I recently listened to a sermon… several times, by my husband’s direction. Listened during the wee hours of the night, brightly lit- just babies and me. In fact, the Lord must have really wanted me to hear this message- one night it was on auto-play all through the night. There was no escaping it. This was good. Each time, my sleep-deprived, hormone- adjusting brain heard more.
It was a sermon on prayer. It was given by J.D. Greear from Summit Church in Raleigh NC. It was given at The Village Church in Texas (Matt Chandler).
http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/sermons 7/31 sermon.
Prayer is a topic that is close to my heart. I have seen circumstances changed through prayer over the years. I have experienced the release of God’s power. I have been blessed in His Presence.
I have also stumbled in my prayer life… forsaking this privelege.
There were many, many powerful truths shared in this sermon.
I will share two that have stayed with me, require very little thought to replay on this blog, and are simple (simple is good right now). If I was in my normal flow, I would have Scriptures, and quotes, and links and everything.
Our twins have spun my world upside down. Really. Sometimes I surface, gasping. Other times, I just hold on and am buffeted.
So- two truths, now written on my heart.
1.) Exhale. J.D. Greear (the Pastor preaching) likens prayer to breathing. Likens our need to pray to our need for oxygen. Likens the effort it takes to pray to the effort it takes to breathe. Our soul craves prayer like our bodies crave air. We breathe because we need to. So it should be with prayer. He completely demolishes the tower of excuses that can set-up in the mind when we decide to begin a prayer life. An excuse rises- a.k.a. I am not disciplined enough, I don’t have time, it is too hard, whatever. Just… exhale. Breathe. Is it too hard to breathe? Do I breathe because I am self-disciplined? I breathe because I am designed to breathe for my life. So it should be as I pray. I have sat on my rocker at 3 o clock in the morning with two babies in my arms and feet pumping a rapid, yet, gentle rhythm. And I have remembered- to exhale and pray. Breathe. Pray. The crux of this is that the cross of Christ and our faith-filled response to Jesus has forever demolished the wall keeping us from access to the throne of God. The Bible says that if we hide iniquity in our hearts, God will not hear. When we come through the cross- our iniquity is laid bare and we receive forgiveness and cleansing. Draw near to God… breathe. It is not effort. It is life.
2.) Come as a little child in faith. Come with shameless audacity. J.D. Greear preaches on the story of the man asking for loaves of bread for his company in the middle of the night. He emphasizes the extravagance of this request. It is not a desperate need. It is well-more than enough. THREE bountiful loaves of bread- not for sickness, not for basic food need, but for his guests. In the middle of the night. Rousing the entire household without shame, fear, or concern. And the passage emphasizes that his persistant asking is answered. Answered for its persistence not because of relationship. He also preaches the familiar passage of the son asking the father for something good. This passages reinforces that of course the father will not give him something poisonous. From this- I am reinforced in something that has oft been on my heart. Come as a little child, believing. Come joyfully asking. Come persistently asking. I just looked up the Scriptures and the entirety for this comes from Luke 11 and I am just amazed because this is Jesus, Himself, literally, teaching His disciples to pray. Teaching them that they will receive for their shameless audacity (NIV verse 8), that they should persistently ask, knock, and seek. J.D. Greear uses the words impudence(impudence is the ESV) in his sermon. Strong language- strong directive.
These two ideas seem to be opposite- the ease of breathing, the effort of perseverance. I think prayer is likened to breathing in our need for it, that we crave it, it is no effort- just to breathe. The effort is in the persevering and in not growing faint or weary. The continual coming. Believe.
Prayer. Exhale. Breathe. Believe. Child-like Faith. Shameless, unrelenting audacity.