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Pray First, Pray Most by Max Lucado

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Pray First, Pray Most  by Max Lucado Empty Pray First, Pray Most by Max Lucado

Post  Admin on Fri 26 Nov 2010, 5:17 pm

Pray First, Pray Most
by Max Lucado

One of our Brazilian church leaders taught me something about earnest
prayer. He met Christ during a yearlong stay in a drug-rehab center. His
therapy included
three one-hour sessions of prayer a day. Patients weren't required to pray,
but they were required to attend the prayer meeting. Dozens of recovering
drug
addicts spent sixty uninterrupted minutes on their knees.

I expressed amazement and confessed that my prayers were short and formal.
He invited (dared?) me to meet him for prayer. I did the next day. We knelt
on
the concrete floor of our small church auditorium and began to talk to God.
Change that. I talked; he cried, wailed, begged, cajoled, and pleaded. He
pounded
his fists on the floor, shook a fist toward heaven, confessed, and
reconfessed every sin. He recited every promise in the Bible as if God
needed a reminder.
He prayed like Moses.

When God determined to destroy the Israelites for their golden calf stunt,
"Moses begged the Lord his God and said, 'Lord, don't let your anger destroy
your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with your great power and
strength. Don't let the people of Egypt say, "The Lord brought the
Israelites out
of Egypt for an evil purpose." . . . Remember the men who served
you-Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. You promised with an oath to them'" (Ex.
32:11-13 NCV).

Moses on Mount Sinai is not calm and quiet, with folded hands and a serene
expression. He's on his face one minute, in God's the next. He's on his
knees,
pointing his finger, lifting his hands. Shedding tears. Shredding his cloak.
Wrestling like Jacob at Jabbok for the lives of his people. And God heard
him! "So the Lord changed his mind and did not destroy the people as he had
said he might" (v.14 NCV).

Our passionate prayers move the heart of God. "The effective, fervent prayer
of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Prayer does not change God's
nature; who he is will never be altered. Prayer does, however, impact the
flow of history. God has wired his world for power, but he calls on us to
flip
the switch.

Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray, and when we remember, we
hurry through prayers with hollow words. Our minds drift; our thoughts
scatter
like a covey of quail. Why is this? Prayer requires minimal effort. No
location is prescribed. No particular clothing is required. No title or
office is
stipulated. Yet you'd think we were wrestling a greased pig.

Speaking of pigs, Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with
prayer is not entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed
the
angel in Peter's cell and the revival in Jerusalem. He knows what happens
when we pray. "Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy's
strong
places" (2 Cor. 10:4 NCV).

Satan is not troubled when Max writes books or prepares sermons, but his
knobby knees tremble when Max prays. Satan does not stutter or stumble when
you
walk through church doors or attend committee meetings. Demons aren't
flustered when you read this book. But the walls of hell shake when one
person with
an honest heart and faithful confession says, "Oh, God, how great thou art."

Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us
and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward. So let's
do.

Let's pray, first. Traveling to help the hungry? Be sure to bathe your
mission in prayer. Working to disentangle the knots of injustice? Pray.
Weary with
a world of racism and division? So is God. And he would love to talk to you
about it.

Let's pray, most. Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach
without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without
ceasing?
No, but he did call us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).

Did Jesus declare: My house shall be called a house of study? Fellowship?
Music? A house of exposition? A house of activities? No, but he did say, "My
house
will be called a house of prayer" (Mark 11:17 NIV).

No other spiritual activity is guaranteed such results. "When two of you get
together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in
heaven goes into action" (Matt. 18:19 MSG). He is moved by the humble,
prayerful heart.

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray
for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his
mysterious
plan concerning Christ.
(Colossians 4:2-3 NLT)

Outlive Your Life book
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you created all that exists, and you keep
it running through your infinite wisdom and boundless power. Yet you invite
me to come to you in prayer, boldly and with the expectation that you will
hear me and answer me. Teach me, Lord, to take full advantage of this
amazing
privilege, especially in regard to reaching others with your love. Give me a
heart for those who have yet to experience the fullness of your grace, and
prompt me to pray for them and for their welfare, both in this world and in
eternity. Lord, bring me to the front lines of this battle. In Jesus' name
I pray, amen.

From
Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2010) Max Lucado
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