From My Files:
The Way Up Is Down by J. J. Turner
Constantine the Great was one day looking at some statues of noted persons, who were represented standing. “I shall have mine kneeling,” said he, “for that is how I have risen to eminence.” That is the way it should be with the Christian. If he desires to obtain any “real eminence” in the Christian life, he must often be kneeling in prayer to God. James wrote, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:17).
Origen, being seized by persecutors, and allowed a choice between punishment and bowing to idols, in an hour of weakness chose the latter. He afterward repented and said that the cause of his fall was his neglect of morning prayer on the fatal day.
We must develop a daily prayer life. We must heed the admonition given to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). The key to receiving is asking: “…ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). The way up from problems is down on your knees in prayer. When a person prays he is doing several things:
1. He is talking to his heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9).
2. He is exercising his faith in God’s ability to answer (James 1:5,6).
3. He is following the example of Jesus Christ (MT 26:29).
4. He is allowing Christ as his mediator, to act on his behalf (1 Timothy 2:5).
5. He is exercising a blessing reserved for the righteous (Psalms 66:18).
6. He is showing his concern for others (James 5:16).
7. He is demonstrating the right attitude (1 Cor 14:15).
8. He delights God when he prays (Proverbs 15:8).
9. He gives God a chance to help. We must ‘ask’.
10. It is following the example of all the faithful people of God (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Paul…).
There are no real secrets to prayer. A Christian must go to God in faith. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). A man once said, “There was a time in my life when I prayed in the presence of others, I prayed to them; when I prayed in secret I prayed to myself. But now I pray to God.” Directness is the correct approach in prayer.
Have you set aside some specific time(s) during the day to be alone with God in prayer? It’s vital to building a positive life. The way up is down!
(Dr. J. J. Turner serves as preaching minister and elder for the Church of Christ in McDonough, GA. You can read more from him at his website www.jeremiahinstitute.com)