Prayer on the Move. Day five...
Position is critical when we pray… not the position of our body, but the position of our mind.
I remember hearing a story about the death of an old woman, who had been an intercessor all her life. She had prayed for hours on end, so much so that the wood floor beside her bed had two indentations from her knees rubbing against the wood over the years.
I was impressed with her story and thought I should do at least as much when I prayed.
It's almost as if I made myself as uncomfortable as possible by kneeling bare‐kneed on a tile floor, thinking such a position would improve my results. Now this was okay for a five‐minute prayer, but it was a killer for anything any longer.
Not too much time had passed by before I realized I was more focused on my knees than on the Lord. So I asked God if my position really mattered. Which also brings us to the prayer closet….
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6 KJV)
What exactly is a prayer closet? Remember when I mentioned “Ron” on Monday? He was in obvious distress, sitting over in a corner at the homeless shelter. After visiting with him and finding out what was going on, I asked him if he would like for me to pray with him. He thanked me, but told me he only prayed in his prayer closet. (I didn't know how to respond!)
Defined literally, a closet is an inner chamber or secret room. But the account is obviously not about a literal closet because Jesus prayed in the wilderness (see Mark chapter 1), on a mountain (see Luke 6:12), in a garden (see Matthew chapter 6), and in other locations that were not literal closets.
Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:24–26 ESV)
In the above instance, Paul and Silas were locked in a vertical position in a prison cell. That was both their literal prayer closet and their literal prayer position.
But the critical position when we pray is neither where we are located nor what position our body is in. What is critical is the position of our mind. Are we identifying with our human nature or our spiritual nature? Are we being controlled by our human nature or our spiritual nature?
Picture a man lying on his outdoor lounger… about five feet from his grill. The immediate area around him is littered with fragments from hot dog buns, empty cans, and mustard droppings. His prayer: “Lord, please give me room for a couple more brats.”
Picture the same man showing his wife the report he just received from his doctor. His prayer: “Lord, please help me control my appetite or I won't live to see my children get through school.”
The same man… but two very different prayers coming from two very different positions…. One prayer is coming strictly from his human nature, and is all about satisfying its cravings. The other is coming from his spiritual nature and is all about saving his life.
But it appears most of us don't differentiate between the two positions. And then we wonder why God doesn't answer our prayers.
Remember the last time you tried to have a conversation with someone who's intoxicated? It's almost impossible to carry on a meaningful conversation with someone who's drunk (and you are sober). I rarely ever bother to say anything more than to just be polite. Whatever he or she says won't make any sense in the morning.
But this is how we sometimes pray. When we are intoxicated by something, we are not in control of our faculties. And we ask for things that won't make any sense in the morning.
God is not going to answer prayers coming from this position. He makes it very clear.
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and
obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. (James 4:3–4 Amp Bible)
Our motives do matter. The position we have is critical to having an effective prayer life.
Have a good weekend,