Why I Don’t Pray

Read your Bible and pray everyday…
Pray every day…
Pray every day…
Read your Bible and pray everyday…
And you will grow grow grow.

So the children’s Sunday school song goes, and it is blessed, wonderful advice. I wish I had headed it growing up. I wish I headed it more. The song is true to its core. We will grow if we pray and study the word every day. Consider the giant of the faith George Müller, who sustained a ministry of the word and caring for tens of thousands of orphans for over 60 years, without any income, and without ever asking anyone for a single pence, (This was the 1800’s in Britain) but simply prevailed upon God in prayer to supply all of his needs, and the needs of his 2000 dependents and all the staff according to His great riches.

Such a life demonstrates the truth of James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV)

And yet, I don’t pray. At least not near as often as I should.

But why don’t I pray? What is wrong with my heart that causes me not to pray, not to pour over the word on my knees in search of great promises to build my life on?

I offer some possibilities:

1. The Sin of Unbelief

I must be willing to admit that a big aspect is simply the sin of unbelief. I don’t trust God as I should. I am inclined to find so many other things to trust in before I trust in the living God. My job, my health, my church, my own abilities. How foolish this is! I must repent of my unbelief and turn to God in prayer.

2. The Sin of Pride

Clearly following from the first is something that undergirds my unbelief, which is my own self-sufficiency. If I could just work a little harder, if I could just do a little better, if I could just _____ then I would be ok, more at peace, happier,

I must remember that God hates the proud, (Proverbs 6:17) and God opposed the proud. (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6)

I must remember that I really am insufficient for “such things”. Which brings me to point 3, what “such things”?

3. The Purpose To Which I am Orienting My Life

And by orienting my life, I mean today, when I wake up, what purpose am I engaged in? What am I to set about to do today? A life can’t be lived, only days, hours and moments. Right now, this instant what am I setting out to do?

Am I caught up in the pursuit of worldly pleasures and joys? A clean house, a fit body, a tasty meal. Is it a life lived inward seeking some happiness in trivialities?

Or is it a life lived Godward, seeking his glory and pleasure? Is it a life lived outward in love to neighbour, seeking his eternal joy together with mine in knowing God? This is the life of true happiness, for this is eternal life. (John 17:3)

If it is the latter, then it is clear that I am truly insufficient for “such things”. For if I am to know God, then I must first be known by God, (Gal 4:9, Rom 8:29) and if I am to see others come to know God, I must realize that I am nothing, but God is the one who gives the growth. (1 Cor 3:7)

And that brings us back to where we started, “Read your Bible and pray everyday, and you will grow grow grow.”

So for me it is clear I must repent of unbelief and pride, so integrally connected, but even deeper, I must be about the Lord’s work each and every day, fulfilling the purpose to which I was created: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Then in realizing my absolute inability to accomplish such a purpose, perhaps I will turn to the the only two things I have at my disposal for such a task: the Word of God, and prayer.

Lord today, in this moment make me about the work to which you have called me, to so live and act as to magnify Christ by showing him to be an absolutely  sufficient treasure, so valuable it makes the treasures of this life appear as garbage in comparison, and complete my joy by bringing others into that enjoyment with me, by the power of your Spirit, in the name of your Son I pray.

You can cry mercy all you want… but no one is listening…

You can cry mercy all you want… but no one is listening… It’s just you… Screaming into a void.
– Meredith Grey (Thursday Oct 3rd)

There is no hope in this world. There is only petty distractions, numbing “play”, fleeting-featherweight-fantasies. We are terrified of silence, blind to the eternal and dead to joy.

Meredith is right: There is no mercy, just the crushing dread of our mortality.

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Vanity… Continue reading

Do You Ever Justify Yourself?

At the heart of the Gospel, we have this very theological idea called “justification by faith alone”. What this means is that at our first moment of faith in Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross, we are justified, made righteous and brought into right-standing with God.

I can honestly say that for most of my life this was an abstract concept that was an “entrance thing” into Christianity, which after receiving we move onto the big stuff, the important stuff. As in, “I have my justification, I’m good with God, now lets move on.” But little did I know, this idea is profoundly central to every thing we do, everyday.

See, we are always justifying ourselves in every little thing that we do…

It ranges from:
“I took the stairs today so I can have the cookie…” and, “Watching 3 hours of TV tonight isn’t so bad, because I work hard…”

All the way to:
“I can cheat on my spouse, because I’m not loved at home…” or, “I killed a man today in a mob hit, but it was defending my family’s honor, therefore it was a just act…”

But we have a problem:

I can always justify the things I do
But…
the things I do will never justify me.

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Is Jesus the Centre of Your Universe?

IS Jesus the centre of your universe?

Is He your defining principle, your main identity, your reason for living, what gets you out of the bed in the morning, your constant daydream, your every fantasy.

Is He your Lord, Savior and Treasure?

Because Jesus IS

…the centre of the universe.

Jesus IS the word of the power of God by which God spoke all things into being.

Jesus IS the radiance of God’s glory… The warmth and presence of God that extends from the source to manifest worlds, and God incarnate breaking into this world.

Jesus IS why this world was made, as all things were from Him and to Him and for Him.

Jesus IS the logos, the divine animating principle behind the world.

Jesus IS joy everlasting, peace beyond understanding, because of His righteousness imputed to sinners.

He is.

He is…

He IS!

Jesus IS the one who said believe in me, come to me, follow me, sell everything and die for me, for in me is life.

He IS the way
He is THE truth
He is the LIFE

So if He is not the centre of my universe…

Then I am living in my own universe…

John 18:6

What Are You Going to do About the Jesus Problem?

The Jesus Problem.

So this guy is born in the middle of nowhere, to a couple of nobodies, who have nothing.
He builds tables and chairs for 30 years. Nice guy right?
Not really.

For the next 3 years, He walks around claiming to be God, forgiving sins, judging people, calling out the most religious people ever as horrible, wretched and evil, and sets impossible standards to live up to. All the while telling His followers He is going to die and rise again. History also claims that He rebukes frightening storms like little children, feeds thousands on one bag lunch, performs exorcisms, and raises people from the dead. Oh and He was pretty much the smartest guy you ever met. Witty doesn’t even begin to do justice to how masterfully Jesus confounded the smartest people around.

Then He dies…

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The 5 Words Jesus Never Said

The funniest statements are often the most profound:

We were having dinner years ago, and laughing and having a good time as a family. My youngest brother got “snarky” about something towards my dad, which I’m sure my dad deserved in part. It was all good family dinner time fun. As a retort to my brother’s witty comment, my dad responded with the 5 funniest words I have ever heard, because they seemed so true:

“Shut up… I made you!”

Which is so funny, because it is so true, and yet so false…

Fast forward 10 years to me on Skype with a student, proctoring a quiz for interim marks, and I see this statement on his T-shirt:

Life isn’t about finding yourself
Life is about creating yourself

How nice that sounds. Go make your own destiny. Be whoever you want to be. You can do it! Follow your dreams!

What a profound lie… what a serpent-eden lie.

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