May I share three things to encourage you toward Sunday?
1. Prepare your heart
In this atomic age when forces are being released that stagger the thought and imagination of man it is well to remember that prayer transcends all other forces. (F. J. Huegel)
Men, Jesus said, Without me, you can do nothing (John 15:5)! Preparing your heart through prayer is more important than delivering your sermon. Passionate, dependent, scripture-filled prayer says, “Lord, You are able, I am not!”
2. Prepare your message
Men, we have been challenged to Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2) since the day we sensed God’s call to the ministry. Those folks who gather to hear you Sunday need hope and to see Christ. Therefore, preach the Word under the control of the Holy Spirit from a heart set on fire by God!
Give the sheep good grain, a message from God’s Word, not just a sermon.
3. Prepare your family
Saturday evening, gather your family together and share what the Lord has taught you and what you will deliver in the message on Sunday. Have them pray for you and with you.
Make your family a vital part of the ministry team!
Preacher, will you be ready?
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:27-29)
Do you feel a sense of guilt when you take time to go on a date with you wife?
Does guilt grab ahold of you if you are playing in the backyard with your children and a church member drives by?
If that church member stops to say hello, does a feeling of guilt lead you to give a reason or excuse for taking time to enjoy your children?
Does guilt consume you while on vacation?
When the day is done, do you deal with guilt because you didn’t get all of your boxes checked or those visits made?
GUILT….an emotion that can create ongoing discouragement in ministry.
How do you deal with it?
1. If you have started your day in prayer seeking the Lord’s will as well as surrendering your plans to His leading, then rest in His sovereign care and direction.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand (Psalm 37:23-24).
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose (Proverbs 16:1, 3-4a).
2. Live to please the Lord, to glorify Him, and realize that you will never be able to please everyone in your congregation. Furthermore, they cannot always please you either. Yes, you are an example to the flock and they are watching you, but if you live to honor the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31), then you have lined up with the highest standard. So respond with humility and grace. Neither pastor nor parishioner should have a standard for the other that they themselves are not living up to. Be gracious and give others some latitude.
3. Your freedom from the fear of man will be a testimony to your people as you interact with them in love and compassion. Lead them to see that for all of us, our expectation, our hope must come from the Lord (Psalm 62:5).
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe (Proverbs 29:25).
4. Your identity is in Christ alone in Whom you are accepted. Spend some time soaking your soul in Romans 6-8 and Philippians 1.
To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Ministry friend, remember that we live in a sin-cursed world that will never work right. So, rest in the promises of God, rest in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rest in Matthew 11:28-30, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [f]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Ah, yes! That’s the correct question and the correct setting.
A prayer life is compartmentalizing your walk with God. A life of prayer aptly describes what the Christian life should look like–a man solely dependent upon God for spiritual life and vitality, an eternal, biblical viewpoint, wisdom from the Throne of God, and a relationship with his Heavenly Father that is real and personal.
Jesus speaking to His disciples said, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5). These same words are greatly needed for all of us in ministry.
How interesting, too, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, our Savior and Great High Priest and Intercessor is a man of prayer (Luke 3:21-22; 5:15-16; 6:12-13; 9:18, 28; 18:1; 22:31-32; 23:46).
So, what’s another remedy for discouragement in ministry? A life of prayer!
“Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to a minister. Pray, then, my dear brother; pray, pray, pray.” — Edward Payson
“You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed. Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.” — John Bunyan
So, may I encourage you who are prone to discouragement in ministry, see prayer as your life.
Pray on Monday! Make it a day of just praising the Lord for Who He is and what He did on Sunday. Redirect your focus upward not manward. Use Psalms 34:1-9; 92:1-8; 100; 103; 111:1-5; 117; 145 to pray in praise and thanksgiving. I would greatly encourage you to only pray this way on Mondays—praise and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-8).
Pray such that your sermon becomes a message from God. While studying the words of the text, talk to God about it. When you take a coffee break, talk to God about it . . . and listen to what He says. When you are driving down the road to visit a dear soul, talk to God about it. When Sunday comes, the message to preach is a burden from God that He responsible for, and not you. You will be so consumed with what God has taught you and how He has changed you that when you preach, the congregation will see Jesus, and not you. “Strange it is that any discussion of preaching should take place outside the context of believing prayer. We have not prepared until we have prayed… We cannot represent God if we have not stood before God” (David Larsen).
Pray with your wife. (Meals only do not count but can be included.)
Pray with your children.
Pray with your parents and in-laws.
Pray with ministry leaders in your church. Call and ask them to pray with you and for you. Maybe meet somewhere in the country, the mountains, or a coffee shop and have a three-way conversation with the Head of the Church!
Pray with pastors and other ministry leaders outside your church. As above, call a friend in ministry and say, “Just wanted to ask you spend some time in prayer with me and for me. Let’s talk to the Lord together!”
Pray with the one who just unloaded their burdens on you. Just you implore them to obey 1 Peter 5:6-7, you do the same with that burden. You are not to carry it either!
Pray with and/or for your server at the restaurant.
Pray right then and there when you are asked to pray about a situation or individual.
Pray Scripture with your Bible and your eyes wide-open!!
Pray in your “prayer closet” or that quiet place near your home or in the woods.
Pray on Sunday morning with a group of prayer people before Sunday School and the morning gathering.
Pray that you have a life of prayer, not a prayer life.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Remember, it was Jesus Who said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) and “Men ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
Hiking is so much like life! Constant ups and downs, wear and tear on your body, hidden and exposed roots that cause you to stumble, stony trails that cause your feet to burn and twist, steep climbs that seem to last forever, stinkin’ socks and fellow hikers, the burden of 25-40 pounds on your back, sloshing through a rain-soaked trail, and wishing you could carry your bed from home in your backpack in exchange for the ground or a shelter floor!
As I stood on one of the many awe-inspiring, give-God-praise views on the Appalachian Trail this week, I proclaimed to my hiking buddy, Rick, “And you ask me why we love to hike????” (Besides the fact that we just love being outdoors in the mountains!)
Men, one of the reasons we are prone to become discouraged in ministry is the view. Ministry can be like what I described in the first paragraph. While carrying the weight of “your church” on your shoulders, all you see are ministry deadlines, the constant burdens of others, unmet expectations, another sermon to ream out, your body wearing down, the battle of your flesh, and a mind full of stinkin’ thinkin’!!! Just like the old adage, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” You need to change the view.
Learn to rest! Most folks in ministry do not know how to rest! We are on the go 24/7 with our foot on the accelerator pushed to the floor. Even on vacation, we are still thinking ministry, taking calls, answering texts, and thinking about next Sunday’s sermon.
Rest breaks are crucial while hiking. As we climbed up the mountain to McAfee Knob and trekked the distance over to Tinker Cliffs, periodic rest breaks for water and a protein snack gave energy and heart to press forward. Even along the way, we enjoyed other views as we dropped our packs and briefly rested. We knew the extraordinary views were coming!
Your rest breaks could be . . .
a drive in the country with your wife (no ministry discussion allowed)
a walk or bike ride in a nearby park
15 minutes on the back porch singing and swinging
reading the Psalms or Philippians for your heart’s sake and not for a sermon
no phone at supper while remaining at the table with your wife to chat for 15-30 minutes at the end of your meal
your prayer closet
a power nap
watching something humorous to get you laughing
a cup of coffee or tea and a healthy snack
calling your wife and talking to her like you did when you were dating (seriously)
Facetimeing one of your grandkids . . . that’ll lighten up your heart
Ministry friend, learn to rest. Remember, Jesus went to the mountains and the wilderness to get away (Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12). You need those rest breaks more than Jesus did. You are not the Messiah!
The “hike” in ministry calls for periods of rest. The “views” will be much better when you do!
So you have completed a full day of ministry. You have proclaimed and taught the Word of God, perhaps as many as three to four times. You have praised the Lord with all your heart! You have listened to many burdens, heard maybe a complaint or two, and sought to encourage and edify many. You have worked through a power point failure during your third point, a crying baby, and on the way home, a flat tire. As you ease into your chair in the family room and take a deep breath, you can still hear all the “noise” of the day in your mind, even if you are catching up on Sunday night football and Facebook.
Be careful! Your mind and body are worn out! You are reliving the day. Thoughts of “what if” and “if only” and “I should have” start to permeate your mind. You are a prime target for the flesh and the devil to lie to you. It’s a set up, friend!
May I encourage you . . . and remind myself?
First of all, instead of listening to yourself, preach the Truth to yourself . . . instead of just to those who gathered to hear the message. You proclaimed the Truth with passion and conviction all day. Now, believe and live out what you preached! Rest in it. Lean hard into it. His Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). Your failures of the day are a good reminder that you are frail and totally dependent on God’s grace and mercy all the time. Your successes, and only God determines that, are what they because Christ worked through you to build His Church, to do His work, not yours. So rejoice in Him! Praise Him! Thank Him!
Second, start counting your blessings from the day and record them in a journal or on your phone . . . even if it might have been a difficult Sunday! Satan doesn’t want you to remember the goodness of God that you experienced through the day. Most of all, remember your position and identification in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14). You are accepted in the Beloved (1:6).
Third, track your thinking and what you usually do on Sunday nights. Make sure it does not feed your discouragements. Perhaps a good idea would be to put the kids to bed, and you and your wife enjoy some time alone! Act like you’re newlyweds! Hold hands, kiss, cuddle, and enjoy the wife your youth (Proverbs 5:18). Encourage each other. And, just like Saturday night, hold hands and pray before drifting off to sleep. You need her, she needs you and you both need the Lord!!
Sleep well, friend, and . . . let’s pray for one another to choose what’s right by God’s grace.
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, . . . and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
What would draw hundreds of men from Missouri, Ohio, New Jersey, South Carolina, and even California?
Great entertainment? Good food? Well-known speakers? Attractive venue?
What would you say if I told you the draw is . . . prayer?
Really? Yes, indeed!
Men’s Prayer Advance.
Each year men gather in the Roanoke, VA, area to worship by listening to strong, Holy-Spirit infused preaching, full-throttle singing with hearts and voices in joyful praise, and most of all, meeting together at the Throne of Grace in passionate, expectant prayer!! This is “an encounter with Christ!”
Men’s Prayer Advance is a no frills, no fluff meeting properly described by its name.
MEN’S: Luke 18:1 says, Men ought always to pray, and 1 Timothy, 2:8, I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. You should see and hear these men pouring out their hearts to the Lord in transparent, honest, pleading, crying out, believing prayer! The highlight every year occurs on Friday at 11:00 a.m. with “Sweet Hour of Prayer” where men get alone with God for one hour or more in prayer of praise and petitions. One man said to me, “I missed lunch because my time with the Lord would so good!!” Some prayer meetings continue on into late Thursday night and Friday morning after the Thursday evening service.
PRAYER:Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18). “Prayer doesn’t begin on earth, it begins in heaven.” (Ron Lynch)
ADVANCE: As we hear so often from Harold Vaughan, the founder of Christlife Ministries, “This is not a prayer retreat, it’s a prayer advance! We’re not backing up, giving up, or slowing down.” For three days, from Thursday at 1:30 p.m. until Saturday noon, it is an intentional move toward God! James gives us an example of a man advancing in prayer. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. (James 5:16-18 AMP)
What draws you to have an encounter with Christ? Have you met with Him today in prayer? Are you advancing or retreating?
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing. The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; not those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray.” ~ S. D Gordon
(If you would like information about future Advances for men, ladies, students and couples, check out Prayer Advances.)
Many years ago I started the habit of keeping a daily journal. This has practice has given back over and over again in my life. As I reread the entries from the week or month or even perusing through another year’s journal, the reminders of God’s faithfulness, love, teaching, wisdom, care, guidance, provision, and grace abound! There’s also the reminders of joy, sorrow, fun, heartache, ups and downs, the general stuff of life and the moments you don’t want to forget.
With that said, I end this year looking back through my journal to share some of life’s lessons and blessings with you.
Celebrated 40 years of marriage in June with my sweetheart, best friend, and companion. We have done something special on the 2oth of every month since we were married on June 20. Wrote 40 blessings of being married for 40 years.
Celebrated 20 years of ministry at Boones Creek Bible Church via the gift of a month long sabbatical from our church family.
Statements throughout my journal: “By grace, give and live abundantly in Christ today!!” “Nothing is impossible with God!” “God uses weak men.” “What we think of God and believe of Him determines how we view all of life.” “The believer in life should love life.” “Jesus is enough.” “Do we just possess the Word or do we practice the Word?” “The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page.” “Just another typical day in the life of a child of God.” “Victims become victors and the condemned become conquerors through Christ alone!” “God puts His people in the right place at the right time to accomplish His righteous work.”
The joy of preaching through 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Hebrews on Sunday morning!
Family gatherings: Celebrating our 40th anniversary, Pigeon Forge, Thanksgiving and Christmas, to mention a few!
Many Thursday entries about the blessings of our small group meeting in our home as we sang, prayed, studied the Word, shared, watch God answer prayer, gathered around the bar counter enjoying fellowship, watching discipleship take place, etc.!!
“Denise had Shiloh here for the morning and lunch and Shepherd here for the afternoon. . . . Alli and the boys came for an afternoon visit. . . . Shepherd went with me to return tables to the church. . . . After running with Andrew, I picked up Shepherd and Shiloh for a DD run and then Dollar Tree for a toy before leaving for camp. . . . Enjoyed watching football with Shepherd. . . . Went to the boys’ home to see them open up birthday gifts—so much fun! . . . . Shepherd and Shiloh stayed overnight with us.” (Do you get it????)
“Although the Utah Missions trip was officially called off today, Andrew reported that all money was refunded! Praise the Lord for directing him to secure Covid insurance for this trip. The teens are learning from this major change in their plans.”
“Grace to preach Hebrews 2:14-18. Wonderful time of worship through communion. Watching our folks worship is such a joy! Congregational singing: Because He Lives, By Faith, O Lord My Rock & My Redeemer, His Mercy is More!”
“Blessing: Received a text from ________________________ saying they were coming through town and wanted to catch up with us! So good to see these dear friends again!” This was a common occurrence through the year!
“After enjoying ice cream cake for Paul’s 41st birthday, they shared their big announcement—-the Lord has led them to foster to adopt! Wow!! Another answer to prayer in the way the Lord would have it, not our way or thoughts!”
“Music on the Square, good times with Denise!” “Denise and I left for Carter Fold to hear Carson Peters & Iron Mountain. Packed house, good concert, great to be back at the Fold. So wholesome, family-oriented, great time to be with Denise!”
“Ran the Tweetsie Trail—beautiful day!” “AT Spivey Gap to High Rocks; Rick & me; snow 6 inches to 2 feet!” “AT Cherokee Flats south to Pearisburg, VA; 22 miles; camped out on Peter’s Mt; Rick & me.”
Read Deep Discipleship (English); The Faith of Christopher Hitchens (Taunton); Calvary Road (Hessions); How to Worship Christ (Carroll); On Pastoring (Charles) and others.
“Tested positive for covid today.”
As 2021 closes, this scripture passage and song encapsulates my year.
Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.
Thank you for reading! More than anything, I trust that the Lord Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior; that you are follower of Christ; that you are secure in Christ for all eternity (John 1:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:1-2:10; Titus 3:5). If not, please watch the video link in the sidebar above.
Noise is everywhere! Music blaring over the speaker system in the clothing stores, loud diesel pickup trucks billowing their smoke as they scream by your house, parents hollering threats at their children as they make their way through Wal-Mart, phone notifications and text messages keeping us on edge, etc.
Sadly, too many of us do not know how to be still or even how to deal with “awkward” quiet. For far too many, our lives are characterized by rush, running, and racket.
While being on sabbatical this month, one of the blessings that has come our way has been times of quiet and stillness. They have come to us seated by the lake at Watauga Point for the afternoon, enjoying the gardens outside Boone Tavern Inn after breakfast, outdoor supper by a quiet brook at Pottery Barn Cafe & Grille, on our back porch, in our family room, and on the deck and the upstairs window seat of a friend’s lake cottage to name a few.
Blessed Quietness, a hymn from yesteryear, speaks to that which alludes so many. How can you know and experience that blessed quietness?
The fourth stanza says, “What a wonderful salvation, where we always see God’s face! What a perfect habitation, what a quiet resting place!” First of all, you must have the chaos in your sinful heart and soul quieted by the resting work of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ alone. On the cross when Jesus was crucified, He declared, It is finished, and He bowed His and gave up His spirit (John 19:30). The work of salvation was complete (Isaiah 53:4-6; Ephesians 2:8-9). The greatest rest for man comes with the complete assurance of full salvation through the complete work of Jesus Christ. Take time to read the following: John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 5:24; 10:28; 17:3; 1 John 5:11-13.
Second, meditate and operate in life through the familiar words of Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me (1-4).
In Hebrew, the words for ‘still waters’ in Psalm 23:2b are “Mai Menochot”, meaning literally, “restful waters”. Our Shepherd wants to lead us to a place of rest, a place of trust, a place of confidence, a place where you rely on Him and focus on Him without anything that will distract you. He wants to take the “heavy load” from your life and replace it with His everlasting peace and rest. (Moran, Hope4Israel.org)
Begin each day with quiet in the presence of your Shepherd. Bathe your soul in the Word of God and prayer. Rest in Him as you read. When you pray, talk out loud to God, but then stop and listen to Him speak quietly to you. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 42:1; Philippians 4:6-8).
Men, you take the lead. Discipline yourself to have times of uninterrupted quiet with the Lord. Designate a place at home, in the woods, on a walk, or by a creek where you can read the Word and commune with the Lord. Here’s a helpful resource.
Husbands, make sure your wife has times of solitude. She is your first ministry.
Dads, teach your children how to be still before the Lord even when they are young.
We will always have noise around us, but don’t let it rob you of the stillness of salvation and your relationship with The Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Exchange the rush, running and racket for blessed quietness.
Blessed quietness, holy quietness, what assurance in my soul! On the stormy sea He speaks peace to me, how the billows cease to roll!
You made it! How marvelous it has been to intentionally set aside a time to remove all distractions and behold the wonder of our God. Thank you!!! I’m sure you could say as Solomon, Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. (Psalm 72:18-19). Indeed, this will fully occur when Christ comes to reign, but how wonderful through prayer to see God’s will done on earth as it in heaven (Matt. 6:10) right now!
As we wrap up this 21 day journey, may I encourage you . . .
Do not let up! Keep on delighting in God through intimate conversations in the Secret Place (Psalm 91:1-4). Stay out of the rut of dull routine. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:3-4)
Continue to pray with your spouse, your children, your brothers and sisters in Christ, your neighbors, etc. Meal time praying does not count. Your best conversations will always be with others at the Throne of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16; James 5:16, Pray one for another.)
Seek the Lord each day whereby you reach such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:8; John 17; Romans 8:26)
Join with your church family in making prayer the primary ministry at BCBC. How I long for the auditorium to be filled at 8:30 on Sunday mornings with “the 10:30 crowd” of faith-believing, Word-filled, expectant believers crying out in prayer for the God-sized tasks!! (Jeremiah 33:3) Until we do, we will see God do a few things but not what He really wants to accomplish through His people for His glory. (Matthew 13:58)
That prayer would be “hot” in our discipleship small groups that meet on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Answers to prayer would be seen over and over and over and over as we recognize the character of the Giver of all good things!!
To abide in Christ in your life of prayer (John 15:7) as we pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
To earnestly pray that BCBC will fulfill the Great Commission in every area of ministry; that discipleship will be the main motivation of ministry. This is our mandate in this Church Age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Join with Christ in you Who rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
To pray much for this Resurrection Sunday gathering as we acknowledge the One Who gives us resurrection hope in prayer, the reason to pray (Ephesians 1:15-23; Hebrews 7:25). Pray for lost souls to be born of God (1 John 5:1, 11-12)!!!
Again, praise the Lord Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation (Psalm 68:19); for all He has revealed to us about Himself, our Savior and ourselves during these blessed days of prayer!! Be in awe of Him and believe in Him to do the impossible!
How appropriate that the 20th day of our “21 Days of Prayer” would fall on Good Friday, the day we fix our thoughts in particular on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The doctrinal significance of the death of Christ on the cross in regards to prayer is displayed in part by the following scriptures:
We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1b-2)
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The practical application is now given in part below by Oswald Chambers from his classic, My Utmost For His Highest.
We too often think of the Cross of Christ as something we have to get through, yet we get through for the purpose of getting into it. The Cross represents only one thing for us— complete, entire, absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ— and there is nothing in which this identification is more real to us than in prayer.
“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should we ask? The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.
“…I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you…” (John 16:26-27). Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ? Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life? If so, then “in that day” you will be so closely identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.
When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to place the blame on someone else. That is always a trap of Satan. When you seem to have no answer, there is always a reason— God uses these times to give you deep personal instruction, and it is not for anyone else but you.
Today, consider and answer the following:
Meditate and pray through the passages of Scripture given above.
Meditate on the truth of your identification with Christ in prayer, especially in regards to “the point of prayer.”
Which is more important to you, God answering your prayers or being a living trophy of God’s grace?
Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ?
Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life?
Did you receive deep personal instruction from God today that was just for you?
The veil is torn in two. Enter into the joy the Lord!