November 13, 2011

Continually abiding?

Spurgeon has two devotionals in his book, one for the morning and one for evening. Today, his morning thoughts are on being an effective Christian. This involves relying on Christ all the time.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:4)
Abide is a simple word meaning to stay, dwell, or remain. Later on in this chapter, Jesus says that the way to do it is by obedience. I’ve also learned that if I’m not relying on Him, then I need to confess and repent, turning from whatever else I was relying on, usually myself.

Yesterday, the Lord spoke to me about constantly going to Him in prayer, asking Him for everything, praying until He answers. Today’s evening devotional ties both thoughts together. The evidence of a heart that knows where its source of strength comes from is in that person’s prayer life, in my prayer life.

And (Jesus) told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1)

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Sometimes I imagine God behind a desk as the CEO of the universe and I have a chair in front of Him. He bids me speak my concerns and I am free to tell Him all that is on my heart.

Sometimes the phone rings and the person on the other end says, “I have a favor to ask. . . .” Immediately and before I know what that favor is, I utter a silent prayer to God for wisdom.

Sometimes we are in a strange place and cannot find our way. Sometimes I have a perplexing problem to solve. Sometimes my computer acts up, or our telephone doesn’t work. Sometimes our children are sick, or injured. This week I’m reading a novel that describes criminal activity in Asia and I am anxious about our granddaughter who lives there. Sometimes there are problems in our church, or the neighbors have trials and share their distress. Sometimes another person is upset with me, or with someone and brings their angst to my ears.

There is no end of things to pray about, to rely on God for. If I am not praying continually, what does that say about my faith? Do I trust God to work His will in every perplexity? Do I rely on Him to give grace, wisdom, strength, power to forgive, or whatever else that I need in all situations? If I’m not praying all the time, then who or what am I trusting?

Lord, I know that You do not mean that I should be physically on my knees 24/7, but that my heart and mind are quick to turn to You and talk to You, no matter what comes up. Sometimes that prayer is a whispered “Help” and sometimes a shouted “Praise God” but there is very little that I do where I cannot be talking to You at the same time. Prayer is only a breath away, which means Your resources are at the tip of my tongue, waiting for me to ask that You might release them. So often I feel like a beginner. Teach me to pray.

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