Prayer

Prayer is usually one of those practices that most Christians need to do more often. I know I do! It’s like trying a new diet, you get excited, you’re motivated, you write out little post it notes with words of encouragement, and three weeks later you’re binge watching Netflix while eating a bag of Doritos! Fortunately, there were some pragmatic points I think will stick with me. Here is what I underlined in the book and I hope it blesses you:

“King David learns that prayer is more about “will you? Won’t you?” than “when will you?” pg. 36

“Prayers are measured by their strength and not their length.”pg. 37

“Prayer begins with longing for God’s presence before his provision.” pg. 55

“Peace with God always comes through pardon and forgiveness, never performance.” pg. 58

In the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus is praying and Peter, James and John are with him – “As Jesus brought the so-called strongest with Him, he didn’t share profound words of wisdom. He shared His weakness.” pg 68

“There is no smaller package than a man wrapped up in himself.” pg. 111

This is a short, small and on-point book. I did feel there was a small jab at the founding fathers, but nothing that I couldn’t read over. It was condescending and in bad taste and full of presupposition. Overall, the book was informative and good.

I struggle with prayer. It is my heart’s desire to cultivate prayer in my life. In a way the quote “Prayers are measured by their strength and not their length” freed me of this expectation that the longer the prayer, the holier it is. I am grateful for that quote and I will treasure it. I want to experience God in prayer and rely on Scripture to guide me to know Him more. Mr. Onwuchekwa does well in removing my legalistic approach to prayer. He also emphasizes the importance of communal prayer.

The book served its purpose and I recommend it to all Believers who want to sharpen their prayer life, especially prayer with other Believers.

You can buy the book here.

Do Not Let Satan Use Us

Last night the governor of Kentucky stated that wearing masks is no longer voluntary, but mandatory. As expected, Facebook exploded with blistering comments on both sides. Verses like “consider others more than yourself” and “God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear” were thrown around like cafeteria food during a food fight. It was not pretty and in the end someone has to clean this mess up, and it’ usually is not the ones who were throwing the food around.

Do not get me wrong, using Bible verses is a great way to make a point or to strengthen an argument. But the world is watching us hurt our own. How would things have turned out if two Christians with opposing views had said, “I don’t agree with you on this based on my knowledge of Scripture, let me call you so we can pray together, and so you can better understand me and I you.” or “Let me buy you lunch, I will wear a mask for you.”

I think back to moments where my mind was changed on topics I had held strongly to and I can tell you, it was never changed by Christians ramming down Scripture down the throats of their fellow brethren. It was done by weeping pastors worried for my soul pleading for me to repent – based on Scripture. It was done when a close friend lovingly explained a sovereign God while we sat in her car late one night – based on Scripture. It was done listening to a respectful debate between two Christian brothers who love each other – based on Scripture. It was done listening to someone echo my fears, but still not voting a certain way or taking a certain action – based on Scripture. (And may I briefly add that if you haven’t changed your mind on any subject, you are not a very good listener.)

I have learned that we cannot hear when we are angry. I learned this well with foster children, later with raising teenagers and even my adult child. During a meltdown, my kids don’t hear. They don’t even feel the spankings! Any discipline goes out the window and all they end up feeling is resentment. Also, when my emotions are conflated, I am unreasonable and cannot hear anything either. It is later when I am calm and still that the Spirit stabs me with His Word, that I am able to feel the pain of His rebuke or the rebuke of another Believer.

My dear Christians, if you became angry yesterday and “couldn’t believe how other people behaved” and responded to them, could you humbly go to them and ask them if you were a good Christian witness? To a stronger point, could you look them in the eye and partake of holy communion with them? (I Corinthians 11:29) Could you look into your heart and tell the Lord, I have nothing against my brother, and they have nothing against me? If you can’t, make this right. This is serious (I Corinthians 11:30) and we must be different from the way the world handles disagreements.

Romans 12:13 says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”

The verse says “as it depends on you”. Don’t wait for the other Believer to make the first move. Don’t brush it off as if it is not a big deal. It is a big deal. A life or death deal.

Why? Because when we are not saved, Satan has us and does what he can to keep us in the darkness, but when we are saved, Satan no longer has us, but can tarnish our witness to keep others in the darkness.

Do not let Satan use you.

If you try to make amends and the other Christian is holding on to their pride, be sorrowful and look back at the verse. It says “if possible”. If it isn’t possible, continue to live your life loving God and loving the saints and then others. Then maybe try again one more time after the election, maybe. 😉

If you didn’t say anything to someone but thought it only – congratulations on showing some self-control, but the feeling to talk to them could be a prompt by the Spirit to come along side them and love on them. Don’t muffle the Spirit, you could be changing their mind soon or they may be on the verge of changing yours!! Or you may not come to an agreement, but at least Satan was denied, God was glorified and this is not a salvific issue. You do know that Christians who wear a mask are still going to Heaven, the same as Christians who don’t?

If an all-knowing, holy God can sit and reason with us feeble minded ignoramuses, (Isaiah 1:18) surely we can reason – one unholy masked ignoramus to another un-masked one! Surely?