Monday, March 30, 2009

Devotional 300309

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thank God for another beautiful day to be in His service. ‘Arise my soul, let’s come to worship our Creator God, who wants to mold us to be like His Son this day. Let’s enjoy this day that He wants us to walk and talk with Him.This is the Day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Our Lord desires His children to fully enjoy their relationship with Him and with one another each day. He expects us to love and care for one another, even though we may feel weird to draw close to other Christians; it is true that Christians are weird ‘recovering sinners.’ We are not totally transformed yet. We will have sinful relapses from time to time, and our motives about relationship may not be totally Godly or sanctified. That’s why God expects us to pray for one another and spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

"The Lord saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene (intercede or pray); so His own arm worked salvation for him, and His own righteousness sustained him" (Isaiah 59:16). The reason many of us leave off praying and become stubborn towards God is because we have only a sentimental interest in prayer. It sounds right to say that we pray; we read books on prayer, which tell us that prayer is beneficial, that our minds are quieted and our souls uplifted when we pray; but Isaiah implies that God is amazed at such thoughts of prayer among His people.

Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Too often instead of worshipping God, we construct statements as to how prayer works. Are we worshipping or are we in dispute with God - "I don't see how you are going to do it." This is a sure sign that we are not worshipping. When we lose sight of God we become stubborn and rigid. We toss our own petitions at God's throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do for us. We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ within us. If we are stubborn towards God, we will become stubborn towards other people.

Are we so worshipping God that we stir ourselves up to seek Him so that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray, instead of just saying a few words of prayer for the person according to what we want? Are we living in a holy relationship to God, or are we stubborn and rigid?

"But there is no one interceding properly" - then be that one yourself, be the one who worships God and who lives in holy relationship to Him. Get into the real work of intercession, and remember it is a work, a work that requires every power to accomplish. Preaching the gospel may have a snare; intercessory prayer has none.

I find this teaching on prayer is so true from my own experience. We have a tendency to pray for others without first listening to God in a worshipful attitude. We don’t know how to pray for others as Paul said in Romans 8:26-27, “but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.” Therefore, we want to echo His prayer or pray according to His will instead of ours. This requires silence of our inner desires and casual thoughts on how and what to pray. We need to wait, watch and wrestle in prayer. Wait for God’s word to come upon us as we intend to pray. Watch God’s guidance and circumstances that He reveals to us about that prayer. Wrestle with our soul to stay focus and obedience to His will in our prayers. For instance, you usually will not pray for suffering to come upon a person whom you intercede. But the Holy Spirit may want you to pray accordingly, so that God will use the suffering to shape this person’s character. It is hard to intercede in such a way when this person is your beloved friend or family member.

I am sure Peter meant good when he stopped his Master from preparing for the cross. But this human thinking or reaction was not according to the Will of God for Christ. Therefore, Jesus rebuked Peter by using a very strong word, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matt 16:23). Do you pray for others according to God or to the mind of men?

Love you according to the mind of Christ,

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