By Pastor Mitch Horton | July 2005 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
“Use every kind of prayer and entreaty, and at every opportunity, pray in the spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18, Goodspeed’s Translation).
We’re continuing to discuss the different kinds of prayer in this issue. As mentioned in previous lessons, there are different kinds of praying for different kinds of issues we face in life. And there are rules to follow when praying, much like the different rules that are followed when playing the different kinds of sports. The Lord delights in one taking time to fellowship with Him, and He longs to answer our prayers. And although prayer is an intimate fellowshipping with the Lord, to be effective and to receive answers, we must also learn to follow the guidelines of the scriptures concerning our prayer life.
In the past several issues, we have discussed the prayer of faith, the prayer of supplication, and the prayer of intercession. In this lesson, I want to discuss the prayer of consecration.
Jesus prayed the prayer of consecration in the garden of Gethsemane just before He went to the cross. In that prayer, He prayed for the will of God to be done in His life (see Matthew 26: 36-46). He was consecrating Himself to do the will of God, regardless of His personal feelings or desires. If Jesus needed to consecrate Himself to do the will of God, how much more do we need to consecrate ourselves!
“We all want God’s best both for our families and our own lives. But we only qualify for the best that God has when we choose to obey His will for our lives.”
When we pray the prayer of consecration, we are committing our whole being to do the will of God. And in this kind of prayer, the phrase “if it be Thy will” is a good thing! The prayer of consecration causes us to flow into the purposes of God for our lives. It brings us into harmony with God’s highest call for our lives. Instead of asking God to bless our plans, we are choosing to find out what His best is for our lives and are committing to follow Him fully.
We receive the best that God has for us only when we choose to pursue and obey His will and purpose for life. Isaiah 1:19 reads: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Many problems can arise in life when we do not choose to fully pursue and obey God’s will in life.
I came to a personal crossroads in my life when I was 18 years old concerning the path that my life was to follow. At the time, I had opportunities for lifelong careers in two different fields of endeavor. Those avenues of life looked favorable to me at the time, and it seemed as though following them would bring me the desired financial security and success I needed to raise a family. But as I prayed and sought God about His plans for my life, I began to see that He wanted me to take a different path, and that He had called me into the ministry of the gospel. Had I chosen my will instead of His will for my life, I would not be able to “eat the good of the land,” that is, I would not be able to claim God’s highest and best for my life now. We must be willing to yield to God’s will for us if we want to have the best He has for all of life.
As a boy walking in the forest on a Sunday afternoon, I would come upon what looked like a clear-cut path through the trees. As I followed it, I would sometimes be disappointed by finding that the path ended at a boggy swamp. Sometimes what we think is best for us in life may find its eventual end in a life of hardship and unending tests and difficulties. I have had the experience of praying with people who chose the wrong path in life, and it seemed that a favorable answer was not to be given. It was as though I had prayed up against a brick wall, and I didn’t know why. Later I would find that decisions were made by the individual that opposed God highest and best for them. And those decisions hindered them from receiving God’s best for their lives.
God’s instructions to the Israelites still stand as His instructions for us today:
“See I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess…I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19).
A number of years ago, when I was pastoring a church in South Carolina, I received a call late one evening from the wife of one of my church members. He had been rushed to a hospital emergency room and was gravely ill. When I arrived at the hospital, he was unconscious, and his wife asked me to pray for him. As I leaned over and laid hands on him to pray for healing, I had the most difficult time saying the word heal.
“Make yourself willing to perform any change or make any adjustment in any area of life.”
I felt an inward impression not to pray that way. I seemed to be restrained from praying for the man’s healing, and I had never had that happen to me before. I repeated my efforts to pray for him several times, and each time I sensed a restraint from the Lord about praying for healing. I looked up at his wife, who had noticed my hesitation. And she asked me if I could talk to her privately.
We went into a chapel in the hospital, and she began to share with me what had happened to her husband. He had smoked all his life, and his friends had regularly encouraged him not to smoke; yet he continued. She told me that two weeks earlier his doctor had advised him to quit smoking immediately if he valued his relationship with his wife and family. The doctor had told him that if he did not quit, he would die. And his wife told me that was the reason I could not pray for him to be healed. He had refused to listen, to the Lord, to his doctor, and to his friends!
Later that night with tears I watched as his family gathered around his bed and he breathed his last breath and entered into eternity. He really was a good man and exhibited wonderful fruit as a believer, but he refused to heed God’s voice in this one area of life, and it cost him his life. I’m sure He’s with the Lord today, but his life with his family was cut short due to his disobedience.
We all want God’s best both for our families and our own lives. But we only qualify for the best that God has when we choose to obey his will for our lives.
I encourage you to pray the prayer of consecration on a regular basis. This is not a one-time prayer. It must be prayed over and over again throughout your life. Be willing to do whatever God says to you. Make yourself willing to perform any change or make any adjustment in any area of life. His will is that we all “eat the good of the land!” But God’s highest and best is only available to those who are willing to pursue Him and obey all that He is saying to them. The greater your obedience, the greater the blessing.
Not my will, but thy will be done, coupled with a life of obedience, is a recipe for God’s best being fulfilled in your life.
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