Louis Roth Ministries

Helping with the Road to Spiritual Maturity

Your Relationship with God - 6

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Written by Louis Roth

Folks around the world tell me they want or need: support for widows and orphans, fixing a roof or wall, revival in their lands, etc. It puzzles me when the response to the question, “did you pray about this?” is “yea, but I need help now.” Is it true that “I don’t understand how life works?”

Jesus assures us that we can move mountains if we have faith (Matt. 17:20–21). On occasion, prayer and fasting are required. The truth is that the apostles failed because of their lack of faith.

How much time should we as individuals and in groups spend praying? The answer is why cut off your time with the Lord? We looked at instances where Bible people prayed always. I don’ think you can pray too much. Look at Acts 1:14. The group that is credited for the spread of Christianity devoted themselves to prayer. Prayer united this group together. The answer to your problems is more prayer, not alternative solutions. Prayer is something you make a priority! In Acts 2:42, we find that prayer is the key to the miracles at the hands of the apostles. Satan attempts to sidetrack the work of the group by creating an issue with food. The apostles appoint people to resolve the issue and continue their ministry and uninterrupted prayer. You see, Satan will throw anything your way to prevent your prayer with the Lord. The food issue was not permitted to stop the beginnings of the church.

Caution: our prayers must be in the will of God and according to His plan.

How important is prayer? Open your Bibles to Mark 11:15–18, (also Matt 21:12–17, Luke 19:45–46). The temple folks had found a way to make money by forcing Jews from other lands to exchange their cash into the local currency. They charged high rates since Jews were coming to the Temple to meet their offering requirements.[1] Caiaphas, the high priest, allowed this “enterprise” to work in the Gentile area. Gentiles were not allowed past this point, so this part of the Temple was considered available to make money. [2]

Jesus has a different point of view. He quotes Jer. 7:8–11. Jeremiah is the prophet that attempted to get Judah to repent and return to the Lord. The Jews do not heed Jeremiah’s warnings, and the Spirit of God leaves the Temple. The Babylonians sack Jerusalem and burn the Temple. Jesus equates the salespeople with an evil time in Jewish history. Robbers hid away in caves, and the money changers use the outer chambers as their cave supported by the chief priests. Jerusalem is where Jews go to be with God. Anything that interferes with this is considered a sin — including commercialization of the Temple.[3] None of the activities in the outer court have anything to do with God’s work.

Jesus drives out all the salespeople and money changers. What is your stance on interfering with prayer? A big difference exists between the atmosphere of people praying and the show that passes for Sunday services these days.

Jim Cymbala wrote a book on his personal and his church’s journey from nearly shutting down because they couldn’t pay the rent to move twice to more significant locations to hold the people wanting to get closer to the Lord. Pastor Cymbala learned the significance of prayer in any church. Prayer became integrated into church life at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Cymbala notes that there has never been a season of decline in his church in 50 years.[4] There was plenty of drug use in the area. Yet God was able to change people and lead them to this church. The first location was in a rough neighborhood yet with prayer, and this church still succeeded in changed lives.[5] Yet, in this tough area, the church thrived to the point of 1600 people per meeting. Each service is 2.5 hours long to accommodate prayer. [6]

The way to tell how a church is doing is by there prayer meeting. The people who put Jesus as the first priority come to prayer meetings. Prayer meetings are the barameter of churches. [7]

Notes:

1. McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Gospels (Mark) (electronic ed., Vol. 36, p. 135). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

2. Grassmick, J. D. (1985). Mark. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 157). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

3. Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (p. 71). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

4. Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (p. 30). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

5. Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (pp. 37–38). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

6. Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (pp. 49–50). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

7. Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (pp. 27). Zondervan. Kindle Edition