Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 2, 2012

Thought for the Week October 7, 2012

We have been discussing and teaching about prayer which is probably one of the best activities we can cultivate in our lives as Christians since it brings us closer to God than anything else. Unfortunately, if you are like me, it is also one of the most difficult activities to cultivate and get consistent. In his weekly e-devotional, Daniel Henderson, one of my favorite teachers when it comes to prayer, had a guest writer, Michael Pfau, who penned a devotional called, Do Less. Pray More. (Three Attitudes to Cultivate Intimacy with God), which are right in line with what God has been showing us lately. Let me give you some of his thoughts.

“Andy, a friend and pastor…summarized beautifully…lessons we both have learned over the years, ‘Do less. Pray more.’ This goes against my natural tendency…I’m often driven by distraction and activity. I’ve come to understand that intimacy with God in our fast-paced world can happen. God-empowered results can occur, if I approach Him with three attitudes.

First, recognize whose power really changes things. It goes against our nature to sit, wait, and rest in His great presence. However, a desperate person knows how to pray. When we have nothing to bring we become great pray-ers. Spurgeon wrote, ‘Prayer doesn’t fit us for the greater work, prayer IS the greater work.’ Why is this true? Because it puts the focus back on God to bring about the type of change that the most significant parts of life require. Changing a husband’s heart to choose love instead of divorce is not like changing a light bulb. Remember, it is ‘not by might, not by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.’

“Acts 13:2-3 says of the prophets and teachers in the church of Antioch, ‘As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”‘ It was…in purposely setting aside time to be in God’s presence that God revealed His heart and will for the church. There is…no evidence that these men were… thinking of sending out a missionary team. They worshipped, fasted, and waited before the Lord, allowing Him to reveal His plan to them. Remember, it is God’s power that changes things as you rest before the Lord and discover not only what He wants to do but how He plans to accomplish it.

Second, quiet your heart. Is your ‘quiet time’ truly a QUIET time? The day’s cares and details press in like storm troopers on the gate of my mind and heart, threatening to overwhelm me…(in) prayer I must be intentional to still these thoughts and quiet my mind. I’ve also noticed…my emotions are so engaged that I find it hard to hear God’s voice… Let the noise and clamor cease. We can get so caught up in the appointments… projects…(and) people issues…that there is no room for our hearts and minds to hear God’s still, small voice.

“One wonderful remedy I’ve found is to start out in praise and worship of our sovereign, holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present God…(Who) created the universe and desires to commune with us. ‘Be still and know He is God.’ Once it is fixed in my heart just Who I am encountering, my soul gets settled. I’m able to relax and enjoy His great presence.

Third, recognize that God actually likes spending time with you. We misunderstand our relationship with God when we think that our time with Him is one-directional and only for our benefit. Sure, we receive from God. ‘In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11) ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who puts his trust in Him.’ (Psalm 34:8) Yet, did you ever stop to think that God actually enjoys the time you set aside to be in His presence? Remember, He created Adam and Eve and walked with them in the garden. Surely these were times of reciprocal delight between Creator and creation. Psalm 149:4 states, ‘For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.’ Zephaniah 3:17 says, ‘The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’

“How do we actually receive His love and pleasure? Start by recognizing that spending time with God is not like hanging out with friends. It usually takes time to develop the ‘Spirit eyes and ears’ needed to connect with Him. At first it can feel awkward and contrived and even like we are making it up. However…if we give intentional effort and have a strategy, the sense of His delight will come. This may sound like work, and initially it could feel that way. Yet, the more we still our hearts, rest in His presence, and just open our souls to receive from and give to the Lord – the more we will learn to walk with Him throughout the day and find joy beyond what any other relationship can give.”

I really thought what Michael had to say fit well with the idea of always praying and making our purpose just seeking His face rather than always bringing our needs before Him. What do you think? How does this stir your soul, if it does? You can read the entire text of Pfau’s e-devotional at http://www.strategicrenewal.com/_blog/Weekly_E-Devotional/ In the meantime, let me know if this thought hit any buttons in your heart. It’s my thought, what are yours?

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