Monday, February 25, 2019

6. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – (1) Submission

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.  –James 4:7 (AMP)

“I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.  --Jeremiah 17:10

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”  - Tolstoy

As strange as it may seem, most folks give lip service in our churches.  We say the sermon is good and we forget it before we reach home.  We use prayer as a transition in worship service.  We name prayer an invocation or benediction.  We have relegated prayer to a moment’s pause through our day.   Prayer is a battle; prayer is work!  Our Lord prayed until his sweat was like drops of blood (hematohidrosis) (Luke 22:44). Prayer is a pressing part of our Christian faith.  Without prayer we are doomed in the greatest battle ever fought.  Prayer is the battle against the “schemes and the strategies and deceits of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places (Ephesians 6:12).  If you do not believe we are in a Battle, just listen to the T.V. News Casts.  PRAYER IS LIFE! 

Who IS the person of prayer?  Before all prayer we should be willing to total submission to our God and King.  When we learn to pray in God’s character, we begin the journey to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.  We believe as we grow in the character of Jesus, our prayers grow as well.  When we submit, we begin to pray God’s Will rather than our will.  As we discover the love God has for us, we begin to love others in that same love. In submission our thoughts become less selfish and more giving.  We grow in sanctification as we grow more intimately with our Lord and as our branches cling to the Vine (John 15:1-8).

Submission is not easy.  It is probably one of the most difficult acts that we do in our Christian walk in sanctification.  Submitting our personal will to the will of the Father, Abba, our God is a relinquishment of self.  Richard J. Foster in his book, Prayer:  Finding the Heart’s True Home, describes this as the “the School of Gethsemane.” 

When one realizes, we mean really realizes, the love God has for us as individuals, as a person created by God, a life with a purpose, with the power of the Holy Spirit we submit to God’s Will and not our will.  Our prayers become effective and powerful.  God’s love is profound; it is overwhelming.  

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