Seven Prayers

At some point (I don’t know when) and somewhere (I don’t know where) I picked up a list of seven things to pray for. I jotted the list down on a prayer guide that I use and these seven prayer requests have been a part of my daily prayer ever since. I thought I would share them with you today.

1. Humility of Wisdom
I am briefly interrupting my series of posts on First Corinthians to share this with you today. If you have followed this series, you know that the Corinthians were extremely proud of their knowledge and yet they were completely lacking in love and humility. If you hold Truth, you hold a valuable possession which cannot be held in the slippery hands of pride. If you have human wisdom, it is nothing. But if you have heavenly wisdom, remember that it did not come from you. Remain humble.

2. Understanding of the Future
We are certainly living in tumultuous times. Uncertainty seems to be steering the ship. John begins his Revelation with these words, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3). We should pray that God would help us to understand the spirit of the age and how to combat it. Let us also pray that He would prepare us to live, and if necessary die, for the Gospel in the days ahead.

3. Counsel for Decisions
Try counting how many decisions you make over the course of a day. Good luck. I am fairly certain that it doesn’t matter to God if you wear the blue shirt or the red shirt today, but His council should be sought in every important decision that we must make. After all, His name is Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).

4. Power for Service
Let’s face it, serving is rarely an easy thing for our flesh to do. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, “Be not weary in well doing” (Thessalonians 3:13). Where do we find power for service? In Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:” (Acts 1:8).

5. Knowledge of Revelation
One of the greatest battlefields for the Christian is the mind. The enemy will do anything to get you to believe a lie and be damned. Always remember, that which is closest to the truth is the most dangerous lie. Pray that God would guard your mind, protect you from every lie and false doctrine, and give you a love for Truth.

6. Respect for Holiness
It often seems that holiness is mocked and despised at worst, or defended in ignorance at best. We need to do more than practice holiness (inward and outward) because that is what our parents and grandparents did. We need develop a love and a respect for holiness. We develop a respect for holiness when we gain an understanding of the importance and benefits of living a holy life. Pray that God would give you knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in every issue of holiness.

7. Dependance on the Holy Spirit
We would be foolish to believe that we could do anything by our own talent, ability, or willpower. Paul even called the Galatians foolish for believing the same thing, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). What we need more than ever, in our church services and in our daily walk, is a move of the Holy Ghost. May we ever realize our complete dependance upon Him.

Full of Hot Air

Studies in First Corinthians – VIII

Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

1 Corinthians 4:18-21

The Corinthians boasted of their learning and knowledge, but Paul knew their religion was more a matter of head knowledge than heart understanding. They were concerned about matters of administration and policy, yet they ignored the dark stain of sin.

Look at the condition that you are in!” Paul was trying to direct their attention to the real issues in this chapter. “You are all talk and intellect; your religion is just theory without reality.” The kingdom of God is not in word, it is not just philosophy and having all the correct answers, it is power – and power was the one thing the Corinthians did not have.

Without that power, Paul tells them that all their knowledge is basically hot air. In a sense, Paul was bursting their bubble. Their heads had gotten too big for the room. They were so proud of what they thought they had, so sophisticated, and yet they were lacking the most important thing: they did not have Holy Ghost power and authority.

We all seek, and rightly so, to know all we can about truth. We certainly need knowledge, education, training, and preparation. If fact, I advocate that we pursue these, as a Church, more than ever before; however, never at the expense of the transforming power of the Holy Ghost. If we have knowledge without power, we are just full of hot air!

The faithful minister (or saint of God), full of the Holy Ghost, is a spectacle in the world (4:7-14). In his path he will face unpopularity and misunderstanding, but he does not concern himself with the judgement of men. He is not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk. I like the way that Raymond Woodward puts it, “Your relationship with God is not measured by how much you talk about Jesus, but by how much your life has been changed by his power!”