What precedes worship?

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2 Samuel 22:4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.

Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me

Isaiah 43:7 .…..everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made

Prayer is our life blood, in this body.  But we will not pray forever. When we find ourselves face-to-face with Jesus, we won’t need to ask for anything. We won’t need faith. We will SEE.

ONE activity we WILL continue in heaven is worship. Praising God, enjoying His worth, and making much of Him will be a pleasure.  If joy in worshipping God seems fleeting here and now, it won’t be when we are in His presence.  After all, scripture gives us glimpses of the angels thriving on worship.  Their experience seems so qualitatively different from mine.  But when we join the angelic host, worshipping God will be a natural and beautiful way of life.   And if that is so, then doesn’t it makes sense to take it seriously now? To practice it?

With that idea as a backdrop, something I read triggered the following thought.  When I rely on myself, I deprive the LORD of worship.  And I, myself, LOSE an opportunity to grow in my enjoyment of making much of God.

What do I mean?  Just this – when I rely on myself and things go well, whom do I thank? I probably don’t even think to ask. Why should I thank anyone since I was the one who came through?  My own initiative, experience, skill and wisdom led to the good outcome, right?

What’s wrong with this thinking? For one, if the situation turned out well, it wasn’t because of me, but God’s mercy.  I’m just blind to that FACT.  And second, who granted me the necessary tools to do ‘good’ work?

But worse than my faulty analysis is that I have just stolen worship that belongs to God.  Yes!  Number me among the glory thieves.

For how does God get any glory when I rely on Maria? And if I do acknowledge the Lord, my hat-tip to Him is more like the smug pharisee who thanks God he is not like the tax-collector. He’s really praising himself, not God.

But when I throw myself totally on Him to come through in the ‘hards and impossibles’, when I count on Him to provide energy and wisdom in the ‘ordinaries’, THEN after every provision, I have AMPLE reason to thank and praise the Lord!

It’s plain and simple.  Isn’t this why God in His Word commands us:

  • to hand over our situations that drive us nuts and count on Him?
  • NOT to trust ourselves or our insight in situations but to look to Him to show us what to do?

The Lord has even built into this broken, fallen universe a practical design feature to help us REMEMBER to depend on Him.  What is that?  He has created us as needy, finite, people desperate for help. Why pretend otherwise!! The psalmist knew this fact and was not ashamed to announce it.  See how his very dependence on the Lord produces praise:

Psalm 71:6  I depended on you since birth, when you brought me from my mother’s womb; I praise you continuously. (ISV)

How has this realization changed my attitude?  Each morning when I am getting dressed, I bring to mind how my neediness is God’s good gift to me, not a deficit.  Not only can I relax and count on Him coming through in all my situations for the day, I am also practicing my eternal career – worshipping and enjoying the One who is the most worthy person in the universe.

 

How Prayer and Trust relate

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Call on me in the Day of Trouble

 

 

 

As Paul Miller says, we all think we stink at prayer!

I would imagine that this assessment is a plot of the devil and his evil pals.  If they can get us NOT to pray, then God won’t accomplish much.  At least this is what the Satan thinks, thus laboring steadily to dissuade us from spending the time and energy and getting our hopes up!

But God….(two powerful words that introduce HOPE)…is ALWAYS at work so we should keep on stumbling through prayer by faith and trust He’ll help us grow in this area.

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I’ve been reading an encouraging book on prayer.

Link to the book

Power of Prayer - Samuel Prime

 

 

 

 

 

If you purchase this account of the New York revival of 1858, chapters 16, 17 and the final one are worth the price of the book.  They made me WANT to pray.

Here is my take-away after spending a month in these pages. Picture thick ice that covers a lake in winter. ice on a lake

 

 

 

When you trust in the efficacy of the ice to sustain your weight, you venture out.  The degree of faith in that ice has NO effect on whether the ice is sufficient to bear your weight. Whether you timidly step out onto the ice (a little bit of faith) or you stride out boldly (strong faith), the ice’s ability to hold you up is not effected one whit.

The promises of God are like the ice.  When God says in HIS WORD that He will do this or that, we can be sure that He will!   Why? – because He is a perfect God who never changes.  His character, the sum-total of His attributes, is consistently above-reproach.  If He is ever or even one time good, He is ALWAYS good. If He is faithful once, He is ALWAYS faithful.  If He does what is right one time (act with righteousness and justice), then He will ALWAYS do what is righteous and just.  Why?  because His character  is on the line at all times. His primary motivation is for the glory or reputation of His name

Closely intertwined with His character are His promises.  What He says He will do is as good as done.  It’s money in the bank, as some would say.  His character is the foundation for His Word.

So, when you step out onto the solid ice-covered lake of His Word, it’s NOT

  • the strength or quality or purity of your faith
  • nor is it even your goodness, aka faithfulness
  • nor the quality of your past few quiet times
  • nor how committed you are THIS time to do…

It’s ALL Him.  And that is good news.

To sum up, here is my analogy –

Throwing up a prayer to God and then resting in the PERFECT assurance that He will hear that prayer and use it and take care of the situation/desire/need as HE best sees fit, is akin to stepping out on the ice-covered lake and having confidence that it will hold you up so you can play to your heart’s content.

Taking that worry back for yourself is like running in off the lake before you even crossed over to the other side or played a game.

Here’s what we have to remember:

Once we pray, and when our mind STILL returns to the need/concern/situation/desire, we must remind ourselves that the ice WILL hold.  God WILL take care of “it”.  His character and His word are our guarantee.  If we have to remind ourselves twelve times in 2 hours to leave the need in His hands, that’s okay.  No shame – we can do it!  It’s part of our learning curve in trust.

So I ask – what do you have to lose besides your old friend – the worry habit?

Question: Which worry or need are you willing to risk losing, by discharging it on Him? 

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