WHY SHOULD I PRAY?

Sometimes we just don’t ‘feel like’ praying or sometimes we ‘don’t have the time’ to pray, yet, prayer is the most important part of anyone’s life. Prayer builds our identity, our knowledge of our creator and leads us into the purposes and plans God has for us.

So, here are five reasons why you should persevere in prayer and pray –

• Converse with God

Praying is literally talking to God, just as you would with a parent / guardian, a sibling or a friend. What do you do with them? Pour out your heart, share yourself with them, listen to them and know them more.

He is always there, not only to hear you, to converse with you.

If you’re wondering or are struggling to pray to the true God, begin now by going to Him and talking to Him. You can converse with him wherever you are, because he is everywhere, at all times. He is the parent, friend or sibling who will never go far from you, no matter what. He is always there, not only to hear you, to converse with you. And He always speaks, in alignment with His word, the Bible.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord .. Isaiah 1:18

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalms 25:14

• Let ‘go’ and let ‘GOD’

Oftentimes, we tend to keep our problems or circumstances right in front of our eyes, up close. Our human mind pushes us to think of all the probabilities and possibilities of something going right or wrong. But with all our limitations, there is honestly no problem/circumstance that assures us of a permanent solution. This makes us anxious, burdened and hopeless.

That is why we need our creator, who is ruler over all things, to lead us into the plan He has for us. Only He can bring joy and peace in our hearts in the midst of uncertainty, because only He knows how to lead us through.

When you pray, you begin to focus on how God can lead you. So now, the problem or circumstance you are in starts diminishing in comparison to God’s greatness and power. When you pray, you give God the charge and you let go.

Praying constantly and consistently in the midst of uncertainty is very important, if you want to be peaceful and joyful.

When you pray, you give God the charge and you let go.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7

• Stand in the gap

Have you seen someone hurting and wondered what you can do to help? Or Seen someone’s bad behaviour and wondered how it could change? Or Seen a community, city or nation reel under threat and wondered how things would be back to normal?

When you pray for a person’s bad behaviour, God changes their heart and mind. When you pray for a nation, God brings about a revival.

The truth is, God is sovereign over all things and He alone can take control of hearts, minds and even nations. God, in the Bible, says that He just needs someone to stand in the gap and intercede for others.

When you pray for a broken heart, God does the mending. When you pray for a person’s bad behaviour, God changes their heart and mind. When you pray for a nation, God brings about a revival.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30

• Fight the real enemy

A lot of times we get caught up fighting against people. Sometimes we win the fight, sometimes we lose the fight.. but, either ways, end up distancing from the person. That is not what God has called us to. In fact, God tells us that anyone who loves God must love their sisters and brothers (1 John 4:21).

Your family and friends are not your enemies, the devil is.

But.. this is not easy. Our emotions and our heart are deceitful, making it hard for us to let go and not fight people. That is why we need to pray. When you pray, you war against the real enemy – the devil. Your family and friends are not your enemies, the devil is. When you pray, God’s angel armies fight the devil and that’s when you remain at peace with your family or friend.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6 : 12

• Unveil the supernatural

When God created man and woman, the Bible says He created us in His likeness. God wants us to be like Him in every way – His character, His glory and His power. He wants us to display His glory here on earth, as it is in heaven.

When you live your life outside of prayer, you live on human capacity. But when you live your life in prayer, which is dependence on God in everything, you live in God’s capacity

That’s why Jesus taught the disciples to pray like this – “..your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10

When you live your life outside of prayer, you live on human capacity. But when you live your life in prayer, which is dependence on God in everything, you live in God’s capacity – which is beyond natural. Praying leads you to witness God’s miracles in your life and lives of people around you. You, then, begin to live a supernatural life, the Kingdom (of heaven) life – which is what Jesus asked us to pray for.

If you want to start praying again, begin by just simply conversing with God. He is there. He is lisening. Right now and always..

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SET APART AND FOR A PURPOSE

Sanctification explained

The word sanctification comes from the word ‘Hagiosmos’, which means ‘set apart from everything else and dedicated for God’s use’. In simpler words, ‘being made Holy for God’.

In the Old Testament, there was the ‘Sanctuary’, which comes from the same root word as sanctification. The sanctuary is a place set apart and dedicated for Yahweh to dwell, also known as the Most Holy Place. And then, in the New Testament, we see how God sets apart individuals and not just places for this very purpose. God is setting apart individuals by sanctifying them from within.

1 Corinthians 6 : 19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

“It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.”

So what really brought that difference between the two testaments? What brought the change from the ‘sanctuary – a place’ being sanctified to ‘individuals’ being sanctified? The answer is Jesus Christ!

What Jesus prayed to God in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 is very crucial for us to understand sanctification.
Jesus prayed in John 17 : 19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Here, first of all, Jesus says that He was sanctifying himself. And, how do we see that He sanctified himself? Going by the meaning of the word sanctification, He set himself apart, kept himself pure and without sin. He did not give into the pleasures of the world. Nor did he use His God-given gifts to make his life comfortable, unlike so many men do for their personal gain. Rather, He made himself available for God, for the purposes that God intended for Him – for the Cross, for humiliation, for insults, for pain, for flogging, for resurrection. And He declared all these even before they took place.

Luke 18:32-33 says, “He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

Secondly, when Jesus prayed for his disciples to be ‘truly sanctified’, it is important to note that the disciples had already left everything and everyone behind, yet according to Jesus, ‘true sanctification’ did not even begin in them thus far. So this shows us that mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy. Likewise, the offerings and sacrifices offered by people year after year in the Old Testament could not sanctify them.

Mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy.

People can do wonders in personal and professional lives, and still not be separated from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. Because of which, they are not truly ‘holy’ to the Lord. Each and every person needs Jesus’ sanctification to truly be sanctified. It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.

The author of Hebrew points us to this vital truth, in Hebrews 9 : 14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God’s purpose of sanctification in the lives of individuals is two-fold –

  • BEING SET APART

God’s work of sanctification is to free people from bondage of sin, addiction, the power of satan and worldly philosophies (which at times comes from your own family and friends).

A lot of people, after accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, are taken on a guilt trip by the devil about what happened, what they could do or couldn’t do in the past. Satan also constantly works to make people slaves to him by making them slaves to sin, slaves to people, slaves to idols; causing them to forget the sanctification power of God in them that set them apart.

Press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God

As Christ desires, let us throw off everything that entangles us and makes us slaves to sin again and instead let us keep ourselves pure and holy. Through all these experiences that we go through, we know that sanctification is an ongoing process until we die. No, it is not a one time event. So, press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God. Both of these are very important for the sanctification process to fully take place in our lives.

“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:18

Paul reminds the believers in the church in Corinth, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

  • DEDICATED FOR GOD’S PURPOSE

God is sanctifying us so that we can fully represent Him in this world, be his ambassadors, share His Gospel, be that aroma of fragrance to the people who are oppressed, suffering and ailing, to share His love and to share the truth in love.

Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

Most often, we are not prepared to face a situation that requires us to give a reason for our hope in Jesus. It could be because of lack of courage or the feeling of not being equipped. We tend to avoid such opportunities that God creates in our lives. Let us remember that we are sanctified by God for this very purpose. Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

The apostle Peter, reminds us in 1 Peter 2 : 9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

STANDING ON SOLID GROUND

GROWTH METER: MERE INFANTS OR MATURE IN CHRIST?

Series : PART I

About the series

A lot of us have come to the point where we believe in Jesus. Some of us are also dedicated to go to church, participate in church activities, and sometimes even lead groups, worship, children’s ministry and so on. But, when it comes to our walk with Jesus, we move on with life and watch ourselves constantly going back and forth with the core aspects of our faith like overcoming sin, our very belief and faith in Jesus, indecisive about what is good and evil and so on. Why is that? It is simply because we are not making efforts to GROW, to MATURE in Christ. There are three portions of Scripture where our growth in Christ is compared to the growth of an infant to adulthood – and this is a great growth meter for us to see where we stand in our life. In this three-part series, we are going to learn why we should not be infants and instead become those who are mature in Christ and how to do this.


So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4 : 11 – 16

Have you seen a little baby, an infant, moving around? I’m a mother of an infant now and I often observe that my child does not stay on a particular object or in a particular space for more than a few seconds. She does not even know which object is good for her and which is not, and so she goes around trying to touch, pick and put everything that she comes across in her mouth.

When Paul addresses the church in Ephesus, one thing that He tells them is that all the works of service is for the church to be built up until we become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then He points out to this aspect about infants – how they easily believe and follow anything that seems good to their senses. He says in Ephesians 4 : 14-15, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

What does Paul mean by ‘infants being tossed back and forth by the waves’? He’s talking about how when tough situations hit some people, they are tossed back and forth. They are not stable. At one point, they say I will pray about the situation but in no time they question if God can possibly answer, help or deliver them. Being tossed around means – not fully trusting God, instead also following the opinions, suggestions and ways of the world.

For some people, who are like infants, these waves are their emotions. They feel really good when someone says something that they can hear and accept, but get utterly offended when they are corrected, rebuked or even redirected in another way. They feel happy when appreciated, but feel upset and snubbed if their work is not acknowledged. They show love to those who are good to them, but mock or ignore those who are not. They feel jealous of those doing better than them and feel boastful or superior over those that they assume are not doing as good as them.

Another aspect of those of us who are like infants is that they are blown by every wind of teaching and deceived by the craftiness of certain people. They are people who blindly believe certain teachings, traditions and beliefs, which have been passed down or taught to them, without checking what the word of God says about those things.

If we remain infants in our faith, it is as if we know the very basic things and think we can survive on that knowledge.

Just like a little baby is clueless and gullible, those who remain as infants in their faith in Jesus Christ, tend to lose track and are easily stirred by teachings, emotions or circumstances that come their way. This is simply because they know very little and try to face the world with that. This is, in fact, why infants need parents supervision all the time. If we remain infants in our faith, it is as if we know the very basic things and think we can survive on that knowledge. No! That is why, Paul tells us that we should no longer be infants, but grow and become mature in Christ.

So who is mature in Christ?

He answers that too. He says that mature people speak the truth in love. They speak it and they live it.

A person who is mature in Christ is completely reliant on the word of God and surrendered to God’s will. Everything that such a person does is based on the word of God as a solid foundation. That is why, if trials, temptations or even wrong teachings come their way, they are not moved. They constantly seek God to learn His truth and put it into practice to become mature in Christ.

Jesus also taught His disciples this key instruction. He used the example of a wise man who builds his house on a rock and a foolish man who builds his house on sand (Matthew 7 : 24-27). Jesus compares the man who builds his house on sand to someone who hears the word of God, believes it but does not practice it. And, he compares the wise man who builds his house on a rock to someone who hears the word of God and puts it to practice. Waves come, wind blows – the wise man’s house stands, while the foolish man’s house is destroyed.

This is exactly what Paul was saying too. If we believe in the elementary truths about Jesus and then remain satisfied with that without living out God’s word in every area of our life, growing in our calling and understanding deeper truths of God, we will remain infants – easily tossed around. But, that is not wise and that is not what God desires of us.

A person who is mature in Christ is completely reliant on the word of God and surrendered to God’s will. Everything that such a person does is based on the word of God as a solid foundation.

What God desires of us is to mature – to reach a point where we can know and speak His truth in love. We can grow towards maturity in Christ when we diligently seek Him in prayer, grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him through His word and obey Him in the smallest to greatest decisions of our lives.

Peter says in 2 Peter 3 : 18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”

Let me tell you, we are all on the journey of reaching complete maturity as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 : 12, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

So, the question to ask yourself is – Am I easily tossed around by situations, my emotions, wrong teachings or beliefs? Am I able to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus? Am I growing closer to Him in prayer?

Grow in maturity by standing on the solid ground of believing and practicing God’s word in every area of your life, unlike infants who know very little and are easily swayed by whatever comes their way.

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