The Ministry of Prayer
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
Your Pastor could spend his Sunday morning preaching by constantly pounding his fist on the pulpit and loudly proclaim the importance of a prayer life. It would be my guess that most people would be offended by the fist pounding rather than being humbled by a conviction that their prayer life needs improvement. But nevertheless Christians needs to be reminded of those things that pertain to the pursuit of holiness. And while I privileged to give the message at our recent Men’s Breakfast, I was still impressed to remind my brothers that we need to pursue God-ordained moments with a heart like Benaiah (one of King David’s Mighty Men) pursuing a lion on a snowy day.
Perhaps, by way of reminder, we could put a Mezuzah (Mĕ zū’ zăh) on our doorposts. The Mezuzah is this small case that contains the prayer from Deut. 6:4-9 and then continues with Deut. 11:13-21. For the Jewish family it is a daily reminder of their responsibility to YHVH. And as an earthly king would provide guards at the castle gate to give him the assurance of security, the Mezuzah assures the people of Israel that they are safe within their homes because they are being guarded by the very Word of God. Another cool thing about the Mezuzah is that it serves as a reminder of Passover (Exodus 12:23) and redemption from Egypt.
In any case, we are seemingly in need of constant reminders to pray. In my case it was by way of cruising through my bookshelves. I don’t know how it got there but a book by E.M. Bounds (Possibilities In Prayer) was just…there. I picked it up and started to read the first chapter and by the fifth sentence I realized that I have stumbled on to something. “By prayer, the ability is secured to feel the law of love, to speak according to the law of love, and to do everything in harmony with the law of love.” Hmm…not sure about where you are but I gotta confess, I don’t think I am at this point in my walk.
E.M. Bounds ends chapter one by citing Romans 8:27. But if we look at this passage from verse 26 into 27 maybe we can see that the infirmities of us Christians are many and that we would be overpowered if all of this was left to us to figure out. We need to understand that it’s the Holy Spirit who supports us. “As an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit, works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit, silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements.” (My buddy Matt Henry said that!) We need the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, perceive our mind’s, and know the will of our spirit so He can advocate our cause. We need the Holy Spirit to make intercession to God so that the enemy does not prevail.
So who was this E.M. Bounds that he could understand the law of love through prayer? Well he starts out as a lawyer, serves as a chaplain to Confederate troops during the Civil War and finishes as a renowned Pastor and prayer warrior, an American Apostle Paul if you will. And what of the ministry of prayer given unto us? Guess we better get to it, as well as the writer of this Freedom Fighter. No matter what physical position we take to pray, we ought to position ourselves to pray. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a Freedom Fighter regular blogger and a graduate of the Colony of Mercy
Quote of the day: “Faith, and hope, and patience and all the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayer-less life. The life of the individual believer, his personal salvation, and personal Christian graces have their being, bloom, and fruitage in prayer.”—E.M. Bounds
Verse to Memorize: Let my soul love and praise you, and let your rules help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. Psalm 119:175-176