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Two thoughts on Prayer

"Those who pray humbly can proceed boldly"...or is it "those who pray humbly and hear can proceed boldly?"

I believe true and humble prayer will wait to hear the Master's word before embarking on a course of action. This kind of praying is also confident that God will speak and shed light on the matter presented to Him in prayer. Thus, the praying person pays attention to the whisper or the loud rumbling that may be the Lord's word regarding the issue.

That said, I do not see fault with the first statement either as humility presumes this very posture of listening to our Lord. It is His word coming to us objectively through scripture, subjectively through the Holy Spirit, and through the community of believers around us that becomes our final guidance.

I do believe that there is time to stop praying and to start obeying. Yet we can never be fully disengaged from prayer if what we are doing is indeed the Lord's will for our lives. Likewise, we can never be disengaged from action when our praying is based in God's will.

There is a time when we must simply follow the whisper of the Lord that may stand contrary to circumstantial evidence. No time calls for bold progress more than such moments that contravene logic. .
Sammy praying with international students at Mankato State University during a weekend of ministry at the University with Maranatha Christian fellowship April 25th

"Love God and do whatever you want" (St. Augustine)

If we take what Augustine says to mean that we are to simply cast off any form of restraint on the assumption that because we love God it then does not matter what we do, we will be dead wrong. On the other hand, it is impossible to be fully a lover of God and yet to continue doing your own things independent of God.

For henceforth, a man or woman who loves God passionately cannot help but love only the things that God loves and hate things that God hates. Such a man's or woman's desire becomes fully replaced by the Lord's own.

In Paul's words, such a lover of Christ is dead to sin and to self and alive to God and to His Christ. The life s/he now lives in the flesh, s/he lives by faith in the Son of God. S/he is crucified with Christ and it is no longer s/he who lives but Christ living through her/him.

Given such a disposition, such an one need not dread that somehow they are missing God's will in their lives. So long as they are fully committed to the Lord's revealed will, what is not revealed will be clarified as they take bold steps to enjoy God.

Comments

  1. This is actually what I preached on back in January, basing a lot of my thoughts on Kevin DeYoung's "Just Do Something" as well as a couple other sources including John Piper's "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals", specifically the chapter on Christian Hedonism.

    That quote from Augustine seemed to be a real stumbling block for many. I thought I had laid a sufficient Scriptural foundation down where "if you doing these things, then you truly love God, and he places his desires in you, so then when you do do 'whatever you want to do', you are doing and in God's will." Perhaps due to my youth and inexperience I was unsuccessful in making it clear enough.

    I feel many in the circles you and I run in see Augustine's statement the way you first described it (a license to "sin"), when that is far from the original intent or meaning. Nobody is saying we don't pray for guidance or wisdom, or wait on the Lord before proceeding; but we are also saying you need to do something, and obey Him in what He has already said. And those things that are godly things that He has been silent about, but that we know are good things from His word, we can proceed boldly knowing we have wisdom and Spirit guidance for whatever pops up. God trusts us because we have His Spirit.

    Bottom line...prayer is always good, but sometimes waiting on the Lord is disobedience to His already revealed will, including how we should live our lives. We make ultra-holy what shouldn't be.

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