“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:5-8)
Bringing everything to God in prayer is one of the most common missing elements in Christian Service.
Prayer, or its absence, affects everything we think and do.
You can talk about “prayer” with most anyone today. And they will agree with you that it is important. They may even thank you for praying for them.
Even people that don’t believe in God will talk about prayer. Seriously.
So, the question is what we are really talking about?
If you talk to me and I talk to you, that is communication.
When we talk to God and we listen to Him, that is prayer.
Everything to God
There is an old hymn you rarely hear anymore. Especially in Evangelical churches.
There is a stanza that says, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O, what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!” (Lyrics by: Joseph Scriven, 1855)
God wants us to have communion with Him. He wants us to come to Him with all our anxieties, fears, and pain. And with all our hopes and dreams.
Because He loves us and wants to walk with us through our lives. Together.
But, most Christians are generally too busy working for the Lord to spend time with Him or talk with Him. Or depend upon Him.
They are too busy doing “the work that needs to get done”. Doing the service that “the Lord requires”. Doing church. Reaching out to the community. Showing love to other people. Doing “what love requires”.
While the Lord stands by and wonders what we are doing. Why we are running ahead of His Spirit waving for Him to catch up!
A “Deadness” in the Church
I am convinced, after 50 years as a Christian, that very little of what we do is really by God’s Spirit. Most of the stuff we do is in our own spirit. Motivated by countless outside voices telling us what to do.
In the meantime, the Lord wants us to sit at His feet, like Mary, and learn of Him. While Martha looks on in growing irritation over Mary’s inaction.
And boy, if that isn’t a fitting representation of what is really going on today. The church leadership growing in its irritation over congregations not getting up and getting to work. Not crying when they cry. Not clapping when they clap. Not raising our hands when they raise their hands.
Because churches today have too high an opinion of their own spiritual understanding. Men who have been to Seminary or obtained their Divinity Degrees at some Christian University think they have a better understanding of truth than the people in the pews.
The leadership thinks that we just need to get to work now. Instead of focusing on teaching and preaching the word of God.
You know, feeding the sheep.
That is the church today. It doesn’t matter, really, where you go. This is a common problem.
Churches are busy putting together programs to motivate and organize their people to do “good stuff”. And while a lot of it may very well be “good stuff”, there is a something dead about it all.
A “deadness” that no one speaks of.
This “deadness” is becoming increasingly evident. Because the church is moving farther and farther away from the word of God; and more and more into a kind of Social-Gospel religious mode. Where ones outward works are now going to define whether they are truly a disciple or not.
And, we’re not talking about the quiet fruits of the Spirit. Such as love, joy, peace, holiness, purity. Today, they are focusing on other things.
They are focusing on the Sermon-on-the-Mount works in order to emulate a kind of “woke-style” of Christianity. Where “doing justice” determines if one is truly a disciple or not.
With “doing justice” being defined by whatever popular metro pastor, seminary professor, or Progressive-Christian activist is saying. And by whomever our local pastors and leaders are reading and following.
The Smallest Thing
But prayer is learning to “pray without ceasing“. As we learn to bring our moment by moment concerns to the Lord. Where we are honest with Him about what we want to do and what we don’t want to do.
Where we are honest with Him about the works we have a desire to do; and those we don’t have a desire to do.
Where we ask Him to create in us both the Desire and the Doing of a good thing.
Where we depend on Him to establish all of our thoughts and purposes. Where we don’t fake it with Him. Where we are honest about the sins we struggle with; and seek His cleansing for all our failures. Being honest and transparent with the Lord.
And placing His word above all else in our lives. Even more than the Christian authors and podcast speakers. More than our affection for our local pastors, More than all the other voices that would challenge the authority of His word in our lives.
We simply wait too long to come to Him. By trying to do things ourselves.
One of the things I am beginning to learn is that the smallest thing in my life is not trivial to the Lord. Even how I think about a thing, I need His help to establish all this within me.
Even how I react to the things that I hear and read. I need Him to sort out and guide all these things in my heart, mind, and emotions.
There is nothing too small for the Lord. He wants to be “all in all“. To be all our things in all of us.
May we learn to treat Him as our best friend, to bring all things to Him.
Who is the Lover of our souls.
Image by Cheryl Holt from Pixabay