We just started our monthly 3-day fast together as a community, and more and more I am discovering God’s wisdom in the “seeming weakness” of prayer. Telling God what He told us to tell Him, skipping a few meals, and spending time reading and praying through the Bible seems like a foolish waste of time to the natural mind. Yet I’m finding that it is truly the pathway to a vibrant heart full of life, peace, and joy.
Today I was reading through Luke’s gospel when I flipped ahead a few pages to Luke 21 and something caught my eye. Jesus said that many would be going through life as normal when the events of the end of the age come and trap them. But the major “antidote” that Jesus gave to us to counteract a dull heart weighed down by life is prayer. He says:
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.””
(Luke 21:34-36 NKJV)
Luke 21’s main focus is the events preceding the 2nd coming of Jesus to the earth where He said many would be deceived and ensnared by the difficulties of the time. In light of those events, Jesus encouraged His hearers to “take heed”, or to walk and live with great caution. The consequence of living with little or without any regard to the times would be a dull heart that was more concerned with the things of everyday life only living for the moment, weighed down by wasting time on pleasures that are only temporary and will never truly fulfill our heart.
Walking with great caution is necessary because the natural propensity of the heart is to take the easy, carefree, “wide” and “broad” way that “leads to destruction”. We will always choose the fleeting pleasures of sin and compromise without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Matthew 7:13 NKJV)
Jesus gives two antidotes for the heart’s propensity to be weighted down and dull – watch and pray. He didn’t just say “pray generally”, however, although that was certainly implied in His wisdom. His advice on what to pray was very specific and focused. Jesus said that we should pray always that we may have the strength to escape the snares of a dull heart.
To be “counted worthy” simply means that we would have a complete heart response to God so that we would enter into the fullness of His will. We want all that God would give the human spirit in this age, not settling for anything less than all that He has.
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,” (2 Thessalonians 1:11 NKJV)
The Lord desires us to have a complete, 100-fold response in obedience to Him to so that we would stand before Him with confidence when He appears. We need the Lord’s help to keep us free of compromise that we would walk blameless in body, soul and spirit.
May the God of peace sanctify you completely; may your spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless (without compromise) at the coming of our Lord… (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
This purposeful living by walking in all of the light that the Spirit gives us challenges the aimlessness, lack of eternal perspective, and dullness of heart that is so common today.
This is the only prayer that Jesus said to pray always, because He knew that not having a heart fully responsive to Him would many to fall away in light of the coming shaking. That’s intense! Is this prayer on your prayer list? Do you pray that the Lord would give you power to be fully obedient to Him? If not, let this post provoke you!