Prayer: Just Do It!

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about prayer, examining my own prayer life or admittedly the lack of one over the past few months. Part of this examination process has...

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Book Giveaway 10/24/2014-10/31/2014

Coming October 31st is our second Issue of Theology For Life on the person and work of Jesus Christ titled “Christology: Christ, the Church, and the Christian Life“. ...

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When A Pastor Gets Depressed

Pastor, you are not weird if you battle with depression. You aren’t sub-Christian if you are in despair. It happens. You are human. You are real, organic matter—you are not like...

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Deuteronomy: Loving Obedience to a Loving God

Deuteronomy is one of those books that many find themselves bogged down in as they work their way through their yearly Bible reading plan. All of the laws, regulations, and...

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Hidden in the Gospel: Truths You Forget to Tell Yourself Every Day

Preaching the gospel took on a whole new significance for me several years ago. I was going through a period where I was battling anxiety and fighting what to me seemed a losing...

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That You May Know: Assurance of Salvation in 1 John

Assurance of salvation is quite often a hotly debated topic with some affirming on one extreme that regardless of what we do we can never lose our salvation and the other extreme...

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Prayer: Just Do It!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2014 in Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

Prayer: Just Do It!

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about prayer, examining my own prayer life or admittedly the lack of one over the past few months. Part of this examination process has involved wondering what makes some people such prayer warriors and devoted to prayer while others seems to treat prayer as a pre-meal exercise or a quick barrage of words prior to falling asleep. I have come to realize that Scripture presents three key truths concerning prayer: 1) It is an essential part of the Christian walk; 2) We have a model of how to pray outlined in the Lord’s Prayer, and 3) Just do it. There is really nothing fancy about praying. No formula to follow like some sort of Harry Potter spell or charm. We are simply told that prayer is vital, that we should pray that God’s will be done, and we are to pray without ceasing.

So what keeps us from praying on a consistent basis? What are the barriers to pouring out our hearts to the God who so desires to hear from us even though He already knows what we will say and what we need? I think there are three key barriers to prayer:

1) Pride. Yes that ugly enemy called pride tops the list. When it comes to prayer, the issue of pride rears its ugly head when we think we know all things and can go it alone in this thing called life. The finite human far too often believes they have sufficient wisdom to give it a go, not realizing that such a perception is about as false as the day is long. The spirit of pride essentially declares that sufficiency can be found within self. How does Scripture respond to such a perspective of life? We are told such truth as “Prides comes before destruction” (Prov. 16:18) and “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Notice where pride leads and where wisdom is found. Pride leads to destruction and wisdom comes from God.

2) Business/Laziness. Both business and laziness are related barriers to prayer. With all the demands of life to include work, home, church, and hobbies just to name a few, prayer gets shuffled to the back burner of the daily priority list if it even makes the list at all. Even when we have time in our schedule to pray, taking a nap on the couch or watching that final game of the playoffs takes priority over spending time in relational conversation with God.

3) Embarrassment/Timidity. How many of us decline saying a prayer before a meal in public? I will raise my hand. The question is why? It is truly out of an attitude of being embarrassed to bow your head and give thanks to God who provided the means by which you can partake of that meal. We are far too worried about what others might think about us saying a prayer of thanksgiving. Related to embarrassment is the attitude of timidity, the feeling like you are not eloquent enough with your words to say anything worthwhile which leads to saying nothing at all. Neither approach is correct.

How do we do battle against these three issues so these barriers to a consistent and purposeful prayer life can be demolished? Let me provide four methods:

1) Humility. Since Scripture says that “pride leads to destruction” (Prov. 16:18) and “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5), then we must grasp the reality that pride is not the answer and that wisdom comes from somewhere outside of ourselves. I am reminded of King Solomon who asked for wisdom from God above all else. Charles Spurgeon once rightly declared “Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God.”

2) Do not let business or laziness become an excuse. Martin Luther once stated, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Jesus often went to a quiet place in the morning to spend time in prayer with his Father. Scripture exhorts us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.” Thus, regardless of how much we feel must be crammed into our daily schedules, nothing should rise to such a level of importance that we do not take time to spend with our heavenly Father in prayer. Furthermore, we can always be in a spirit of prayer, conversing with God throughout the day. With that said, devoted and consistent time spent in the prayer closet is also a must.

3) Do not fear what man might say. The great preacher Leonard Ravenhill once stated, “A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.” In all honesty, who cares what people think if you bow your head and say a prayer before your meal in public? After all, Jesus did say “whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 10:33) Strong words for certain and to a large degree, being embarrassed to pray in public before a meal can certainly be construed as falling dangerously close to that disowning category. Now mind you we are not to make a big show of praying to draw attention to ourselves. Engaging in that type of prayer is warned against in Matthew 6:7 as something the heathen do – the old Pharisaical approach. We should bow our heads, give thanks from a thankful heart, and partake of the meal. Who knows what seed might be planted in the hearts of those who observe that activity.

4) Just do it. Charles Spurgeon once commented that “True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.” If you are afraid you are lacking in eloquence or that you have noting worthy of saying, put that attitude far from you. Jesus provided a simple model for prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. What is most interesting about that model prayer is it is a conversation between man and his God. It covers all the basics of life such as God’s will taking place, provision being given, forgiveness towards those who have wronged us, protection from the enemy, and giving glory to God. What more is there in life to talk about with God? So if you are struggling with your prayer life, follow the keep it simple method. Have a conversation with God. He knows your heart and He already knows what you are going to say but He longs to hear it anyway. “A single groan” is the best place to start.

Prayer must be a part of our lives all day and every day. If you have been struggling with your prayer life, I trust this post will be of some help. If anything, remember this one truth – Just do it. Engage in prayer, exercise that spiritual muscle, and cast your cares upon God for He truly cares for you.

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#3: Hosea & Jesus: Mercy, Not Sacrifice[Sermon]

Posted by on Oct 25, 2014 in Hosea

#3: Hosea & Jesus: Mercy, Not Sacrifice[Sermon]
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We should always be asking, “How do the New Testament writers interpret the Old Testament?” In our study of Hosea, we find Jesus quoting Hosea 6:6. But what does it mean that God “desires mercy, not sacrifice?” Join Dr. Cosby as he looks at this issue from Matthew 9:9-13.

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Book Giveaway 10/24/2014-10/31/2014

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Featured, Theology For Life

Book Giveaway 10/24/2014-10/31/2014

Coming October 31st is our second Issue of Theology For Life on the person and work of Jesus Christ titled “Christology: Christ, the Church, and the Christian Life“.  This issue will help you to not only understand what the Bible teaches about this vital topic but also to be equipped to answer objections to this doctrine. I encourage you to read our second issue Friday October 31 and be encouraged, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy our giveaway sponsored by our friends at Crossway, B&H Academic and Dutton Adult and please encourage your friends and family to check out our second issue of Theology For Life Magazine. 

The books being given away are three copies of Truth in a Culture of Doubt, one copy of Edwards on the Christian Life, one copy of God’s Design for man and woman, one copy of The Stories We Tell and two copies of Tim Keller’s new book on Prayer. There are eight books in total available and there will be eight winners.

Enter the giveaway below through punchtab:

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