Vol. 3, No. 5
I'm sure you have heard the humorous story of the little boy that wanted to sing the song of the "dumb" brother. His mother questioned him about what song had anything in it about that. And he replied: "Are you sowing the seed of the king 'dumb' brother." That is not what brought this article to my attention. I just thought maybe some feel that sowing the seed of the kingdom is not very important. But, sowing the seed is the greatest of all works.
Read Matthew 13: 24-30. In this brief parable, Jesus called the world a field in which good seed was sown. But, while men slept, the enemy came, sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. That's the way the devil works. All the good we do is given opposition by the devil to defeat it. Notice in this parable that even though good seed was sown that the devil did his dirty work. The question that comes to my mind is this: Have we stopped sowing the seed of the kingdom? Have we forgotten our mission in the church?
I was reminded recently, listening to a gospel sermon, that we often underestimate the teachings of Christ. His teachings are pure, holy and good. His words bring life, good character, nobility and a likeness to the Teacher. The power of the seed is seen in the fact that men's lives are changed for the better. Men can become humble, truthful, loving, helpful, forgiving and kind. They are to be, according to the teaching of Jesus, "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:16) and the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).
The story is told of a soldier who was caught attempting to sneak back into his camp one night. When taken before the commanding officer by the sentry that arrested him, the soldier explained that he went into the nearby woods to be alone in prayer. The officer immediately commanded the soldier to pray audibly in his presence. The soldier hesitated but was again ordered to pray. Whereupon he kneeled in the officer's presence and prayed. At the conclusion of the prayer, the officer ordered the sentry to release the soldier, saying, "Any man who can pray like that must be spending a lot of his time in private, personal prayer."
Read the story in Luke 18:9-14.
"The man who prays" possesses great faith in God. Only out of strong belief in God and his power to answer does one pray. Hannah, a famous Old Testament woman, prayed fervently for a son. In the midst of her prayer effort, she made a covenant with God. "O Jehovah of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thy handmaid, but wilt give unto thy handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto Jehovah all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head" (I Samuel 1:11)
The man who prays is one whose sole allegiance belongs to God (I Samuel 7:2-3). No wonder Israel lost the tables of the law and other precious articles contained in the Ark of the Covenant; they had forsaken God for false idols. Samuel, when asked to pray for the people, now weary of the burdens created by their idolatry, demanded that they recommit themselves in complete allegiance to Jehovah.
The man who prays reveals his faith in God by the manner in which he addresses his prayer. One of the distinguishing marks of the Pharisee's prayer in Luke 18 are these words: "He stood and prayed thus with himself." The man who prays begins and ends, in God-directed petition and thought.
The man who prays will allow nothing to interfere with his regular, sustained communion with the Father (Daniel 6:6-10). Daniel faced a test of his prayer life when some of the Babylonian minor officials obtained a stringent decree from King Darius that for thirty days no petitions or prayers would be offered to any other god or man save himself. Those who violated the decree would be thrown in a den of lions. Only a praying man could spend a night with the lions and then say to the very individual whose edict had sent him there, "O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done not hurt" (Daniel 6:21-22).
The man who prays exercises great spiritual discipline.The discipline necessary for prayer creates a definite viewpoint toward temptation. The man who prays avoids temptation's disastrous effects in his life. Prayer is a fortification against the invasion of sin and darkness into his life.
Christ is the key to, and the assurance of, our relationship to God as son to Father. The New Testament explains how Christ becomes my personal acquaintance, and thus introduces me to his Father as a new son (Galatians 3:26-27). With Christ as our Savior and Advocate, we have "boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19). Our prayers travel along "the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh" (Hebrews 10:20). With Christ as our "high priest," we thus "draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22).
As God's obedient children, we "hold fast the confession of our hope" in Christ believing that God is faithful to his promise of answered prayer. Will you today become "a man who prays"?