8/30/2013

Engaging Conversation

E. M. Bounds said in his book,  Power Through Prayer "We do not seek God with ardor and diligence. No man gets God who does not follow hard after him, and no soul follows hard after God who is not after him in early morn."

His statement is just as current today as when it was published in 1906. This powerful little book is directed to pastors, but Power Through Prayer should be on every Christian's shelf, read and re-read. 

Edward M. Bounds was born in 1835 and died in 1913. A Missouri attorney at the beginning of his career, he felt the call to ministry and was ordained as a Methodist pastor in 1859. He didn't support slavery, but served as a chaplain in the Confederate army and spent time as a POW during the war. After his release at the end of the Civil War, he returned to Franklin, Missouri to the pastorate and eventually became an itinerant preacher. Toward the end of his career he was the Associate Editor of The Nashville Christian Advocate. A man who was passionate to know God and share the message of the gospel, I encourage you to read more about his life at the links at the end of this post.

Bounds was addressing questions that are relevant today. Why is prayer such a neglected aspect of the Christian life? Why is our praying so weak, meaningless, and ineffective? These questions aren't new, they're recorded in Scripture and years of church history. 

"The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable; praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties. The great mass of worldly men and learned men are absolutely incapable of prayer."  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"I ought to spend the best hours in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust in a corner."  Robert McCheyne

Daniel's example of prayer morning, noon, and evening stand as a testimony to his reliance on God and his constant desire to be in conversation with him. His life was one of absolute trust in God. How else could he have interpreted dreams, faced the lions, or been given the high honor of writing down the prophecies yet to come? His life was filled with astounding events and visions. He was passionate for the divine relationship. Jacob wrestled with God in prayer. Moses argued with God. David cried out for forgiveness. Jesus prayed in agony as He faced death on the cross. 

God desires an ongoing relationship with us. To be intimately involved in all the details of our lives. As incomprehensible as that is, He does. His children, purchased with the blood of His Son have the privilege of engaging in a constant conversation with Him. A conversation requires two. We must show up to have the conversation.  We tend to think of prayer as the "give me" list. As I've learned, it's WAY more than that. And it needs to start when I wake up, not later in the day when it's more convenient.

The Heavenly Father speaks to us through His word.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

We must be reading and studying Scripture - not a token glance, but real time in the Scripture. God reveals the truth about ourselves and who He is. Everything we need to live life here and prepare for heaven is in His Word. We have it at our fingertips today - on our phone, e-reader, computer, and the Bible on the shelf. Yet we neglect that as well--no time is our usual excuse. We seem to have time for so many other things though.

Prayer is talking with God--plain and simple.  
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 - Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Jesus told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:38 NLT

They were not prepared for the events to follow. They fell asleep, they ran away, lied, and hid from the authorities. Those 11 men lost out on the help available to them by doing nothing. We're like the disciples, avoiding the hard work of prayer. Excuses: 1. It takes too much time 2. I'm tired. 3. I don't feel like it. 4. I don't know what to say. 5. The kids are __________(fill in the blank). So,we're unprepared for the events happening in our lives. We wonder how we'll make it through.

E.M. Bounds warns, "If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day." 

What would our lives look like if God was consistently first in our thoughts and efforts throughout the day? What are we missing when we neglect to kneel at His throne of grace? He extends the invitation for that conversation you can have with no one, but Him. He's the one who can do something about the problems, give us wisdom, receive our thanks, forgive our sins, and lavish amazing love on our lives.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:12 NLT


More information on E.M. Bounds.  His books are available at Amazon or CBD.
 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bounds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_McKendree_Bounds

1 comment:

Valerie Priester said...

Amen - great article.

Positively encouraging

8/30/2013

Engaging Conversation

E. M. Bounds said in his book,  Power Through Prayer "We do not seek God with ardor and diligence. No man gets God who does not follow hard after him, and no soul follows hard after God who is not after him in early morn."

His statement is just as current today as when it was published in 1906. This powerful little book is directed to pastors, but Power Through Prayer should be on every Christian's shelf, read and re-read. 

Edward M. Bounds was born in 1835 and died in 1913. A Missouri attorney at the beginning of his career, he felt the call to ministry and was ordained as a Methodist pastor in 1859. He didn't support slavery, but served as a chaplain in the Confederate army and spent time as a POW during the war. After his release at the end of the Civil War, he returned to Franklin, Missouri to the pastorate and eventually became an itinerant preacher. Toward the end of his career he was the Associate Editor of The Nashville Christian Advocate. A man who was passionate to know God and share the message of the gospel, I encourage you to read more about his life at the links at the end of this post.

Bounds was addressing questions that are relevant today. Why is prayer such a neglected aspect of the Christian life? Why is our praying so weak, meaningless, and ineffective? These questions aren't new, they're recorded in Scripture and years of church history. 

"The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable; praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties. The great mass of worldly men and learned men are absolutely incapable of prayer."  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"I ought to spend the best hours in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust in a corner."  Robert McCheyne

Daniel's example of prayer morning, noon, and evening stand as a testimony to his reliance on God and his constant desire to be in conversation with him. His life was one of absolute trust in God. How else could he have interpreted dreams, faced the lions, or been given the high honor of writing down the prophecies yet to come? His life was filled with astounding events and visions. He was passionate for the divine relationship. Jacob wrestled with God in prayer. Moses argued with God. David cried out for forgiveness. Jesus prayed in agony as He faced death on the cross. 

God desires an ongoing relationship with us. To be intimately involved in all the details of our lives. As incomprehensible as that is, He does. His children, purchased with the blood of His Son have the privilege of engaging in a constant conversation with Him. A conversation requires two. We must show up to have the conversation.  We tend to think of prayer as the "give me" list. As I've learned, it's WAY more than that. And it needs to start when I wake up, not later in the day when it's more convenient.

The Heavenly Father speaks to us through His word.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

We must be reading and studying Scripture - not a token glance, but real time in the Scripture. God reveals the truth about ourselves and who He is. Everything we need to live life here and prepare for heaven is in His Word. We have it at our fingertips today - on our phone, e-reader, computer, and the Bible on the shelf. Yet we neglect that as well--no time is our usual excuse. We seem to have time for so many other things though.

Prayer is talking with God--plain and simple.  
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 - Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Jesus told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:38 NLT

They were not prepared for the events to follow. They fell asleep, they ran away, lied, and hid from the authorities. Those 11 men lost out on the help available to them by doing nothing. We're like the disciples, avoiding the hard work of prayer. Excuses: 1. It takes too much time 2. I'm tired. 3. I don't feel like it. 4. I don't know what to say. 5. The kids are __________(fill in the blank). So,we're unprepared for the events happening in our lives. We wonder how we'll make it through.

E.M. Bounds warns, "If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day." 

What would our lives look like if God was consistently first in our thoughts and efforts throughout the day? What are we missing when we neglect to kneel at His throne of grace? He extends the invitation for that conversation you can have with no one, but Him. He's the one who can do something about the problems, give us wisdom, receive our thanks, forgive our sins, and lavish amazing love on our lives.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:12 NLT


More information on E.M. Bounds.  His books are available at Amazon or CBD.
 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bounds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_McKendree_Bounds

1 comment:

Valerie Priester said...

Amen - great article.