Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
Webster’s 1828 defines for us:
1. One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.
And the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. Job.8.
2. A dissembler; one who assumes a false appearance.
Fair hypocrite, you seek to cheat in vain.
I believe that every saved child of God knows they should pray, but the actual performing of it – not so much. When called upon, we can make a fairly good showing that we engage in prayer, but if a life depended upon our ability to enter the throne room of Heaven and ensure we had the Father’s ear… How would we fair?
I border on hypocrisy when I go off into my day without a word of thanks and gratitude, or a request for wisdom for the day:
Psalm 121:3-4 “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
God’s faithfulness is unfailing. His presence with me is eternally promised.
Hebrews 13:5 “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
When God says never – He means never!
His presence, His power, His protection, His provision…
Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
How can we ever go off into our day without a word of thanks for the meal He provided, the safety He gives on our way, the wisdom to perform our jobs and to think about the trouble He withholds from me.
The question remains – Do you pray?
‘Well, don’t you realize how busy my life can get?’
‘When can I ever find the time?’
Excuses all. We read:
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
There are great men who wrote volumes on the subject of prayer. Andrew Murray wrote “With Christ in the School of Prayer”. Samuel Chadwick “The Path of Prayer” E. M. Bounds on “Prayer” and Leonard Ravenhill “Revival Praying”.
Anyone desiring to do more and be more in their prayer life should read these books. Chadwick relates that the significance of prayer is paramount with God – so much so that it should command every fiber of our being with which to engage. It takes energy, focus and determination to pray effectively.
I once began to meditate on the crucifixion and realized a marvelous truth about the significance of prayer.
The work that Christ came to accomplish to fulfill our way to be saved was culminated on the cross. We hear Him cry;
“It is finished”
He bows His head and gives up the ghost.
In three out of the four gospels, the very next account is this:
Matthew 27:50-53 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
Did you catch that?
The veil kept all who came to the temple from entering into the Holy of Holies where God would appear and communicate with the high priest once a year for the atonement of the sins of the people of Israel.
With the payment made by Jesus Christ, there was now no more need for a High Priest – Jesus became our High Priest. We gained direct access to the throne of God. We could come boldly as we read:
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Before I come for others, I must ensure that I myself am clean before my God. Any shame or guilt I feel should motivate me to come to God to be cleansed. I can take God at His Word:
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
A recent christian film called “War Room” gives us a peek into intercessory and warfare prayer. Ephesians 6 details the armor available to every child of God. It is our duty to take up each piece to guard and protect what God deems precious to Him. All my heart, mind and soul. It is with those three that I fulfill the greatest of commands:
Mark 12:28-31 “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
So often we say, “I’m praying for you” but do we really?
Jesus needed to pray – so must we!
May we be convicted enough this morning to drop to our knees and confess our lying, and our laziness and pray.