More Purpose in Prayer
More Purpose in Prayer
There is a world of purposeful direction for our prayers:
- 7.5 billion people on this planet and the overwhelming majority are currently lost and outside of Jesus Christ.
- The 26,000 children who will die today of starvation or from an otherwise preventable disease.
- One billion people on the planet living in absolute poverty.
- Over 3000 children being aborted every day in America.
- All the lives that are being permanently damaged by drug and alcohol use and drug trafficking.
- All the souls that are being corrupted by the pornography industry.
- All the lives that are being ruined by sex trafficking.
God’s Powerful Word
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
There is no message that even comes close to being this powerful! The word of God can penetrate the human heart like no other message. It lays bare the most secret intentions of the heart. In addition, it can spread rapidly. It only took around 30 years for the gospel message to permeate the entire Roman Empire (Colossians 1:23). The same truth can be taught in numerous locations around the world at the same time. You might share a truth that you heard this morning on Facebook or just with another Christian at lunch, and by tomorrow morning someone halfway around the world can be talking about what you were talking discussing. As Christians we are not merely receivers, we are to be reproducers (1 Thessalonians 1:8). Be more than a sponge. Do not let the message end or stop with you. Determine to pass at least one piece of truth on every day.
God’s Penetrating Gaze
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). God sees all, including everything that is done in secret and in the darkness. “Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:12).
- “For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart” (Psalm 11:2).
- “They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, ‘Who can see them?’” (Psalm 64:5).
- “They have said, ‘The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed’” (Psalm 94:7).
Yet God sees. He can frustrate their plans. He can protect His people who are in the crosshairs of the wicked, He can bring the evil out in the open for the whole world to see, and He will judge (Romans 2:16).
Our Incredible Access
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize without our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
- We have a great high priest! He has passed through the heavens. He sits at the right hand of the Father. He is Jesus, the Son of God, the Creator and sustainer of the universe (Hebrews 1:3). If that was not enough, He loves you and died for your sins.
- He understands what it is like to live on this earth. He gives hope. He was tempted and attacked and yet never yielded to sin.
- Some people boast about getting an audience with the President, the Pope or the CEO of some Fortune 500 company. We have an audience with and direct access to Jesus the Son of God.
Like the widow that Jesus talked about in Luke chapter 18, we can appear to be very vulnerable and definitely lacking in resources. In the face of the evil in the world do you feel completely powerless? Are you saying, “What can I do?” This chapter reminds us that we have resources. Remember, it was a group of uneducated Galilean fishermen who turned the world upside down with the gospel.
- “The logic that says, ‘I can’t do everything, so I won’t do anything’, is straight from hell… What would happen if we stopped asking how much we could spare and started asking how much it was going to take?” (Radical, David Platt, p. 130).
- Instead of asking, “How much time can I spare to teach someone”, be willing to invest the time that it will take.
- Instead of asking, “How much time can I spare to read by bible”, ask “How much time will it take so I know it well and can teach it to others?”
- How much time can I spare for my marriage? Or my children?
- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
In Time of Need
Do we see our needs, like the Samaritan woman (John 4:15-18) or like the church in Laodicea are we blind to our real needs (Revelation 3:17)? Do we ask God to search and try us (Psalm 139:23-24)? Do we allow the word of God to wash over us, drench us, saturate us, so that we really see ourselves as God sees us? Who do we identify with more?
- The Rich man or Lazarus?
- The Publican or the Pharisee?
- The comfortable Christians in Laodicea or the persecuted saints in Smyrna?
- The poor widow who gave all or those who were giving out of their surplus? (Luke 21:1-4)
Jesus, Tears and Loud Crying
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety” (Hebrews 5:7).
- If God in the flesh needed to cry and passionately pray with a loud voice, then maybe we need to as well?
- Tears and loud crying is all about caring. It means that we are starting to see the lost as God sees them. It means that we come to God and say, “I know this is breaking your heart, and I care too. I am ready to serve, here am I send me!”
- Are we attempting to keep ourselves distant from the pain? If we have unsaved or unfaithful dear friends or family members, are we telling ourselves, “It will all work out, they are just going through a phase?” Or do we come to God with loud crying and tears over their souls? How much do we car about the billions of lost souls, 26,000 children that die daily due to hunger or disease, millions of babies aborted, underage girls being exploited by pimps, children and wives abused and neglected, and millions enslaved to drugs and alcohol.
The God who Weeps
- “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:6).
- “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:40).
- “For many walk of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
Being earnest in prayer means that we are willing to come to God and say, “I want to weep with You and I am ready to serve”. Do we care? Are we available and ready to do what it takes rather than, “What can I spare?”
Mark Dunagan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Beaverton Church of Christ | 503-644-9017