The Work of Prayer
July 17, 2016
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #499.
(Martha) Carole, I too have seen prayer as an obligation, a calling, and an insistent work to do. And two major prayers that I’ve had, I’ll say in my current memory. One is for a young man, who is so trying to make his life ok, so working so hard. And he’s trying to have a family, raise a family, keep a job and get an education. And oh, I just my heart just went out to him. And I got an email that he was in big trouble, because he was so exhausted. He had a paper to write before midnight, and it was about midnight. And I said, “Lord, what would you want to do for him?” And the Lord said… No, “Lord, what can I pray for him?” And He said, “A miracle.” So I said, “Lord, give him a miracle.” And God did. He got that paper done and got a good grade and graduated. One word. And recently there was someone in a lot of distress on a lot of fronts, and the Lord kept saying… And it was so complicated and so big, and I kept thinking, “Oh, I’m going to have to spend hours praying on this to find out.” That’s what I was responding. “I’m going to pray for it, I want to, but oh my gosh it’s going to take, oh, hours to unravel the scrambled egg.” And the Lord kept saying, “Stop and pray. Stop and pray.” And I finally obeyed Him. I said, “Wait a minute. We’re going to stop and pray.” So, I listened and the Lord said, “Peace.” And I said, “Peace, ok. Is that all? Isn’t it a little harder than that? This is a big problem.” And then He said, “Shalom.” And I said, “Ok.” Here’s the prayer. Here’s the prayer to proclaim. Here’s what I proclaim, “Shalom,” and asked this person, “Do you know what Shalom means in the Jewish transliteration?” She said,” No.” I said, “It means the power to destroy the authority that causes chaos.” We have the power to destroy the authority that causes chaos. And so I spoke shalom on every area, and things happened within hours that changed it to peace. So, I’m saying, “Give me some one word prayers, Lord.” Those are lovely and easy, and I don’t have to do all this work of seeking and searching and so forth. And somebody said, “I’m too lazy to work it out,” and in a sense, that’s good. If we can just trust that He will give us the prayer, do the prayer, give the impetus of the prayer, and we just wait til He comes. There’s just nothing to do. The mystery, one of the mysteries of the universe to me is the last words of Jesus, “It is finished.” And I’ve said, “What is finished?” Everything! His works are finished. All I have to do is reach up and receive that work. Everything’s finished. So…
(Carole) I don’t want to go back. Remember I said, “Hands folded in prayer on the mountain. Well, how?” I said, “Well, how do I do that? How do I do that?”
(Martha) I thought that was a valid question.
(Carole) “How do I do that, Lord,” knowing full well that I’m going to fail. So, I don’t go there, because I don’t know how to do it, and I’m going to fail anyway, and so I resist it. I don’t know if this is speaking to anybody else. I resist it, I don’t accept it as His problem, and it’s insane. It’s just crazy. It’s crazy.
(Martha) But it’s typical. (all chuckling) It’s so simple.
(Carole) “Only,” Back to what He’s been speaking, “Only Believe.” “Only Believe.”
(Martha) And when you believe, you receive. And when you receive, you have it. It’s totally being a child, because when I… Years ago when I first began to pray, I just believed He would do everything, and He did. “Oh, well Uncle Jim is dying. Just don’t let him die, give him some more years.” “Ok.” It was just, it was asking Him for everything. It was believing this verse right here, that, “He will carry out His own purpose and do it superabundantly.” He will. He will do more than we ask, and we have to ask in faith. He says the only work is to believe, but even that I can say it’s a work, then. No, it’s simply taking a verse like this one in Ephesians and going over it and looking at it, letting it stare at you, letting it enter you, just letting it take you over. It’s called, memorization and meditation. But it’s not so much about learning it as it eating it, and letting it have you, capture you, and take you over, because it has the power to do that. So, it’s just looking at Him in this word. It’s really that simple. And then faith takes you over. You reminded me of this, this morning. You said, “We’re supposed to just look at Him,” or either John did. You’re just supposed to look at Him, and that’s when you get the faith. That’s what it says. “Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.”
(Carole) But when we’re working out of work, we’re not looking at Him.
(Carole) We’re looking a work. That’s what we’re looking at. I know that.
(Martha) We’re looking at work. I’m looking at myself that I can’t do it.
(Carole) And I’m miserable.
(Carole) It brings with it misery, because it is death. It really and truly is death, and it’s that veering off, really, it’s losing the faith. What does it say? In Romans? And it doesn’t mean what we think it means. When we lose the faith, it’s really falling from the realm of heaven down to the realm of earth.
(Martha) When we, “fall from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)
(Carole) Fall from grace. Ok. That’s it. When we fall from grace, that’s really what we’re doing. We’re leaving Truth. We’re leaving the promise. We’re leaving who He is. We’re leaving beholding Him, and we’re coming back down here to earth and we’re moving out of earth rather than out of heaven.
(Carole) Out from heaven.
(Martha) Yes, yes.
(Jennifer) Ok, Carole, when you said, “And I’m miserable,” you know what ran through my head? That’s true, but it didn’t used to be true. Before I was born again, there were times when doing a good job succeeded in getting me what I was after, which was approval, which felt like love. Ok? So, until you’re born again, that is the pattern, and it’s not 100% misery, anymore than your life without the Lord is actually 100% misery, which you don’t necessarily realize until you’re on the other side of the wall, and you realize what you called happy was in fact just lighter shades of misery. (all laughing!!) But! In that time, you would say, “Oh, I had a good time at that party last night,” you know, because it wasn’t a total loss as far as you were concerned. But you had nothing proper to gage it on, because you had never actually met joy, Himself, so how would you know? You know what I mean? But it wasn’t always misery, so there’s a part of us, I think, that does have to broken, and these parameters, He’s so happy to break us, because we’re not our own anymore. We are not only owned, we’re in relationship, and for us to continue chasing that thing that we were born chasing is the equivalent – forgive me, but it is – of a husband and wife, and the husband wakes up in the morning and leaves $300 on the dresser for the wife. Is that not? That instead of it being love that is freely given, relationship that is there, trust, true intimacy, that it becomes a paid exchange, because I continue trying to earn something He has given. I’m sorry to put it that crassly, but really it is taking, it is a base thing. And I think that’s part of the reason He hates it so much, because it doesn’t speak well of Him, and it doesn’t speak well of us, and it says this relationship is a business transaction. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Ok? Forgive me. Forgive me, but I have always, I have struggled because I’ve said, “Lord, I don’t understand why You’d be so upset, because you know who we are. Why is it so repugnant to You?” And I’m sorry, but I have asked that question. But I just had that picture, Carole, that that’s the thing. He will not allow us to in any way, shape or form be anything other than miserable when we are working to earn something because – No, but it’s not – because, as you said, He just wants to love us, and He just wants us to stop and say, “I am loved. This is real. There is a commitment here. I am safe. Nobody’s going anywhere. Nobody’s walking away.” What if you made vows and oh yeah, they weren’t broken? What if, you know? I mean, His relationship does not… That’s not even a possibility, so He’s going to do what He has to do. He had to leave Gomer out in the wilderness and speak softly to her, because she was just doing the only thing she knew to do. Hmmmm. But I just, I never saw before that once upon a time I did occasionally get what I was trying to earn from people. My performance did in fact… If it had never earned anything, then I wouldn’t be who I was, and I wouldn’t keep try… Well, maybe I would. I don’t know. Guess I could be Don Quixote. Haha, I’ve been plenty of other times in my life, tilting at windmills, but it never came to any fruition. But there is something from the old that has to be completely broken and severed. And when you said that, when you said it’s total misery, I thought, “Yes, it is, but it hasn’t always been.” But now it is, and that is a sure mark of His love to me.
(Martha) Umhmm. Umhmm.
(Jennifer) Because of what that says.
(Jennifer) I belong to Him, and so I will not succeed. He will not let me earn something from my performance. He will thwart me. He will stifle me. He will block me. He will send me tumbling down a flight of stairs if that’s what it takes to break me from this thing. He will not let me be content, be rewarded in this place that is so repugnant to Him.