The Heart of Prayer (39)

40daysprayer

Prayer Text for Today is James 4:1-10

There is no end to conflict among races, tribes, countries, and political ideologies. Human beings have had millennia to live together on this planet and the best they can do to be at peace is to put up walls and make sure they are more heavily armed than the next most likely enemy. Unarmed people are gunned down and unsuspecting officers of the law are murdered. Even among Christians there is a character assassination and disdain for those who think differently than we. Suspicion, thinking the worst of one another, selfish demanding of our own rights…. now what was that you were thinking about unanswered prayer?

What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. ~James 1:1-3

When we are moved by selfish desires in our prayers we should be shamed into silence. Too often we try to manipulate situations so that we get what we want and then claim it was a matter of prayer. Christian, we dare not try to approach the Kingdom life by worldly standards. It is adultery … a pollution of the relationship we have with the Almighty God who redeemed us from a way of life we were supposed to leave behind.

Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously?~James 1:4-5

God … Jealous? Yes … when we are so chummy with the ways of the world that we find more wisdom in fighting, hatred, division, and categorizing other believers in unkind ways. Is there anyone who hasn’t been guilty of these kinds of thoughts? No wonder we ‘ask and have not‘. God withholds the blessing from us because of His righteous jealousy that we are attracted to a world that hates us. Our goose is cooked, isn’t it? We’ve come too far down this road to look back.  Listen, don’t ever give up on God; God is never going to give up on you.

But He gives greater grace. ~James 1:6

Just bathe in that for a moment.

– He … our Heavenly Abba who sees our hearts as they are, nothing hidden.

– Gives … why would He give us anything? He is a giver by nature.

– Greater … the One who sees our heart naked and without pretense is not overcome by our sin. He is the One who overcomes our sin.

– Grace … Undeserved. Unfair. Unworldly. A worldly God would have us on the gallows. But to the Christian he gives the grace that is greater than our sin.

There’s the heart of prayer … He gives greater grace.

*So humble yourself before Him and receive grace, he resists the proud.

*So submit to Him, draw near to Him, He will come near.

*So resist the world … the Devil … clean up your act, repent, pursue purity and singleminded devotion.

 

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. ~James 1:10

You don’t deserve to be exalted or have your prayers answered or receive grace … but that’s the heart of prayer. When we stop trying to hack a path through the briars of life without Him and seek His way, we will find something new. He gives greater grace.

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”
― Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

As we enter a new year we are more dependent than ever upon the greater grace we receive from Him. Remember that grace empowers godliness, not rebellion. Let God exalt you as you bow obediently to His will.

Prayerfully, JD

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~ Just A Sinner Saved By Grace ~