Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Have a proper prayer life outside of ministry: Another book excerpt from "So you think you're called."

Have a proper prayer life outside of ministry.

Just as it is tempting to study only to prepare for a sermon or a lesson, it is also tempting to pray either only right before (or during) church services.
Jesus prayed daily- usually many times a day.
Note to the ministry: Ministry happens anytime, anyplace. It is not just a “church meeting thing.”
Jesus understood this. He understood that the flesh can do nothing apart from God's empowerment. So, he prayed. Daily and, in fact, several times a day.
We are to pray, first and foremost, for a closer walk (a stronger relationship) with God. Ministry flows from our walk with God. Our walk with God does not flow from our ministry. As we pray and walk and talk with God, he can guide us to minister to others in unexpected ways. He can open the door for ministry in places we never dreamed of. If we stay prayed up, he will begin to lift us up (in him, I mean. I'm not advocating a prosperity doctrine.). Why? To lift up his name to a lost and dying world!
How often should we pray?
Short answer: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
The word “ceasing” here means “without intermission, incessantly, assiduously.”
Incessantly means “without stopping.” Without intermission means “without a break.” Assiduously means “showing great care, attention, and effort.”

By this definition, if we take it literally, we would all die soon after becoming a Christian. If we could never take a break, or stop praying, then we would never be able to eat, drink,sleep, potty, study the word, work for our living, etc. So, is he truly saying we must physically pray all day, every day?
I think not?
However, I do believe he is telling us not to neglect our prayer time with God. Always have an attitude of prayer. Always make prayer a priority. Do not let it get lost in the business of life or ministry. Make it a priority. Do it with “great care, attention, and effort.” Don't let it become a ritual of words. Don't reduce it to a short phrase or two. Do it with all we have!
David says in Psalms 63:1:
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; “
So, we should start our day, even if we must get up a little earlier, with concentrated and consistant prayer. Is that all?
Isaiah 26:9 seems to hint at night time prayer, in addition to morning prayer:
With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Daniel prayed three times a day:
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

And this he did, in spite of the kings order that no man should pray to any other god, besides the statue that he had just erected. Daniel knew he was risking his life by praying to God. But, he also knew that his time with God was the most important thing in his life. He might die from his choice, but at least he'd be right with God.
As far as I know, there is no limit on how many times a day we should pray- just as there is no prescribed time period we should pray for. Follow the leading of the spirit of God. Allow him to lead you. But, do not neglect prayer. Make it your top priority every day.

Without it, we become dry and hard. With it, we are watered with his spirit and pliable in his hands. Without it, we become a Pharisee. With it, we have his love to reach out with.