Sunday, April 30, 2006

Devoted & Dangerous

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer life. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. ~Colossians 4:2

This was one verse in a passage of scripture that was used as the building blocks for a devotion I read today. And although the rest of the verses are relevant to the devotion, something about this verse just stood off the page for me. That something is the topic of PRAYER.

A month or so ago I was asked to help teach our high school youth group because the leader was sick and couldn't teach that night. Not having much time to put something together I simply gave it to God in prayer and asked that He use me for what He wanted to teach that night. The Lord put prayer on my heart and very faithfully lead me to scriptures and information that I was to use.

One sentence that I came across in my reading, and that I shared with the group, has stuck with me since that night. It is... "No Christian is greater than his prayer life".

This morning I was praying and seeking the Lord for more detail to the plan He has before me for my life. I know where my passion is, but I feel like there is so much more waiting for me that is still unknown - and I've never been someone who is good at being content with waiting. I can do it - and many times I am forced to do it - but the bigger part of me just wants to "get going". I want more from my life, but I'm not willing to move ahead out of my impatience and risk being outside of God's will.

Let me share one part of the devotion I read...

The single most important activity for any follower of Christ to engage in is spending time with God, meditating on His word and praying. Notice that I said "spend time with God". Believers today expect prayer answers to be as instant as microwave meals. If the Lord does not respond immediately, people typically have one of three thoughts: God is angry with me; I must have sin in my life; or this must not be God's will. Usually, however, the real answer is that we haven't prayed long enough for God to have worked out all the details. There is a time for quick, emergency petitions, but most prayer is a continuous effort.

After I read this scripture this morning and the devotion that followed, I was struck with this thought... "Does my life feel like it's on hold right now simply because all of the details for what lies ahead are not yet worked out? Or am I the one who's causing this stagnation because I haven't been devoted and committed enough in my prayer life?"

Honestly, the answer could lie in both questions -- God could still be working things out before revealing more of His plan to me -- but I also know the answer to the latter question: I am not committed enough in my prayer... plain and simple. It's an area that I struggle with constantly... and why do I? I love to pray. I know God has given me the gift of prayer. And yet, even with this knowledge, prayer still is not at the top of my priority list most days. Granted there are days when my prayer life is awesome, and the Holy Spirit is so heavy that I could pray for hours. But it's not like that everyday. Why?

Here's the second part to the devotion and the answer to this question...

We live in a spiritual war zone. Every time we get on our knees we are doing business with God, but we are also doing battle with the Devil. As a result, we must expect interference and harassment. Satan knows that a devotedly prayerful person is dangerous. Such an individual is enjoying a deep, peaceful relationship with God that translates into a passion for obedience and a powerful witness.

No, I am not excusing myself from accountability here and blaming my lack of commitment on Satan. I do take responsibility for the priorities in my life, but I also know that Satan is the master deceiver and any time he can help fill my life or my thoughts with an endless "to do" list -- he's won his battle, and I've lost mine.

Conclusion (taken from the devotion):

If you would like to be "devoted and dangerous", make prayer your top priority!

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