Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sadhu Sundar Singh (cont'd) Fourth Question

Prayer
It is lilac season and to me there is no flower more fragrant than lilacs. I have always loved,
not only their scent but also the way their fragrance fills the air.

In the last book of the bible we read...
"And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand." (Rev.8:4 NKJV)

Incense was an important part of the priestly service in the Old Testament tabernacle and here in this verse we see that our prayers are wafted up to heaven on the wings of fragrance.

Yesterday my little granddaughter gave me a hug and said, "Oh Nanna, you smell nice!"
Do our prayers 'smell' nice to God ??

******
Continuing my thoughts inspired by Sadhu Sundar Singh's vision of conversation with Jesus.... I want to share some insights on prayer.
The purpose of prayer is not begging.
Does God withhold the things we have need of if we don't ask for them in prayer? No, God provides for all of His creation the things necessary for life --- and He makes His "sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45 NKJV)
The flowers of the field are clothed, the birds of the air are fed, and God says..
"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matt.6:30)
Prayer is about relationship
To pray is to be on speaking terms with God. By means of prayer, the believer abides in communion with God , partakes of His Nature and is formed in the image of Christ.

Prayer keeps us alive
In the ocean there are many marine animals who thrive in the deepest water. They are able to sustain their life because they continually rise to the surface in order to fill their lungs with life-giving air.
The world we live in is like an ocean of deep water -- it threatens to drown us in selfish thoughts, pride of life, temptations, unholy habits, pursuit of worldly goods.
It is only through prayer that we are able to continually rise up from this world and gulp in the life-giving breath of the Spirit. Prayer fills us with His Life that keeps us alive in a world that does not know Him.
The fish who spend their whole life in salt water do not become salty. Jesus came into this world of sin , but He Himself had no sin. Through prayer, we keep ourselves free of the salt of sin in this world - though we are in this world we are not of it.
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16)
Prayer keeps us under the care of the 'Gardener'
Just as a tree or shrub is not taken care of , it will return to its wild state .. so also a believer , through the neglect of prayer will cease to abide in Jesus and slip back into his old sinful ways.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." (John 15:4)

How do we know how to pray?
Just as a baby does not need to be taught where and how to find his food, so also those born of the Spirit know by a spiritual instinct how to pray and obtain spiritual food.
A baby responds to his natural hunger and thirst to cause him to cry out for the drink he needs. God created our bodies with hunger and thirst so that we would constantly be reminded that we need the care of the One who created us - not just physically but also spiritually.
By prayer we stay in fellowship with Him -- we in Him and he in us - and we find contentment and joy because all our needs are met.

Through Prayer we have Victory over the enemy
It is no great thing for men to tame wild beasts or understand the powers of nature - lightning, wind or light .... but it IS a great thing to have rule over the world and Satan and self.
The believer who maintains a life of prayer is given the power to overcome the might of the enemy and to be seated in heavenly places .

To those who are tied to the things of this world it is a constant struggle against self and the enemy, but those who have found the wings of prayer can at will experience the freedom of living where the enemy cannot reach them.

Prayer Makes the Impossible Possible
If we desire to obtain from God the blessings of a spiritual life, we must practice a life of obedience. Our desire must be to please Him, in everything He asks of us.
The deeper the prayer life of a believer the more he learns to know the will of God and the more he knows to ask for the things that God is pleased to give him. Then whatever he asks for he will receive.
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (IJohn 5:14)
"Lord, may we ever remember to rise up in prayer to breath deep of your life-giving Spirit!"

2 comments:

Lovella ♥ said...

Thank you Julie. The last paragraph . . .understanding God enough to know what would please him to ask ....such a joy to be able to ask with confidence.

Sara said...

Your post has blessed me this morning. Thank you! I especially love that analogy of being submerged in the world as a creature in the ocean and prayer being our coming up for the air that gives us His life in the world....