It would seem that we may be the most “stressed out” generation ever. Living life in the fast lane is not a pleasant way, nor the most effective way to serve the Lord. Too often, we equate busyness with ministry, thinking the more busy we are, the more effect we are. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Hilary of Tours shared in the final analysis that our rushing around in the ministry is, “irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo.” Or, “a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for Him.” Or as I would interpret it, “we are just too busy.”
Eugene Peterson wrote in his book, The Comtemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction that there are two reasons why pastors are so busy (and I might add this goes for all christians, not just pastors).
1. I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant.
2. I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. C.S. Lewis once said that only lazy people work hard.
So what is the answer?
Since I quoted Peterson, we will examine what is first on his list of priorities. The answer is simple:
Peterson said, “I want to do the original work of being in deepening conversation with the God who reveals himself to me and addresses me by name. I don’t want to dispense mimeographed hand-outs that describe God’s business; I want to witness out of my own experience. I don’t want to live as a parasite on the first-hand spiritual life of others, but to do personally involved with all my senses, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. (The Contemplative Pastor, pp. 18-19)
IS THIS BIBLICAL?
The membership covenant of the Church of God of Prophecy is a commitment to “accept the Bible as God’s word, to believe and practice it’s teaching rightly divided, with the New Testament as our rule of faith, practice, government and discipline. And to walk in the light of it to the best of your knowledge and ability.” Therefore, everything must be placed under the magnifying glass of the Scriptures, not our tradition customs or cultural biases. This is our ONLY safe position.
1. In Acts 6:1-4 we find the apostles making the commitment, “We will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Notice that both of these are important spiritual disciplines, however, it is PRAYER that is the primary focus, even before the study of the word. In fact, we cannot fully study the study the Scriptures unless we approach it from a prayerful attitude.
2. Ephesians 6:13-19 reminds us to “Pray at all times, with an alert attitude for all the saints. It is a weapon in our arsenal for spiritual warfare.
3. Hebrews 4:15-16 reminds us to “Draw near with confidence,” knowing that our intercessor Jesus Christ is there, and He will help us according to His abundant (notice NOT sparingly) grace and mercy.
4. James 4:2 reminds us that we “have not, because we ask not.” This places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the believer to PRAY!
5. Philippians 4:6-7 declars that we should not be “anxious, but to share our requests with God so that His peace can overshadow you and help to bear the load of the difficulties of life.
Do you find yourself in a tough spot today? Are you facing something that there seems to be no answer readily available to you? Are you afraid, alone, tired, burned out? Then PRAY. Are you carrying a heavy load and is seems no one is helping or even notices your burdens? Then PRAY.
As the first of our CORE VALUES of the Church of God of Prophecy, it should never be said of us that we “talk” about prayer, or that we “preach” about praying, or we “teach” prayer…but rather let it be said that we ARE a PRAYING people, consecrated and dedicated….that we practice what we preach.