Is What I Am Doing Really Praying?

 by Franklin Pearce

Word of the Day

Prayer

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…”(James 5:16). Admittedly what I have written about this verse is taken out of context, but isn’t that what  we do most of the time? In the context, James is talking about the practice of prayer within the fellowship and how we are to approach this matter of prayer. And in doing so, he makes some rather radical statements(5:13-18) which are rarely used or even mentioned from our pulpits.

So much hot air is given to the subject of praying. And while much “praying” is taking place in America, sadly most of it is being done by Muslims. Is what they are doing really praying? Ask them and listen to their response and to their reasoning and compare it to your own.

In the many midweek services I have attended in over 50 years of being “in church” I have heard so much about praying for the sick(which the Bible advocates) and so very little about praying for the lost, revival, the well-being of each other spiritually, of seeking the face of God(which the Bible also advocates). Now no one misunderstand me. I have cancer and want my brothers and sisters to pray for me. But I am far more concerned about my spiritual condition than I am about my physical condition. Yes, I want to “feel good” as I go through life, but I have to live with the reality that, for whatever the reason, I am going to die. This body may suffer pain and discomfort for a time, but my spirit will continue to live no matter what. So, yes, pray for my physical condition, but please pray for me spiritually, that I might be what God expects and demands of me.

So much of our praying is so very petty. The story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte, the former emperor of France, who was also a great military leader. It seems that he had his army attack and conquer this rather large island off the coast of England. After a rather bloody and brutal battle, his forces won the victory. And as he and one of his generals were riding across the island, surveying the island and its people, one of his lowly privates approached Napoleon and made a rather brazen request. He dared ask this brilliant military leader to give him this island! How dare him make that such request!! As his general drew his sword to thrust through this impudent and presumptuous young soldier, Napoleon stopped him from doing so and told the general that this brazen young soldier honored him by making this request. Looking his general and this brazen young man, he granted the young soldier his request.

When was the last time you asked God for an island? Ridiculous, you say. Well, is not our God even greater than any human leader the world has ever known? And is not our God more gracious than any human leader? And is it not His wish to bless His people even more than any human would ever dream?

We spend so much time praying for Aunt Susie’s sore toe than we do asking for the mighty things of God(Jer.33:3). We spend more time praying about our friend’s struggle with coming to church than we do about the opening of blind eyes. We are so caught up with all our petty praying that we forget that we are approaching the God of the universe, the Eternal, Almighty God of the ages, the God Who holds the world and the entire universe in His hands. We forget that we are approaching the God with Whom NOTHING is impossible. And we ask for a penny!! How is that honoring Him??

Jesus died on that Cross to save us from our sin which condemns us to eternal hell. We are not hesitant to ask for Him to save us and deliver us from that awful destiny. And when we ask, we have the audacity to believe that He does just that. Why? Simply because He said He would. We deserve nothing but He gives us everything.

And does not the same Scripture that tells us to call on His Name for salvation also tell us that we “…have not because we ask not…”(James 4:2)? Does not that same Scripture also tell us that “…whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do…”(John 14:13,14; 15:16). In saying these words, did Jesus put any limit on what we can ask for? Did He not say that we must simply believe?

When will we ever wake up and realize just how mighty our God is, and begin to honor Him in everything we do, including our praying?

Is Sin Really Sinful?

by Franklin Pearce

Word of the Day

Righteousness

“But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”(Gen.2:17). “…Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”(Isa.59:2) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”(Ezek.18:4,20).

“For I am the LORD what bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”(Lev.11:45). “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”(Psalm 32:1,2). “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation(life-style); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”(I Peter 1:15,16).

These and O, so many other passages of Scripture describe the way that God expects, and even demands, His people to live. Someone has said that because we have a different kind of God, we are to be a different kind of people.

But, sadly, looking at the way modern “Christians” dress, live, talk, the way we choose to entertain ourselves, the things that we embrace, the neglect of the call to “come out from among them, and be ye separate”(II Cor.6:17) and just our overall lifestyle, it is almost impossible to tell us from the world and its crowd. Put us in the midst of a crowd of people from all walks of life, and try to pick out the believers from the unbelievers. Usually it is literally impossible.

Why is that so? Why is it so difficult, or totally impossible, to see a difference between “us and them”? Someone has said that you can tell a true believer by what makes him/her laugh and what makes them cry. Sadly, no more. We are so desensitized by the world’s “comedy” that we join in their modes of entertainment and never once see anything wrong. We laugh at the same jokes and shed tears at the same emotionalism that moves them. Again, why? What has drawn us into this kind of living?

I suppose that we would have to admit that many things contribute to this, but one of the main things is our pulpit preaching. There was a time when the pulpits of America thundered with righteousness and fearlessness by calling sin by its true name and nature. Dancing, theater, cards, gambling, mingling with the wrong crowd, allowing ourselves to be drawn into reckless living by our so-called “friends”–the pulpits were fearless to declare and define sin by its true colors.

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