The Bare Soul
May 5, 2013
Changing the Paradigm of Prayer - Part II
I Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.
There is an old proverb that goes something like this: "If you don't feed something, it will eventually go away." This can certainly be true with stray dogs, cats, or any number of animals. However, this is also true for the flesh --- that old sinful man that does not want to die in each and every one of us. When we start to turn the conversation back to God instead of conversing with our old, worn out past, a glorious thing starts to happen. For one thing, the flesh and the devil are in agreement that when we pray, it is bad for their influence in our lives. When we start to get into the habit of turning the conversation to God, they both back off and run for cover. What is even more interesting is the more we form this habit in our lives, the less the past is thrown up in our face. It is like the devil understands if he allows this thing that haunts us to resurface, then it will just drive us to prayer. That is the very thing both the flesh and the devil do not desire. Therefore, when the paradigm of prayer becomes a constant reality, their silence and the death of the flesh becomes a living reality.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Roman church, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). I can think of no better way to do this than using prayer to overcome guilt, fear, and mental laziness. While the old adage, "Idleness is the devil's workshop" is not in the Bible (verbatim), it certainly is in regard to Paul's teachings of mental surrender. If we are not giving ourselves in worshipping the Lord in prayer and praise, then we will be setting ourselves up to be seduced into complacency. Remember, an idling car goes no where. It simply waits for the gears and the accelerator to be engaged. Energy will be expended either way. However, the driver will ultimately decide where the vehicle will take him. There is no difference with what we use our minds for regarding merely thinking or praying. We can either expend energy to no avail, or we can use our mental power to drive the will and ultimately the heart. For where the mind goes, the heart will surely follow.
Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all the things we need will be amply given to us (Matthew 6:33). When we decide we are done living in our past and being ruled by it, then we can seek His kingdom effectively. And what is His kingdom? It is not about things, but it is about people! God doesn't want us consumed with wrongs we have done in our past, or lawns or cars or jobs or anything else in our present. He wants us to change the conversation in our minds and start talking with Him, unceasingly. When we do, we will find we will begin to understand how the paradigm of prayer in our lives has totally changed. Prayer will no longer be a duty that fluctuates in our devotion, but instead will be a growing conversation that seems not to cease between us and our Maker.
Those with whom I counsel generally understand that I was plagued for years with guilt and remorse over my past sinful life. They know that when I tell them they need to change the conversation that I am speaking from experience. I was trapped in that struggle with the flesh and the devil, continually beating me down about my past. However, when I finally began to "Stop thinking and start praying," then my life was rocketed into a different dimension in my Christian journey. The paradigm of prayer became an ongoing conversation with Someone who could empower me to live victoriously as I sought to build his kingdom through prayer. Prayer without ceasing then becomes something we try to cling to rather than avoid.
Heavenly Father, help us to stop thinking and start praying. Allow us to surrender our minds to You, for You have promised if we will, that You will allow our hearts to follow. Show us the wisdom in turning every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Grant us the gift of a paradigm shift in prayer for Your kingdom's sake. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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