John Piper puts forward the analogy of our faith as being a furnace which is fueled by grace. The shovel which supplies fuel to fire, ie grace to faith is prayer. As i’ve thought about it over the last few months i’ve become more and more convinced that the analogy holds. Prayer is wonderful, critical for our faith and enables us to live life to the full. Without it we’re spiritually missing out not to mention the joy to be experienced as one knowingly spends time with God.
I’ve often wondered why it is that the devil seems so determined to stop us praying when it can seem to provide such little benefit to us anyway? I mean realistically I can get by ok without it right? What does he know that I don’t…? I can but conclude that he knows the power of prayer far more potently than I do… If he can stop me praying he succeeds in breaking down the moment by moment communication within the most important relationship i’ll ever have, that with God himself. The sad thing is that I can so often offer no shred of resistance.
I recently had a great bible study with some guys. At the end there was a real desire to take God seriously again. It was glorious to see, because at the heart of it was a renewed passion for God. I couldn’t help but think though that surely to be sustainable, there has to be more behind this good intention that just simply a person’s will to do it. I mean consider the low success rate of new years resolutions.
I remember that part in Nehemiah where he reminds the people of the “Joy of the Lord” being their strength, and I believe its the same for us. Its this joy which sustains these good intentions, our prayer life, provides moments of peace during times of stress. Its this joy which provides the motivation as we look to reach out to our friends and gives us a reason to smile! We deserved to die and now we have eternal life!
The following from a book i’m reading at the moment outlines the human desire for relationship as follows:
We want to be with people we know well and who enjoy being with us. We long for close, fully satisfying relationships.
How can joy pour forth from our relationship with God if we don’t invest in it? God desires so much for a relationship with us, and yet all too often we can offer up some token gesture lip-service we deem required to keep things ticking over, without our hearts being in it. Life-bringing, sustaining joy flows from an intimate relationship with our God which we maintain and build upon through prayer.
It doesn’t need to be a drag, its a relationship with a living God! Keep the faith, pray joy pray joy pray! Awesome.