THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
Recently I learned an important lesson concerning prayer. My 2 1/2-year-old daughter and I were spending some quality time together at McDonald’s. We both ordered a Cheeseburger Happy Meal with great anticipation of the coming feast and conversation. The table was set, the meal was displayed. However, in a moment of forgetfulness I immediately started eating my delectable feast. With five french fries and one bit of cheeseburger consumed, I turned to my daughter to check her progress only to find myself beholding the most beautiful sight and the most humbling experience I’ve ever encountered. To my great surprise I witnessed a very joyous vision as well as a very embarrassing moment; she was praying. Her little hands folded before her face, head bowed, and eyes closed. I didn’t want to interrupt, but I did want my time to do over; I had failed. My heart was bursting with pride, while at the same time it was breaking through neglect. Yes, I had stressed the importance of prayer to her. “Pray without ceasing,” I had told her. But now I was feeling hypocritical. I quickly looked all around to see if anyone had noticed my lack of leadership. However, I should have looked UP.
It is hard to begin to let go and let them do things on their own. Especially in the shadow of forgetfulness and mistake. I was reminded of an illustration I had used many times when preaching. A little boy of six was invited out to lunch in a neighbor’s home. As soon as all were seated at the table the food was served and the little boy was puzzled, and with a childs frankness asked,” Don’t you say a prayer before you eat?” The host was uncomfortable and mumbled, “No, we don’t take time for that.” The lad sat and thought silently for awhile, and said, “You are just like my dog, you just start right in.” Although I take time at every opportunity to pray, that day I had forgot.
My mind was turned from self to the words of this precious prayer. She prayed, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food. Thank you, God for me, mama, and daddy. Thank you for Jesus, the Bible, and toys. In Jesus name, Amen.” I fought to hold back the tears. My little girl was growing up but most of all she was growing up in the Lord.
That night I asked God to forgive me for forgetting to pray, but thanked him for my darling little child. I am not perfect. I will make many more mistakes. However, I believe what the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). My prayer is that she will never cease praying. Prayer is one of the most important things in all the world; something I hope she never forgets.
That day I learned an important lesson about prayer. Prayer is so simple; it is like quietly opening a door and slipping into the very presence of God, no matter where you are.
Mark Posey via The Exhorter August 16 1992 Arab Church of Christ
THE SIN OF PRAYERLESSNESS
Centuries ago, when Israel, desiring to be like countries around about them, requested a king; God reminded Samuel that they had not rejected the prophet, but their God. He reminded them, “If you will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both you and also the king that reigns over you continue following the Lord your God; but if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your father’s.” (1 Samuel 12:14- 15). Then as proof that God meant what he said Samuel prayed that God might bring thunder and rain upon the people. All the people greatly feared the Lord and confessed their sins. They begged Samuel to pray for them. In response Samuel stated; “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23)
Samuel, this great servant of God, considered prayerless as a sin against the Lord. It is true that a life of prayerlessness is a life of rebellion against God. Prayer is not simply an opportunity; it is a responsibility. The prayer of a righteous person, avails much, for it is heard and answered by him (James 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12). To live a prayerless life means that one fails to check into headquarters to find out what the chief wants done.
Prayerless is not only a sin against God; it is a sin against self. How impoverished is one who neglects to pray. A failure to pray reveals the tragic wrong of our spiritual condition. Failure to enter the prayer closet indicates an attitude of spiritual satisfaction, which is self-condemning. It indicates moral laziness and unbelief that is disgraceful.
Prayerless is a sin against others. A failure to pray not only impoverishes our Christian life; it also robs others of the blessings God intended his children to be. From prayer comes wisdom and strength to understand the sinful pressures about.
Some practical suggestions on how to develop a more prayerful life would include. . . (1) set apart a time of the schedule of your day for prayer, (2) Be persistent in prayer, (3) pray about needs and problems as they arise; (4) study Biblical prayers that were answered or declined and make adjustments as needed.
Jerry Jenkins via Roebuck Parkway Church of Christ March 12th 2003
THINGS to CONSIDER
Defeat is only for those who accept it.
Bearing burdens develop strong souls. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
A home is made, not by hands, but by loving hearts.
We see things, not so much as they are, but as we are.
There will be no open Bible for you unless you open it for yourself.
Without a “tale hearer” there would be no talebearer. Not only are people responsible for the use they make up a tongue, but also for the use they make of their ears.
To do well is better than to be well to do.
Money can talk, but it never gives itself away.
God is not valued at all unless he is valued above all.
Faith’s greatest victories often come out of fiery trials.
It is well to let a little sunshine out as well as in.
Blessed it is the man who shares his blessings.
The mission of the church is not to save money, but to save souls!