Endure with prayer, do not keep silent

enduring prayer, do not keep silent

I have experienced what it means to be looked on with contempt, as an object of ridicule. The feeling produced is one where I felt I was nothing, where I was not even a person. So praying the Psalms is real to me.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud. – Psalm 123:3-4  GNT

I have not experienced this at the hands of people who have hated my faith in God and so I pray for those being persecuted like this because of their faith. God’s people are experiencing this right now – they are being kicked around, ridiculed, disrespected, mocked and treated as if they were nothing. The early Church knew what this was all about – intimidation, physical suffering and for some, martyrdom. How did they endure it? By prayer and an added blessing that comes through prayer – Spirit enabled joy.

I am encouraged to be in prayer always.

On your walls, O Jerusalem,
    I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
    they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
    take no rest. – Isaiah 62:6  GNT

Prayer warriors matter – they constantly pray and when you think about it, as they take no rest, they do not give God rest either until the matter is resolved.

 “There is a threefold rich thought: (1) The Lord Himself does not rest with regard to Zion; (2) He does not want His petitioners to keep silence in their prayers for Israel; (3) and He does not want His people to leave Him alone concerning Israel’s deliverance.” – Harry Bultema

“A restless Savior calls upon his people to be restless, and to make the Lord himself restless – to give him no rest till his chosen city is in full splendor, his chosen church complete and glorious.” – Spurgeon

“‘Give him no rest’ is our Lord’s own command to us concerning the great God. I do not suppose any of you ever advised a beggar to be importunate with you. Did you ever say, ‘Whenever you see me go over this crossing ask me for a penny. If I do not give you one, run after me, or call after me all the way down the street. If that does not succeed, lay hold upon me, and do not let me go until I help you. Beg without ceasing.’ Did any one of you ever invite applicants to call often, and make large requests of you?… He does in effect say, ‘Press me! Urge me! Lay hold on my strength. Wrestle with me, as when a man seeks to give another a fall that he may prevail with him.’ All this, and much more, is included in the expression, ‘Give him no rest.’” – Spurgeon

It reminds me again of this challenge regarding the kingdom of heaven.

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’[c] Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,[d] cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. – Matthew 10:7-8  GNT

Once I have spent my time in prayer, it will be time as Jesus did, to move among people and not just to preach and pray but to provide action – heal, raise the dead, cleanse and cast out demons. Quite a challenge.

I have tried…to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration. I don’t mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I mean something different. How shall I put it?

We can’t—or I can’t—hear the song of a bird simply as a sound. Its meaning or message (‘That’s a bird’) comes with it inevitably—just as one can’t see a familiar word in print as a merely visual pattern. The reading is as involuntary as the seeing. When the wind roars I don’t just hear the roar; I ‘hear the wind.’ In the same way it is possible to ‘read’ as well as to ‘have’
a pleasure. Or not even ‘as well as.’ The distinction ought to become, and sometimes is, impossible; to receive it and to recognise its divine source are a single experience. This heavenly fruit is instantly redolent of the orchard where it grew. This sweet air whispers of the country from whence it blows. It is a message. We know we are being touched by a finger of that right hand at which there are pleasures for evermore. There need be no question of thanks or praise as a separate event, something done afterwards. To experience the tiny theophany is itself to adore.

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’

One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.

If I could always be what I aim at being, no pleasure would be too ordinary or too usual for such reception; from the first taste of the air when I look out of the window—one’s whole cheek becomes a sort of palate—down to one’s soft slippers at bed-time.

I don’t always achieve it. One obstacle is inattention. Another is the wrong kind of attention.

One could, if one practised, hear simply a roar and not the roaring-of-the-wind. In the same way, only far too easily, one can concentrate on the pleasure as an event in one’s own nervous system—subjectify it—and ignore the smell of Deity that hangs about it. A third obstacle is greed. Instead of saying, ‘This also is Thou,’ one may say the fatal word Encore. There is also conceit: the dangerous reflection that not everyone can find God in a plain slice of bread and butter, or that others would condemn as simply ‘grey’ the sky in which I am delightedly observing such delicacies of pearl and dove and silver. – C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Those I need to pray for

those i need to pray for

I am so thankful for God reaching into my heart and soul to save me from being separated from Him. I am thankful that He reached down with unconditional love and grace.

You have kept your promise, Lord,
    and you are good to me, your servant. – Psalm 119:65  GNT

God has always been good to me even though many times in my life I thought He wasn’t, hindsight has a way of revealing the truth. While I personally enjoy my quiet time with Him and my time learning from His Word, I know that I am part of a community of people – some who know God and others who do not. I pray that God will bring those I need to pray for to my mind.

As I start my time with God each morning I pray that my engagement with Him will be something I can share with others I meet during the day and speak over those He brings to my mind.

 And the Lord says to those foreigners who become part of his people, who love him and serve him, who observe the Sabbath and faithfully keep his covenant: “I will bring you to Zion, my sacred hill,[a] give you joy in my house of prayer, and accept the sacrifices you offer on my altar. My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.” – Isaiah 56:6-7  GNT

Prayer has always been the foundation of God’s ministry to me and to the people in my world. His invitation is for all to come and pray. I should be known as a person of prayer and my community of believers should be known as people who pray. The Church should be a place that is symbolic of God’s presence and the place that should be characterized by prayer. That means I am a person of prayer who prays to Jesus on a regualar basis.

God in fact wants me to pray because He enjoys communicating with me. So He enjoys it when I come with my needs, as great as they are, because He wants to answer my prayer. There are many things that I need to discuss with Him. While I need His care, leadership, provision and protection, so do others. We need our daily bread, we need healing, we need forgiveness and we need those in authority to sense their need for God to lead.

“There are three basic kinds of prayer to God. There is “upward” prayer—praise and thanksgiving that focuses on God himself. There is “inward” prayer—self-examination and confession that bring a deeper sense of sin and, in return, a higher experience of grace and assurance of love. There is “outward” prayer—supplication and intercession that focuses on our needs and the needs of others in the world.” – Timothy Keller