses, we’re to rejoice in our circumstances and the blessings of God, no matter what they may look like.  Always be thankful.  Be continually in prayer.  That “pray without ceasing” is something I take as attitude rather than action.  A readiness “at the drop of a hat” to spring into prayer.  Because I do rejoice and I am thankful.  And I do want to communicate with God.

Luke 18:1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Once again, continue in prayer.  This time, taught by Jesus, Himself.  There are actually two parables, back to back, about prayer.  In the first, a judge who feared no one (including God).  A widow continually came to him to ask to be avenged.  She wore down the judge by continually coming to him for a decision.  And the parable’s explanation is that God will satisfy His elect because of continual prayer.

The second parable in Luke 18 speaks of a Pharisee and a Publican going to the temple to pray.  The Pharisee is thanking God for how good he’s been and that he’s not like the lowly Publican.  The publican, on the other hand, is confessing how sinful he is and asking God for forgiveness.  The Publican is the one who has prepared himself by this prayer to meet God in further prayer.  Which brings us to our last verse for today.

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The Publican in Luke 18 confessed to God.  Here, we’re told to confess to one another.  In the original Greek, the word for confess means to be in agreement.  There are circumstances, specified in the Word, where we need to tell someone how we wronged them and ask for forgiveness.  But most of the time we are to agree with God that specific things we’ve thought, said or done are sins.  And we understand that God already knows that.  So, this is more so that we can avoid kidding ourselves and don’t try to con God or others about our perfection.  Because we don’t have any.  Except that given us by He who is in us.

The verse in James 5 then tells us to pray for one another.  When we pray, our primary focus is toward God, our secondary focus is on those He cares about, and we avoid being self centered.  It’s the chain of priorities God would have for us.  And it’s the kind of prioritization that allows God to bless us the most.  It’s what gets God to say of us, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  So, how does all this apply to preparing for and going through the day of prayer?  What do we do?

  1. Agree with God on our sins.  They’re already forgiven.  Clear the air.
  2. Prepare our heart with the Word, devotional readings or other meditations.
  3. Share with God our concerns, the answers we want and the things we’re thankful for.  Prayer is our part of the divine conversation.
As far as the fasting is concerned, it’s a great thing.  The Bible tells us there are certain things that can’t be dealt with unless fasting is included with our prayer.  Whether we fast or not (or how much), depends on our health, how well prepared we are for fasting and how we’re Spirit led.  It doesn’t have to be a full fast.  And we do need to stay properly hydrated.

This is a day early so that what’s here can best help lead toward a great day of prayer and fasting.  Maybe as part of our meditations leading into it.

      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we focus on prayer and God we can keep in mind Hassan and Tiffany, Pat, Denise,  Scott, Russ, Columbia, Jimmy and Betty, Mindy, Curtis, Peggy, Joyce, myself, and Libby. And any of those special people God has put on your heart to consider in prayer.

No comments:

Post a Comment