Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Thriving Spiritually Through Prayer!
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Thriving Spiritually Through Prayer!
June 27, 2010
I wish I could say that I am an expert in my prayer but I am not. My prayer life, like most of us, ebbs and flows. There are times when prayer flows from my heart like a mountain spring and other times like a dripping faucet barely able to eek out any words. There are times I need spiritual strength and I pray and see God give me strength or do amazing things. This is probably true for many of us. Or you may have been in a place where you know you should pray but you did not and did not want to pray. You may even be in a place that you do believe pray makes a difference in your life and so your prayer life is non existent. You are spiritually struggling or weak and you are not convinced that prayer will do anything for you. The encouragement I want to give you today from God's Word is that, that prayer really does make a difference – in your relationship with God, in your life, and your circumstances, in the events of the world today, even to give you spiritual strength to deals with the issues in your life.
But if you are takes as step forward in your prayer life today, it will require you to takes a step of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word. This means that God promises to take these Spirit inspired words, make them alive for you in our time today and breathe Spirit life into your heart, through the preaching of His word. When that happens today and it will happen if you will believe God then you must fight to maintain that level of faith, day in and day out. Because you will be encouraged today, your faith level with rise and then something will happen, the enemy will sift you trying to get you to distrust God. But you must resist and fight against him, against your won frailties, and against the worldview that bombards you daily not to trust God. So let’s pray and ask God to do something supernatural, invade time and history and meet with you individually, meet with us corporately and making a shift in our faith and prayer life.
Big idea – Jesus promises that an ordinary means to receiving spiritual strength is prayer.
This passage tells us of the need us to be alert or watchful about two things: the first is that we must watch ourselves otherwise hearts will drift toward excessive preoccupation with the world so that we lose sight of the Kingdom and the return of Christ. The second thing is that we must be stay focused on the kingdom and the return of Christ by praying for strength when difficult things of life come our way. Jesus’ teaching here is that there are things that will happen pointing to and leading up to the return of Christ which requires a spiritual alertness otherwise we will be dragged down and away from the Lord.
Let’s look at the first. He says our hearts are prone to get weighed down, or burdened by things that numb our pain like drinking or the cares of the world. The lure of the world is not like a frog put into hot water but a frog put into cold water that is slowly heated up until the frog is killed because he does not notice the change in the water temperature until it is too late. Jesus’ point is that our hearts do not become insensitive overnight; they become insensitive to sin and the world over a period of time as we accommodate ourselves and our lifestyles to it. It is not usually the bad things that trap us but the good things that become excessive, the very matters of life like money and family and jobs, and love and things we enjoy.
The danger is that these matters distract us from centering our lives on the kingdom and so are a trap because we will be not prepared for Christ when he returns. The matters of ordinary life have the potential of dulling our spiritual senses so that the normal things of life take center stage in our lives and the kingdom becomes secondary.
On the flip side we are also to be watchful or spiritually alert and that is defined or described as praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going take place. The things that are going to take place are the events leading up to the return of Christ mentioned in chapter 21. The judgment on Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple; conflicts among the nations; natural disasters; terrors and persecution and even cosmic disturbances that point to the return of Christ. What we are to focus our attention on is Christ, advancing his kingdom, and his return. Everything is going according to plan, as he wishes and wills; do not get defeated and discouraged and numb your pain or be drawn in by the cares of this world but be vigilant on putting your hope in the Lord, his return when everyone here and there and across the world will face him. You will be prepared and rewarded if you persevere in holiness and fight against sin, and the flesh. Perseverance is only accomplished by fighting the good fight of faith, believing that the promises of Christ are sweeter than what this world promises to offer.