Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One True Constant

I was thinking about all the "if's" in Scripture, the conditional promises of God, and the ones that apply specifically to prayer. I was thinking about prayerlessness and how it seems to be a true constant across denominational lines. Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Calvinists and Arminians all seem consistently able to ignore prayer. And, I was also thinking about the presence of an increase of cooperative prayer in and around every major move of God in modern history.

John Wesley wrote, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer; and even they who have been converted to God without praying for it themselves, (which is exceeding rare,) were not without the prayer of others. Every new victory which a soul gains is the effect of a new prayer."

Some disagree with Wesley on doctrinal grounds, arguing that God will save whom He will save and that prayer makes no difference in that. Have they confused the sovereignty of God with a fatalistic view that preaches "whatever will be, will be?" God said "If My people pray . . ." He is sovereign and yet still holds man accountable for his decisions and actions. Do some fail to pray because they believe all things are predetermined and prayer will make no difference?

Some see no need for Wesley's argument, because they believe there is no need for prayer. God is good, and so does good things to those people who are good, and most people are inherently good. So, if there is no hell, at least not for virtually all people, then why pray?

Some of us seem to think that our actions speak louder than our prayers. We are doers, and we want to love and preach the gospel and stay busy in our church and in our lives. Our theology seems to be "God helps those who helps themselves." Why pray if God is more concerned with what I do than what He will do when we pray?

Most of us don't pray, simply because we are disobedient. Prayerlessness is, after all, disobedience. To fail to pray for what God wants most, the lost to be saved, reveals a heart that is far out of tune with the heart of God. But, it's even more simple than that. Most of us don't pray because we don't believe God. And, unbelief is the root of our disobedience. We don't believe His commands, or we would pray. We don't believe that we live, and move and have our being in Him, or we would pray. We don't believe the lost are blinded by Satan, or we would pray. We don't believe that God will send unbelievers to eternal suffering, or we would pray. We believe we will have what we want if we work hard enough, and that prayer has little to do with it. We do not believe that His house is a house of prayer, and so when we come together we sing, and give, and preach, and welcome, and then someone else prays for us.

Then, there comes a crisis, and we pray, for awhile, because we have been reminded that only God can and that, very often, He will not unless we pray. And, hopefully, we never forget that, and prayer becomes our constant conversation, and our first response to all crises and all needs. And, we pray, because we love Him, and there is no one we would rather talk to than God, no one we would rather depend upon than Him.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Cyle. I needed this tonite. selahV

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Cyle: came over by way of selahv. Good thoughts here. I have to admit that my prayer life, while maintained on a daily basis, has become rather routine. Time to change that.