TOMORROW IS AMERICA'S ANNUAL NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER. HERE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, WE HAVE CHOSEN THE FOLLOW AS OUR KEY SCRIPTURE VERSE TO SHOW HOW WE, THE ACTUAL PEOPLE OF GOD, SHOULD APPROACH THIS DAY AND EVERYDAY AS A PERSON OF PRAYER AND PRAISE:
TODAY, DAY 2 OF OUR THREE DAY FOCUS, WE SEE WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT THE MECHANISM OF PRAYER.
"What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also".(1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV)
What does the Lord mean, when He had the Apostle Paul teach that he (Paul) should not just pray with his spirit, but "mind also"? This statement alone shows that Christianity is THE Thinking Man's religion! While thinking about how to explain this briefly, yet accurately, the Spirit within me led me to the book of Job and chapters 38-42!
For almost 36 chapters, Job is afflicted with the worst possible diseases and health problems. He and his friends spend long periods of time making speeches and saying things about God which are totally WRONG and in fact, insulting to God! Finally in those final four chapters, God has had enough and speaks! From Chapters 38-41, He asks Job 77 questions about Creation and how it came about. Of course, Job (as do we) does not have a clue or an answer for the Creator!
Yet even after Job has exhibited that he is completely out of his league in debating God....and does not have an answer for ANY of those 77 questions....God still gives his Grace and Mercy. Even more, God told Job's three friends, whom He had every right to destroy for their heresy, that if they make the appropriate offering, then "Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” (Job 42:8 ESV)
So here is the deal...and the process. God engages us with our minds first. He shows us how weak and small we are, and most of all, how much we are in need of a Savior. But He does it with love and gentleness and the rest is up to us. Do you know any other god who will say "“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:18)
He says "Come let us REASON"!!! God wants to REASON with us! That means HE IS A REASONABLE GOD, Who is capable to answering our questions, thereby engaging our minds in the True Worship of the type of saint God is looking for! Jesus Himself said ""But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers (John 4:23).
NOW, after He has reasoned with us and engaged our minds with His Righteousness and Holiness and Power, the proper response is to PRAY! Under the New Covenant, which Jesus instituted with this Death, Burial and Resurrection in 33 AD, we are to be like Job's three friends in Job 42:8 above and sacrifice. The difference is that OUR sacrifice is one of Praise, Surrender, Submission and Obedience to God. We will choose to do this willingly because of Who He is and What He has revealed of Himself. After we have offered up that Sacrifice on His Altar, we pray!
Yes! We pray! AND, prayers, which are offered up with this sacrificial attitude of gratitude for the New Covenant, as I have mentioned, will then be deemed acceptable to the LORD. Then, He Himself, will indeed then listen and respond, according to His Will.
This is how we pray with our minds and then respond in our spirit to the King of the Universe. Only those who HAVE the Spirit, can respond in kind....and that means, only those who are saved and rescued from "the dominion of darkness" by the Savior can approach Him with reason and worship. Is that you? Are you saved? Do you KNOW that you're saved? Are you washed in the Blood and has God shown Himself to you as the Lord of your life? If so, ask and you shall receive, believe and then pray.
In the Name of Jesus, amen.