THE ALIGNMENT OF OUR SOULS WITH GOD
Maybe like me, a few weeks ago you made some series decisions about what you wanted to do different this year in your life. Typically, we tend to start off pretty strong, making the necessary shifts and rearranging the priorities. So, what keeps up the motivation and priorities? Especially when it comes to our prayer life.
Prayer is one of the most difficult things to do because it takes time, energy, and honesty when we don’t always want to give it. Yet prayer is one of the most important things a Christian can do. How do we call ourselves believers if prayer is the alignment of our souls with God, yet we do not pray? How can we know God and imitate him if we don’t take the time to communicate with him and listen?
To say that prayer isn’t essential minimizes one of the most prominent themes in the life and ministry of Jesus. Mark 1:35, says, “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Jesus felt it necessary to remove himself from the patterns of daily life in order to communicate with the Father. If we are to be imitators of Christ we must recognize the importance of this act. Jesus believed communication with God to be so important that, though he was God, he devoted specific time alone to it. This must be an example for us.
Christ made prayer a central component of his ministry. We know it’s important, but why? The Bible gives us a fascinating picture of what prayer does in our lives and in the world around us. Hebrews 4:16 says that by prayer we may “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” But the necessity for prayer goes beyond times of need.
In prayer, our desires can become more like God’s desires, and we may align our wills with the will of God. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” According to this passage, we are called to pray in a way that reflects Christ’s will, not our own will.
If we pray in this manner, our desires and hopes will become more like Christ’s because we train ourselves to hope for things that are consistent with his plans. Romans 8:26 makes this clearer by introducing the Holy Spirit’s role in our prayers, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” The Spirit works at aligning our prayers to the will of God, and so, when we pray, we are brought closer to right relationship with him. Prayer isn’t about making the things we selfishly want happen; it’s about making us want what God wants.
I will tell you about this and more this Sunday. Come expecting a fantastic Lords Day.