A Prayer To Remove Hindrances To Fruitfulness
Four Hindrances to Prayer
God can seem far away when I pray.
It can feel I’m beating my head against a wall. My prayers feel repetitive, self-indulgent, short, and they seemingly go unanswered.
When things are good, or when I have plenty, or even when I’m distracted, God gets too little of my time. When I do pray, my prayers are often filled with a wish list of things I want. Instead of being a time of communion with my Savior, prayer becomes a means to an end, and that end is self.
I’m sure these are common problems for many believers: that praying is difficult and self-centered, and that our prayers seem hindered. Let’s look at the latter difficulty: What does Scripture say about what can hinder our prayers?
1. Ignoring God’s Word
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)
If someone, even a professed believer, refuses to hear and heed God’s discipline and guidance, their prayers become detestable to the Lord.
This includes a rejection of the Bible’s authority as God’s revealed Word. If you reject God’s primary communication about Jesus and his work, how can you know him? You don’t love the real Jesus; you love a made-up Jesus. This fabricated Jesus doesn’t even exist, so he obviously can’t answer prayers.
2. Loving Sin
Psalm 66 points out another issue that restricts the reception of our prayers: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18).
Our prayers won’t be heard if we “cherish iniquity,” holding unrepentantly to some sin. This does not include a believer struggling with a recurring sin who regularly and humbly repents, but this is anyone who willfully harbors sin and refuses to repent.
3. Desiring Wrongly
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2-3)
James makes two points here.
The first is that we don’t ask God for his help. I’ve fallen into this many times, either when I think my prayers are insignificant or selfish, or when I try to do things in my own power.
James’ second point speaks to our motivations. He writes this after saying that we’re too often ruled by our desires, and just as our unchecked passions may lead to quarreling and sin, they can inhibit our relationship with God, including his response to our prayers.
4. Doubting God
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-7)
God wants to give his children good things. Since he gave us his Son, the greatest gift of love and goodness and mercy, can we then believe he would withhold any of his love and goodness from us (Romans 8:32)?[Tweet “Knowing and loving Jesus will change how, why, and what we ask of him.”]
It may seem that evil in the world and the unending worries of life are too overwhelming to address in prayer. We would be constantly asking for help, and God would get sick of us, we think—Or we get overwhelmed by our sin. We know the things we’ve done, we know how unlovable we are. God may have given us his Son, but we certainly don’t deserve any more than that, we think…
Both of these are examples of how doubt can creep into our prayer life. Doubt lies to us that God’s love, patience, and power have limits. James states clearly that actively doubting God’s graciousness and providence can impede our prayers.
Prayer That Delights God
In order to avoid blockades to prayer, it helps to know prayer’s purpose. Wonderfully, Jesus explains:
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
To abide in Christ’s love, we follow his commands, which means knowing Scripture, “the word of Christ” (Colossians 3:16). As we increase in the knowledge of Jesus, we will also increase in love for him, which drives us to our knees in repentance. When you know Jesus and what he has done for you, it becomes progressively easier to turn from the ugliness of sin to the beauty of the Savior.
As we come to know and love Jesus, our prayers will be increasingly transformed. This will change how, why, and what we ask of him. We will love what he loves, hate what he hates, and desire what he desires. We will learn to submit to his timing in answering because we are learning to trust him more.
A Praying Faith
As our Father, God delights to give good gifts to his children (Luke 11:5-13). Knowing we ask according to his will, we can have faith that he will answer us, even when his answer doesn’t align with our understanding or timetable.
When doubt still comes, we reject it and turn to our forgiving and compassionate God who will bolster our faith.
We come to God humbly in prayer through Jesus, who opened the way for us to do so by removing all blockades to communion with God when he defeated sin and death.Yes, we will still struggle with the flesh and the world; therefore our requests may be tainted, and our ability to notice God’s answers may be clouded. So we cling to Psalm 37:4: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Jesus has changed those who love him, delighting us in himself. Even when we don’t know how to ask or receive, he sees what we truly want—to know him, love him, and bear fruit for him—and knows how and when to provide and answer.
[Photo Credit: Lightstock]
10 Hindrances to an Effective Prayer Life
Have you ever felt discouraged in your prayer life? Maybe it feels you can’t connect with God you used to, your prayers stop at your ceiling and do not reach God. Maybe you lack a desire to pray and wonder what the big deal is?
The truth is, if you have felt this way, you need to examine your life and see what may be killing your ability or desire to pray. In Partners in Prayer, Christian leader John Maxwell shares ten things that act as “prayer killers.” His words are shared below. Use this post as a tool to diagnose what may hinder the effective prayer life that God desires.
Unconfessed sin is probably the most common prayer killer. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (NASB). When the Scripture talks about regarding wickedness, it’s referring to unconfessed sin. God is perfect and can’t abide sin in us. If we knowingly tolerate sin in our lives, it pushes God away from us. As a result, it makes our prayers powerless.
The good news is that when we confess sin, God forgives it, and it’s gone. The slate is clean and we are no longer held accountable. Jeremiah 31:34 says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
” Not only are we forgiven, but God chooses to truly forget our sins of the past. At that point our relationship is restored, and our prayers regain their power.
Our past actions may still have consequences, but the sin itself is forgiven.
2. Lack of Faith
Lack of faith has an incredibly negative impact on a Christian’s life. Without faith, prayer has no power.
Even Jesus was powerless to perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the people’s lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6)… James calls one who doubts “ a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).
…The word double-minded speaks of a condition where a person is emotionally divided, almost as if he had two souls. That condition makes a person unstable and incapable of hearing from God or receiving His gifts.
…If we are to grow in our relationship with God and become strong people of prayer, we must learn to obey. Keeping free from sin is not enough. Neither is faith.
If our mouths say that we believe, but our actions don’t back up that belief with a strong display of obedience, it shows the weakness of our belief. Obedience should be a natural outgrowth of faith in God.
He that obeys God, trusts Him; he that trusts Him, obeys Him.
4. Lack of transparency with God and with others
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (NASB).
James is shareing a truth about God: When we confess our sins to one another, which requires us to be absolutely transparent, God is able to heal and cleanse us. We experience a spiritual, physical, and emotional restoration.
In addition, our transparency helps others, because it shows them that they are not alone in their difficulties.
…Why is forgiveness so important? The answer is found in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiving and being forgiven are inseparable twins. When a person refuses to forgive another, he is hurting himself, because his lack of forgiveness can take hold of him and make him bitter. And a person cannot enter prayer with bitterness and come out with blessings. Forgiveness allows your heart to be made not only right, but light.
6. Wrong motives
When our motives are not right in prayer, our prayers have no power. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.”
Sometimes even knowing our own motives can be difficult. In my experience, I’ve observed two things that quickly expose wrong motives: (1) a project greater than ourselves and (2) prayer.
7. Idols in our lives
…Ezekiel 14:3 clearly shows the negative effect of anything that comes between a person and God.
It says, “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces.
Should I let them inquire of me at all?” God does not even want an idol worshiper to talk to Him. On the other hand, when we remove idols from our lives, we become ripe for a personal revival.
…One way to know that something in your life is an idol is to ask yourself, “Would I be willing to give this thing up if God asked me to?” Look honestly at your career, possessions, and family. If there are things you wouldn’t release to God, then they’re blocking access to Him.
8. Disregard for others
…Scripture is full of verses supporting God’s desire for unity among all believers–between Christian brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, laypeople and pastors. For example, in John 13:34, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”…
One of the added benefits of prayer is that it helps you learn to love others. It’s impossible to pray for a person to hate or criticize someone they’re praying for. Prayer breeds compassion, not competition.
9. Disregard for God’s Sovereignty
…When Jesus showed the disciples how to pray, the first thing He did was teach them to honor God for who He is, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
That is a clear acknowledgement that God is in charge, that He is sovereign. And it establishes our relationship to Him: that of a child under the authority of his Father.
Anytime we disregard the divine order of things, we’re bounds, and we hinder our relationship with our heavenly Father.
10. Unsurrendered will
…A person whose will is surrendered to God has a relationship with Him similar to the one described in the parable of the vine and the branches.
It says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). The branch depends on the vine and lives in one accord with it.
In return, the vine provides it with everything it needs, and the result is great fruitfulness.
There are great benefits of surrendering your will to God. One is that God promises to answer your prayers and grant your requests. Another is that we get to receive the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Just as with the vine and the branches, He flows through us, gives us power, and produces fruit.
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Touch of God Ministries; Hindrances to the Power of God
(Notes from John G. Lakes Ministry)
1. The first major power hindrance to the Power of God in a person’s life is SIN. This shouldn’t even have to be addressed. If you are a Christian you are steadily mortifying the deeds of the flesh. If you are a Christian, you have crucified that flesh and the lust thereof.
a. Rom 8:13 – For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (KJV)
b. Gal 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (KJV)
c. I John 2:1 – My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (KJV)
2. The second major power hindrance to the power of God is unbelief.
a. Unbelief can also be classified as sin, but we will look at it separately at this time.
b. Unbelief is nothing more than calling God a liar. Most people see unbelief as not knowing.
c. Unbelief is not not knowing, it is knowing but choosing not to believe.
i. Matt 13:57-58 57. And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (KJV)
ii. Mark 6:3-6 3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4.
But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6.
And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (KJV)d. Strongs #570 apaistia (ap-is-tee-ah); From 571; faithlessness, i.e. (negatively) disbelief (lack of Christian faith), of (positively) unfaithfulness (disobedience): KJV unbelief.
i. If you have had teaching concerning the will of God in the area of healing, and you know that it is always God’s will to heal in answer to faith.
ii. If you are not living in sin.
iii. If you are not in unbelief, but are rather in belief, trusting God to honor His Word.
iv. If you are Available to God to be used.
v. If you are Bold to speak up concerning God’s desire to heal.
vi. If you are Compassionate, walking in the love of God for people.
vii. If all these things apply to you, and yet you still do not see God’s power in your life, there can be ONLY one reason.
viii. You are not spending enough time in prayer.
Prayer To Remove Hindrances to the Power of God: The closer you get and the longer you stay there the more saturated you become.
1. The more power you receive
2. The longer you are out in the cold winter weather, the longer it will take for you to warm back up.
3. The more you stay in the atmosphere of this world, the longer it will take you to warm up to God. This is why we worship and pray to start church services.
Since many people seem to live most of their time in the natural / flesh, etc., it sometimes takes a long time to enter the presence of God.Some people attend church and never get into the presence of God, because the only time they pray is in church.
How can you pray without ceasing?
1. Make sure everything you say could be used in prayer.
2. Begin to carry on a conversation with God.
3. Verbally ask God to reveal things to you. Ask God to answer your questions, to bring into manifestation the wisdom of Christ that has been placed in your spirit.
4. Begin to ask God to reveal things to you in the Bible.
5. Ask God to manifest the gifts of the Spirit in your life so that you can help others. The fastest way to receive from God is to share with others what God shares with you. (Make sure you give Him the credit for sharing it with you.)
6. Live in the presence of God. When you wake up in the morning say Good Morning Father, Son and Holy Ghost. When you lay down to go to sleep at night, say, Good Night, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
7. Before you go to sleep, always ask God to talk to you in your sleep, and tell you the things that He couldn’t get across to you while you were awake.
When I began to do this, instantly God began doing mighty things in my sleep. My dreams are spiritual, I receive revelations and I never have nightmares or bad nights sleep (or a bad next day for that matter).
My life is daily becoming more and more full of God.
8. Pray in tongues. Pray strong and loud.
9. Remember, you are not ready for the battleground until you have been on the Holy Ground.
10. Pray everywhere, all the time. You cannot pray too much. Prayer is scaring the crows away from your cornfield.It will keep Satan’s doubts and temptation away. Then when you see someone needing a touch from God, you will be in the right frame of mind to give them that touch, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Remember, some people will never get any closer to God than when they have crossed your path.
Information above is from a free ebook called “Divine Healing” – pdf
by Traci Morin, Touch of God Ministry of Healing and Deliverance Servant and Ordained Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Touch of God Ministries does mission work in other countries especially ministering to survivors of Human Trafficking globally as well as in the United States. Please help support me in this endeavor by giving generously through donations.
Spiritual Warfare Prayer: Setting Captives Free from Disease
If you are not saved or confused about God’s love for you, check out the Salvation / Father’s Love Videos
Free Christian eBooks Download
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Broken Heart Sickness Disease Connection
Are We Chastened by Sickness
Hindrances to the Power of God for healing
Jesus Came to Destroy the Wroks of the Devil
The Misconception May Not Be God’s Will to Heal
Our Faith Activates Healing
Sickness for the Glory of God?
The Sin and Sickness Connection
We Are All Called To Heal
Where Does Disease Come From Satan or God?
Why Some People are Not Healed in Healing Lines
Why Do Some People Loose Their Healing
Is Healing For Today!
Pray Without Ceasing
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciatethose who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you inthe Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them veryhighly in love because of their work. Live in peace with oneanother.
14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encouragethe fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Seethat no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seekafter that which is good for one another and for all people.
16Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything givethanks; for this is God's will for you in ChristJesus.
Last week we ended abruptly in our exposition of Psalm 1 at theword «delight.
» So I would to go back there to deal with that,and then make a connection to today's text.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of thewicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat ofscoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His lawhe meditates day and night.» (Psalm 1:1-2)
We talked about the blessedness that comes from meditating onthe law of the Lord day and night.
It makes you a tree plantedby streams of water: 1) fruitful in ministry to others; 2) durable,as your leaf remains green in the midst of dry blasts and seasonsof drought; and 3) prosperous, in that all the work of faith willhave enduring significance even to eternity. Nothing you do independence on God will be done in vain, even if it looks afailure here.
We pointed out that meditating on the Word of God day and nightprobably requires memorizing portions of Scripture so that they arethere to ponder throughout the day or night without taking theBible in hand or even turning on the light. And I encouraged you tobe a part of the Fighter Verse strategy.
What If Meditating on God's Word Is Not a Pleasure?
Then, at the end, I said that the key to this kind of meditationis delight. The deepest mark of this happy person in Psalm 1 isthat he delights in the Word of God. Bible reading and Bible memoryand meditation are not a burden to him, but a pleasure. This iswhat we want. What a sadness when Bible reading is just a drudgery.Something is wrong.
What shall we do? We struggle with Bible reading and memory andmeditation because we don't find pleasure in it. It feels aburden and a mere duty that does not attract us. We have otherthings we want to get to more. Breakfast or work or newspaper orcomputer or TV. Our hearts incline to other things and do notincline to the Word. And so it is not our delight.
Did the psalmists ever struggle with this? Yes they did. Takeheart. We all struggle with this. There are seasons in the bestsaints' lives when spiritual hunger becomes weak.
How shall this bechanged? The answer I want to give this morning is prayer. Delightin the Word of God is created and sustained through prayer.
So theoutline I want to follow today is to address three things: That weshould pray, How we should pray, and What we should pray in orderto delight in the Word of God.
Be sure you see the order of the thought — the order of yourlife:
1. Our aim is to be fruitful people of love whose lives arenourishing for others; we want to be durable in that and not witherwhen the heat comes; and we want to be eternally significant orprosperous. That's our goal, because when we are fruitful thatin the midst of the drought of hardship, God will get theglory.
2. But the key to that kind of fruitfulness, we have seen inPsalm 1, is meditation on the Word of God day and night. We must bea Word-saturated people.
3. And the key to continual meditation is memorizing portions ofthe Scriptures so that we can keep them ever before us and savorthem all the time.4. And the key to memorizing and meditation is delighting in theWord of God. Such continual meditation will not be sustained bymere duty. And if it is, the effect will probably be pride, nothumble fruitfulness for others.
The soul that never gets beyondspiritual discipline to spiritual delight will probably become aharsh and condemning soul.
The sweetness and tenderness andhumility that come from the Word of God grow the delight andwonder of grace, that we have been granted to know God.
Now I am turning to a fifth step in the order of thought: thekey to delight is prayer. Or, more accurately, the key to delightis God's omnipotent, transforming grace laid hold on by prayer.
So let me try to awaken your desires to pray by showing you thatwe should pray for delight and how we should pray and what weshould pray.
THAT We Should Pray for Delight
Now we turn for a moment to our text in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.Here is a simple command: «Pray without ceasing.
» You might ask,Why choose this verse from all the verses in the Bible that commandus to pray? Why use this one in answer to the question: What is thekey to delighting in the Word of God? The answer is the connectionbetween 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and the flow of thought leading up toit. It is substantially similar to Psalm 1.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 says, «We urge you, brethren, admonishthe unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patientwith everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil,but always seek after that which is good for one another and forall people.» Now that is a very fruit-bearing life. He is tellingus to be trees planted by streams of water that bring forthfruit.
Look at all these needy people draining you: the «unruly»are challenging you; the «fainthearted» are leaning on you; the»weak» are depleting you. But you are called to encourage and helpand be patient and not return evil for evil.In other words, youare called to have spiritual resources that can be durable andfruitful and nourishing when others are unruly and fainthearted andweak and mean-spirited.
How? Well, verse 16 says, «Rejoice always.» That corresponds to»delight» in Psalm 1.
Presumably, this rejoicing is not primarilyin circumstances, but in God and his promises, because the peoplearound you are unruly and fainthearted and weak and antagonistic.This would make an ordinary person angry and sullen anddiscouraged.
But you have your roots planted somewhere else and aredrawing up the sap of joy from a source that cannot be depleted-the river of God and his Word.
What then is the key to this rejoicing, or this delight? Verse17 says, «Pray without ceasing.» And verse 18 says, «In everythinggive thanks.
» So the answer seems to be that continual prayer andthanksgiving is a key to the rejoicing or the delighting in God andhis Word that makes a person fruitful and durable and spirituallyprosperous in relation to all kinds of people.
(See in Philippians4:3-6 the same sequence of thought from fruitful people-helpingthat is rooted in joy that is rooted in prayer.)
So I think it is fair to say that one Biblical key tomaintaining delight or rejoicing in God and his Word is prayer.Which leads to the second observation, namely, how to pray.
HOW to Pray for Delight
The one point to make here is that our praying should be»without ceasing.» If you want to be fruitful for people and notwither under the pressures of unruly, fainthearted, weak, andhurtful people, then you must, as verse 16 says, «rejoice always»or «delight in the word of the Lord . . . day and night» (Psalm1:2). And to do that, as verse 17 says, we need to pray always-without ceasing.
What does it mean to pray without ceasing?
I think it means three things. First, it means that there is aspirit of dependence that should permeate all we do. This is thevery spirit and essence of prayer. So, even when we are notspeaking consciously to God, there is a deep, abiding dependence onhim that is woven into the heart of faith. In that sense, we «pray»or have the spirit of prayer continuously.
Second — and I think this is what Paul has in mind mostimmediately — praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly andoften. I base this on the use of the word «without ceasing»(adialeiptos) in Romans 1:9, where Paul says, «For God, whom Iserve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is mywitness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you.
» Now we can besure that Paul did not mention the Romans every minute of hisprayers. He prayed about many other things. But he mentioned themover and over and often. So «without ceasing» doesn't mean thatverbally or mentally we have to be speaking prayers every minute ofthe day. But we should pray over and over and often. Our defaultmental state should be: «O God .
Third, I think praying without ceasing means not giving up onprayer. Don't ever come to a point in your life where you cease topray at all. Don't abandon the God of hope and say, «There's no usepraying.» Go on praying. Don't cease.So the key to delight in the Word of God is to pray continually- that is, to lean on God all the time. Never give up looking tohim for help, and come to him repeatedly during the day and often.Make the default mental state a Godward longing.
I think it would be good to notice here that in real life somediscipline in regular prayer times helps keep this kind ofspontaneity alive. In other words, if you want to have a vitalhour-by-hour spontaneous walk with God you must also have adisciplined regular meeting with God. Daniel had some remarkablecommunion with God when it was critically needed. But look what itgrew .
The decree was passed that no one could pray except tothe king, under penalty of death. But notice what Daniel does,according to Daniel 6:10.
«Now when Daniel knew that the documentwas signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he hadwindows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on hisknees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God,as he had been doing previously.» The point here is that Daniellived a life that combined discipline (three times a day) withspontaneous encounters with God.
So it will be with us: if we hopeto pray without ceasing day and night — enjoying a continual comingand communion with God — we will need to develop disciplined timesof prayer. Nobody maintains pure spontaneity in this fallen world.(See Psalm 119:62; 55:17.)
Finally, then, what are we to pray in order to have the delightin God and his Word that will keep us meditating and fruitful anddurable and spiritually prosperous?
WHAT We Are to Pray
The psalmists point the way here. They struggled you and Ido with motivation and with seasons of weak desires. What did theypray to keep the fires of delight in God's Word burning? Threeexamples from the prayer life of the psalmists:
1. They prayed for the inclination to meditate on the Bible -forthe «want to». If you lack desire, don't just have a defeatedattitude and say, «I can't enjoy it because I don't have thedesire.» That is the way atheists talk. God is in the business ofcreating what is not.
So the psalmist prays in Psalm 119:36,»Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to gain.
» We admit toGod that our hearts incline to the computer or the newspaper or theTV and we plead with him that he reach in and change ourinclinations so that we love to read and memorize and meditate onthe testimonies of God.So few people deal with God at this level! We are psychologicalfatalists. «This is just the way I am.» The psalmists were not thatway, and we should not be that way. They saw their stubborninclinations, and, instead of fatalistically giving up, theypleaded with God to change their inclinations and make them want tomeditate on the Bible.
2. Secondly, the psalmists prayed that they would have spiritualeyes to see great and wonderful things in the Word, so that theirdesires and delights would be sustained by truth, by reality. Psalm119:18: «Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Yourlaw.
» If we are going to be inclined to the Word and stay with itand delight in it and memorize it and meditate on it, we must seemore than dull facts, we must see «wonderful things.» That is notthe function of the natural mind alone. That is the work of theSpirit to give you a mind to see great things for what they reallyare.
Delight-giving Bible reading and Bible meditation is a work ofGod on our hearts and minds. That is why we must pray continuallyfor that divine work.
3. Finally, the psalmists prayed that the effect of theirinclining to the Word and their seeing wonderful things in the Wordwould be a profound heart-satisfaction that would sustain themthrough droughts and make them fruitful for others. Psalm 90:14, «Osatisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we maysing for joy and be glad all our days.»
We ask God to awaken the delight that Psalm 1 says we shouldhave. Delight in God is a miracle. This is what it means to be aChristian, and being a Christian is not a mere choice to believe afact.
Being a Christian is believing the truth of God because thereis a spiritual apprehension of its beauty and glory.
When thatsoul-satisfying glory starts to fade, we must fight off the deadlyeffects of worldliness and immerse ourselves in the Word where hisglory is revealed, and then pray and pray and pray, «O satisfy mein the morning with Your lovingkindness, that I may sing for joyand be glad all my days.»
So you can see how prayer and the Word are tied together thisweek. The Word is the means God uses to fill our minds and heartswith truth about himself that makes us fruitful and durable indrought and prosperous into eternity. Nobody becomes a treeplanted by water by prayer alone. It is by the delighting in theWord and meditating on it day and night.But nobody is inclined to the Word, or sees spiritual wonders inthe Word, or is satisfied with the Word, who does not pray and prayand pray the way the psalmists did. So I plead with you to praywithout ceasing this year.
And as an aid to that wonderfulspontaneity of day and night praying and meditation, builddisciplined times of prayer and meditation into your life.
Maybeonce or twice or three times or seven times a day (as the psalmistin Psalm 119:164, «Seven times a day I praise You, because of Yourrighteous ordinances.»)