Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Humble yourself in prayer...

Since a week ago Tuesday, I’ve been trying something new in my prayer life. Every time I pray, I’ve been purposefully getting down on my knees. Okay, I don’t do it when I’m driving or any other time it might be difficult or hazardous to my health. But even then I choose a physical act. I place my hand on my knee.

I’m not doing these things because I believe God will listen more intently to my pleas for mercy and grace in a kneeling position. He hears and answers every cry of his children’s hearts. I’m doing it because of what it does in my heart. The act of physically kneeling to pray – instead of propping my feet up on my desk or lying in bed or whatever – creates a humble spirit within me. It reminds me that God is God and I am not.

The result, believe it or not, is that I feel like praying more not less. My joy has increased. I’m more at peace. I’m filled with a sense of anticipation. I’m more satisfied today in my relationship with my Father than I was before. I feel more intimately connected to God than I have in I don’t know how long.

I have more than once struggled in my spiritual life over the years. Pastors are not exempt from dry times. What you experience from time to time, I experience too.

So today I’m thankful for the refreshing God is giving me every day as I pray and dig into his Word. The verse that I’ve been constantly reminded of this week is James 4:10. This wise man, an early leader in the church, tells the church what to do to find joy in their relationship with God. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (KJV)

Peter, the crazy, impulsive apostle whose early relationship with Jesus reminds me so much of my own, wrote these similar words in 1 Peter 5:5-6. Listen to the Spirit who speaks through his words. “‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (NIV)

You think maybe Peter and James were inspired by the same good God to write what they wrote?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

You can certainly see that truth at play in the continuity of message in these two passages. These men wrote separately and yet give the same charge to the church. “Humble yourselves before God and he will lift you up.” Are you listening to the Holy Spirit? Hear and obey the Word of the Lord!

So how is your prayer life? Do you feel connected to God? I hope you do. Those times when God is close are so precious. Praise him if you’re in that state. And praise him if you’re not. God is worthy of praise because he’s God. Try humbling yourself before him in worship. Do whatever it takes to deal the death blow to your pride in God’s presence. Kneeling may do it for you or it may be something else. I just urge you to go after God with all the humility you can muster. If you will humble yourself, he will lift you up. You have his word on it.

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