VIDEO Always Pray

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel 9:3

What day has been observed in many nations for hundreds of years, yet is not a recognized holiday in any modern nation? Today!—April 1, or commonly known as April Fools’ Day. It’s a day for playing practical jokes on the unsuspecting, followed by a shout of “April Fools’!”

Jokes and pranks are fun when life is calm, but we need something more serious when life takes a darker turn. That was the case with Daniel in Babylon when he discovered Jeremiah’s prophecy that the exile of the Jews was to last for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Daniel was taken from Jerusalem to Babylon in 605 B.C., so seventy years of captivity would result in a date of 535 B.C. Daniel discovered Jeremiah’s prophecy around 539 B.C.—the first year of the reign of the Persian king, Darius (Daniel 9:1). So what did Daniel do? He prayed! He confessed his sins and the sins of the Jewish people (Daniel 9:4-19), asking that their captivity end.

Life is no joke—on April 1 or any other day. We should always “pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

We can do nothing without prayer.  E. M. Bounds


John MacArthur – Daniel 9 (interpreting Bible prophecy literally)

Praying Like Jesus

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42

Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion.

Like a coin, Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane possesses two sides. In the deepest hours of His life, on the night before He died on a cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). When Christ says, “take this cup,” that’s the raw honesty of prayer. He reveals His personal desire, “This is what I want.”

Then Jesus turns the coin, praying “not my will.” That’s the side of abandon. Abandoning ourselves to God begins when we simply say, “But what do You want, God?”

This two-sided prayer is also included in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 and is mentioned in John 18. Jesus prayed both sides of prayer: take this cup (what I want, God), yet not My will (what do You want, God?), pivoting between them.

Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer.

When We Seek God

2 Chronicles 34:1-33
Take a moment to clear your mind, and breathe. Now ask yourself this question with the intention of being completely honest: What am I seeking most in life?

The majority of people in the world are seeking things they will never be able to keep once this lifetime is over. However, true fulfillment comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is eternal. Like Josiah in today’s passage, we too can seek that relationship with the Lord. It requires a desire to …

Find out what He is like. Examining God’s Word in depth gives us more understanding of who God is and how He relates to His creation.

Fellowship with Him intimately. Spending time alone with God reorients our heart with His, but it must be quality time—consistent, alone, quiet, and unhurried.

Follow Him more closely. The more you allow the Holy Spirit to work His Word into your heart, the more you will want to obey and please our heavenly Father.

These three things undoubtedly bring us closer to God, but we have to make the decision to pursue them. Do you want to seek God? Let us resolve to know and love Him more today, and turn to Him for help.

There is Power in Forgiveness

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

All too often we consider forgiveness a mysterious and spiritual transaction that, once accomplished, is a past event that has little to do with our subsequent lives.

It is certainly true that there is a historical point in our earthly lives where the forgiveness of Christ was granted—even though He was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

Christ has subdued, cleansed, and forgotten our sins: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity?…he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19). “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins” (Isaiah 44:22).

Christ has replaced our sins with His holiness: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new….For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21).

Christ has given us victory over sin: Since all of the above (and more) is true and active in the lives of all believers, there should be an obvious exhilaration that enables us to confidently stand against whatever “fiery darts” the enemy may throw at us. We are clearly told that “sin shall not have dominion over [us]” (Romans 6:14). And since Jesus already dealt with the “offence” of sin on the cross, we can “reign in life” by Him (Romans 5:17). HMM III

A First Lesson to Learn

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

—Matthew 26:41

Almost anything associated with the ministry may be learned with an average amount of intelligent application. It is not hard to preach or manage church affairs or pay a social call; weddings and funerals may be conducted smoothly with a little help from Emily Post and the Minister’s Manual. Sermon making can be learned as easily as shoemaking—introduction, conclusion and all. And so with the whole work of the ministry as it is carried on in the average church today.

But prayer—that is another matter. There Mrs. Post is helpless and the Minister’s Manual can offer no assistance. There the lonely man of God must wrestle it out alone, sometimes in fastings and tears and weariness untold. There every man must be an original, for true prayer cannot be imitated nor can it be learned from someone else.   GTM069

Lord, I don’t want just to learn more about the importance of prayer. I pray that Your Spirit might change me, that I might become more and more genuinely a man of prayer. Amen.

 

God Is the Deeper Life

Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.

—Jeremiah 9:24

 

 

The deeper life has…been called the “victorious life,” but I do not like that term. It appears to me that it focuses attention exclusively upon one feature of the Christian life, that of personal victory over sin, when actually this is just one aspect of the deeper life—an important one, to be sure, but only one.

That life in the Spirit that is denoted by the term “deeper life” is far wider and richer than mere victory over sin, however vital that victory may be. It also includes the thought of the indwelling of Christ, acute God-consciousness, rapturous worship, separation from the world, the joyous surrender of everything to God, internal union with the Trinity, the practice of the presence of God, the communion of saints and prayer without ceasing. TWP120

[N]o one seems to want to know and love God for Himself! God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life….This means that there is less of me and more of Godthus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will. ITB017

 

If I Be Lifted Up …

John 12:32

 

It is not, Lord, that we would bring You down,

Take hold of holy things with hasty hand

And bear them low, and lower, till they reach

That sunken place, where unrepentant stand

The sons of men.

 

It is not, Lord, that we would force men’s faith,

And in unconsecrated bread and wine

Bring You to them, and press unwilling lips

To taste, at least, communion divine.

 

It is not, Lord, that we would lure men to

Their highest good, or coax them to the cross,

Or bribe them with the promise of great gain,

Flaunting the profit, covering the loss.

 

But we would lift You up, that seeing You

Men shall be drawn to leave their self-made slum,

And toss their tawdry treasures to the dust,

And claim their right, through Your power, to become

The sons of God.

John Gowans, O Lord Not More Verse!