Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

There have been five periods of major spiritual revival in the US over the past 300 years. Each had it’s unique method; open air preaching, a focus on holiness and repentance, or small group bible studies but the one constant in all of them was prayer.  It seemed that in each instance people began to get together to pray to God.  These “prayer meetings” were not formal or organized but were simple gatherings of believers who prayed.  It wasn’t 24 hour prayer-a-thons, or prayer walks, or continuous prayer chains around the world events, just people praying.

The other constant was that the people felt a need to “get back to NT Christianity.”  I think it is easy for us to get  a little “mission creep” with whatever we are doing and church is no different. We devise methods and plans to accomplish the Great Commission and soon the plan begins to change and morph into something entirely different. Soon, we are no longer meeting the Great Commission. We become stale and stagnant in our spiritual lives until someone suggests we get “back to the basics.”

We could use a spiritual revival.  It would be nice to see some changes in our own lives as well as those around us.  It would be nice to see our communities begin to change and leave these destructive tendencies and see the healing of lives and families.    It would be great to see Jesus’ name lifted up and exalted about all others in our own homes and cities.

But, only God can bring about a spiritual awakening. The power is in God, not the prayer or the method.  We are but obedient servants, prayerfully obeying the will of God.  Our call and challenge is to obediently pray and wait for a movement of the Lord.  Can you pray?  Will you pray?

At this point, in our modern tendencies, I’d suggest that we all meet somewhere or we go to a conference or we schedule something.  Let’s not.  Let’s just pray.  You set aside a time, or now, and simply pray and ask God to bring a new spiritual fever in your own life and then in the life of others in your church and then in the life of your community.  That’s it.

US Navy 090627-N-5207L-045 Marines assigned to...

Push Ups

“..train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” – I Timothy 4:7-9

“Training” is from the GK word where we get gymnasium.  The idea is that of physical training such as exercises and sports training.  The text says that this physical training is of limited value as it extends to just a few areas.  This is contrasted with the word “godliness” which we need to define.

Godliness was used in classic GK writings at the time to refer to “actions appropriate to the gods.” It carries a sense of reverence which was described as fear of the gods.  When Paul uses it he means a reverence and fear of God that leads to behavior that pleases God.  We also understand it to mean the attitude that goes with this.  Think of “godliness” as my true behavior that reflects what God’s ideal for me to be.

Paul say that this spiritual training is beneficial in all areas, both in this life and in the life to come.

He leads this phrase off with the command, “Train yourself for godliness.”

Our fallen nature could be equivalent to the body of a “couch potato.”  Sin leaves us fat and out-of-shape toward spiritual thought and holy behavior.  We sat on our filthy couch of sin and made no effort to get out.  But then Jesus delivered us and tossed us into the gymnasium of holiness.

Fat guys have to work in the gym.

We find this contrast from Paul, physical training is limited to your body.  It gets it in shape and sharpens your skills in a sport or lifting or something.  BUT, training in godliness is way more valuable.

We have to train ourselves for godliness, for living with a reverential fear of God, for doing the things that make God happy, for being holy, for responding to God in love and devotion, for obeying God.  It takes work because sin leaves us out of spiritual shape.

What does this training look like?  The disciplines.  This is why we do them, because they are our training.  We are sanctified (the process of making us godly) by the Word of God (John 17:17) so anything that gets the word into us is “training;”  Bible reading, study, hearing, preaching, pondering, teaching, and bible studies.  The companion of the Word of God is prayer, so anything that gets us talking and listening to God is good “training;” public prayer, private prayer, prayer with a buddy, intercession, praise, repentance, confession, and supplication and listening to God.

Training requires a plan and consistency.  Do it every day and often.