Tuesday, September 20, 2005by Twinklemoose
I am going to try to write a testimony here of changes that have happened in me over the past few months.
The first verse to mention is 2 Chron. 12:14 - And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord. Backing up to verses 11 and 12, you can see the he is King Rehoboam, and the evil he did was to enter the house of the Lord without first humbling himself. Verse 12 says when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether.
Making personal application of this, I am struck by how lightly I sometimes take the matter of entering the house of the Lord, as in the church. I often go to services with my heart unprepared to meet with the Lord. Often, I am taken up in personal matters, and all to often, they are also carnal or vain matters. Well that verse really hit home for me and made me see my light-hearted attitude in the whole matter as being evil.
There is something the Lord called me to do at least a year ago, maybe two or three years even - and I resisted until this July. Now I have been obedient for almost three months in rising early to spend time with the Lord daily. I am not saying this is necessary for everyone, although it has made such a huge difference for me, that I would not be surprised if perhaps it IS necessary for everyone. I get up at 5 or 6 a.m. (depending how early I managed to get to bed the night before) - occasionally I get up at 4 or 4:30. This time belongs to the Lord, and I spend it in simple Bible reading and prayer.
Prior to starting this practice, I was not doing particularly well in my spiritual walk. Personal devotions were sporadic and never very long. My only excuse was the fact that my kids are really young, and I just don't get much time to myself. However, I had been aware for some time that the key to getting past that hurdle was to get up before the kids. I just never seemed to have the energy or will-power when morning rolled around. I was aware that I couldn't truly draw close to the Lord in sporadic 15 minute sessions. Our church was having a family camp in July with the theme for the week being revival. Church members were asked to fast and pray for revival leading up to the camp. We had a number of church prayer meetings for this purpose. At the first meeting I attended, I was struck by the sincerity of our church leaders in seeking this revival, and I determined that I would be at least as serious myself, so I decided to get up at 5 every morning for the next week to pray, that my heart would be better prepared for the following week's meeting.
Well, that was at the end of June and I haven't looked back. That first morning I read my Bible for a few minutes, then dropped to my knees in prayer. Now I have never been one to pray on bended knees in the past, but it just felt right that morning, and now it is my custom. We get brainwashed with the idea that you can pray any time, anywhere, sitting, standing, working etc. etc. and that is all true, but I think it's pretty sad that I've been a Christian for a long time and I've just learned that kneeling is the preferred position. For me anyways, kneeling down, and particularly dropping my face to the ground, has humbled me before God and helped me to focus in and really learn how to pray - that is, how to approach my Creator.
Being humbled by God in prayer was a new thing for me. I was used to bringing my prayer petitions, even praises too, but not addressing the state of my heart, or at least not enough to really get humbled. I purposely say being humbled BY God in prayer, because that is how it has been for me these past few months. I don't feel the need to fill the air with all my clever-sounding words. I am able to be quiet sometimes and just let Him deal with my heart.
With my heart humbled, my praises are truer and I have learned to worship God better than I used to. Even my petitions are different now, with a reverence for the one I am calling out to. He is my friend, but He is so terrible that Moses said "I exceedingly fear and quake." Heb. 12:21. He will do what He wills to do and it will be right. It is my privilege to approach him through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant Heb. 12:24, and to beg His mercy for lost sinners I love and care about, or see passing me by; to cry out to Him for the suffering and sick; to ask His guidance in the daily matters of my life. He hears everything I say and He cares, but I am not trying to - nor could I - change His will. That Calvinistic outlook is nothing new for me, but the attitude of seeing this whole matter of prayer as having importance too, and as being such a high privilege is all new.
I can really say I have a healthy prayer life now for the first time. I wish I could somehow pass that on to other Christians. Just tonight I was in the home of some *professing* Christians, who are in poor spiritual condition. My thought towards them is how pathetic to be carnal and miss the fulness of the Christian experience. Yet I was like that to a lesser degree, such a short time ago. I was not a praying person, and that made my public (i.e. prayer meeting) prayers phony in a sense, even evil.