Tag Archives: James

Prayer is … #2 Conversation

Prayer is a conversation, it is a two-way dialogue, not a one-way monologue.

You’re overstating it, you may say from looking at the previous sentence, but it is a point that cannot be overstated!  I could refer to places in the New Testament for this, but you may be surprised to know that this was well understood in the Old Testament.  Here are a few examples.

The example of Abraham.

Well there is Abraham for starters, ‘he was called a friend of God’ (James 2:23 NRSV), and what do friend do but talk with each other!  When he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah he was involved in a literal, physical conversation with God see Genesis 18:16-33, he was also bold enough to negotiate with God, but was wise enough to know where the limits were.

This is quite a challenge!  How much are we prepared to argue someone’s case before God?  Not for a Christian, but for a non-Christian to be saved!  After all, ‘The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9 NRSV).  We should not think that Jesus is slow in returning which is the context of this verse, but as with Sodom and Gomorrah, when he does there will be judgement, and by then all choices about eternal salvation will have been made.  Until then, let us be like Abraham praying for mercy and salvation, and wrestling in prayer for those who don’t know Jesus.

The example of Moses.

Moses is another great example of how prayer is a conversation, and again the best example we have of this from his story are when he was interceding on someone else’s behalf.  We see this in the time when Israel sinned by worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 33).

God was angry, the people he had brought out of Egypt had spiritually returned to Egypt by making and then worshipping an idol.  God was more than angry, he was going to destroy all of Israel except Moses and his family, and make a nation out from him alone.  But Moses stood up for the Israelites, not because they had not sinned, but for the sake of the patriarchs and because if God destroyed them all the Egyptians would have a cause to celebrate and say that God could not complete what he started!

The result of this pleading.  God ‘changed his mind’ (Exodus 32:14 NRSV) because Moses had asked him to, ‘Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people’ (Exodus 32:12 NRSV).  We may deserve God’s judgement, but if we humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face he can, and will, send revival (see 2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Like Moses we can cause God to change his mind, or we can stand by, be fatalistic about it and see others perish.  Prayer is so powerful if we only grasp it, it is not just for the weak, and for old ladies (though it is for them also), in fact to pray like Moses did takes both strength and humility, and comes first of all out of a close relationship with God.

Are we, like Moses, prepared to lay down something that could be to our advantage, to see God’s kingdom advance?  What a challenge!

Prophets, priests and kings.

I could give other examples, when the nation of Israel came to together to pray, it was the prophets, priests and kings who would pray.  Why?  Because these were the people who would not just speak to God, but who could listen to God’s reply!

Under the New Covenant we are all prophets, priests and kings so this responsiblity of prayer and intercession now falls on us, and we can fulfil that task because we can have a conversations with God!

Lord Jesus, help us to learn to listen as well as talk when we pray, because only then can we pray and intercede effectively for those who don’t know you.  Help us to take up the challenge, and to lay down our agendas for the sake of others to build your Kingdom.  In your name we pray, Amen!

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More Effective Prayer

#15habits Guest post Thanks to Theresa for allowing me this opportunity to guest post on The Bountiful Reaper, and may you be abundantly blessed by God!

More Effective Prayer

James 5:16 (NKJV)

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

I would like say at the outset, that I am on a journey, the desire of my heart is to become everything in Christ that it is possible to become, to know God intimately and live in his presence 24 hour a day, so that God is glorified in everything I do.

This post is part of that journey, a journey to deeper intimacy, and discovery of God and his righteousness, that we have in Christ.

I have been going around the mountain for years, and circumstances have forced me into seeking a deeper relationship with God, a relationship that I have been asking God for for years in prayer, though I have never made the effort to go deeper, I have been waiting for God, and have never waited on God until now, I have plenty of head knowledge, but not enough heart knowledge, and this journey is about getting the knowledge from my head to my heart.

When I look at the scripture above, I absolutely believe in the truth of what it says, we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And it is that particular word righteousness in both of these scriptures that I would like to explore, and encourage a renewed zeal for the righteousness of God. If scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness, then I believe there is profit found in a deeper righteousness!

Before I continue a quick definition of what righteousness is and what righteousness allows.

The simplest definition is Right Standing or relationship with God, allowing us to enter his presence.

I have been of the understanding for many years that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, the bible does tell us that. I do not dispute the evidence of positional righteousness, as seen in Romans 3:22a (NKJV)

even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

And in Philippians 3:9 (NKJV)

and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

And also in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

However I have come to believe through much searching and seeking God, that although there is a positional righteousness by Grace through faith alone in order for our salvation to occur, it does not stop there, I believe that there is also a deeper relational righteousness, not our own righteousness, which will profit us nothing and is as filthy rags, please read on, and discover this relational righteousness that we as Christians need to seek after.

In my opening scripture from James 5:16. I believe that the righteousness referred to there is a relational righteousness, not something we are but rather that we are able to become.

If we look at the Philippians 3 verse in context, see below Paul talks about the relationship he desires in order to fully experience the positional righteousness so that it becomes a relational righteousness by faith, in Christ from God. In other words, the more I become conformed to the image of Christ, through deeper relationship, the more I become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Philippians 3:7-10 (NKJV)

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…

The same is true of 2 Corinthians 5:21

If we look at the context, bearing in mind that these were Christians Paul was speaking to, we read

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV)

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

It clearly shows a relational focus rather than a purely positional one, as a result of our reconciliation with God we are able to BECOME the righteousness of God in Christ, as we seek his face, God wants that deeper intimacy with us, and I absolutely believe that signs and wonders will follow.

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

Also Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I look at it like this, if the presence of God had to be present in this room right now, would I feel as if I was going to die because of the sin in my life?

Right here right now in my life the answer is a definite yes to that one. So what do I do about it?

I keep pressing in and keep seeking his face, keep praying, and confessing my sins as he reveals them to me, reading his word, waiting on him, listening, praising and worshipping. Seek, Seek, Seek, those who seek him with their whole heart and mind and strength will find Him!

So does this mean that, my prayers are currently ineffective?

The answer to that is no, all prayer is effective, there are just in my understanding degrees of effectiveness, The more we pray the will of God the more effective our prayers are, the prayers of Jesus were 100% effective, He tells us that he did nothing that the Father had not told him to do, and there are many out there who have the same 100% rate, and they are impacting the world, yet even those people seek to get deeper with God every day. Put on Christ daily, the Full Armour of God, immerse Yourself in Him, daily, all day, we need to become like Jesus, a reflection of Him, complete death to self!

God is limitless, and we have not even scratched the surface of what is available to us in terms of blessing when we become the righteousness and holiness of God in Christ Jesus. I have an absolute hunger to get as much of God as I can get, so that he can be glorified through me, we are all labourers called to the harvest!

We all can attain,  and I know I will attain that level of righteousness mentioned in the opening verse, I have made a choice, and I am not going to stop seeking more of God everyday, until I die or he returns, and I have to choose to do that everyday, it is my choice, God will never force me to do it, it is a decision of my will every single day, his mercies are new every morning, and it is my prayer that every Christian will attain it, in the meantime I thank God for his mercy and Grace and for the Gifts of healing from the Holy Spirit, yet I long to see the day when we will start to operate fully in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, with signs and wonders that follow, doing the things that Jesus did and the greater things he said we would do. I pray for a unity of spirit, and of mind as we put on Christ daily, that the Church the bride of Christ may present herself Holy and Glorious in his sight! And pray effective fervent prayers that avail much! So be it.

One Question remains to be asked. How much do You want it?

Shalom Rav
Glory to God
Richard
speaktothismountain