Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Filling our Mouths with Arguments in Prayers

"Oh that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat! I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments." – Job 23:3,4
Charles Spurgeon in his sermon on Effective Prayer, and then again John Piper as an exegesis of Psalm 143 in his sermon titled How to argue with God Both sited Job 23:3-:4 as a starting point for their tremendously powerful sermons on prayer.

Where the goal of Charles Spurgeon’s was to develop in the members of his church, an effective prayer life, John Piper’s goal, seemed to be to teach on how to argue with God.
So powerful in fact are the lessons taught by these two men that I wanted to address this most complicated and off-times ignored practice of “filling our mouths with argument to God”. In fact a deeper understanding of filling our mouths with arguments is naturally the next level of intensity concerning this subject.

Filling our mouths with arguments to God is not the same thing as arguing with God. I was always taught and I’m sure that most people will agree that arguing with God is foolish! God is right. You (or I) are wrong, argument complete.

In the above passage (Job 23:3-4) it is the intentions of Job to order his cause before God, to give reason for God to intercede on a situation or circumstance in his life, much like we would order our cause before a judge in court. Preparing our arguments (reasons) why the judge should see things our way or make a favorable decision for us.

Filling our mouths with arguments, are prayers of lament, and anguish, with contrite heart, when the passion of our desire in prayer is so great, and the need so important that we beg that God will provide our salvation.

Now at first you may say that this is foolish to think that we can reason with God but to a limited extent this very thing is taught in today’s churches. We are taught to “give God’s word back to God in prayer” for example we say in prayer “ God your word says you will not forsake me…..” or “Jesus says that what ever we ask in his name…..” All of these are acceptable methods of reasoning with God.

Take a minute to ingest the level of the arguments Abraham put before God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah where his nephew Lot and his family lived.

(Genesis 18:24-25) Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
In this passage the patriarch wrestles with God’s will by pleading his case, in a desperate effort to save his nephew. Abraham “orders his cause before God” and fills his mouth with arguments, saying if there be fifty righteous will you destroy the fifty unjustly for the sake of the wicked? That is not the attributes of the creator of the world to do judge unjustly.

When we are filling our mouths with arguments we have after seriously assessed the situations and are pleading with God with passion with fervency, with the knowledge that unless God help us there is nothing or no one else that can help us, we are falling at the feet of God to show his Grace toward us.

Charles H Spurgeon in his sermon on Effective Prayer says “The best prayers I have ever heard in our prayer meetings have been those which have been fullest of argument. Sometimes my soul has been fairly melted down when I have listened to brethren who have come before God feeling the mercy to be really needed, and that they must have it, for they first pleaded with God to give it for this reason, and then for a second, and then for a third, and then for a fourth and a fifth, until they have awakened the fervency of the entire assembly.

In Psalm 143 we have David giving his argument to God for not entering into judgment against him. In verse 5 and 6 David argues that his past servitude to God was upright and unquenchable; this is important in that David understood that these things he had done in the past were pleasing to God and therefore were good argument on the quality of his love for God.

In verse 11 David place the hope of his arguments on the promises of God resting his faith on the scriptures (Numbers 23:19) and God’s faithfulness to God’s word, and that God Grace and love for him will be and additional argument for interceding in David condition.

I think we must understand in the end its about God's Grace which must be the foundation of all arguments, a successful arguments toward God are always founded upon God's Grace. If we think for a moment that we can stand on our own merit we will fail before God. When we come before God with a contrite heart, fully aware of our unworthiness, of our sinful state, our realization that without God we will spend eternity in hell; then we can began to understand the intense lifesaving importance of God's Grace, and that by Grace alone and nothing of ourselves that we obtain anything from God and our heart becomes contrite and our arguments become acceptable unto God.

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Your Brother In Christ

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, December 10, 2007

Praying Without Ceasing

by Soli Deo Gloria

In his letter to Rome, the Apostle Paul instruct the new followers of Christ Jesus to “be constant in prayer" One very unique thing about most of the epistles of Paul is that they start with prayer or the acknowledgement of other in his prayer.

In Romans 1:8 Paul start addressing those called to be saint with
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you”

In 1 Corinthians 1:4 Paul states
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which
is given you by Jesus Christ;”

In fact in all of his epistles (letters) Paul either speaks directly to praying continually (unceasing) or alludes to doing so. It’s very important that we see prayer as not just something we do, but something we do with God. Prayer is how we commune with God, without prayer there can be no relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

At this point we see prayer as important but not Omni-important, but this should quickly change, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul writes very distinctly “Pray without ceasing” Now if we really seek to develop an understanding of this we must have at least once questioned after reading this said to ourselves “How do I pray without ceasing?”. It is this question that brings revelation into what (on a spiritual level) Paul was trying to say to us.

My mind immediately goes to Bryon Cage’s song “Breathe” in that prayer must be that very thing for us, it must come to us as simple as “the Air We Breathe” We must find ourselves praying when we walk down the street, when we seat waiting for a bus to get to work, even while praying, we must find our mind wondering to seek communion with God in prayer.

Please understand this is not a exercise in discipline where we say I’m walking I must pray, I have free time I should be praying, its much more, This is a state of mind in your spiritual life where prayer comes natural, without thought without conscious efforts, as if it was the very Air you Breathe.

You see the question isn’t how we can possibly pray all the time; the question is what is praying all the time? To pray without ceasing is not praying or thinking about God instead of spending time with our families. To pray without ceasing does not mean to think about God in contrast to thinking about other things in life. To pray without ceasing means living our entire life in the presence of God. It's not instead of spending time with your family, it spending time with your family while being in the presence of God.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) KJV

Praying without ceasing is eating in the presence of God, sleeping in the presence of God, reading in God's presence, It is living in the state of mind in which you express God in all that you do.

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Your Brother In Christ