Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Satan and prayer

As I was driving to work this morning I was hit by the thought that Satan fully understands the power of prayer and uses fear to keep God’s children powerless. He makes us self-conscious about praying out loud. He causes us to be concerned about whether others will approve of the way we pray. We worry that we will not be eloquent or that our prayer will be too short. Or too long. So out of fear we elect not to pray. Yet prayer is our connection to God. It is how we learn what he desires of us. It is how we ask him to intercede on our behalf, to give us strength, courage, and wisdom. It is how we draw near to him and learn his will for us, for our lives. Satan knows all of this and knows that if he can keep us from prayer then he will have less resistance against his plans and desires for this world.

I am reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala and he talks about the powerfulness of the prayer meetings in his church and how they are the factor that determines his church’s effectiveness. A quote in the book says:

You can tell how popular a church is by who comes on Sunday morning. You can tell how popular the pastor or evangelist is by who comes on Sunday night. But you can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to the prayer meeting. p.28

That quote really struck me. I have encountered numerous people who refuse to pray in front of others. I used to be one of those people. I was terrified of how I would sound, whether I would mess up. I know how important praying in community is and have asked God to stretch me in this area (and boy has He!). I’ll admit that there are still times when I feel insecurity and doubt, but I know that’s Satan trying to keep me from praying. He wants to sever my lifeline. I don’t want to give him any satisfaction. I have to remind myself that my prayer is not for those I’m with but for God alone. It doesn’t matter if I’m eloquent or if I stumble through. What matters is my sincerity. Most people will not remember what you said five minutes later. But God will hear our call and will answer.

As of late I have been trying to spend more time in prayer. Sure, I spend some time each morning praying, but I know that’s not enough - I am not satisfied with just those few minutes. We are supposed to pray without ceasing and, while that sounds daunting, it seems like a reasonable goal to work toward.

I have joined a prayer group that has committed to meeting together monthly. We are a small group of four, but I am praying that more people in our church will have a desire to petition God on the church’s behalf and that our numbers will grow. We don’t want it to be a popularity thing, but a true desire to humble ourselves before the living God and seek His will and provision.
I truly desire to have an effective prayer life and to grow deeper in my relationship with God. I want to know what His will is for me. I want to more fully comprehend his love for me. I want to be obedient and faithful. But I know that I need to seek Him daily and ask Him to give me the strength to follow Him if I am to be useful to Him.

One more quote from the book I want to share:

If the times are indeed as bad as we say they are…if the darkness in our world is growing heavier by the moment…if we are facing spiritual battles right in our own homes and churches…then we are foolish not to turn to the One who supplies unlimited grace and power. He is our only source. We are crazy to ignore him. p.86

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