January 6, 2019 - Inscriptions From The Heart
January 6, 2019
ROOTED IN CHRIST: DRAWING NEAR TO GOD IN PRAYER & FASTING
In every aspect of our lives, even when we come to church, we want to make sure we live and come for the only reason that matters, God alone. We can get so distracted with all the cares of life that it’s so easy to replace God with other things we consider important.
Some churches and even pastors, for instance, are concerned about the ABCs. When church people or pastors gather together, they inevitably ask the ABC question: What’s your attendance? Do you own your building or how big is your building? How much is your offering, budget or cash? That’s it – people who care about church may sometimes replace God with Attendance, Buildings and Cash! The really sad part is that even good Christians fight among themselves about these.
All Jesus cares about is that all people have equal access into the House of Prayer. We are all familiar with the day Jesus got mad. With a whip of cords, He drove the merchants out of the temple. They want to make it convenient for people to worship, but they inadvertently kept people from having access to God. How many of us have kept people away from God with our concern about programs, personalities, methods, the way the church is run or simply passing by the new people God is bringing into our church?
Like Martha, we may get so caught up in a flurry of activities for God…as if God needs our help. All that is needful is to lean on the Lord’s bosom or rest at Jesus’ feet. Who could be busier than Jesus? At the end of his three-year public ministry, Jesus could say that He has done all that His Father asked him to do. The people closest to Jesus noticed his habit of prayer and times alone with the Father that they asked him to teach them how to pray. Hence, we have the Lord’s prayer.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. There were times He brought Peter, James and John, his three closest buddies, along to pray. He prayed before sunrise. He prayed late at night. He prayed all night long.
Let’s ask a personal question. How much of my time daily is spent in communion with God in prayer? Let’s ask a corporate question. How much of CEAC’s calendar is spent in prayer – especially as an entire congregation?
We have much to learn from our Muslim brothers and sisters who are setting aside a whole month for prayer and fasting. They have a name for this season – Ramadan. No matter what your opinion about this religious practice, the point is it’s a human attempt to set aside time for God in prayer, to the extent of skipping meals. This got me thinking. If a world religion can set aside a month for prayer, could you and I who claim to be followers of Christ make the same effort to seek God, draw near to the Lord in prayer and fasting?
God has a soft spot for people who sincerely seek Him with all their hearts. When we stop long enough to wait on the Lord, His Holy Spirit begins to use God’s Word to shine His light upon the dark areas of our lives. May we not only confess sin but also repent (turn away from sin and to God). May we consequently be renewed spiritually by a fresh encounter with God especially as we are into a new year!