Too Busy to Pray?

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We live in a fast-paced, noisy culture. We are always going someplace or doing something. We are constantly being bombarded with noise, the radio, the television, text messages, phone calls.

In the midst of all of our busyness, it can be difficult to find time to pray and study the Word of God.

As Christian’s, it is easy to spiritualize our busyness. We can become so busy with church and church activities, so busy serving God that we never spend time with Him.

This spiritualized busyness shows that deep down in our hearts we believe a lie. We believe that we, in and of ourselves, are capable of serving God.

In truth, we are not.

All effective work for the Kingdom of God is born out of absolute dependence upon Him. If we are not spending time in the Word of God and in prayer, if we are not abiding in Him and depending on Him, then although we may be busy serving Him we are not being effective in our service.

If we only knew how desperately helpless we truly are we would never let a day go by without spending time on our knees.

Jesus said in John 15:4-5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Apart from Christ, we cannot do anything. In Jesus, we must live and move and have our being.

Recently I was convicted of the fact that I had slipped away from spending time in prayer and in the Word of God. I was so busy serving God and doing good things for God that I did not have time to spend with Him. The Holy Spirit showed me that I can only serve Him well if I am spending time in His presence. I can only love others well if I am first loving Him well.

I know the power of prayer. I have seen God intervene in my life in glorious ways and yet there is such a temptation to neglect prayer.

I know that I cannot accomplish anything of value without the grace of God and yet there is such a temptation to do things on my own.

If we truly understood the spiritual realm we would realize that it is impossible to be too busy to pray. In fact, every single one of us is too busy not to pray.

We are helpless. We are insufficient. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. He is our sufficiency.

Our God is Able

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Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

Do you believe that our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think? If I listened to your prayers would I know that you believed it?

Often we pray very small prayers and if we are honest we do not expect God to answer them. Too many Christians pray because it is a good thing to do rather than because they expect God to respond.

Is our God too small?

Have we forgotten that we serve the God who parted the Red Sea, supplied bread and water in the wilderness and drove out nations before His people?

Do our prayers demonstrate faith in the power of our God or do they demonstrate a lack of faith?

Mark 4:35-41 says, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. Why? They did the right thing. They ran to Jesus. Doesn’t that show that their faith was in Him? Why did Jesus respond to them this way?

The disciples came to Jesus but what was it they were asking Him to do? I do not believe that they asked Him to calm the storm. Judging from their reaction it does not seem like the thought that Jesus might calm the storm ever crossed their mind.

Why then did they come to Jesus? Is it possible that they were asking Him to bail water with them?

The disciples went to the right place. They ran to the One who could save them but it seems that their request was too small.

What about us?

We go to the right place. But are we asking Jesus to calm the storm or are we asking Him to bail water? Do we have faith in our miracle-working God? He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. Do we believe it?

The Making of a Hero

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In 2011 The Kendrick brothers released their fourth film, Courageous. The movie opens with Nathan Hayes pumping gas. On his way to grab a squeegee to clean his windshield, he turns his back to his truck for just a split second. In that moment another man jumps into the truck and begins to drive away. Without hesitating for even a second Nathan sprints toward his truck, throws his upper body through the open window, grabs onto the steering wheel and begins fighting for control of the truck. When the truck goes off of the road and into the ditch it becomes clear that it was never the truck he was fighting for but rather his young son who was in the back seat.  The question would you have hung onto the wheel is asked throughout the movie.

Recently I was thinking about that question. We all want to be able to say yes. We would all like to think that we would be unselfish and heroic, risking life and limb for our families and friends if there was ever a need.

But as I was meditating on this I suddenly began asking a different question. Instead of asking would you hold onto the wheel I began asking are you holding onto the wheel.

Heroes are built in and through the mundane. If we are not willing to put the needs of others ahead of our own and act unselfishly in our everyday lives what makes us think that when there is a threat we will act heroically?

Too often we live lives of selfishness. We want to be heroes for our families and our friends but we wait for something big to happen forgetting that it is through the little things that we prepare for the big things.

David cared for sheep before he was entrusted with a kingdom.

This is how God builds us. He gives us little things and when we prove faithful in those things He entrusts us with more.

Are you holding onto the wheel? That is the question. Not would you have held onto the wheel but rather are you?

Are you holding onto the wheel in prayer? The Bible makes it clear that there is a real battle being fought in the spiritual realm. Are you fighting for your family your friends and your coworkers on your knees?

Are you holding onto the wheel in your daily life? Every day we have the opportunity to live unselfishly putting other people’s needs and desires above our own. That is what heroism is. Are you practicing unselfishness now?

The idea that we will be heroic when a need arises is simply a foolish notion if we are not practicing unselfishness now. As Christians, we are called to pour out our lives in service to others. That begins here and now in the little things.

We are called to be faithful in the mundane. How we live in our ordinary moments will determine how we will live in our extraordinary ones.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11