Effective Prayer Requires Sacrifice

 

Every morning you’ll hear me at it again.

Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar

and watch for fire to descend.

(Psalm 5:3 The Message)

 

Even though my mother (God rest her soul) inducted me into a lifestyle of prayer, it was not always easy to maintain a prayerful lifestyle. I admit it was probably not as hard for me as it is for some others within the body of Christ, who did not have that particular example and influence around them, but I nevertheless sometimes struggled.

Usually, it was because of difficult circumstances which the Enemy used to demean and distract me.

Just as King David did, I discovered that there are times when you have to speak to your soul and encourage yourself in the Lord.

The following is an extract from my writing journal, where I sought to both speak to and motivate myself, so I could continue to pray for myself and for others, regardless of how I felt; so I could deal with those issues which often tripped me up and prevented me from praying, or else undermined the effectiveness of my prayers.

I share this journal extract in the hopes that it will speak to the hearts of those who truly love God and want to please him, yet struggle in their walk with the Lord because of disappointments, or discouraging circumstances which the Enemy uses, to try and break their focus (often successfully).

I share in the hopes that those who struggle to maintain a consistent prayer life, will be encouraged to push through with determination.

—–oooooo000oooooo—–

 

PRAYER.

The power to change things. Change me, change others, change my community, change my world.

Prayer.

It is the positive power of the tongue. When you pray, you are able to join forces with God, imitate him, when he spoke in the beginning and said: “Let there be…”. There was darkness, there was void, there was no life. However, he spoke and it changed the earth’s atmosphere and environment.

Carol, are you not happy with your life, your relationships, your social and economic environment? Then change it! Take the Word of God and apply it by speaking to your circumstances with authority and in faith.

To speak with authority there must be belief in what you are saying. There must be confidence that you have the right to ask, or declare that thing. There must be confidence that what you say will come to pass.

What undermines that confidence, that assurance?

It is sin. It is the sneaking suspicion at the back of your mind that you are not quite there spiritually, that you have blotted your copy book so to speak with your rebellion and stubbornness.

You know what the Word of God says about forgiveness but nevertheless, you feel that your case is an exception, or you feel that to obey God’s word in that regard is too costly.

Yes, it is costly. Costly to your flesh. To your pride, to your self-esteem. You feel to forgive is to render you a doormat. Render you weak and impotent and pathetic whilst your offender is empowered over you.

You think to hold on to your unforgiving attitude is to hold onto the last vestiges of self-respect. That person doesn’t respect you. Onlookers who see and know what has been done also do not respect you.

Who respects the weak? Who respects the put-upon, the one who is put down not just once or twice or even three times but again and again and again and again until it becomes a cycle, until it becomes a way of life, until your thoughts and your heart and your entire life is wrapped around tightly with the scorn, ridicule and contempt, of others like a silk worm in its cocoon. Wrapped so tightly, until that person’s hatred, or jealousy, or malice, or reproach, seeps into your soul, poisoning your entire spiritual immune system.

You have the Word of God in your heart. You have the blood of Jesus that declares you righteous and justified but somehow you have allowed the poison of other people’s opinion and antics to break down your spiritual immune system. You have treated the Word of God, the name of Jesus, the blood of the Lamb, the anointing that breaks the yoke, as insignificant, in comparison to your woes, your wounds.

What is significant (to you), is that this person or those people should not get away with making you feel a non-entity, a no person, a bottom of the heap hobo. And yet… in the Kingdom of God, when it comes to our relationship with others— particularly those that mistreat or persecute us—that is sometimes how God wants us to view ourselves.

If you hold onto your life (your reputation, your self-esteem, your pride blah blah) then you will lose it! But, Jesus says if you will lose (i.e. deliberately let go of) these things for my sake, then you will find it (a higher, God-blessed life).

What a paradox!

In comparison to this world and how it thinks and operates, the Kingdom of God is a topsy-turvy way of operating. The world says: celebrate yourself, pamper yourself, live for yourself! But the Word of God says: crucify your flesh, die to self, deny yourself.

Carol, where are you in God’s equation?

Choose you this day whom you will serve—will it be your Father God, or yourself (i.e. the demands of your unruly flesh)?

[end of journal extract]

***     ***     ***

Dear friends and followers, I am choosing to be a victor. I am choosing to be a victorious overcomer.

How about you?

With much love,

Carol (aka Lady Cee)

Author of: Petitions From My Heart

 

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Related Reading: Underdog or Overcomer

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A Time to Celebrate

 

Hello friends and followers,

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK.

It was an occasion that my mum just loved, particularly in the last few decades of her life. Because we utterly spoiled her. We celebrated her. We did our best to show just how much we loved and appreciated her.

Mum has passed away now. But I still want to remember this incredible, faithful woman of God. I still want to celebrate her life. I still want to give God thanks for the privilege of being her daughter.

Below is an extract from my diary which I’d like to share with you all. The entry was written about 3 weeks before my mother died.

 

—–oooooo000oooooo—–

 

Hello Diary,

I feel like bawling my eyes out. I feel like breaking down and sobbing until every fibre of me has been ridden of pain and disappointment and disillusionment.  I am writing this in a new place (not my Ivory Tower as usual).  I am at my mother’s home, sitting at the dining table—the scene of so much laughter and joy and boisterous revelry.

I sit at my lap top with all the signs of my mother’s warm personality and godly commitment around me. Upon the walls are framed photographs and certificates. Photos of good times, of birthday and graduation events and of her Bishop’s ordination. Photos of celebrations. Photos illustrating Bible verses. Pictures reminding the onlooker of the power of prayer. Certificates testifying of my mother’s commitment to a certain Christian ministry and to her completion of a Bible course. 

I grieve for the mother these photos and certificates portray. A strong God-focussed, prayerful, caring, committed and compassionate woman. 

Earlier, I had borrowed one of her many Bibles. This one sat upon the dining room table. I borrowed it whilst I sat in the overgrown, neglected garden, which is another cause of grief, since it does not bear any resemblance to the garden my mum loved and tended for years. 

Oh it’s not the kind of garden that you’d see in a gardener’s magazine.  It was too haphazard in layout and design for that.  Mum’s garden contained an apple tree with the sourest apples you could ever hope to eat.  There were also potatoes, green beans and gungo beans, spring onions and mint.  All this mixed with rosemary and strawberries, roses and pretty pink flowers (the name of which I do not know). 

But nowadays, along with invasive weeds, mum’s back garden seems to have sprouted old furniture, disintegrating bits of wood, parts of a vacuum cleaner, rusty pipes, containers of industrial fluids and God knows what. There is also a massive eyesore of a building that one of my brothers decided to build—against the wishes and vigorous protestations of his siblings and without my mother’s permission.

Whilst I sit typing at mum’s home, she lies in a hospital bed – a mere shadow of the woman I came to love, respect and highly admire and whom I still love to her very bones, whom I still respect with every fibre of my being and whom I still highly admire, as an example of the woman of God I desire to be.

And as I sat in the back garden on this beautiful day, a day that sported a cloudless blue sky and bright shining sun, there was a stark contrast between my mental climate and the gorgeous weather. 

Our lives have changed.  Indubitably. Undeniably.

No more mum to call upon and ask for prayer.  No more mum to bring our problems to, knowing she would plead and intercede for us to Father God. No more mum on her knees in the earth tending to her beloved gardens. No more mum to arrange family get-togethers and cook extravaganza feasts… to sit back in satisfaction watching us eat and enjoy her food… to bask in our compliments and expressions of gratitude… to listen to the same old family anecdotes and the same old good-natured ribbing of one another. No more mum to join in with the hilarity.

It seems so unfair that this wonderful woman who has been responsible for raising us up single-handedly since the untimely death of my father, this woman who was responsible for making such warm beautiful memories for her family, should have these same precious memories wiped from her memory bank, so that all she is left with is the knowledge that she is incapacitated and without dignity and, the very condition she’d said she would never want to become a feature of her life (having seen it in the lives of others), should turn out to be her own experience.

My father often used to say: “Life – it no easy!”  I would further add: “Life – it’s just not fair!”

Anyway, whilst using the Bible for my quiet time with the Lord, I came across a letter at the back dated 1 November 1989 from one of my sisters. This 4-page letter contained an outpouring of her heart about a particular situation, which had remained unchanged, despite ongoing prayer.

It was such a heartfelt letter. I was touched to the core of my being, so I can imagine how it must have touched my mum. I have no doubt that this letter prompted a session of passionate prayer and intercession on behalf of her daughter and grandson. I have no doubt this outpouring of sorrow and confusion and hurt prompted a phone call in which my mum encouraged, consoled and sought to strengthen my sister. I have no doubt because that was the kind of woman mum was.

As the old saying goes, life is not a bed of roses. Challenges and changes come and we either face up to them and deal with it, or we can run away in the hopes that distance will give us respite, or we can allow our problems to press us into a place of defeat and victimhood.

In the dining room where I sit, there is a cabinet crammed with wine glasses, champagne flutes, candles, crockery and cutlery. Most were gifts to mum over the years and were used for our birthday celebrations, dinner parties and Christmas get-togethers. Some items, such as a colourful set of sherry glasses, were not used anymore because they were so old-fashioned. However, mum didn’t get rid of them and they kept their place in the cabinet.

Looking at this cabinet, it set me thinking…

As Christians, when we encounter the difficulties of life, it’s a relief to know we have a Heavenly Father that cares. It’s wonderful having a loving Saviour and friend in Jesus, upon whom we can cast our burdens. And it’s comforting and reassuring that we have the Holy Spirit who has been called alongside us to help and counsel us.

But are we actually benefiting from these spiritual resources that we’ve been given to enable us to walk victoriously in life? Or, are we merely keeping them like trophies in a cabinet, which we take out now and again, perhaps even use on the odd occasion but otherwise, they serve no significant purpose in our lives?

 

—–oooooo000oooooo—–

 

Thank you dear friends for sparing the time to read this post. For all those who may have lost their mother recently, I pray that the God of all comfort will be with you… that you will be able to look back at the time you’ve shared in the past and rejoice over the memories.

And for all you mothers amongst my readership, may I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!

 

CREDIT: the above CCo image comes courtesy of Terri Cnudde at Pixabay.com