| Prayer Is A Lifestyle|
Greg, you probably knew this was coming. :)Here's my 2cents. :)
[b]Prayer Is A Lifestyle[/b]
"Prayer is not so much what we ask as [b]what we are[/b]. God responds to our prayers based on our lives. In John 15:7, Jesus says, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.
Prayer is a lifestyle. It is spending time with God and spending time in the Word of God.
Redemption has two sides... the legal side and the reality side. You can be legally saved but still never have a single prayer answered." -Charles Cowan
I have such a hard time with people saying that they need to learn to pray more. It frustrates me a bit. I guess because I feel it should come so naturally and I don't think it is all done in a prayer closet when we are just sitting still and quiet (even though this is good too). If we are living "in Christ" and He is living "in us" then it should be so natural to be in constant communication with Him. Every thought I have is His.I am constantly "talking " with Him in my mind. "Oh, sorry for that, please forgive me". "Please be with that person I see right there". It's just like I am talking to someone ( a person) who is right there with me and can hear all my thoughts.
Maybe this is what is called walking in the spirit. I am never away from Him or out from under His leading or watchful eyes. It is just a way of life. Yes, there are times when I must do some "petitioning" for others; or I need to take some extra quiet time to receive instruction or direction. This is important too. I think I am in one constant long conversation with Him all day long though. I suppose this is "praying without ceasing".
Most often I pray according to the Lord's prayer- as Jesus taught us as an example, not word for word but as a format. He obviously knows best what to pray- I trust Him and His direction more than anyone else. I pray for the Lord's will to be done more than anything else. In people's lives, in my own life, in this world. Nothing is apart from His will. I only want to pray what the Lord wants not what i want or anyone else. I think if we pray according to what the Lord wants then there is no stopping him from answering. But if it is not his will then I am not going to go against that and try to pray for it anyway. He knows best, not me.
If my life is blessed at all it is not because I have prayed for it. I hardly ever ask anything for myself. Almost never. If I am blessed at all it is because of my obedience and my surrender to Him. I know that as long as I live in obedience to Him- everything in my life will be taken care of. I can trust in that.
My praying is very trusting and childlike. I talk about things and He listens- what He chooses to answer and when and in what way- is not my right to say. He speaks and I listen. He speaks when we are quiet but also when we are observant. It can be anywhere through any situation.
If prayer is communication then it is a 24 hour thing with me. I'm available anytime and so is He. He knows that's where I am. I suppose it is easier for me because I don't have a job where I have to be somewhere else and put my whole mind and efforts into that job (where i can't take time to think thoughts to the Lord). I think this is why there are probably many women (who stay at home more) and many older men ( who don't work as much any more), who have this prayer lifestyle, or this totally immersed life in the Lord.
Prayer to me is definitely a lifestyle and not an event. It is important to have discipline enough to be with Him in the quiet- and we should all have the sensativity in our spirits to know when that is. But as mature christians- it should just be a given that it is a 24 hour thing. Our mind belongs to Him, our body belongs to Him, our mouth belongs to Him, our hearts belong to Him, our time belongs to Him, our daily lives belong to Him.
Forgive me if I have offended anyone and please don't think I am saying that you shouldn't TRY to pray. I just think as you grow in Christ, you abide in Him and He abides in you- prayer is a continuous thing, it is not an effort in any way.
Walking with Him, Chanin
| 2004/4/29 11:23||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Prayer Is A Lifestyle|
I could not possibaly agree [i][b]more[/b][/i]!
Well said, it is constant.
Would add that the disciplined submission to concentrated time spent alone with the Lord is paramount. I am not legalistic about it, but the early morning prayer time for myself is something the Lord has brought me to many years ago. At the sake of being redundant, it's not a 'have to' but a 'get to' for me. It does leave me a bit sleep deprived, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
It's not always joyful, often painful to undergo such peiercing examination. But more and more and frequently of late I am begining to see the secret of this dying to self (There is a hidden blessing in it)
Maybe all this introspection is really good after all. You finaly get to a point of being sick of yourself. Not fully there yet, may never truely be. But the less of yourself there is, the less there is to bother you, that can insult you...
Can't recall exactely who it was that said this, but the idea was; '[i]What can you do to someone who is 'dead'?, you can kick him and you get no response, spit on him, yell at him, hurl insults...circumstances don't bother him, he just lies there, he's 'dead'[/i]'
You can know all these things in your head, but sometimes they finaly get 'revealed' to you. It just kind of dawned on me in the last couple of days. And like you said, it really is so much easier to concentrate and pray for others when 'you' are out of the way.
What is so bizzare is that you get blessed despite it all, it almost seems 'unfair' :-)
| 2004/4/29 12:04||Profile|
| Re: prayer|
But more and more and frequently of late I am begining to see the secret of this dying to self (There is a hidden blessing in it)
Yes, what you have said is so true!!!
In the secret and quiet we can ask for God to "inspect" us. :) there is no other way around it. So, so important.
How much easier is it for us to pray about others and for other things than to say "Lord, show me what you don't like in my life", "show me what you want me to lay down." THIS is what we are supposed to be doing. THIS is hard, this takes effort and guts and trust!
If I wanted to NOT die to self but still seem righteous- I would pray about a milion things and say "there, God, I did all that. Aren't you happy with me now? I put in my time, I put in all my tears and sweat". But He says "No". I WANT YOU! All of you."
What He really wants is our whole hearts surrendered over to Him, to make ourselves available to die to our selves in whatever area He says to.
Once this is done, we will be led so naturally to know what to pray for.
It is very similar to Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God. If you are in His presence all the time, you will automatically have to die to self- or you are not really in His presence. No flesh can glory in His presence- He will make it known.
I am convinced that many people are fooling themselves into not giving their "selves" up. They think they can do all of these other things to make up for it. Whether it be praying for 4 hours a day, or giving alot of money away, or serving in the church, or whatever...Nothing is going to substitute the dying to self- the handing over every single area to God. He is not fooled by this- it makes Him angry.
Well, I better end this before I really get going. :)
Walking with Him, chanin
| 2004/4/29 12:26||Profile|
This is a great thread.
I myself have been convicted about "self," after reading "Footwashing as a Posture" a little more closely and about dying to self, I am thankful God used that to show me my vanity from a very tender conscience. I love to please God, and I am happy to get His discipline, a Loving Father rebukes His children. It's a small matter, but I took that teaching, and changed my nick from oilpainter to rocklife. I want to glorify God more than myself, Jesus is the Rock.
Thank you for teaching others, your work is not in vain.
| 2004/4/29 14:14||Profile|
Yes, this is a great thread. Our focus is on the relationship with Jesus. This intimacy is what God wants us to have with Him.
I struggle with "being busy" too much, particularly when I'm working. My prayer is that I slow down and seek Him even while I'm working or doing other things that need to be done.
I'm reminded of Psalms 139:23 which says "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."
Thanks for sharing Chanin. I don't say this to puff you up but that's the kind of heart that God wants us to have to Him (i.e. your heart).
| 2004/4/29 19:41||Profile|
| Re: prayer lifestyle|
don't worry, all glory goes to God alone. It is nothing I have done.
Honestly when you have heard Him speak to you the things I have heard in these last two years- I think most would listen and obey. I knew that not only was it required of me by Him but also that He would use me as an example. My obedience was/is not only for Him but for others- to see that it can be done. it is supposed to be the "normal christian life". :)
Here are just a few samples from my journals:
What do I want to do in your heart? Surrender everything to Me, your mind and thoughts, your heart and soul and your body. No, none of these is yours. I will only fully use you when every single one of these is surrendered. Remember to take every thought captive, like I told you in My word. Your body is not your own. You are not free to make those decisions if it is not My will; not if you want Me to see you through this. I know what you are struggling with, nothing is too hard for Me, but not everything is beneficial for you. You can do all things through My Son. That's how you're going to do this. Steer straight ahead, don't take your eyes off of Me. Don't look to the left or right or even behind to see what you are missing or think you're missing. You are missing nothing, you're gaining everything -Me,your Father in heaven. I know this is hard
Look how long I have waited for you.(to give your whole heart to Me). Do not test Me in this but never forget My patience. For I wish for you to be in obedience always,but still I have patience. I know I seem unreasonably hard on you, this is for My purpose; but still I have patience. I see you struggling, My heart goes out to you. I am molding and reshaping you, but I will be careful. My hands are strong yet gentle, says the Lord
Reveal to Me what you have not wanted to reveal before.
I will handle it carefully. Whosoever says that I am Lord, let Me be Lord of all of your life. Not just certain areas, not only 80 or 90%. I want all of you, so you can be all of Me. You want to be a good example, be a shining light, be salt of the earth - how you would excel at all of this if I am Lord of your life 100%.
There would be no cover that could dim your light. I can have no dim lights ruling and reigning with Me in My kingdom. I need mighty warriors, those who will go all out for Me. Haven't I gone all out for you? Where on this earth will you find anyone who will love and care for you like Me? Who would die and descend into hell for you? I am now asking you to die for Me. Die to "self". Die to self-seeking, self-pursuing, self-righteousness, self-glory.
Turn to Me, seek My face, and know Me. More than anything, I want you to know Me. Ask for it , strive for it, sacrifice for it. To know Me better, see Me clearer, hear Me clearer. The more you know Me, the more you will become like Me. You cannot become like Me on your own, by doing this work or that work. Only through knowing Me better and letting Me into your heart 100% - to do the work that needs to be done. Open your heart to Me so that we may be a little closer.
See Me from the inside, don't see Me how everyone else see's Me.
Don't take them at their word who I am. Go inside your heart, deep in the quiet-
I will let you see Me for who I really am. Are you afraid I will tell you something you don't want to hear!? Then you are probably right; but then I am not Lord of your life-- you are.
I am tired of all of your shallow words. You say these things, but you do not mean them in your heart. This will not be accepted. I will say I never knew you. For I am worthy of all your dedication to Me, of all of your worship in how you live your life. Do not deny Me My Glory!
There is much, much more, but i am sure you get the idea. I learned to have a healthy fear of the Lord as well as know His matchless love for me and my communion with Him.
Satisfied in Him alone, Chanin
| 2004/4/29 22:57||Profile|
Thank you so much for sharing. Since I'm at work I'll be very brief but there's two songs that keep coming up in my mind over the last few months "Trust and Obey" and "I Surrender All." Yes, this is what our Lord wants from us.
I'm not certain that I'm there yet but that's where I want to be. And yet this is the "Normal Christian Life" as Watchman Nee would say. I wonder why it's taken so long for me to see this. When I thing about that, it's heartbreaking to be honest about it.
To God be the glory, yes whatever good thing He has done in our hearts, it's due to His goodness and grace.
Have a glorious day Chanin!
| 2004/4/30 12:32||Profile|