Sometimes, ministry squeezes time shorter than the number of tasks which need to be completed. But ministry simply means people and this a good thing to be squeezed for. In fact, the Apostle Paul says it this way. 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 13 “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” The constraining love of Christ is a constant pressure to live first for Christ and then for others. Christian, do you want to get a kick out of life? Then live first for Jesus and then for others. As you give yourself to Jesus through service to others in this you will truly find yourself.
I want to share something I was challenged with when I went to a Pastor’s Toolbox at Camp Chetek, WI this past week. It has to do with prayer. Communication with God is a two-way street. First, God communicates to us through His Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If you want God to talk to you, it is necessary for you to be reading your Bible and prayerfully listening to His voice. But reading your Bible is only half of the communication picture. When I was stationed in 29 Palms, CA as a United States Marine, Company B, our company motto was this; “The Key to Victory in Battle is Effective Communication.” One-sided communication does not work. So, secondly, you need to communicate to God through prayer.
Following are 8 things which can hinder your prayer life. Can you remember the last time you know God answered a specific prayer request for which you prayed? How long has it been since your heart was warmed and flooded with joy because you knew God heard and answered your prayer. Like a loving Father, God wants to hear from us for our cares, concerns, needs and wants. He wants to hear our praise of thanksgiving and willing worship to a great God who has provided for us so richly.
And yet, if we do not pray, we are like a married couple who may live in the same house and never talk to each other. Do you claim to be a Christian? If so, are you taking time not only to read the Word of God, but also to spend some time talking to the Lord? The hymn writer said it this way:
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in Prayer!
O, what peace we often forfeit, O, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer.”
(Joseph Scriven, 1818-1866)
Love in Christ,
Pastor John Schofield
Eight Hindrances to Prayer:
- Because You Do Not Pray. James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye bkill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
- Because You Have a Wrong Motive. James 4: 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts
- Because You Are Entertaining Sin in Your Life. Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
- Because You Are Not Right with Your Spouse. 1 Peter 3: 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
- Because You Lack Faith. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual yfervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
- Because You Are Bitter. Mark 11: 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
- Because You Are Proud. James 13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? hIt is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
- Because You Are Not Saved. Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, cthat they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only athey were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Simony /ˈsaɪməni, ˈsɪ-/ is the act of selling church offices and roles. The practice is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9–24 as having offered two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term also extends to other forms of trafficking for money in “spiritual things”.