Response to the Topic of Orientation Toward Mission and Dependent Prayer (Feb24 CSLI)

A Monthly Reflection

They lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.”

(Ac 4:24, ESV)

The Spirit leads and is the formulation of our connection with our L-rd.  As we breathe and live, we need our constant companion.  This month we set our focus on this blessed union between mankind (the creation) and a Holy G-d (the Creator). 

If we take a step back and remind ourselves that G-d clearly says in John 4:24, “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (NASB95).  The Bible further expands on this fact with a more time-based clarification, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.” John 4:23 (NASB95)

The fact is that we are made to worship, created to worship.  The mode in which we are to partake is via “spirit” and “in truth”.  This is ONLY possible because spirit connects and communicates to spirit and flesh to flesh.  Therefore, we need the Holy Spirit in this process and if we are to worship our Heavenly Father then we need His help as we are spirit-beings connected through the Holy Spirit to the Most Awesome Spirit (G-d). 

The Holy Spirit draws us in whether by leading or pulling via conviction and both are needed.  Sometimes we have strength and vision to see the road marked out by His leading and we are happy to follow along because it is a sweet moment of being led by Christ via the Holy Spirit.  At other times we are more like a kicking, stubborn mule that needs a heart tug and wiped away eyes to see where we have been sinning and falling short and the direction we need to go.   This is – that much needed conviction that leads to submission and crying out in humble confession for mercy, forgiveness, and surrender.

Either way we are in desperate need of this connection, His Holy Spirit to keep us on the straight-and-narrow and for us to even have an opportunity to be connected with our most correct form of communion and existence.  We were not made to be apart from Him – remember the garden.  And as such there is a little piece of the garden within us via fellowship with the Spirit.  What a blessing!  We walked away from G-d and He did not let us go.  He protects us and encourages us through the Spirit.

When you truly are connected to G-d – it is life giving, necessary moment-by-moment, and a huge comfort.  I have been saying for quite some time that I just do not understand how people can make it (or really try to) by their own strength and merit in this world.  Fact: it just can’t happen.  Wisdom comes from knowing this and realizing just how much we need Him in all things.  And when you are – wow! 

This is where I believe humility starts – recognizing our need for Him via the Holy Spirit.

This is where our life begins – via the Holy Spirit at the foot of the cross.

The Spirit is where we take our daily walks with Him – via prayer (and praying) in the Spirit.

He is where we go to cry when our loved ones are sick and we just don’t know what to do and we are lost.

He is our comforting hope, our daily strengthener, our daily guide, and our daily worship.

He leads us toward our next goal or even helps us with our first thought or step.

A quick word search Bible study on the word “pray” shows that there is an overwhelming sense of petition baked into the word.   This conveys the sense of making a request to a deity.  It is our request method, our way to reach up our spiritual (as well of physical) hands of need.  Let’s focus on that first concept – spiritual.

John Chrysostom within Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew explained that we pray, “not to inform God or instruct him but to beseech him closely, to be made intimate with him, by continuance in supplication; to be humbled; to be reminded of our sins” (19.4).

We are surrendering ourselves to hopefully be drawn into that intimate fellowship and to allow our L-rd to be what He already should be – our leader and our L-rd.

This sacred time between us sets things straight, redirects our focus, reorients our heart and stills our cares.  It is a grounding time of reflection, of worship, and rededication even if for a brief moment that we are His and He is ours.   The first part of Song of Solomon 6:3 has a beautiful mental picture of this that we can pull into our hearts and ponder, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”  This is interesting, as a side note, that many wedding rings within the Jewish community have this inscribed within them.  And if we take the NT approach – we are Christ’s bride and thus when we spend a few moments in private prayer we are being reminded of our union with Him and that we are His prized possession.

How awesome it is that we are in a sense being re-married, re-committed to Christ in spiritual bond of marriage when we take the time to pray.

The writer of a study on Matthew from Ligonier Ministries simply states, “private prayer helps conform us to Christ”.  This private prayer “links” us to Christ and like the marriage vow that when two are married they become one – and if we append this to the concept of union with Him as spoken of in the NT – then we should be internally in a state of joy, of awesome wonder, and thankful dependence.


We should also therefore be aligned to that conformity.  Jesus was extremely focused on honoring His Father through mission to carry out the will of G-d via being born on Earth to help us.  To save us.  To lead us back to Him via the only truth path – Him.  He is our hope as well as our bride and we need to allow Him to guide us to Him and to our mission on earth.

Think on this quote from Jerry Bridges:

David praised God not because he was handsome but because God made him. Dwell on that thought: The eternal God, infinite in His wisdom and perfect in His love, personally made you and me. He gave you your body, your mental abilities, and your basic personality because that’s the way He wanted you to be — and He loves you and wants to glorify Himself through you.

(In Trusting God)

He made each of us uniquely for a special purpose, His special call.  And as we go through life, we need to be reminded that we are His and for His will.  His factors, His time, His reasoning.  Prayer refreshes this often or should. 

Jerry continues:

Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust.

The Puritan preacher Thomas Lye, in a sermon entitled “How Are We to Live by Faith on Divine Providence?” said, “As prayer without faith is but a beating of the air, so trust without prayer [is] but a presumptuous bravado. He that promises to give, and bids us trust his promises, commands us to pray, and expects obedience to his commands. He will give, but not without our asking.”*[Thomas Lye, “How Are We to Live by Faith on Divine Providence?” Puritan Sermons 1659-1689 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publisher, 1981), 1:374.]

The apostle Paul, while imprisoned in Rome, wrote to his friend Philemon, “Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers” (Phlm 22, NIV). Paul did not presume to know God’s secret will. He hoped to be restored. He did not say, “I will be restored.” But he did know that God in His sovereignty was well able to effect his release, so he asked Philemon to pray.

Prayer was the expression of his confidence in the sovereignty of God.

John Flavel was a Puritan preacher and a prolific writer (six volumes of collected works). He wrote a classic treatise titled The Mystery of Providence, first published in 1678. It is instructive to note that Flavel begins this treatise on the sovereign providence of God with a discourse on Ps 57:2: “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me” (NIV). That is, Flavel says to us, because God is sovereign, we should pray. God’s sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to pray, but rather makes it possible to pray with confidence.

Going back to the middle two of those statements above regarding daily walks and crying out to Him when a loved one is sick – I need to find rest and conviction.

Conviction to pray, to trust, and a call to rest…….

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