What in the world does obedience mean? Just the sound of the word conjures up thoughts of: don’t smoke; don’t drink; don’t this; don’t that; bla, bla, bla, bla, bla. But, if we want to access the fullness of the Holy Spirit and see answers to prayer, we better get a precise understanding of obedience. Is it vital? Check out the verse for the day above (Rev. 22:14).
Here is the short of it: obedience is simply doing God’s will and obeying His commandments. Do you think God gives commandments men can’t obey? Look at it this way. Do loving parents require their children to perform tasks completely out of their reach? Is our Heavenly Father less kind and compassionate than our earthly parents? What an irrational thought.
Our obedience is an act of love, an expression of delight in pleasing the beloved (1 John 3:22). Here’s what I mean. It is discovering what pleases our Lord and doing it with boundless joy and anticipation. Anticipation? Yes, the great anticipation of the “God possibilities” that simple obedience brings to our prayers.
We can be accused of a lot of things, but we should never be accused of lacking passion for prayer. Prayer without passion is heartless. It is the fervent prayer of a righteousness man that avails much (James 5:16).
The Holy Spirit comes as fire to dwell in us. When we are baptized we are baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16). Our charge is not to drum up fire, but we can cry out to the Holy Spirit to burn away the chaff in our lives that prohibits us from cultivating a passionate, fervent prayer life. When a man is passionately bent on intimacy with Jesus through prayer and purity, he or she will attain all the powerful graces that adorn the child of God.
There are two things that the God of heaven will not tolerate in His followers: lukewarmness and insincerity. These two things characterize a lack of heat and a lack of heart—God hates both (Rev. 3:15-16).
The true prayer will be prayer that is on fire, aflame. And that is the way we should be as followers of Jesus. No excuses granted here. We must have the desire and heart that presses close to God for intimacy. Jesus wasn’t excitable or given to “noisy” speech, yet, He was on fire with zeal for God’s house. And this zeal consumed Him (Ps. 69:9, John 2:17). A lack of passion for prayer is a sure sign that we are in trouble; repentance is the first step back to spiritual health.
Prayerless praying misses the heart of praying; it has no passion, faith, or investment; it carries no burden. It has no grip onto God that “will not let go”. Prayerless praying is empty; it has not life or soul, no crying or weeping. Prayerless praying is a sham and gorged in insincerity. It is a dehydrated, lackluster routine that is a demanding duty. Praying out of habit is a respectable habit; however, prayer done only by the power of habit becomes a regretful habit. This is prayerless praying.
Prayerful praying gets results with God and is full of passion and faith. It entices the warrior to battle “full-in”, holding nothing back. It takes hold of God and will not release. Prayerful praying is a mighty force on the earth; it advances God’s Kingdom. By prayerful praying faith is strengthened and the possibilities with God are apprehended; by it anything God wills is activated.
Prayerless Praying…Man’s way Praying Prayers That Are Heard…God’s Way
You need to hear these words, as provoking as they may be. Too many people pray only because of a great emergency, some temporary excitement, or a momentous, looming decision. None of the conditions of prayer have been met. We burst into prayer pleading with God to meet our emergency, inflame Him with our momentary excitement, or attempt move Him by our earthshaking decision at hand. What are the conditions of prayer: clean hands, abiding in Christ, and an overriding consideration for His will. Without these conditions—prayerless prayers.
We pray prayerless prayers when we have not submitted to the school of prayer and there is no symphony with our life and that of Jesus. Prayer that has only form and motion and no true substance, no true spirit of prayer, never moves God.