[forthright] What Are Our Attitudes About Prayer?

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 16:18:20 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: SQUARE ONE

What Are Our Attitudes About Prayer?
by Richard Mansel

Quotes often soothe the troubled heart. We
emblazon them on shirts, teacups, posters and on
all manner of items so their wisdom can enlighten
or remind of us of our purposes in life. These
pithy sayings fall from our lips with ease in
times of strain and loss. Yet do we examine them
for logic and truth?

For years cars displayed bumper stickers
proclaiming that God was their "copilot." In time
this adage began to be questioned, and rightly so.
It is cute but will lead to spiritual ruin. If God
is our copilot then we had better give God the
wheel immediately! 

Sadly, too many do want God to be their copilot so
they can be in charge and have God at their sides
awaiting their summons. Yet this is far removed
from the teachings of Christ (Mark 8:34-38). If
God is not in charge of our lives then Satan sits
atop the throne of our hearts and will lead us to
hell (1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44).

When preaching on prayer this writer has used a
quote from Abraham Lincoln as an example of man's
wisdom concerning the value of prayer. President
Lincoln said,

   "I have been driven many times to my knees
   by the overwhelming conviction that I had
   nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that
   of all about me seemed insufficient for
   the day."

With the context of this quote and the late
President's intentions notwithstanding, some
important points can be made. Lincoln's thoughts
match those of far too many people, but not to
their spiritual benefit. Meditation on the ideas
expressed by our fallen President stands in
contrast to praying, "without ceasing" (1
Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV).      

Lincoln writes, "I have been driven many times to
my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had
nowhere else to go." Turning to prayer "many
times" seems commendable. Realizing that we have
"nowhere else to go" but to God is wonderful. Yet,
we lift the curtain and see that the seams are
unraveling.

If we will pray without ceasing, we will have a
perpetual willingness to approach God with our
petitions, supplications and thanksgivings. Prayer
is our constant companion rather than a last hope.

Instead of the constant communing with God in
prayer, we wait until we have "nowhere else to go"
before we turn to God. If we only turn to God in
these arduous times, then we will never grasp the
true blessings of sanctification. Likewise, if we
"many times" have an "overwhelming conviction"
that we must go to God in prayer then we have
missed the point completely. He demands that we
turn to him and need him all the time, not only
when we are out of answers.

Another equally shallow adage comes to mind when
considering this point. It says, "When all else
fails, try prayer." How absurd. God is not to be
the last resort but the only hope!

Lincoln writes, "My own wisdom, and that of all
about me seemed insufficient for the day." If we
remember this quote began with "many times," we
see the downfall of his "wisdom." When neither he
nor his advisors had answers, he would turn to
God. Once again, when answers seemed elusive, it
was time to consult Jehovah.

God is infinite in wisdom and perfect in knowledge
(Psalm 47:5; Job 37:16). We never know better than
God does nor should we ever seek our wisdom over
his. Therefore, we must always remain connected to
the greatest and wisest of all.

Where else could we go? (John  6:68).

----
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