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BIBLE STUDY / DEVOTIONALS Prayer: The Work of the Kingdom

Prayer: The Work of the Kingdom

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4/27/2016


 

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It is probably true that the world already has too many books; it’s readers that are needed, and books on prayer are no exception. There are books, some very well written, that list and dissect the different kinds and categories of prayer. Others list the easy-to-remember anachronisms, that few remember in times of need. But foundational to all the blabber is one simple truth: Pray is work; it is the work of the Kingdom, and undoubtedly that accounts for all the subtle attacks against it by the enemy.

I’m sure there are many ways to attack and derail prayer meetings, but here are some common tactics I’ve seen regularly:

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The slide into “fellowship”:

This may seem overly obvious but it needs to be said: prayer meetings should be held primarily for prayer. The devil will sow into every effective meeting those who want to primarily “fellowship”, and then knock out a few prayers before going home. This is the prayer meeting version of the wheat and tares.

The slide into food (and “fellowship”):

This is fellowship on steroids. This tactic works even better, particularly with those who are less warfare oriented. Most religious people will succumb to the food bait faster than any other kind. The meetings will quickly degenerate into a subtle, culinary competition, and it works magnificently when the meetings are held in private homes. In this scenario, the conversation comprising the “fellowship” often focuses on the lovely dishes, the lovely home, the recipes used, etc., and let’s not forget the next scheduled meeting when so-and-so will bring that favorite desert!

The slide into idle chatter:

Perhaps this is my personal favorite, as it happens so often. After all, we Christian brothers and sisters really do love one another….what better way to show it than by sharing the fluff and stuff of our everyday lives – but at the expense of prayer time. This is like taking two hour lunch breaks when you’re only allotted half an hour. Oh well, it was company business (just not the business of the Kingdom).

Intemperate temperature:

In every meeting I’ve ever attended, there are those who pray very aggressively and those who become part of the wallpaper. I would like to think that those who want to roll around in the parking lot with the devil would quiet down long enough to attend to the timid, and bring them up to parity, but it is almost never so. The loud and aggressive remain in charge (by default), while the timid remain quiet. Scripture clearly admonishes us to think of others more highly than ourselves – but in most prayer meetings, it never happens.

I’m sure there are other kinds derailing tactics, but these are the most common types I’ve seen, and if you attend prayer meetings you’ve no doubt, seen them too. They all represent the culmination of the devil’s tactics to derail the critical work of God’s Kingdom, and he’s a master at doing just that. We love our food, we love to talk, and particularly talk about ourselves, (even if it’s hidden by ‘what God is doing with us’…or showing us; it’s still all about US), and we almost always assume that loud is better; God must be deaf! We are childishly easy to derail.

To be a bit brutal, it needs to be said clearly that prayer is the WORK of the Kingdom of God. Foundational to it are healthy relationships we have individually with Him, and foundational to the corporate prayers are all the private prayers we have under our belts before we go to the meetings.

Let me list what I just said in chronological order: 1. Relationship with Jesus Christ; 2. A habit of regular prayer-closet prayer; 3. Corporate, inter-active prayer. 4. Then…fellowship.

All of this, done correctly, is the work of the Kingdom of God. I mentioned “fellowship”, last (as a concession) because while we find it comfortable and easy – it is not work, and in my opinion, has very little place in this work environment while the work is being done. There is nothing wrong with fellowship, per se, it only becomes wrong when it supplants the time spent praying. How can we adequately hear from God if we are totally preoccupied with planning our next sentence?

Prayer meetings are Kingdom business meetings. They are work. At least they should be. As Family members, we need to get very busy. It should be an honor to do so.

John


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2 COMMENTS

  1. John, you have hit the nail on the head. This is exactly why I stopped going to these meetings. I’m tired of having to figure what dish to cook, hearing about Mary’s grandson’s cute little laugh, etc, etc, etc. If the meeting is for prayer, then pray and stop the garbage. If it’s for Bible study then study/discuss and stop the garbage. I’ve been the wallflower in some because I’m bored with the garbage. Get down to business and maybe the wallflowers will blossom.

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