WHAT MOVED PAUL TO PRAY(2)

What was it that moved Paul to pray? Colossians 1:3-4 tells us, "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which ye have to all the saints,"

It was the good news of the kingdom that moved the great Apostle to prayer, he was always in prayer. In 2 Corinthians 6:4 he talked about how he was in "watching"(prayer) often and in many other passages he always talked about how he prayed "without ceasing". Praying was breathing for Paul so he exhorts us to 'pray without ceasing', it was an admonition born from a personal experience and walk with the lord.

There is no relationship without communication, for we cannot walk with the Lord without talking to the Lord. Prayer, therefore, becomes the lifeline of the regenerated soul!

And one of our readers rightly observed after the last instalment on this series that one of the reasons prayer has become occasional for us is because it is the spiritual default mode that was handed down to us by our parents and spiritual fathers! We only run to the Lord in the time of troubles. Prayer is always about requests and never about relationship and intimacy! This was the pattern that we saw play out as we grew up in the faith and we automatically flow along that spiritual plane. Prayer then became a spiritual response to a crisis rather than a spiritual relationship with Christ!

Now don't be mistaken there is nothing wrong about calling the name of the Lord in the times of trouble! God personally urged us to do so.  In Psalms 50:15 we read,’ and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me". This is a direct admonition from the Lord, he said to call upon him in the day of trouble and indeed when people called in the day of trouble the bible tells us what happens: 'Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses'(Psalm 107:19). Hallelujah! For anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord in the days of trouble will be delivered! Are you going through any trouble even as you read this, today there is a way out for you. Amen.

However, beyond the bad times, God wants our fellowship during the good times. Not only "bad news" should move us into prayers, good news also should move us into prayers. Beyond prayer request, we must strive to build prayer relationship with the Lord! This is the way it ought to be for us as believers: prayer ought to be a lifestyle, not a life jacket! Lifejacket is used only once in a while.

This reminds me of my missionary church planting work in Rivers state. While I was in Bonny LG I had a life jacket in the event of our travel boat capsizing on the high seas. However, the word says when I go through the seas he will always be with me. And the faithful Lord kept to his word, I never had a need to use that life jacket! There were a lot of times that the boat would have turn over either by natural causes or spiritual, but when the enemy comes in, like a flood, the Lord always lift up a standard against him! Hallelujah!

When prayer becomes a lifestyle it helps you to store up spiritual strength against the days of affliction. The Bible tells us 'When you fail in the days of adversity it’s because your strength is small'(Job 24:10). When the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19)

It is stored spiritual strength that is always activated to face spiritual crisis. If you don't have spiritual standards you will fall victims of spiritual attacks and we build up our spiritual standard in the place of prayer and the word.

As i meditated on this subject the Lord specifically spoke to my heart that "there will be less bad times in our lives if during good times we build up spiritual edge and power in the place of prayer". When we have stored up spiritual strength we will be less dazed and surprised by spiritual attacks! We will always be armed and ready to deal with the wiles of the enemy!

The trouble with us is that during good times we let down our spiritual guard! For while men slept the enemy came and sowed tares! But awake now you that sleep and Christ shall give you light. Awake from your state of spiritual laxity! All spiritual laxities will lead to spiritual captivity!

Jeshurun in the good times became fat! 'But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation'(Deuteronomy 32:15).

In good times many believers become Jeshurun, they waxed fat and therefore never go far. To pray and fast and read the word becomes too difficult. The things they once valued during the bad times become "lightly esteemed" during the good times! Maybe this is why the good Lord always keeps us on our toes by always allowing those challenges and troubles to come to us. But this doesn't have to be so if we will emulate Paul, a man who prayed without ceasing.

Once in Acts 28, he was on the Island of Melita and a viper fastened itself to Paul's hand. Paul shook off the snake into the fire without praying. The 'barbarians' were expecting him to fall and die, which tells us that Paul must have been bitten by the snake, however, Paul went about his work without feeling any harm. Before the day of adversity Paul had already stored up spiritual strength, he has already lifted up spiritual standards in the place of prayer!

When this spiritual plane becomes your natural habitat of spiritual operation you can never be a victim of spiritual attacks or adversity, for you are strong in the Lord and in the power of his might ready and supplied by the Spirit to deal with every onslaught of the enemy!

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