Needing to practice what I preach, I followed up on my sermon last Sunday (Matthew 6:5-8) with an examination of my personal prayer time. “Do you pray more fervently in public than in private?” I’d asked in that sermon.
Well, the Spirit stirred me to spend an extended time in prayer yesterday, for over an hour. I prayed for my soul, my family, my fellow leaders at church, and the members and friends of the church, and beyond. I was able to pray aloud (in my private study), and thus more carefully weigh my words — and the fervency of my heart — as I gave voice to my petitions. The time passed all too quickly.
When was your last extended season of personal prayer? An brother from a previous generation raised these petitions to the Lord:
Grant us always to know that to walk with Jesus makes other interests a shadow and a dream. Keep us from intermittent attention to eternal things; Save us from the delusion of those who fail to go far in religion….
Have you considered the danger of building the house of your life without a “tape measure”? asks Norm Wakefield, of Spirit of Elijah Ministries.
Norm will be preaching at CPCC here in NY on Sunday, June 6th. Here is an excerpt from one of his newsletter articles. — pdb
To ignore the Scriptures is like trying to build a house without a tape measure. The Scriptures are a tape measure, a vital gracious gift, that God has provided so we can walk under true grace and not a false grace as we build the house of our lives — His temple. I’m remodeling some rooms right now in our house, and I cannot imagine cutting the boards as I feel like it because I don’t want any one to tell me what to do. Every time I use a tape measure, it tells me what to do. It teaches me how long 39 1/2 inches is. When something isn’t fitting right, it reproves me because I measure it again and it tells me I cut it 1/4 inch too short. So then it corrects me as I recut the next piece. I am so committed to the tape measure that I have two of them just in case I misplace one! I need it every time I cut a piece of wood to build the walls.
So it is with our lives. Every day we are “cutting wood” and building our houses with our words and actions. When things are not working out right (can’t love, can’t forgive, get angry, feel wounded and abused, deceive, ignore, reject, etc.) it simply is the fruit of working without a “tape measure”. The notion that the person walking in true grace doesn’t need an objective “tape measure” is as foolish as trying to build without a tape measure. The house that is built without a “tape measure” is a house that will fall down and need to be rebuilt.
“The Gift of Scripture” –– in the Chariot, July 2009