In the midst of a very busy lifestyle these days, very few realise that some of the most important things in life are being missed out. Wrong priorities mar the beauty and meaning of the life God has given us to live. In the pursuit of money, material things and the comforts of life, life itself gets lost!
When the Lord Jesus came to the earth, He showed us the type of life that God intended every man to live. He became our model in everything. Let us look at the priorities of the life of Jesus as He lived in this word and fulfilled God’s plan for His life.
Luke’s Gospel presents Jesus as a perfect Man and shows us the values and priorities that Jesus maintained. The very first recorded utterance of our Lord sheds light on His main concern in life — “the Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). He spoke these words as He was found in the temple, which was the house of prayer (Mark 11:17). Throughout His early life too, He was always concerned about communing with the Father. At the opening of His public ministry, as He was being baptised, He was seen praying (3:21).
In Luke 5:15, we see a great multitude coming to hear Jesus and be healed by Him. And yet, the next verse tells us, He withdrew Himself to the wilderness and prayed. The crowds were not His priority, neither the healing ministry. Talking to His Father was His priority. Luke 6:12 tells us that Jesus continued all night in prayer to God. He went out or withdrew, and that was a deliberate planned act. He chose the presence of God rather than the presence of man.
The crowds were not His priority, neither the healing ministry. Talking to His Father was His priority
Again, Mark 1:35 tells us that in the morning, rising up before the day, He went out and departed into a solitary place and there prayed. He would not see the face of man before He saw the face of His Father. Though He too had a busy day with so many programmes before Him, He desired to set some time apart before entering it. He wanted to talk to God about men, before talking to men about God.
Jesus also spent the whole night in prayer before choosing the disciples, one of the most important decisions in His ministry. In Luke 9:18, we see Him praying alone. In the same chapter on the mount of transfiguration, His countenance altered as He prayed. The Gospels bear clear testimony to the fact that the priority of Jesus’ life was communion with the Father. This was not an occasional act either, but was done often.
If communion with God was so important to the Son of God while He was on this earth, how much more should it be for us too? Comfort-loving Christendom today sees prayer as a ritual. Prayer is offered for namesake or for getting things done as a part of our routine. In the lives of too many believers today, there is no meaningful, deep-level communion with the Father. As a result of this, life is boring, miserable and monotonous. There is no rejoicing in the Lord always or experiencing the abundant life the Lord Jesus promised to give.
Prayer is declaring our total dependence on the Lord and our allegiance to Him. In prayer, we are acknowledging our own inability and weakness; we seek God’s strength and wisdom as we seek the face of God. Prayerlessness is a sign of our carnal pride and it boasts that things can be done in our own power without God.
Prayerlessness is a sign of our carnal pride and it boasts that things can be done in our own power without God
No wonder families are breaking up, quarrels and divisions among God’s people are increasing, and believers are becoming more and more worldly in their outlook. Lack of heavenly wisdom renders us unwise to handle the complicated problems of life we are called upon to handle everyday.
People say they are busy. If someone is so busy that they cannot find time to pray, it means that they are involved in something that God has not intended for their lives; they are busier than what God has planned for them. We need to learn to be satisfied with the lesser material things in order that we may find time to commune with God. The more material things one has, the less time one will have for God. A deliberate, disciplined effort is needed in order to manage our time and prioritise things in life.
Prayer is not merely an activity either. It is a life lived, a lifestyle followed. You cannot live carnal lives and pray spiritual prayers. In your prayer life, the whole life is involved. Prayer is the whole person. It is not just the word uttered. God looks at the heart as we pray and decides what answer to give. We need to have a heart condition that will prompt more than what we pray. Our lives affect our prayers seriously. They must be clean and holy before we can offer prayers that are acceptable to God.
Today, many live with secret sin and disobedience to God’s Word and, at the same time, pray for the conversion of sinners and a change in society. God wants to change the life of the one who prays before changing the society around him. A life lived in sin and disobedience to God’s Word cannot evoke any response from God.
A life lived in sin and disobedience to God’s Word cannot evoke any response from God
Unjudged sins, even in the thought life, are an abomination to God. An unforgiving spirit, love for the world, bitterness, jealousy, backbiting, and lustful looks are all equally detested by God. Prayers from an unholy heart are unholy prayers and they cannot enter into the presence of a holy God. Only the man who constantly purifies himself (judging the sins in his own personal life) and maintains a clean heart can have meaningful interaction and communion with God.
At the root of prayerlessness is the lack of a true knowledge of God. You cannot talk to a God whom you hardly know. No one can keep talking for hours to a stranger; but to a friend, any number of hours would not suffice. Only one who knows God intimately can spend time with Him — and intimacy grows as more time is spent with Him. We need to pray earnestly that God might create in us a deep hunger to know Him.
Secrets are shared at the prayer closet (Psalm 25:14), impressions of what burdens the heart of God are made on our heart, God’s will is revealed (Psalm 25:12), our strength is renewed (Isaiah 40:31), and His glory is radiated through our lives (Exodus 34:30). We will come to know God and His plan for our life and ministry. How can we fulfill His will for life unless we know it? There is no substitute for spending time with God. A praying man will accomplish more than a busy man. One of the greatest embarrassments many are going to face at the judgment seat of Christ will be the smallness of our praying.
Let us discipline ourselves to spend more time with God. Let us plan our time for God more precisely than we plan other things in life. May we withdraw often to commune with our heavenly Father. Let us set a bulk of our time apart to talk to Him and sort out everything in our life according to His plan. Then, we shall find real meaning in life and experience fullness of joy. Above all, God’s heart will be pleased as He finds pleasure in the company of those of us who wait upon Him day and night.
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