Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Privilege of Prayer

I have been thinking this morning about what a blessed privilege it is to come into the presence of Almighty God through prayer.  The book of Hebrews reminds us that is is through the shed blood of Jesus that we have the right and authority to enter.  

Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him
since He always lives to make intercession for them. (emphasis added)

     I want to make two observations regarding this truth.  First of all, I wonder how many believers really take advantage of this truth.  Those of us who trust fully in Christ as our Savior have the blessed invitation to enter the presence of the God of all the Universe.  What an invitation!  All throughout Scripture we see God inviting His children into his presence, yet we rarely accept.
     I have never been invited by the President of the United States to personally tour the White House.  If I were invited, you better believe I would go, and it would not take repeated invitations.  How many times does God have to extend the invitation for us to come into his House before we accept His offer?  
     Secondly, when we do enter into God's presence in prayer, how do we enter?  Do we approach Him flippantly, casually, nonchalantly, or indifferently.  Or do we enter into the presence of Almighty God reverently, and respectfully?   Ken Hemphill, author of The Prayer of Jesus said, “Prayer is a privilege of communication between a child and the Father.  It is not a human right. Not a non-negotiable demand.  It is a privilege—a privilege made possible only by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.”[1]
“Every time you pray ‘Our Father,’ you are praying a relational prayer that is absolutely assured of placing you in a holy, awesome, glorious presence of God.  But you are also reminding yourself that this privilege of prayer is not a matter to be taken lightly.  It cost Christ everything, and it has given us more than we could ever deserve.[2]
     Have you ever caught your children doing something wrong?  You discipline them, yet they still commit the same violation.  Then they come and beg something from you.  The relationship is still there, but I’ll bet it is highly unlikely that you will give them what they want. 
     Don’t we as believers do the same thing?  We sin. We hold grudges. We fight.  We grumble and complain, and we go to God, calling on him as Father and wonder why He doesn’t answer our prayer.  I believe many Christians come flippantly into the presence of God instead of realizing the enormous cost--The death of Jesus.  O that we would respectfully, and humbly draw near to the God that created us, loved us, and provided a way approach His throne of Grace.

[1] Ken Hemphill, The Prayer of Jesus, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publisher, 2001), 26.
[2] Ibid., 28. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Let it start with Me!

British Revivalist Henry Varley once said“The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him." To which D.L. Moody added, "I will try my utmost to be that man.”

I was sitting in the office today and the song Let it Start With Me by the group No Other Name began playing.  The song contains a powerful message.   The chorus says, "Let it start with me. Open up my eyes.  Fill my heart with your compassion.  Free my mind from all distractions. Use my hand, to set the captive free.  Move my feet to follow after you, or change the world and let it start with me."

I wonder how many believers would say "Free my mind from all distractions"?  Hebrews 12:1-2 says,  "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight (distractions), and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (emphasis added)

I believe every Christian would like to see our world changed for the cause of Christ, but are we willing to lay aside the things that keep us from running an effective race?

Would you join me in saying, "God, change the world, and let it start with me!"

Check out the official music video for Let It Start With Me by No Other Name