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Let’s face it. Spiritual things are hard to discuss with everyday words. In fact, they’re not only hard to talk about, they’re hard to think about! There are just some things about Faith and the Kingdom of God that make us sprain our brain muscles when we really try to understand them.

As a result of our difficulty in understanding such things, there is often a temptation for us to assume that because the spiritual realm is so “spiritual”, it is therefore unapproachable – that it is too mysterious for us to understand and consequently impossible for us to experience meaningfully.

For example, we sometimes feel too intimidated to make prayer a practical priority in our lives or we dress it up with so much formality that it ceases to be genuine prayer.

On the other hand, there is also a temptation to sometimes take prayer too much for granted and then approach it tritely (if we approach it at all). Prayer may seem to us either lacking in any real benefit or is a religious duty, a strict discipline with which we afflict ourselves.

But real prayer is neither of these things. First and foremost, prayer is the activity of a life which dwells in the presence of God. It is quite literally, “going into His presence” though we still stand here on this solid earth in the full light of the material world.

How sad then if we neglect that for which we were created! Remember that Jesus died so that your sin may be forgiven and removed from you so that you may stand in God’s presence without guilt or shame.

Prayer is simple child-like dependence and devotion of one who implicitly trusts in God

Prayer is simple child-like dependence and devotion of one who implicitly trusts in God

If you never trouble with going into His presence, then you cannot “come to know God”. If you are not “coming to know God” then you are not receiving eternal life (John 17:3). If you are not availing yourself of eternal life, why did Jesus then die?

If we do not pray, we trivialize the purpose of His suffering and death. We also surrender the abundance of joys and comforts that His presence affords us.

Prayer is a stance and attitude that we adopt signifying our reliance upon His love and awesome power rather than the foolish alternatives given by the world. It further declares that we have the strength and good will of Almighty God sustaining us though the weight of the world oppresses us.

Prayer is simple child-like dependence and devotion of one who implicitly trusts in God. It is a love song sent up from a heart overflowing with adoration and passion for its Creator. It is the soul-wrenching lament of one trapped in the mire of loneliness and pain. Prayer is the crying out of one life for the deliverance of another.

Prayer is talking with God but is also sitting silently before Him.

Prayer is the giving of thanks and praise to the Most High but is also the receiving of the blessings of His presence, joy and peace.

To not pray is to be completely and utterly alone though surrounded by a sea of people. But to really pray is to be with God as we walk along through life.

To not pray is to languish in failure and futility however successful the World tells us we are. But to really pray is to be about our highest calling of all.

Let us be careful then to be a people who pray.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…” (Colossians 4:2-4 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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Spiritual life and significance can be measured by neither levels of activity nor by our emotions. In fact, emotional charges we get when we attend highly-charged meetings can encourage us, but are in some ways a bit like coffee.

Things that excite us spiritually, while pleasant and often helpful, can be no more than the metaphysical equivalents of caffeine!

Things that excite us spiritually, while pleasant and often helpful, can be no more than the metaphysical equivalents of caffeine!

Now don’t get me wrong! I like coffee! A bit too much (which is why I frequently will “fast” from it)….

Nevertheless, emotional highs from “super spiritual” experiences (e.g., a Christian music concert with an incredible speaker) can affect us a bit like coffee in the morning. Of course, the caffeine in coffee doesn’t generate any real energy in your system… it just speeds up your metabolism giving you the sensation and temporary effect of a surge of energy. In a similar way, things that excite us spiritually, while pleasant and often helpful, can be no more than the metaphysical equivalents of caffeine!

So if we’re not careful, we can get confused about our own spiritual condition (maybe assuming that we’re way off track because the positive feelings have cooled off a bit). Or we can assume the opposite, that we’re right on track when we’re feeling “high” with enthusiasm.

The fact is, though, that unless we’re carefully nurturing an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we’re going to reach some really wrong conclusions and likely make some really bad decisions. Make sure then that you’re getting more than just spiritual coffee in your life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

 

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

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