SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE // PRAYER
By Chris Bowlby
On Sunday we learned that Nehemiah was tempted, by one of his own, to move towards self protection.
10 Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”
Nehemiah was facing more adversity, more conflict, and more hardship. The hits truly do keep on coming. When things are not going our way it is hard not to think of what we can do about it. How easy it is to move into a frame of mind that wants to protect ourselves! It could be a coworker that makes a backhanded comment about your work, it could be someone that takes advantage of your generosity, it could be a drop in the stock market, it could be family member that questions your commitment to your household chores. In all of these instances we are tempted towards defensiveness and self protection.
“I need to protect myself. I need to protect my feelings. I need to defend my reputation. I need to provide for myself.”
We can lock ourselves “in the temple” of our own abilities, our own wisdom, our own strength to confront the issues of the day. Prayer puts a dagger in the heart of our own self reliance. Every time we go to prayer we lay our own wisdom at the foot of the cross. Every time we go to prayer we lay down our need to defend, our need to provide.
When life becomes difficult – prayer reminds me that God is sustainer
When I am attacked – prayer reminds me that is my defender
When I am struggling with provision – prayer reminds me that God is my ultimate provider.
Timothy Keller says it best,
“To fail to pray, then, is not to merely break some religious rule—it is a failure to treat God as God”– Timothy Keller, Prayer
God is God and we are not. When we pray we proclaim to the heavens (and ourselves) that God is the ruler of all. Today we will pray.
- Grab a piece of paper, find a quiet place, and sit in the silence. If you’re anything like me you will start to feel your anxiety and worry bubble to the surface.
- Make a note about what is coming to your mind. Is it a frustrating relationship? Is it financial hardship?
- Write down your worries and notice something; notice how quick you are to begin to think of solutions! Refrain from trying to fix anything in your own wisdom.
- Begin to pray through your list, asking God to intervene and to give you wisdom on how you might participate.
- Sit in silence for 5 more minutes and allow God to speak to you in anyway he would like. Have you gained new wisdom? Have you received fresh direction? Great! If not, trust that God is working on your behalf.