2003-06-10 - The Christian's Delight
Matthew 6:6 But you when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.
There are many things that delight us. There are many things that grab our attention, fascinate us, and hold court with our time. But there is one thing that needs to grab our attention, needs to fascinate us, and needs to envelope our time. That one thing is prayer. Prayer is to be our delight. Whatever is our lot, whatever is our place of residence, and whatever our outward circumstances and situations, the Christian is to be a person of prayer. There are many ways to pray. The verse we started with gave us one. We can pray privately, or as the passage says, "in secret." My friends, "in secret," if I have learned anything about prayer, is the key to prayer. A real prayer life flows from secret prayer. But there are other ways to pray.
Sometimes we pray with the congregation. Sometimes we join with others and pray together in worship. Prayer with others is real prayer. We don't have to shut ourselves in our closets all the time to pray, we can pray with others. However, I will still insist that private prayer aids in the usefulness of public prayer. We could be like Peter who prayed on the house top in Acts chapter 10. We see public prayer that is not associated with worship in Acts 21:5 when Paul prayed, "And when it came about that our days there were ended, we departed and started on our journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city. And after kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another" Prayer is all over Scripture and prayer should be all over our lives. It should buffet everything we do.
Prayer is offered for the sick, James 5:15. We even see in Scripture that prayer is offered in the evening, morning, and at noon, Psalm 55:17. To put it simply, a Christian carries with him/her a spirit that is prayerful. A Christian cannot be without prayer. Prayer is the link that exists between the
Christian and his or her God. Their Lord and Master, their lifeline. It all is elevated and nourished via prayer. Prayer is like a rose garden. I have seen rose bushes that are pathetic, but I have also seen rose gardens the bloom until the end of November...and I live in Philadelphia. Prayer needs to be cultivated, nourished, and simply become a habit to be healthy. A healthy prayer life is the greatest "shot in the arm" to the Christian. That is why I encourage private prayer, or as I say, "closet prayer."
Prayer is how the Christian abides in Christ. We may exist in the world below, but prayer brings us to heaven. It makes us partners with Christ. Prayer helps us set our affections on the things that are above and not earthly. Our affections are to be on the things of heaven. When Jacob wrestles with the angel of heaven he would not let the angel go until he was blessed, Genesis 32:26. So it should be in our prayers. We should expect, hope, that God will respond. He may have other plans, and His plans are perfect, but we still must pray. Prayer moves God's hand.
Soli Deo Gloria,