Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Humanity of Jesus

Because God’s children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-the Son also became flesh and blood.  For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  (Heb 2:14 NLT)

Do you ever have trouble relating to God?  We all do at one time or another.  And why shouldn't we, He is after all the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  Although we are fearfully and wonderfully made, (see my earlier post Wonderfully Made, July 2013), there is still a gap between us and God.  So the question becomes, how do we overcome the gap?

Overcoming this gap takes time and effort on our part but God did provide us the means.  Scripture is one of these means, as is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Both of these are topics unto themselves but I want to look at this from another perspective.  That perspective is the humanity of Jesus.  Not a simple concept to be sure and one that has been argued, both for and against, since Jesus spent time here on Earth. 

There are a number of examples in scripture that point toward the humanity of Jesus:
·         Although His conception was unique, there is nothing in scripture that indicates His development in Mary’s womb was different than a normal baby.  Or that His birth was any different than a normal baby. (Matt 1 and Luke 2)
·         Jesus was circumcised. (Luke 2:21)
·         Jesus experienced the same physical limitations and had the same physiology as men:
o   Hunger (Matt 4:2)
o   Thirst (John 19:28)
o   Fatigue (John 4:6)
·         Jesus experienced normal human emotions:
o   Love (John 11:3;13:23)
o   Compassion (Matt 9:36; 14:14, 20:34)
o   Joy (John 15:11)
o   Anger (Mark 3:5)
o   Amazement (Luke 7:9)
o   Loss and sorrow at the loss of John the Baptist (Matt 14:13) and Lazarus (John 11: 33-35)

The humanity of Jesus is also on prominent display in the Garden of Gethsemane and in His crucifixion.  In the Garden we find that Jesus was deeply distressed about what was coming and earnestly praying.  He is asking, almost begging, that He might be able to avoid what was coming, more than once.  Through this He is in so much anguish about what is coming that “His sweat became like drops of blood.”  We also find Him troubled in that He has to repeatedly wake His friends who he had asked to pray with Him.  (Mark 14:34-41; Luke 22:41-46)

Aspects of His humanity found in the crucifixion include:  Pain and humiliation, as crucifixion was designed to embody.  Thirst. (John 19:28)  Abandonment and despair in His experiencing divine wrath. (Matt 27:46)  Concern for His mother. (John 19:26-27)  The ultimate expression of His humanity on the cross is His death. (Matt 27:50; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)  In showing that Jesus had actually died we see the blood and water issue forth when His side is pierced by the spear. (John 19:34)  This separation of blood and water is understood to represent death by modern medicine.

Additional we are warned against those who would claim that Jesus was not fully human.  That any who claim that He was not fully human are labeled as deceivers, they are even said to be in the spirit of the antichrist. (1 John 4:2-3 and 2 John 7)

As you can see there are plenty of examples to be found in scripture supporting the fact that Jesus was fully human and He fully embraced being human.  He embraced it so fully and completely that He was even able to complete one of the most important facets of His time on Earth, He was able to die.  God cannot die.  But Jesus did, for us. 

The death of Jesus is amazingly important because if Jesus didn't become fully human, He didn't die.  If Jesus didn't die, then we are not saved.  This point is addressed for us in Hebrews 2:14, “For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.

How does the humanity of Jesus make it easier to relate to God?  Simple, it is much easier to relate to another human than a being outside our realm of experience.  Well maybe not simple, but definitely true.  Jesus Himself claimed that any who had seen Him, had seen the Father.  (John 12:45 and 14:9)

In his book Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldredge puts it this way, “It will do your heart good to discover that Jesus shares in your humanity. He was, as the creeds insist, fully human. (Yes, yes – more than that to be sure. But never ever less than that.) I’m sure the chipmunks made him laugh. The Pharisees sure made him furious. He felt joy, weakness, sorrow. The more we can grasp his humanity, the more we will find him someone we can approach, know, love, trust, and adore.”

As you continue on your spiritual journey, look at the humanity of Jesus in the bible.  Embrace the fact that Jesus was fully human.  God wants us to seek Him out and to know Him.  Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust Me, you are trusting not only Me, but also God who sent me.  For when you see Me, you are seeing the one who sent Me.” (John 12:44-45 NLT)  Use this as a stepping stone toward a better, closer relationship with both Jesus and with God. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Change and Hope

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (2 Cor 5:17)

What happens to us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior? Paul tells in 2 Corinthians that we are a new creation.  It is more than just a ticket to heaven, so much more.  God changes us.  We are not the same as we were before.  Our sin nature is gone, replaced with a new nature.  Our perspective changes, our old values are gone, replaced with righteousness.  Everything about who we are is fundamentally changed.

This is a life changing experience for all of us and this change is necessary.  Christ now lives in us.  Most of this change happens on the inside, the result of this change is what people see on the outside.  Our new perspective changes how we interact with the world, how we see things, and how we respond. 

I remember when I accepted Christ’s call and gave my life to Him.  A travelling ministry was in town ministering through music and song.  Each night for the first few nights a battle erupted in my heart when they had the alter call.  I can remember sitting in my seat, watching as others went forward, crying as I felt the battle rage within, wanting to go forward but not able to do so.  Finally, on the last night I stepped forward.

The previous nights it had been a hard, almost painful cry.  That night I cried as I went forward, but it was not the same as before.  It was a cry of peace and joy, and looking back I can also see it was a cry of victory.  The battle for my heart had been fought and won.  As I think back to that night I find myself crying in gratitude to Jesus for all He has done for me in my life.

At the time I did not understand the change that happened that night.  I knew something was different but couldn’t have told you what it was.  Now, all these years later, I shudder to think of what my life would be like if I did not have Jesus in my life.

You may be wondering if there anything that doesn’t change? 

Actually there are lots of things that don’t change. 

The bills still need to be paid, the tire is still flat on the car, strained relationships, a job you don’t like, the baby is sick, the results of bad decisions we have made in our lives, I could go on but you get the point.  Remember we have changed; the stuff going on around us has not.  We still need to deal with where we are in life.  But the good news is that we now have an advantage we did not have before.  We have Christ in us.

With our new perspective we can see things in a different light, possibilities where we did not see any before.  We have hope.  Maybe for the first time in our lives we have hope. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Truth and False Teaching

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  Mt 24:11

I have spent some time over the years studying end time prophecies and have wondered about how we would see this verse come to pass. I think we have seen some elements of this in various cults that spring up, or when some obscure person steps up and claims they have figured out when the apocalypse or the Rapture are going to happen.  Or they may even claim they know the exact date when Christ will be returning.  Even with all this, we really haven’t seen all that this verse implies.

Recently I watched a short series of four episodes on mysteries of the bible.  The first three turned out to be more along the lines of scientists and theologians using science to explain away some of the miracles and stories in the bible such as the ten plagues in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea and the River Jordan, Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant and such.

The last episode was about the Book of Revelation and really went off in a strange direction.  Basically they were describing John as a delusional, bitter old man who had it in for the Romans because of what they had done to Christ and their persecution of the church.  In this, it was portrayed that Revelation is just John’s spiteful attack on the Roman Empire and really has nothing to do with any future events or the end times.

What really struck me in this episode was that several of the people they talked to held positions within the church.  Some were pastors of non-denominational churches, one in particular had been the pastor of a rather large church who was asked to step down when his teaching became extremely radical and he has since started another church.  Others represented some of the major denominations that you would easily recognize if I were to mention them here.

I do believe God can use natural processes to accomplish His will here on Earth when it suits His purposes, but there are times that God definitely suspends Natural Law when there is something specific He is wanting to accomplish.  It amazed me at how dismissive they were in these episodes about some of the miraculous events in the bible, especially in that last episode.  It was in watching the last episode that I started to gain a better understanding of what Jesus meant in Matthew.

One of the terms used to describe Satan is “deceiver.” (Rev 12:9)  He has been doing this since the Garden of Eden and is very good at it.  We cannot ever trust anything he says to us.  We also need to be aware that he may not actually lie to us so much as will attempt to get us to question our beliefs.  Satan will use any means he can to spread the lie or to get people to question the truth, including those in positions of authority in the church.  No matter how you want to look at it is all comes down to deception.

So how do we defend ourselves from the deception?  With the truth!  If we are not familiar with the truth, we will not be able to recognize the lie.

We are told God’s word is truth, John 17:17; that God is not the author of confusion, 1 Corinthians 14:33; and that His word is a lamp that will illuminate our path, Psalm 119:105. We are also told to study scripture and apply it to our lives, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-2, Philippians 4:8, and 1 Timothy 4:13.  Scripture makes it clear that we can trust in the truth that is God’s word.  Jesus even made a point of telling us how it would benefit us in doing this:  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

We also have an ace up our sleeve.  We have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us.  The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth and Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit will guide us in truth, John 16:12-13.  There are many things the Holy Spirit can reveal to us, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, and He can also help us when we don’t know what to say, Luke 12:12.  Even with the help of the Holy Spirit we still need to take the time to study scripture.  The more we study the bible, the more the Holy Spirit can reveal the truths contained in the bible. 

Don’t handicap yourself.  The truth of God’s word is one of the components of the Armor of God, Ephesians 6:13-20.  Take time to study God’s Word.  This will help you to be properly prepared when you encounter the false prophets we are warned about, as well as, the lies of the enemy.  Be wary of teaching that does not align with scripture.  Prepare yourself properly. 

Seek the truth!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

God Has a Plan

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Eph. 2:10

Do you sometimes wonder what is going on in your life?  You make a commitment to God to follow whatever path He has for you and He gives you a vision for your life.  Looking forward to accomplishing great things for God you head out and may even see some initial success, things are going well.  Then, something happens, as you move further in the journey it seems that no matter how hard you work or what you try to accomplish you can’t seem to make any headway.  In fact it seems like life is conspiring against you and you find yourself in situations you never would have expected.  Sound familiar?

You try to figure out what you are doing wrong that has resulted in you ending up where you are, lost and without any idea how to move forward, or worse yet in a situation that is moving you in a direction totally opposite of where you are trying to go.  You pray, asking God to help you get out of the situations you find yourself in so you can refocus on what you are trying to accomplish in fulfilling the vision given you by God.  You may even begin to wonder if you understood the vision given to you, after all if God gives you a vision and you are pursuing that vision; it should all work out right.  Shouldn’t it?

There are a couple of reasons that things don’t usually go as we expect them.  One, when you go out with the intent of accomplishing what God has set before you; you draw the attention of the enemy.  The last thing he wants is for you to be successful in your endeavors.  He will do whatever he can to hinder you, his intent is to cause you to fail, or at least give up trying.  Yes, I am talking about spiritual warfare.  I am not going to discuss spiritual warfare at this point, that is a topic for another day.  Here I want to look at another reason things don’t go as we expect they should.

First, let me say, I totally believe that if you are faithfully pursuing a vision given to you by God, it will work out, if you keep at it and trust in God’s promises.  I believe part of the problem lies in our perspective concerning what we see happening in our lives.  Too often we head out and, since we are following God’s direction for our lives, we expect immediate results.  When we don’t get the results we expected our response tends to be negative.  We also tend to try and do everything with our own strength, our way, or in the way which we think is the best way to go.

There is a different perspective we need to consider when we look at what is happening in our lives, God’s perspective.  God works sovereignly and providentially in our lives, meaning He is in complete control and He is going to execute His plan for our lives as He knows best fits into His plans for the entirety of creation.  Here is how He relayed this idea to the prophet Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the Heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)

That makes for an all-encompassing and eternally different perspective that we tend to hold.

So how does this relate to when things don’t go the way we expect or want them to go?  In this, when we become Christians we get a new boss, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, aka God.  We now work for Him and He has an assignment for each of us.  Our individual assignments are as unique as we are, but basically it boils down to accomplishing something great for Him.  Most often this assignment is given to us in the form of a dream of what we want to accomplish in life.

Remember, God is in control.  When God puts a dream into our heart, we have everything we need to start the journey; the challenge is that where we are is seldom enough to help us complete the journey.  In order to complete the journey we will need to go through a growth process.  Since we tend to rely too much on our own abilities and overestimate what we can do ourselves we don’t know how much we need to grow and in what areas we need that growth.  The good news is that God knows.

Since God knows, He will make sure we gain the experience we need in order to accomplish our dream.  This experience can come from any number of sources; the job that seems an ill fit for you and where you are trying to go in life, illness, accidents, failed relationships, financial hardships, and any number of other challenges in life. 

Don’t hear what I am not saying here.  God does not cause bad things to happen to us but He will allow those things to happen so we can grow through them.  Also remember, the enemy is out there trying to keep you from accomplishing your assignment, but God has us covered there as well.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) God can use anything for our good and sometimes this is an opportunity to grow.

Would it help to know that others have had this problem?  Here is one for you to consider, the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  Here is a very quick summary:

Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, was sold in slavery by his brothers.  As a slave he attained a position of influence until he was falsely accused and thrown into prison.  After a couple year years in prison Joseph is able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and is put in charge of preparing for the coming seven years of famine becoming the number two guy in Egypt.

Years later Joseph is reunited with his family when Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain during the famine.  Ultimately Jacob is brought to Egypt to be reunited to his son.  After Jacob died the brothers were concerned that Joseph would take his vengeance on them and the families they had brought with them to Egypt.

Here is Joseph’s response to his brothers, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about in this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen 50: 19-20)

Joseph had dreams which he had told to his brothers.  His life definitely did not go as he would have expected for these dreams to come true but God used all of these things to bring about His purpose.  God can do the same thing for you. 

As you move through life and things are not going the way you had planned or expected, look for those things you can learn along the way.  Believe that God is in control and will use these challenges in life to help you grow into the person He wants you to be. 

Claim the promises that God has made, align yourself with God’s purpose for your life.  In his book Dream Thieves, Rick Renner calls it Divine Alignment, when you come to a place where you begin to say the things God says and do things the way God wants it done.

When you enter into divine alignment with the words, plans, and purposes of God, you will see your confession come to pass. "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Word of God

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Eph 6:17

To really understand the references Paul used in describing the Spiritual Armor in his letter to the Ephesians you need to put it in the context of what the people would think about or see in their day-to-day lives.  In order to find an example to use in describing the armor Paul need look no further than the Roman soldiers that were everywhere.

As the sword was their primary offensive weapon, the Roman soldiers exercised and were trained in the use of several swords, and they were trained in a specific use of the swords, that being to thrust with a sword rather than to cut with it.  They even made a point of making fun of those who chose to cut rather than thrust.  This is explained by Roman strategist Flavius Vegetius Renatus in The Military Institutions of the Romans:

For the Romans not only made a jest of those who fought with the edge of that weapon, but always found them an easy conquest.  A stroke with the edges, though made with ever so much force, seldom kills, as the vital parts of the body are defended by both the bones and armor.  On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal…

The soldiers were deadly with any of their swords but there was one in particular Paul was referring to when talking about the sword of the Spirit.  Paul chose the machaira sword.  This was a particularly nasty sword, sharpened on both sides and pointed at the tip (similar to the pictured below).  And the Roman soldiers were so effective with it that they could use it to disembowel an enemy on the battlefield.

Why would Paul use the machaira to describe the sword of the Spirit?  Because in doing so he declares that God has given us a weapon can be used with brutal efficiency against our enemy.  Paul wanted to compare and contrast the difference between grazing evil and dealing it a death blow with a deep penetration of the Word into the heart.

In Ephesians Paul tells us “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (6:17) That means we have this weapon at our disposal in our fight.  We even have an example to follow.  When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He responded to the temptations with the Word of God. (see Luke 4)  And after that the devil “…departed from Him…” (Luke 4:13)

Paul is not the only one to compare a sword to the Word of God.  The author of Hebrews also does this: “The Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)

So what do we do?  We need to study God’s Word, tuck it away in our heart.  This doesn’t mean we need to have the entire bible memorized in order to use the sword of the spirit.  But we do need to study it so we can be immersed in the truth captured there.  Two things happen when we are immersed in truth.

First, it is easier to spot the lie when you know the truth.  Satan will try confusing us by manipulating and twisting the scripture.  Knowledge, as they say, is power.  Knowledge of the Word of God will give you the power you need to keep you from falling for the lie and to fight back.

Second, by keeping the seeds of truth in our hearts, when we desperately need a Word to counter an attack, the Holy Spirit can provide that Word in our heart.  This will release a mighty force of divine power with which we can thrust our sword effectively.

Always use of the sword of the Spirit in conjunction with the rest of the Spiritual Armor whenever you are facing the temptations and lies of the enemy.  Parry the darts sent your way and remember…


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wild Goose Chase

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.  So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.  (John 3:8)

In this verse, Jesus is comparing our inability to control and understand the wind with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Holy Spirit cannot be controlled or understood, but where ever He is at work, there is undeniable and unmistakable evidence.

I just finished reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  The premise of the book is based on the name the Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit.  They called Him An Geadh-Glas, or the Wild Goose.  Mark related this to our pursuit of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, hence Wild Goose chase.  Very good book, I highly recommend it.

Here are a few of the points he shared in the book.

-We start dying when we have nothing worth living for. And we don’t really start living until we find something worth dying for.  Ironically, discovering something worth dying for is what makes life worth living.

-Pursuing a God-ordained passion, no matter how crazy it seems, is the most responsible thing you can do.

-One of the great mistakes we make is asking God to do for us what God wants us to do for Him.

-We need people who are more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes.  People who are more afraid of lifelong regrets than temporary failure.  People who dare to dream the unthinkable and attempt the impossible

-Remember, ultimately it’s not about you.  It’s about the One who wants to write His-story though your life.  A world in desperate need can’t do without what you will bring when you become part of something that is bigger that you and more important than you: the cause of Christ in this generation.

We need to open ourselves up to the possibilities and stop over thinking the process.  Remember God is in control and things will work out much better if we get out of our own way and let the Holy Spirit work in our lives.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

God's Promises

I will never leave you, nor forsake you.  Heb.13:5

God is so amazing.  He knows what we need, even when we don’t.  Little things or big things, it doesn’t matter, He knows.  And it doesn’t stop there.  He loves each of us so much that He will surprise you with something that will lift your heart and help understand Him better, and I think He loves to do it when you aren’t expecting it.

As I was reading in Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon the other day, God used it to lift my spirit and remind me of the promises He has made to me. Here is how Spurgeon put it.

“No promise is of private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, He has said to all.  When He opens a well for one, it is that all may drink.  When He opens the granary door to give out food, there may be one starving man who is the occasion of it being opened, but all hungry saints may come and feed, too.  Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses does not matter, believer; He has given it to you as one of the covenanted seed.”

Isn’t that awesome?  Promised made to one of His people is a promise we can all be blessed through.  This prompted me to take a look at some of the promises in scripture.  Here are a few:

God uses rainbows to symbolize His promise to never again send a flood to destroy the earth. (Gen 9:8-17)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Is 41:10)

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Mt 11:28)

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.  (Mark 11:24)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9)

The Psalms are a great place to find promises.  Two of my favorites are Psalm 1 and 23.  Here are a few more:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  (Ps 37:4)  

Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.  (Ps 55:22)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  (Ps 46:1)
When you really think about it, the bible itself is one big promise ultimately pointing us toward eternity and the promises held there for us.  As the inspired Word of God we can hold every word near to our heart and stand in complete confidence of the promises held within.  Jesus told us of the accuracy and authority of scripture and that it would all be fulfilled, every jot and tittle (Mt 5:18).

Even the attributes of God work to our advantage.  Look at the various attributes of God, each one in and of itself a blessing to us.  God promising to never leave us or forsake us is an all-encompassing promise which engages His attributes on our behalf in order that this promise be fulfilled.

Spurgeon finished with this:

“To sum it up, there is nothing you can lack, nothing you can ask for, nothing you can need in time or in eternity, nothing living, nothing dying, nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, nothing now, nothing at the Resurrection morning, nothing that is in heaven that is not contained in this text: I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Take some time to think about the promises God has made to you, either directly or through the bible.  Lift them up in prayer and talk to Him about them.  It would be a great way to re-establish contact if you have not talked to Him in a while.   I think we all tend to forget about His promises to us when we don’t see it come into fruition in the time frame we want or expect it to.  We need to remember that His timing is perfect and He will follow through on every single promise.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Praying Outside the Box

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  (1 Thess 5:16-18)

Prayer is one of those topics that usually generates quite a few questions.  How, What, Where, When, Why?  I’m not going to claim to have answers to any of these questions; I have plenty of questions of my own.  My hope here is that I can give you an idea or two you can use to renew your prayer life or maybe get you to think about prayer in a way you may not have in the past.

As we move through life, we all fall into habits that get us through our daily grind.  For most of us prayer is no exception.  This applies to each of the how, what, where, when and whys we have when we pray.  It is because of habit that I think most of us have prayer that is not as effective as it could be.

Even starting with the best of intentions we can slip into bad habits and if we aren’t paying attention it can adversely affect our prayer life.  It really doesn’t matter how or why; the important thing is to get back on track when we stray.  That is why we have to stay vigilant against busyness, laziness, distraction, and complacency.

Take some time to think about your prayer life.  Does it look anything like this?  “Prayer must not be our accidental work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation.  As artists give themselves to their models and poets to their classical pursuits, so we must addict ourselves to prayer.  We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5:17).  I read this the other day in Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon and had to pause and take some time to think about my prayers.  How about you, is yours like this?  If it is, great!  Keep going.  If not, that’s ok, you can turn it around and make it right.

There is good news!  First, we have an intercessor, stepping in to pray for us when we don’t know what to say or how to express ourselves, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us the groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26).  Second and I think even better.  God gives us grace.  No matter how stale our prayer life gets, God is always there waiting for us.  “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefor He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.” (Is 30:18)

So why do we want to have a vibrant prayer life?  Prayer is how we interact with God.  God wants to spend time with us.  He wants us to bring Him our joys and our sorrows, to openly share every aspect of our lives with Him.  Yes, He already knows all of these things, but that is not the point.  Sharing the hurts helps bring healing.  Sharing the victories makes them better (think about it, how do you feel after you share a victory with a friend?).  The more you share with God, the greater the bond and the deeper the relationship you can have with Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

In practice, prayer should not have starting or stopping points, appropriate or inappropriate settings, or even set times.  If you search through scripture, you will not find any boundaries in which prayer fits in.  In fact when you read about prayer in the bible the idea is one of praying everywhere and at anytime.  Paul tells us this in 1 Thessalonians 5 (see above), Ephesians 6:8 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit…”, and in Colossians 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”  Jesus also relayed the need for continual prayer with a parable, see Luke 18.

Something else to remember.  We are all unique.  This means that the relationship each of us has with God is going to be different. This includes our prayer life.  Although there may be similarities in how you and other people pray, it is still as different and unique as you are.  Don’t think that if your prayer life doesn’t look like someone else’s that you are doing it wrong.  Prayer is a matter of the heart.  God doesn’t want a copy of another person’s heart, He wants your.

If your prayer life is good right now, I pray it continues to grow stronger.  Always look for ways to keep it strong and vibrant.  Keep it outside the box.  Don’t let complacency disrupt the blessing you have in this area of your life.  If you feel it has fallen flat, take the time to see if you can figure out where you are stumbling.  Step outside the box, change your approach, and look for ways you can renew your connection with God.  He loves you and is there waiting. Reach out to Him.