The potpourri of nuttiness that we’ve experienced over the last three years has done nothing good for our health and our wallets and frankly I doubt the show is over. It’s just begun! We are entering into a time of revolution, the sort that burns the house down (along with all past memories) and attempts to build its utopia. These activists are rolling us towards a cliff in a dumpster fire at 200 KMH and our Liberal Government has no brakes to stop it. It is fueled by the revolutionaries who spent more time learning how to protest while in school than learning logic or biology. Movements that at one time would have been deemed as a violent mob are now heroes on the streets. An uprising is on the up and up and its primary backers are those to whom you pay your taxes or receive your salaries. These peaceful activists are pushing the culture of death, burning down churches, opening up girl’s bathrooms to men, allowing kids to “transition” but not get a tattoo and ultimately hope that our faith and morality ends up dead or transformed too. For Christians, this has its despairing and it’s unquestionable that many feel helpless at the force that comes from the lunatics who took over the asylum. But this isn’t the first rodeo for Christians. Remember, in the beginning, the apostles felt helpless as they gazed upon their Messiah hanging on a cross only to see the victory afterwards. Never forget that our ancestors were fed to lions, used as candles all for the entertainment of a madman. That never dissuaded them and neither should we be deterred today.
Today, I’d like to offer a few words to those who are overwhelmed and feel there is little that can be done. I believe that these societal downgrades can have tremendous benefits if we use them rightly. They may begin to wake up believers from their spiritual sleep and allow an opportunity to show what a church backed by the King of Kings (and in return the King of our Prime Minister and Premier) can do in this country (Matthew 16:18). I hope that perhaps this will draw believers out with more boldness in addressing this moral decay and proclaiming what our spiritual ancestors lost their lives proclaiming, that there is only One God, His Son is Jesus Christ and He is Lord over all. You need to repent from your wickedness to avoid the coming judgment and come to Him in faith to be made right with a Holy God. But ultimately we need a first step. We need to start somewhere and in our minds, the first step in addressing these relegates and awakening the people of God is remembering that the veil in the temple in Jerusalem was torn in two.
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. (Matthew 27:51)
This means that we no longer require a representative to enter into the presence of God, but we have unlimited access to Him. We can come with confidence to the throne of Grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) and quite frankly this is one of those urgent times of need. I believe that the Lord has placed this on our hearts, and we need to pray and to pray often. I believe that one of the essential elements to the Christian’s fight in this world is our time in communion with God both privately and corporately. It is not the only means but an essential one. Revival and a social upturn starts with prayer and how desperately do we need one!
Prayer is not one dimensional and it can take on a ministry of its own. We need to know how to pray and many of our forebearers wrote much on not only the necessity of prayer but how to approach it. Matthew Henry once sub categorized prayer in 5 sections mainly:
Adoration is the reflection upon who God is as revealed in His glorious word. Confession is the expression of our sins to God in repentance and an acknowledgement that He is right, and we are wrong. Petition is the pleading with God in expressing our personal needs and our desire for Him to change us to do His will. Thanksgiving is coming before God with a heart of gratitude in all that He has done for us even our struggles. Intercession is the presentation of specific prayers for individuals for the Lord to intervene in their lives, to comfort them and to bless them.
THE PRAYER OF ADORATION
Pondering the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who has given us the breath of life and redeemed us from our bondage to sin to glorify us is a necessity for spiritual growth, blessing and health. If you haven’t figured out how glorious your God is, then it will show in your prayers. This meditation upon God is also a means of entering into prayer especially when we ponder who it is we are praying to.
The attributes of God are many and each can be the focus of many years of pondering. Let us, in love and adoration focus our prayers upon:
God as creator: God is the essence of life and being for all that does exist. We owe our very existence to Him and every breath we take each day can be attributed to His sustaining power. Remember that even the rebels have been created by Him and they still bear His image although tainted. They are valuable and should be loved because of this.
God as sovereign: God is the king of eternity and sovereign Lord over all the earth. He holds the hearts of kings and rulers in his hand, He rules the nation and especially He is sovereign over the salvation of His people. Without God’s sovereign hand in bringing us to the Son we would ourselves still be trapped in our rebellion.
God as immutable: The very hope that we possess as believers in Christ is found in the reality that the God of eternity cannot change. He is the unchanging God in whose promises we can find comfort and we can rest in Him as our rock.
God as all-knowing: We find reliability in God that He has eternal knowledge of all things past, present and future. He created the world with this exhaustive knowledge, and He is never caught by surprise. His wisdom is unchallenged and eternal and hence can be trusted above philosophers and materialistic moralism.
God as Trinity: God is a relational being who, from eternity past, has always expressed His relation to us through the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
God as Saviour: God would have been just to condemn us after the first sin of Adam, but He has graciously demonstrated His redeeming love throughout history beginning with Abel, Noah, the patriarchs, Israel and finally in His elect people, the church.
God as Judge: While many would not address this attribute, God’s judgment is associated with his justice and the bringing in of true and defined righteousness.
These are but a few of God’s attributes to ponder in our prayers. May we gather a greater appreciation each day for our God and all that He is.
THE PRAYER OF CONFESSION
There are many Christian who struggle with the confession of their sins. They conclude that since their sins have been forgiven at the cross that there is no need to further mention their daily sins. While it is true that our sins have totally been dealt with at the cross of Calvary, yet we continue to experience our salvation through the process of sanctification. This includes the confession of the sins of God’s people both individually and corporately. If we spent more time acknowledging and confessing our sins, we’d be more aware of them and in return might manifest a better testimony to neighbour.
This does not mean we need to hold on to our sins once they are confessed or linger upon them daily but to reserve a time where we present our short falling to God since ultimately He is the One who has been sinned against (2 Samuel 12:13). We must let these sins go and in doing so we are acknowledging God’s righteousness and being reminded of His mercy towards us since “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from al unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) Our time in prayer before a holy God may be hampered if we are keeping these sins. Take a moment to confess your sins daily to the Lord and praise Him for his glorious Son who released us from the debt of these sins through the gift of His life and resurrection.
THE PRAYER OF PETITION
The true purpose and the exemplification of the need of prayer is found in The Prayer of Petition. The prayer of petition is a time of conversation with God to present to Him our personal needs. Approaching the Lord of heaven to offer out petitions is often simply thought of as a prayer for material things, yet we believe while this is certainly a portion of the prayer, the prayer of petition is more focused on the person’s spiritual needs. We come before God in need to present ourselves as helpless and requiring Him to intervene in our lives. While we are a part of a more corporate Christian life including our churches and families, we still live an individualistic spiritual life which requires us as individuals to present ourselves before God in need.
One of the most crucial spiritual needs for the Christian is to ask God to speak to us through His word and further that He would reveal to us its understanding and application. We need the words of the living God to feed us on a daily basis, yet we also need to properly digest this food to be able to benefit from it. We should also ask God to give us the most out of our prayers. Fruitful prayer requires concentration and preparation which God may grant to us. Some of the most common spiritual needs are to pray for God to make us stronger in our Christian testimony. We should pray to the Lord to make us bolder and to stand strong in Him against the forces surrounding us. We not only need to understand God’s word but to live it to its fullest potential. The prayer of perseverance through immense trials is one of the most difficult and yet most needed. We often pray for God to relieve us from our trials, yet our deepest prayer should be for God to give us the strength to persevere through these trials. We should pray for God to always make His will known to us and grant us the faith to continue on even when He has chosen to conceal it. Let us pray for continued opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with individuals we meet daily even to our enemies. Let us who are spouses and parents pray for wisdom in raising our families and loving our spouse that we may do so with the will of God.
All of us have different needs in relation to our lives. What we believe should be focused upon are not for God to grant us luxurious things but for the necessity of life. Let us pray for good health, good food and the heart to live a simple life for Christ Jesus and His kingdom. Let us pray for wisdom in how we utilize our money and our time for God and that God would continue to provide for us.
THE PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
One of the most overlooked yet significant portions of our prayers is to give thanks to the Lord for what He has already provided us. We sometimes become so consumed by our needs that we forget to acknowledge the blessings we are currently experiencing. We must never forget that God’s grace can never be demanded and that we receive many blessings each day. While the unbeliever receives blessings as well, we as Christians should be prepared to recognize these blessings and joyously demonstrate our appreciation through offering our gratefulness.
We all have received various blessings from the Lord to which we should show appreciation. One of the greatest blessings we possess is that the holy God has granted us redemption from our sins by sending His only begotten Son to die a sinner’s death on our behalf. We should thank our Saviour for His willingness to become our substitute and carry our sins to be crucified. We should always be in awe and appreciation for the gift of eternal life. We should thank God for bringing us to the cross by granting us the faith and repentance to come to the Son and that He continues to work in us through the Holy Spirit to bring us to glory. God also molds us in love to be conformed to the image of His Son. God places trials in our life and then grants us the strength and wisdom to persevere through them. Sometimes we see certainly events and uncertainties in our lives as almost unnecessary and too difficult to bear but God has a purpose in them and it is to strengthen us in these trials. We never see God’s face like we do when we are suffering trials.
We should be thankful that the living God is our God. He is “for us” and this is the greatest blessing we could ask for. He supplies us with all our earthly needs. We should be thankful for all that we have and remember that there are those who live contently with far less than we possess. Let us thank Him that no matter what happens that He will supply our needs.
Finally, we are thankful for others in our lives that uplift us especially other Christians. Let us thank God for the church and the fellowship of those men and women who care for us especially through our trials. Let us thank God for our families and loved ones He has given us as a gracious gift.
THE PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
The Prayer of Intercession is the most common and significant prayer offered to God as a means of intervening on behalf of others. This is the prayer in which we approach the great God Yahweh with petitions on behalf of people for items that we are made aware of. It is the time when we strive in prayer for others! While God is omniscience and omnipotent, we make the needs of others know as a means of God blessing others through these prayers. What a glorious God we have that He will intercede on behalf of His people and what a demonstration of love that Christians may manifest that intercession by offering prayer for others. One of the greatest needs any man may have is for their salvation. We should pray very consistently for those who are outside of Christ that God would move in their lives and bring them to faith in His Son. We may pray for family members, friends and especially our enemies that they may find the redemptive love of God and believe the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It may take on the form of a prayer of intercession for someone who is struggling with sin or has grown cold to the faith they once held so mightily.
It may be presenting God the sick for the Lord to comfort them and heal them. We may present supplications to God on behalf of people struggling financially for wisdom and for their needs to be met. We may pray for those who have lost loved ones that they may find the face of the God of comfort and realize that in all things there is good that will happen even in our most difficult circumstances.
Let us pray for our city, our provinces and our country that a revival might take place where God would be so gracious as to save sinners and to bring in a new concern for the things of God. Of course, we must pray for our government officials that we may have peace with them and that they might experience salvation from their sins.
This prayer may be for our church that God would bless it as a faithful witness to the word of the glorious kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a prayer on behalf of our elders, members and our youth. It is a prayer for faithfulness in evangelism, prayer, the proclamation of God’s word, the promotion a holy life, for faithful marriages, the care of the widows and orphans, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. We pray that our churches might be a place of doctrinal faithfulness and of faithful fellowship always looking forward to the blessed hope. Pray that your church be faithful when persecution comes!
Finally, let us pray for the persecuted church throughout the world and for believers who are losing their lives for the Name of Jesus Christ. Let us ask God to give them the boldness and persevering grace required to maintain a faithful witness in the midst of suffering and death and that we may do the same. May God prepare our hearts for the day when we may suffer for that glorious Name.
Lord, let us pray and die well!