Monday, January 27, 2014

Continuing In Prayer

Those who have grown up in Christian homes and in the church have heard "Christian speak" all of their lives. It is like being out in the cold weather, eventually you get use to it. The purpose of today's blog is to look at one such phrase that we have all heard. We have all heard at one time or another the expression to "walk with God," or another way you may have heard it expressed is walking in "fellowship with God."

Now, to let you know, I love theology, and with theology comes words, concepts, and ideas. However, theology with its concepts and ideas must be brought down from the abstract into reality in order for it to be effective and explosive in our daily lives. If theology remains in the abstract, it becomes neutered for us and diffused of its power and explosiveness.

This concept of walking with God sounds so wonderful, so grand; to think that sinful man, that you and I can walk with the creator of the universe. We have sung about it; we have read about it; matter of fact, we see it in the first book of the Bible. We have recorded for us that Adam and Eve had contact with God on a level known only by a few other humans. Then further on in Genesis we see that Enoch enjoyed a close relationship with is recorded that Enoch walked with God.

Throughout the entire Old Testament, we see that there were those who enjoyed the privilege of walking with God. When we come into the New Testament, we are struck with language that implies and suggests that we are to be walking with God. Jesus whispers this concept to His followers as he tells them, "abide in me, and [let] my words abide in you" (John 15:7).

The Apostle Paul echoes the same thought when he tells the Church at Galatia to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16). The whole epistle of 1John is peppered with the language of walking in the light, and walking in truth...which are all metaphors for walking with the one who is light and truth.

Here is the conundrum for us do we keep this expression from becoming just another catchphrase? Just another bumper sticker slogan that we paste on our cars? How do we get this concept out of the abstract and make it our reality?

As I was thinking hard on this and reflecting on my nearly four decades of being a Christian, one thought came to mind you, this is just one principle out of many principles that the Scriptures give to instruct us on how to walk with God. This one grand principle is given to us in Colossians 4:2 where Paul tells us "Continue in prayer," and again in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where we are exhorted to "Pray without ceasing." Continual prayer seems to be the one link in the chain that needs to be healthy in order for the believer to have a strong and vigorous walk with God.

The idea of continual prayer should be looked at from the perspective of an attitude more so than how often we pray. If the believer maintains a prayerful attitude, he is guarding his conscience from those things that would disrupt a strong healthy conscience before God. No believer can have a healthy walk with God while carrying around a weak and offended conscience.

The believer who walks with God is a sober and vigilant person. He is on guard from any influence that would disrupt his communion with his God. This prayerful attitude keeps his emotions in check...there is much self-inventory going on: do I have a bitter spirit? a jealous spirit? a greedy spirit? a lustful spirit? etc.

This attitude of prayer reminds the believer daily, no, not just daily, but hourly, or even better  yet continuously, that he is to be dying to self, dying to his sinful passions and desires.

So I leave you with this last thought: "For every look at self—take ten looks at Christ! Live near to Jesus—and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843).

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