"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
In today’s blog we will be closing our discussion on MR. MAP, an acronym that I used with my young boys to encourage them in their relationship with Jesus Christ. As a review, MR. MAP stands for the following:
M = Memorization
R = Reading
M = Meditation
A = Application
P = Prayer
It is only appropriate to close our series with the fifth and final discipline of Prayer.
P = Prayer
The discipline of prayer is a dynamic doorway that offers access to the Divine. The scriptures calls us to Pray always and do not falter.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought to always to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1 (KJV)
The spiritual reality and biblical position is that our humanity is fallen and smitten with sin. As a result, our humanity is incessantly encouraging the practice of prayerlessness.
I submit to you that sometimes our humanity is tantamount to a determined and deliberate heavyweight boxer landing a wicked haymaker to our head. My brothers and sisters in Christ, this heavyweight of humanity wants to knock us into tomorrow in the area of prayer.
An absent prayer life penalizes us with powerlessness and compromises our communion with Christ. Moreover, it is a sign of carelessness and cultivates callousness towards the concerns of God and His Spirit. Due to our sinful humanity, the call of compromise will sound like “sweet nothing's” to your ear. My friends: do not be deceived! Do not listen to the lies of the devil!
The Gospel group “The Winans” served us an inspirational and compelling piece about prayer. In their song "Don't Be Deceived," one of the verses in the song states:
God said to pray
You should pray always and never faint
But the Devil says its fine to pray when there is time
And you say “Okay.”
Don't you be deceived
Compare the words of the devil expressed in this song with the truth in our opening Scripture where we are exhorted to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Let’s look at the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When our Lord was hours away from the cross He was subjected to extreme anguish and distress. The prospects of embracing our evil hearts of unbelief, sin and depravity consequently causing an immediate separation from His Father mashed Him mercilessly. Establishing a pattern that we would later be encouraged to follow by the Apostle Peter, our Lord cast all of His cares and burdens before His Father in prayer.
The Lord, under the onslaught of grief and despair, asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him! However, His closest disciples where overwhelmed by the fury of their flesh and failed their Master when He needed them the most. They were crushed under the weight of their carnality and fell asleep! In response, Jesus admonished Peter, saying to him," Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41 KJV). Basically, He was telling Peter to be on the alert and pray in order to avoid crumbling and caving in to the pressure cooker of carnality. While our Lord prevailed with the power of prayer, the disciples gave way to their flesh.
The Lord Jesus Christ completely characterizes the approach we should have when we are in agonizing and anxiety-filled situations. He did not have what too many pastors and people of faith display; something I call "a P and P issue." This is where your presentation is incongruent with your practice.
Occupied in an oppressed state and tremendously taxed, tortured and thumped with a devastating barrage of distress, He positioned himself in the power of prayer and persevered! Three times He prayed to the Father "not my will but your will be done.”
Remember: the call of carnality will always champion the capitulation to self. Carnality seeks to condition your conscience to close the door to the Spirit of God's influence. In response, we must always pray, pray, pray and pray some more.
To reinforce our resolve to pray, consider the following tool that will encourage and escalate your prayer life. P-R-A-Y. To P-R-A-Y means to:
1) Position ourselves in His power.
2) Respectfully request with resolve.
3) Approach His throne in faith.
4) Yoke and yield ourselves to His will.
Without prayer you have insufficient intimacy with God and you invoke impotency in your Christian walk. You are choosing personal defeat verses power and victory through Jesus Christ. I encourage you to remember the exhortation of Jesus Christ to pray and to faint not so that you can walk in victory in your life.
As we close this series, remember when you read the word of God to invite MR. MAP along. He will assist you in opening your eyes to see the wonder and power of the Word of God in your life.
For the Glory of God,