Thursday, December 2, 2010

REPOST: God Heard His Prayers Because… (By: Jeff Maness, Lead Pastor, Element Church)

I was reading Pastor Jeff's blog and his post on Dec 1st about prayer (HERE) really got to me.  Lately I've realized that I pray but recently it hasn't felt the same.  Recently it seems so rushed, so hurried.  Almost as if it hasn't been an intentional act of submission or this time of intimate connection surrounded by deep respect for who my God is.  Then I read Pastor Jeff's post and...well God shined His light on it.  In the verse Pastor Jeff mentions (Hebrews 5:7) the word "reverence" is used in relation to how Christ prayed.  

To get this, understand that reverence is defined as honor or respect felt or shown or a gesture of respect.  What God showed me through reading Pastor Jeff's post not only had to do with how my heart was focused in approaching God in prayer, but for me it also revealed how I physically approach God in prayer.  

In the past couple months I've gotten to a point where I have let everyday life high-jack my time with God.  For me prayer time has always been very much about intentionally submitting myself to God, both spiritually and physically.  Not just in the time I gave Him, but in the way that I gave it to Him also.  As an act of reverence I spent all of my prayer time (during morning devotional and prior to bed, then if I felt it necessary and had the opportunity throughout the day) on my knees.  Sometimes I would bow low, but I was ALWAYS on my knees.  It was my "gesture of respect."  But recently I'm so hurried that 5 or 10 minutes sitting in a chair was "good enough."  Realistically, it just doesn't suffice and with God there should NEVER be a "good enough."  

Here's the original post:

On Sunday, I was doing my normal quiet time with God before heading to church and I read a verse that I saw for the first time, or at least saw it in a new light.  I’m in Hebrews right now, which by the way is an INCREDIBLE book.  So rich and deep.  Anyway, I came across Hebrews 5:7 which says this 7While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.”

Now think about it.  Theologically, Jesus WAS God.  God incarnate.  God in the flesh.  THE God man.  So you might think that the verse should read “And God heard his prayers because HE WAS GOD”.  But NO!  It says God heard them, because of his “deep reverence for God.”  (We won’t get into the lengthy and unending discussion of “If He was God then why did he need to pray, and was he praying to Himself?”)  It just made me think.  If Jesus’ prayer was heard because of His deep reverence for God…what does that say about me?
I think sometimes when I pray I have a deep regret…or a desperate situation…or adeliberate request…or a demanding requirement…and there isn’t anything bad necessarily with any of those things.  The problem is, I often feel like God will hear me because I have the deep regret.  Or because my situation is desperate or my request is deliberate or I’m facing a requirement that’s demanding.  And I’m not saying that God doesn’t hear us, it just struck me that JESUS was heard because of His DEEP REVERENCE for God, not for ANY of those other things.  Not because of his pleadings, loud cries or tears…but His reverence.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of prayer that comes to God out of deep reverence for WHO He is, not WHAT He can give me.  I get the feeling from Hebrews 5:7 that that is why Jesus went to God in prayer.  And because of that, God heard Him.
Learning,
Jeff
Good stuff.  God deserves our physical acts of respect, submission and praise AS MUCH AS (I'd say if not more than) our verbal ones.
Back on my knees,
Bruce