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Prayer is Dependence

August 21, 2012

I was recently encouraged to pray more. Often when asked about their prayer life a Christian might say, “Oh, I could definitely pray more.” Why though? Why would you want to pray more?

Instead of getting all theological about it (which I was going to do), let me explain what causes prayer in my own life.

I am moved to prayer when people ask me for help. As a pastor, people ask me to help them all the time whether its to help to save a marriage, move a piano, comfort the bereaved, or to spare some gas money. God can help these people better than I can, so I go to him with their needs and ask him to help them and to give me wisdom as I do what he calls me to do.

I am moved to prayer when I see people suffering. I spend about 4 hours a week with a number of under-resourced people in Campbell River who make their way into the Lighthouse Centre for lunch. I try to get to know them and hear their stories. One older man, who is an alcoholic, lost all of his family by the time he was 32 (3 brothers, a sister & both parents). He used to be addicted to crack, but now drinks because its safer and it takes away his pain. I just turned 32 two days ago, and can’t imagine having lost everyone. How can I possibly show this man (or anyone else) that Jesus is more satisfying and his Spirit is more comforting than drugs or alcohol has to offer? I need God’s help in that regard…and essentially, God needs to do it, so I go to him when I see people suffering.

I am moved to prayer when I recognize my sin. 1 John is clear that if I think I’m without sin, I’m a liar. My biggest sin is pride, and it comes out in so many ways, whether I think I’m better than someone, demand my own way, hide my problems by talking other people down, or desiring man’s approval rather than God, its all sin before God. I go to God because I know I don’t measure up to his standard and I know I need to throw myself and the mercy and grace of God that is mine through Jesus Christ. Because of my sin, I fall on his grace.

I am moved to prayer when I see people’s need for Jesus. There are so many people in the world who are striving to find their identity in something that will never satisfy. I see people struggling to keep or get a job, youth trying to carve out a place for themselves in this world, and many who are simply given a rough go at life. I pray for people because it is God alone who can satisfy our desires, it is God alone who can give us an identity of value and God alone who can care for our souls.

I am moved to prayer when faced with immaturity in the Church. As I lead and plant a Church I am becoming more and more aware of the need for growth in maturity towards Christlikeness among the sheep. I’m realizing that discipleship is a SLOW process and the Holy Spirit is working on people’s hearts in as many ways as there are people. So I go to God for those he has entrusted to my care…learning to shepherd and care for them at different stages of their maturing process.

I am moved to prayer when I don’t know what to do with my kids. My kids make me crazy sometimes, but when I really think about it, they’re really just little reflections of Keely and I. Their problems are most likely my problems and I don’t always know how to discipline them. I want to shepherd them well and be gracious to them and parent them in a Christlike manner, but I need help! So I drop to my knees and ask God for wisdom knowing that he is the best Father and I need to take my cues from him.

The fact is, I am moved to prayer when I recognize that God is the one I depend on. I go to God because he can help, because he cares, because he forgives, because he will bring growth, because he is all wise…I pray when I am dependent on God.

My prayer life reveals my heart. When I don’t pray, I’m not dependent on God, so instead of asking, “How’s my prayer life?” A better question to ask is “How is my dependence on God?” Do I depend on him? Do I go to him when others go to me for help? Do I recognize that apart from him I can do nothing?

Let me encourage you with the words of Jesus from John 15:4-5 (ESV):

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

I’ve got really big dreams for the City of Campbell River and the Church within this city…dreams that I believe God has put in my heart. And I’d be a fool to think that I can see it happen without him…so I pray and depend on him to accomplish the dreams he’s placed in my heart.

How is your dependence on God? When do you find yourself moved to prayer?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Didi permalink
    August 25, 2012 9:22 am

    Hi there…I appreciate this writing, Mark. Often, when I pray, I have to say, “I KNOW Lord, that You already know what I’m going to say, but thank You that I can come to You, because I know You’re there, always, so I’m thankful to be able to say, almost constantly, I am given the opportunity to be moved by SO Many times, and people, and situations to give thanks to our Creator and Sustainer, for His provisions…AMAZING! Thanks for your shared thoughts, Mark.

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