Father God, in the name of Jesus, I prize wisdom highly and exalt her; she will bring me to honor because I embrace her. She gives to my head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory; Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand are riches and honor; Jesus has been made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Hallelujah! Father God, we thank You for Christ, our Passover Lamb, who has been sacrificed to clear us of sin. You have delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son You love. Therefore we will honor You by praying like Him. Bless us to come into a place of thanksgiving and praise to You. Teach us to pray, Lord. Bless us with perseverance, and not to procrastinate when it comes to praying. We desire to pray like Jesus in all situations, in every circumstance, for every one the Holy Spirit led us to pray for. Bless us to gain a closer relationship with You through prayer as Jesus had. We are so honor to learn of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to have a powerful prayer life, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Lesson 2: Praying did not make Jesus passive.
Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:18; Luke 5:16; Luke 23:34; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18; Luke 22:42, 44
For some reason—maybe we assume a virtue of spirituality—we have been led to believe that once we pray we don't have to do anything. We think that devotion to God and human responsibility are mutually exclusive. Not so. Jesus was never passive, even though he prayed long and often, and neither should we be.
A minister nearing retirement purchased a small abandoned farm outside town. The house was in dire need of maintenance. The windows were broken. The paint peeled from the scorching summer sun. The roof leaked. The porch had a series of potholes. Weeds were plentiful. Debris and litter dotted the landscape. The fence was all but gone. On his weekly day off the minister worked on the farm. He was diligent. He did a little here, a little there. In an amazingly short period of time, this once dilapidated farm became a showpiece. Friends and townspeople were impressed with the minister's work. One day the minister's neighbor from town came to visit the country cottage. The awed city-dweller gawked at the garden growing out back, the newly restored house and barn, and the beautiful landscape of the farm. He said, "You and the Lord really did a marvelous work here." The minister looked up from his workbench, where he was building garden benches. He wiped the perspiration from his eyes. He thought for a moment, and then replied, "Yea, but you should have seen it when the Lord had it all to himself."
Jesus does not separate faith from action. Jesus prayed and He healed; He believed and He acted; He preached and He lived. Jesus warns against inactivity and passivity. The best example is found in his teaching about the final judgment in Matthew 25:31-46. "
Using the strongest possible terms, Jesus rejects a spirituality that is unconcerned about the tangible needs of people around us. People matter to God and their needs are important to God. As God's hands and feet in the world, he demands and expects us to pray for and minister to those people. To fail to do so damages the reputation of God in the world. As the old saying goes, we should "pray as though it all depended on God; act as though it all depended on us." Isn't this what James, the brother of Jesus commended? "Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works." (James 2:18)
Prayer is never an excuse for failing to act. Unfortunately, we often use prayer as a scapegoat for action. In fact, it sounds so spiritual to say that we will pray about it; but highly hypocritical to have the tools and resources to do something about it but not act. I once served with a man, when asked about a problem or seeking his direction or merely performing the job the church had called him to do, would often say, "I'll pray about it." One day in frustration, I said to him, "It is time to stop praying and start doing or otherwise you can start praying about a new job." Or, as one wife told her husband after about the thousandth time of him saying, "I'm aiming to do that," "It is time to pull the trigger." Because of what God has done for us—his action—should compel and motive us to act. Yes we should pray, but we should also act.
In the words of John Wesley: "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." Like Jesus, we should pray as though it all depended on God, but act responsibly and obediently as though it all depended on us.
Let's look at what passive really means:
I would say that being active refers to a personality that doesn't sit back and "go with the flow" but makes an effort to make things happen. Active people tend to be more outgoing, competitive, bold, aggressive, opinionated, and sometimes obnoxious or too frank. A passive personality is laid back and takes life as it comes, potentially lazy at the extreme, not aggressive when it comes to achieving certain goals or dealing with obstacles, and more interested in keeping the peace or the status quo than jumping into conflict or shaking things up. Jesus made things happen, but He was not an angry person. His prayer life was a strong passion He had to communicate with the Father. When Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and animal-sellers, He showed great emotion and anger ( ; ). Jesus' emotion was described as "zeal" for God's house ( ). His anger was pure and completely justified because at its root was concern for God's holiness and worship. Because these were at stake, Jesus took quick and decisive action. Another time Jesus showed anger was in the synagogue of Capernaum. When the Pharisees refused to answer Jesus' questions, "He looked around at them in anger, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts" ( ).;
Many times, we think of anger as a selfish, destructive emotion that we should eradicate from our lives altogether. However, the fact that Jesus did sometimes become angry indicates that anger itself, as an emotion, is amoral. This is borne out elsewhere in the New Testament. () instructs us "in your anger do not sin" and not to let the sun go down on our anger. The command is not to "avoid anger" (or suppress it or ignore it) but to deal with it properly, in a timely manner. We note the following facts about Jesus' displays of anger:
1) His anger had the proper motivation. In other words, He was angry for the right reasons. Jesus' anger did not arise from petty arguments or personal slights against Him. There was no selfishness involved.
2) His anger had the proper focus. He was not angry at God or at the "weaknesses" of others. His anger targeted sinful behavior and true injustice.
3) His anger had the proper supplement. () says that His anger was attended by grief over the Pharisees' lack of faith. Jesus' anger stemmed from love for the Pharisees and concern for their spiritual condition. It had nothing to do with hatred or ill will.
4) His anger had the proper control. Jesus was never out of control, even in His wrath. The temple leaders did not like His cleansing of the temple ( ), but He had done nothing sinful. He controlled His emotions; His emotions did not control Him.
5) His anger had the proper duration. He did not allow His anger to turn into bitterness; He did not hold grudges. He dealt with each situation properly, and He handled anger in good time.
6) His anger had the proper result. Jesus' anger had the inevitable consequence of godly action. Jesus' anger, as with all His emotions, was held in check by the Word of God; thus, Jesus' response was always to accomplish God's will.
When we get angry, too often we have improper control or an improper focus. We fail in one or more of the above points. This is the wrath of man, of which we are told "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (). Jesus did not exhibit man's anger, but the righteous indignation of God. He prayed out of passion not passive. In our prayer life we should be active and praying when the Holy Spirit prompts us.
Week # 2 PRIVATE DEVOTIONS TIME: All Night Prayer (Luke 6:12)
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
Week # 2 NOTABLE PRAYERS: David (2 Samuel 7:18)
"Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto?"
Week # 2 QUESTIONS:
1). Explain what kind of prayer King David prayed in (2 Samuel 7:18)?
2). In our Prayer Focus, pray a prayer that is the kind of prayer King David prayed in (2 Samuel 7:18.
3). Have you started a daily quiet time prayer, if not, why?
Week # 2 PRAYER FOCUS:
Week # 2 PRAYER REQUEST:
Pray for our nation to elect leaders who fear God (Exodus 18:21)
Week # 2 APPLY IT: A Daily Quiet Time with God
Week # 2 THOUGHT4TODAY:
Reading Assignments……Book of Genesis Chapters 6-10