During the month of March our church focus has been, "How to cultivate a lifestyle of prayer."
If I'm being honest, inwardly I was not looking forward to this month. Not because I do not like to pray, but because developing a lifestyle of prayer is just something I have never been able to establish. Some days it's great and other days I don't know where to start or what to say. Basically my prayer life is up and down like a roller coaster of which I did not want to face.
In preparation for this blog, the spirit of the Lord laid this statement on my heart, "To pray or to not pray, it should not be a question." Instantly I felt convicted and responded how I normally respond to conviction, "hide," to avoid thinking about the statement.
I am a woman who takes great pride in who I am. My beliefs, my strengths, my abilities, my achievements, and my goals. However, recently I have experienced health issues that regardless of what I do, I cannot rectify. I find this time breaking. It breaks everything about me. So the week of the 21st I hit my ultimate breaking point. As I lay in bed not wanting to move the Lord posed the statement to me again.
My response at the time was, "Lord I know I am failing right now, you don't need to remind me." The next day I felt the Lord impress on my heart that I was misinterpreting what he was trying to reveal, so I looked at the statement again.
"To pray or to not pray, it should not be a question."
By taking key words from the statement I sought understanding by seeking out definitions.
Pray - Timothy Keller defines prayer as "conversation and encounter with God.”
Question - “A proposal to be debated or voted on” (Dictionary.com).
Using these definitions I came to understand the statement as "to converse and have an encounter with God or to not converse and have an encounter with God SHOULD NOT be debated."
Debate - "A discussion involving opposing viewpoints" (Dictionary.com).
I believe God wants us to consider the opposing views we entertain regarding our personal prayer life.
I have come to learn that these opposing views are internal. The greatest debates we experience regarding prayer are within us. The mental discussion we allow by entertaining questions. The emotional debate whether we feel like praying or not. The excuses we permit and the lies we agree with.
During my circumstances if I challenged my responses and the internal debates I was experiencing, I would have learned that God wanted to talk about it and help me through it.
I do not believe the Lord is speaking to you regarding these internal debates to tell us off, but I believe he is trying to expose the lies of the enemy. The restrictions, the limitations, the choices, the excuses, the internal debates, and internal discussions we allow that hinder our daily conversation and encounter with him.
In order for us to move past these limitations we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into the unknown.
Throughout the month Pastor Michael has reminded the church that,
"God is our source and our supply. Not just going to him for things but going to him because of who he is."
"Our ability to pray and receive answers is not based upon anything we have done but on the finished work of Jesus Christ."
The month of March turned out to be a beautiful month for me because it was the month the Lord broke my limitations in prayer. Due to these teachings I am now learning to focus on the finished work of Christ instead of entertaining internal debates. I approach prayer differently, by starting my day with worship. Allowing my focus to be on God and then being led into prayer by the Holy Spirit.
I encourage you all in order to develop a lifestyle of prayer, to challenge the internal debates you are entertaining and shut them down because to pray or not pray SHOULD not be a question!
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
BY CHARLENE KERR-SPENCER
Images courtesy of Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/10/20/18/29/urban-998216_640.jpg?attachment (User: Wokandapix)
https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/03/11/21/54/gratitude-1251137_640.png?attachment (User: Johnhain)
Prayer: Experiencing awe and intimacy with God (2014) by Timothy Keller.
Definition of "question" - Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/question?s=t
Definition of "debate" - Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/debate?s=t