Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Prayer and Godly Obedience Go Hand in Hand

So much of prayer is our willingness to be obedient to living in God’s grace, timing and will.

As I increasingly realize, when I make God alone my portion and am not distracted by the world or my human emotions and sense of personal righteousness, I am at peace with God and my desire to meet with Him in prayer grows.

As I progressively trust God with myself, other people and situations, He mercifully blesses that trust and my intentional act of giving everyone and everything over into His care. And one of the blessings is His chipping away at my fears, which in turn allows me to live more and more in a healthy, hands-off neutrality with the world around me and in an attitude of goodwill as opposed to judgment or fretfulness.

In short, as I decrease and Christ increases, joy increases as well.

When fears threaten to creep back in (and they do), I go to God and, as much as a reminder to myself as it is a prayer, I say, simply and almost matter-of-factly,

“God, you’ve got this.”

I say it as many times as needed to eradicate fear, knowing that God will not leave me in the lurch: he will provide protection, guidance and wisdom, and be in every conversation and circumstance. 

I know it because I have lived it with God. Looking back on the protections God has afforded, the dungeon-like darkness He has held my hand through, the merciful and often surprisingly immediate answers to implorings, I marvel that God has brought me and my family this far (2 Samuel 7:18, 1 Chronicles 17:16).

My reliance on Him enables me to remain in His grace and will by keeping my mind and heart on Him, while listening to the Holy Spirit’s constant and sure counsel that reveals the state of my heart and sinful tendencies lurking under the surface. At the same time, the Holy Spirit supplies encouragement, direction and desire to follow Christ, not myself or other people and social constructs.

While I do not claim to know how God deals with every prayer of every person, I have experienced personally the fruit of His righteousness becoming righteousness in myself and others via obedience to His Holy Spirit and Word.

I, myself, if I am in my own human righteousness, trusting in that, will sin, missing out on the victorious life in Christ God so graciously desires to bless with. My ability and willingness to pray is also tarnished when I close the window to God. says it well:

“Prayer is not a reward for perfection, but rather is God honoring His servants who earnestly seek to please Him. James writes, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16b). John expressed it, "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him" (1 John 3:21-22).
God has promised to answer prayer according to His marvelous grace, according to His infinite power, and in keeping with His infinite love and faithfulness. When prayers seem to be unanswered, we must first ask ourselves if we have met the four conditions for answered prayer” (faithfulness in prayer itself, according to God’s will, to the glory of God and waiting on the proper timing of God’s answer). “Then we can continue to be faithful in prayer. Our attitude can be one of implicit confidence that He ‘is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us’ (Eph. 3:20).
As we praise Him for His faithfulness, seek His will and glory, pray faithfully, and wait patiently until God's time, He will answer us.”

copyright Barb Harwood

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

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