VIDEO The Disinfectant of Prayer – Why is it So Hard for Christians to Pray

The Disinfectant of Prayer

Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance. Psalm 2:8

Reverend E. M. Bounds wrote nine books on the subject of prayer, and we can open any of them to any page, read any paragraph, and be convicted, encouraged, and motivated. For example, in his 1920 book, Purpose in Prayer, Bounds wrote: “The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be and the mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer in one phrase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice which goes into God’s ear, and it lives as long as God’s ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God’s heart is alive to holy things. God shapes the world by prayer.”

The role prayer plays in our lives as overcomers is essential. Fervent, consistent prayer keeps us close to God and will help us resist Satan’s attempts at discouraging our walk. Prayer disinfects the air around us and advances God’s cause on the earth.

Everything depends upon prayer, and yet we neglect it, not only to our own spiritual hurt but also to the delay and injury of our Lord’s cause upon earth. E. M. Bounds


Why is it So Hard for Christians to Pray by David Wilkerson

Choosing the Trail

Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14

I have a beautiful autumn photograph of a young man on horseback in the Colorado mountains as he contemplates which trail ahead to follow. It reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” In it, Frost ponders two pathways that lie before him. Both are equally inviting, but he doubts he will return to this place again, and he must choose one. Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), the Lord told His listeners, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (7:13–14).

On our journey through life, we face many choices about which road to travel. Many pathways seem promising and attractive but only one is the pathway of life. Jesus calls us to travel the road of discipleship and obedience to God’s Word—to follow Him instead of the crowd.

As we ponder the road ahead, may God give us wisdom and courage to follow His way—the road of life. It will make all the difference for us and those we love!

Lord, as we go through this day, give us eyes to see the narrow road that leads to life and the courage to follow it.

Choose to walk the road of life with Jesus.

By David C. McCasland 

INSIGHT

Life is all about choices—and their consequences. As author Robert Louis Stevenson put it, “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” We see this throughout the Scriptures as our first parents hid from God in the ancient garden (Genesis 3:8), Moses was forbidden to enter the promised land (Deuteronomy 32:52), David was confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12), and after denying his Lord, Peter wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). By the same token, Moses counseled the Israelites to choose the things of life (Deuteronomy 30:19), and Solomon warned those who do not choose to fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:28–29). Why is this so important? In Psalm 25:12, David sang, “Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.” When the wisdom of God guides us in our choices, we have less reason to fear the consequences those choices might bring.

For more on choices and their consequences, check out the Discovery Series booklet Eve and Rahab: Learning to Make Better Choices at discoveryseries.org/hp031.

Bill Crowder

You Can Advance Through Your Adversity

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Adversity has a way of wearing us down, especially when the difficulty keeps going. Sometimes it feels as if we’re simply moving from one problem to another without a pause in between. Although we cry out to God, the trials continue. What are we to do when we’re overwhelmed and God isn’t intervening?

One noteworthy trait of the apostle Paul was his determination to remain faithful to Christ through hardship. Many Christians get stuck in life’s tough spots because they don’t understand what God is doing. They want the Lord to rescue them from it, but oftentimes His desire is to give them “the surpassing greatness” of His power to go through the trouble (2 Corinthians 4:7).

How we respond to hardship reveals both our true character and our knowledge of God. It’s easy to say, “I trust the Lord” when life is good, but unless we recognize that He is also sovereign even in adversity, our praises will soon turn to complaints and self-pity. Surrendering doesn’t seem like a way to advance through hardships, yet it’s essential. Otherwise, we may find ourselves resisting the Lord’s good purposes.

We serve a God who is worthy of our faith and confidence. Every trial is an opportunity for the light of Christ to shine through us. It’s also one of the means He uses to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our life.

When we trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and sufficiency, we’ll choose to focus on Him, knowing that temporary afflictions produce for us “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Confident In Prayer

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) 

This is the classic conditional promise. Confidence in prayer is tied directly to the qualifier: “If we ask anything according to his will. . . .” It is, therefore, important that we understand “what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

Many surveys have verified that most people pray. All of those studies, however, note that a good portion of the prayers are directed toward an unknown “higher power.” It may seem obvious, but the first requirement for coming under the will of God is to “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23). Before God will respond to our “petitions,” we must be “born again” (John 3:3).

Jesus was once asked what the greatest command was. His response, quoting from Deuteronomy 6, was: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). That internal and invisible love of the heart is expressed by obedience to the commandments that God has given. John records it this way: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).

Thus, a simple formula appears. If we obey what God has commanded us (starting with faith in the saving work of Christ), then we are assured that God will hear us when we pray. Once our confidence is secured, we can know that God will respond to what we desired from Him. The psalmist states the formula this way: “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). HMM III

If you be led of the Spirit you are not under the law

The apostle again expostulates with the Galatians for falling into legality, and points out to them the true path of the believer, namely, holiness produced by the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:7-26

Galatians 5:7, 8

It is not of God, or it would be consistent with what you have been taught by his Spirit before.

Galatians 5:9

One man’s influence may mislead thousands; one piece of false doctrine may taint our whole creed.

Galatians 5:10, 11

Some even said that Paul himself had preached ceremonialism, but he denies it, and backs up his declaration by the fact that men had not left off persecuting him, as they would have done had he diluted the gospel.

Galatians 5:12

It were better that they were cut off from the church than remain to sow false doctrine. As lepers must be put out of the camp, so must evil teachers be cast out of the church.

Galatians 5:13, 14

This is more important than symbolic rites: to destroy love to preserve a ceremony is to kill a child in order to preserve its clothes.

Galatians 5:17

Every new man is two men: there is a warfare within.

Galatians 5:19-21

No matter what they profess, or what sacraments they may partake of, those who live in these sins are not alive unto God. What a list we have here! Surely sin is a prolific mother.

Galatians 5:22, 23

For the works of the flesh there is no gospel, and against the works of the Spirit there is no law. Both God and man agree to commend such actions as those which are here mentioned; let us abound in them.

Galatians 5:24-26

Our evil desires are nailed to the cross, but they are not yet dead; we have need therefore to abide under the influence of the ever-blessed Spirit, and we certainly have no ground for boasting or despising others. Be it ours under the divine guidance to cultivate love and peace, and flee from all pride and envy.

 

Jesus, take me for thine own;

To thy will my spirit frame;

Thou shalt reign, and thou alone,

Over all I have and am.

 

Making thus the Lord my choice,

I have nothing more to choose,

But to listen to thy voice,

And my will in thine to lose.

 

Then whatever may betide,

I shall safe and happy be;

Still content and satisfied,

Having all in having thee.

 

A Lonely Human

The joy of our heart is ceased; woe unto us that we have sinned (Lamentations 5:15-16)

There is a strange contradiction in human nature all around us: the fact that a person can reek with pride, display a swollen ego and strut like a peacock—and yet be the loneliest and most miserable person in the world!

We find these people everywhere—pretending and playing a game. Deep within their beings, they are almost overwhelmed by their great loneliness, by their sense of being orphans in the final scheme of things.

The result of this strange, aching human sense of loneliness and cosmic orphanage is the inward, groping question: “What good is it to be a human being? No one cares about me!”

In the garden, Eve believed Satan’s lie—the lie that God was not concerned about her and that God had no emotional connection with her life and being. This is where the unregenerate person is in today’s world.

It is only sin and defeat that can bring this sense of orphanage, this sense of having been put out of the father’s house, and the feeling that follows when the house is burned down and the father is dead.

 

Harvest of Light, Gladness

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11

Righteousness is often costly to the man who keeps to it at all hazards, but in the end it will bear its own expenses, and return an infinite profit. A holy life is like sowing seed: much is going out, and apparently it is buried in the soil, never to be gathered up again. We are mistaken when we look for an immediate harvest’; but the error is very natural, for it seems impossible to bury light. Yet light is “sown,” says the text. It lies latent: none can see it, it is sown. We are quite sure that it must one day manifest itself.

Full sure are we that the Lord has set a harvest for the sowers of light, and they shall reap it, each man for himself. Then shall come their gladness. Sheaves of joy for seeds of light. Their heart was upright before the Lord, though men gave them no credit for it, but even censured them: they were righteous, though those about them denounced them as censorious. They had to wait, as husbandmen wait for the precious fruits of the earth: but the light was sown for them, and gladness was being prepared on their behalf by the Lord of the harvest.

Courage, brothers! we need not be in a hurry. Let us in patience possess our souls, for soon shall our souls possess light and gladness.

 

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