One of the reasons why we do not pray so often is that
we may have a wrong picture of who we are in Gods world. We might be thinking that we are too insignificant to get the attention
of the Almighty God. On the contrary, we should realize that God has placed us as top priorities in His plan. It will not
be the angels or any other creatures that will receive our God-given position of Sonship and inheritance (Romans 8:13-17)
Who then are we? There are basically four evaluations that
we use to discover who we are:
others think about us?
the devil thinks about us?
we think about ourselves?
God thinks about us?
Did you realize that you have never really seen your own
face except through the reflection in the mirror? What I mean is that we never see ourselves face to face. The reflection
is not the real face. Yet it is through the reflection in the mirror or a photograph of our faces that we have an impression
of how we actually look like.
Mirrors and Reflectors
In similar manner, we need others to be the mirrors or
reflectors so that we are able to see our characters clearer. That is the reason why we are so affected by what people think
about us. We use terms like reputation, character and personality to describe this image that is being fed to us. We struggle
to be accepted and often time allow our behavior to be molded by our immediate circle of friends and loved ones. That is the
reason why teenagers and young people are most susceptible to peer pressure.
When I was in the military, I learned to smoke and drink
from my peers. It wasnt because I particularly liked smoking or drinking but it was one of the ways to receive acceptance
from my military friends. When God came into my life, He gave me strength to stop all those bad habits. Suddenly, being accepted
by my peers was no longer that important. My faith in Christ had given me a new perspective to who I really was. I had moved
from an insecure position in life to a very secure one, from a vulnerable situation to a very stable one. My confidence was
like what Paul the Apostle said, If God be for us, who can be against us. (Romans 8:31)
It would definitely be to our advantage if we were to learn
early about what God thinks of us and also what He wants us to think about Him. If God is our Significant Other then we will
find lesser reasons to persistently seek approval and acceptance from the world. How are we to know what God is thinking about
us? We get it from His love letters to us The Holy Bible. The Bible is not just a book of ancient scriptures. When we read
it, the Holy Spirit makes it come alive and through the passages, God speaks to us. That is why the Bible is known as the
living word of God.
Listening To God
Another way to receive Gods words is through prayer. Prayer
is not a ritual but a communion and conversation with God. It is a dialogue rather than a monologue. For those who doubt whether
this great and mighty God will want to communicate with them, I suggest that they read Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans
I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days
when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.
If we as earthly parents know how to love and take care
of our children, God as our heavenly Father would definitely do better than we. The fact is that God loves us so much that
He has plans to bless us. If God were to carry a wallet, our pictures would be inside.
God does not
only respond to Christians but to whomever who seek His face. According to Acts 10, Cornelius was not a Christian but he was
sincerely seeking God. In response, God sent an angel to direct Apostle Peter to him. It was through this encounter with Peter,
that Cornelius and his family were saved. Therefore we should encourage even non-Christians who are seekers to pray. When
they encounter the presence of the living God, they will need no convincing from us. This is known as Presence Evangelism
and it is most effective. Here is an inspiring story about how God intervened in the life of one seeker.
The famous Indian Evangelist, Sundar Singh was about 14
years old when he lost his mother and brother. For two years, he was in despair and began to seek for the meaning of life.
He was searching for the real God. Finally in utter frustration and desperation, he made a vow to throw himself in front of
the early morning train if he did not receive the answer that day. In that dark morning hour, the Lord Jesus appeared before
Sundar. From that day on, he was never the same again. Through countless trials and persecutions, he faithfully served his
Master and became known as one of Indias greatest Christian Evangelists.
Gods Love For Us
By sending Jesus Christ to this earth to die for us, God
shows that He really loves and longs for us to be reconnected with Him. In the hot Syrian Desert, His love knocked Saul off
his horse. He sought to save a cruel Pharisee who was setting out to destroy Christianity. This love so overwhelmed Saul that
he became Paul the Apostle, the tireless spokesman of early Christianity.
Augustine, a former playboy who became the Bishop of Alexandria,
felt that he was being claimed by the ardent and severe mercy of God. Pascal the scientist said that God alone filled the
vacuum of his heart. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, declared that it was the Lord who pursued him and strangely warmed
his heart. The famous British author, C. S. Lewis felt the power of Gods love and wrote about being surprised by joy.
I assure you that it is not so much that you are looking
for God but rather that God is pursuing you. I like the old hymn, What a friend we have in Jesus because I know through personal
experience that this is true. He was my friend long before I ever wanted to befriend Him. He took me from a Chinese Taoist
home and blessed me with His grace and mercy. He took me from worshipping dumb idols to worshipping the one true God. He took
me from a life of sins to a life of forgiveness. Then he talks and walks with me every day. Even when I falter and fall, He
is there to pick me up and steady me so that I can continue my pilgrim journey. He is my and your friend indeed.
Since He is our friend, then why are we not spending more
time in communicating with Him? Could it be that we did not know how? Jesus has
anticipated that and has specifically showed us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13: "This, then, is
how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in
heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
The Lord has taught us to pray a very dangerous prayer.
Lets look at these important highlights of the prayer.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done
The wars and struggles in the world usually happen because
of power struggle. Kingdom means having power like a king. Therefore as long as you say that you are independent and have
power of your own, you are declaring the existence of your own kingdom. If you were the king of your own kingdom, then the
kingdom of God cannot come into your life. Neither can His will be done in your life.
To utter the first part of the Lords Prayer, you will have
to relinquish your position as king. When you pray for Gods kingdom to come, you are actually surrendering your own kingdom.
This involves the breaking of your ego and will, so that He might establish His kingdom or reign in your life.
I struggle with this every day because even though I know
that it is much better for God to be the king of my life, I still want to take control of it from time to time. That is how
I get into trouble. Then my ego, pride, anger and unforgiveness mess up the peace that I have received from God. Instead of
striving to achieve for the kingdom of God, I got lost in establishing my own egoistic kingdom.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit. The gentle voice of the
Holy Spirit constantly comes and reminds me of how much tragedies my own kingdom had created in the past and that I was a
lousy king. It would be wisdom for me to surrender my kingdom in exchange for His kingdom and my will for His. My friends,
if you want to be set free to follow Christ fully, then it's time to pray a "break-me" prayer.
Feed-Me Prayer Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
As Yahweh-Jireh, God is the provider and we are the recipients.
It is sometime more difficult to be the recipients because it makes us feel small. When I was a young minister, I was invited
to preach in a small Malaysian church. After the service, the pastor gave me a love offering of twenty-five Malaysian dollars.
I refused to accept because up until then, I had never needed to accept anything from anyone. Before becoming a full-time
pastor, I was doing very well financially in my insurance business. It was not the amount that I rejected but it was the humility
of being a recipient. I was always a giver and I had become too proud to be a recipient. Before the day was over, the Holy
Spirit had convicted me of my stupidity and pride.
God will give us what we need but not what we do not need.
Some preachers say that if we really have faith, we will be earning big money, driving Mercedes and living in bungalow houses.
The last time I checked the Bible, I discovered that none of the apostles drove Mercedes or lived in bungalow houses. The
fact is that almost all of them walked from place to place, lived in borrowed homes, stayed for prolonged time in prisons,
and died as martyrs. I must clarify that I am not against Christians who are wealthy. I have the privilege of meeting some
very wealthy Christians who show true humility and strong Christian virtues. I also have the dismaying experience of meeting
some who are poor and haughty. Being rich or poor does not indicate the level of ones faith. Being Christ-like or not does!
How many of us can handle great wealth and power without
them getting into our heads? Someone says that it is all right for the ship to be in the ocean but it is not all right for
the ocean to be in the ship. I have seen people change negatively the moment they achieve a certain degree of worldly success.
The ego of man is resilient and will raise its proud ugly head whenever the opportunity arises. The Lucifer syndrome is with
us and we have to be aware of it.
We cannot pray the Feed-Me Prayer if it is Prescription
Prayer. We see God as the great pharmacist in the sky. We write the prescriptions and we want Him to fill them. If He did
not then our faith in Him would be shaken. Like little kids, we seek the gifts and not the giver - we only seek the hands
of God and not His face.
When we pray, we should not be insisting on being led to
an answer but to God Himself. There are far greater things that we should experience from God than just getting what we want.
The other problem is that if we only knew how to pray Prescription Prayer then we have become the gods of God. We will be
giving the orders and God who is our slave will have to fulfill them.
Forgive Us our Debt
As We Have Forgiven
boy once prayed: And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets. This Forgive-Me prayer
has to do with your horizontal relationship with others. You cannot say that your vertical relationship is good when your
horizontal relationship is messed up. This horizontal relationship is inadvertently linked to the vertical relationship. We
were the enemies of God and He forgave us and in return we should forgive our enemies.
This hits home
every time when I pray. Like the little boy who says that we should forgive those who throw trash in our baskets, I realize
the difficulty of doing so. My flesh screams against such behavior. . I am not that magnanimous and forgiving. I dont like
people who throw trash at me. I want revenge and I do not want to forgive. However, when I realize that God loves these trash-throwers
too, then who am I to judge and curse them? Evangelist Sundar Singh shared this truth about how we should react to trash-throwers:
If a blind
man comes down the street the onus is on the person who can see to draw aside so as to avoid collision, and if by chance they
collide he should not mind but rather beg the blind man's pardon and help him. If he should get annoyed that would only be
proof that the blind man is really not less but more clear-sighted than he is, because he is blind with regard to both sympathy
and intelligence. So if anyone opposes and persecutes us because we follow the truth, instead of taking it ill we must forgive,
love and pray for him (Mat. 5:44, 45), and if he still does not repent and desist we are not the losers, because we
ought to do this for the Truth, who gave us sight and is Himself is our reward.
Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers gave this advice:
Cultivate forbearance till your heart yields a fine crop of it. Pray for a short memory as to unkindness. When it comes to
forgiveness, there are suddenly no professionals in prayer. We are all beginners who pray by beginning again and again. It
is when we recognize our weaknesses that we learn to lean completely upon God. Even forgiving others, we have no capacity
unless He blesses us with it. When we receive that grace to forgive, then we have real peace in the storms of gossips, accusations
and contentions. Our souls become liberated and they move from darkness of unforgiveness unto the light of His love. When
we connect with God every day, we enter into a spiritual dimension that reveals new horizons, new visions, new awareness of
His great love and goodness.
Stretch-Me Prayer: And Lead Us Not Into Temptation,
But Deliver Us From The Evil One
This is the Stretch-me kind of dangerous prayer. As the
Holy Spirit once led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested, God, from time to time will allow us to be led for testing. Like
a manufacturer who tests his products for quality, God tests His children too. Paul the Apostle who himself had been often
tested informed us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from
what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against
it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. We develop strength of character
when we learn to overcome life's challenges. Every temptation hurdle that we leap over will not only build our wisdom but
our faith in God.
Lead-Me Prayer For Yours Is The Kingdom
And The Power And The Glory Forever. Amen
This is the Lead-me kind of dangerous prayer. When we get
settled into a nice house, a great career and a growing family, we can lose sight of the kingdom of God. The tangible blessings
of God may become a hindrance to us. Our house may create such a financial burden that we are constantly worried about having
not enough money to finance it. Our career may make us so busy and take our time away from God. Our growing family may become
a curse because we lack the wisdom to lead every member to serve God. Instead they draw us away from God.
A Sunday school teacher left our church because she had
married a man who did not believe in Jesus Christ. After some years, she secretly visited us at the church office and shared
tales of marital grief and pain. She still loved the Lord but she was not allowed to share the gospel with her three growing
children because her husband would kill her. She said her future was no longer in line with the future that God had prescribed.
She had found it difficult to pray, For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Whenever we make a
mistake, we have to pick up our courage to return to the loving presence of God. For without God, where does our future lie?
The abiding faith in Christ is important. Our spirits live
forever. They can either live forever in hell with satan or in heaven where the
the kingdom and the power and the glory are forever. As the Beginning and the End, God wants to lead us into a future where
He is the prime motivator. He provides us with the salvation so that we will be with Him forever. He wants us to know that
He has all the good things prepared for us.
Life is short here on earth but long there in eternity.
Let us not seek after the temporal things of this life but pursue after the eternal things of God. There will come a time
when we do not need to pray any more. That is when we die and see God face to face. As long as we are alive on earth, let
us pray. Today, may we spend time to communicate with Him and allow Him to guide us all the way.
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The Living Word Fellowship meets at The Peninsular-Excelsior Hotel. Excelsior Tower, 5th
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No. 5, Coleman Street, Singapore 179805
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