There is a relationship between how we live out our Christian life and the level of prayer life we will walk in. But it has nothing to do with earning the Lords Jesus’ affections or right to be heard. These have all been covered in what He accomplished on the cross for us! This then, begs the question as to what influence does our everyday life have in our prayer life?
In part one of this blog we have already seen that in in learning to practice and connect with the presence of the Lord in our everyday life we gain an increased sensitivity to His presence, which carries through to our prayer life. This new found sensitivity to His presence enables us to be more in tune with and be influenced by the Lord (as opposed to our flesh and circumstances). We also gain an increased ability to ‘prove’ or know the will of The Lord Jesus (saving us from being driven by need, circumstances and ritual prayer lists, but praying from the place of His will). Both of which help us move on from the ‘outer court’ prayer life into a deeper prayer life, referred to in tabernacle terms as the ‘Holy place’ prayer life
Today I would like us to focus upon our voices. Most people would naturally think about what comes out of our mouths. But in reality our whole lives give forth speech in one form or another. To begin with there is of course truth in the old saying “actions speak louder than words” and indeed our actions do say something, but I would also like to introduce to you the truth that not only do our actions ‘speak’ and of course our mouths give forth speech, but we also have our inner voices of our thought life, our motivations and of course our imaginations. These inner voices which are most often thought of in terms of being private to ourselves are in fact just as loud and understood even more clearly in the heavens as that which comes out of our mouths here on this physical world!
In Is 66:18 we read “For I know their works and their thoughts. ….” We see in the life of Jesus that in Matt 9:4 it is written ” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” And the psalmist makes reference in Ps 94:11 “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.” And in Ps 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”
This is a rather sobering revelation that every thought, motive and meditaton of our inner person which we think of as being private, are in fact as loud and more real before the lord than our spoken words. We tend to be more careful and guarded about with what we say,(to a degree most times) in an attempt to conform to what we deem as being correct for believers. But our thoughts are more real for they are not considered as being broadcast and so are by nature unguarded and better represent the real us.
I am not referring to those thoughts I call the ‘enemies fishing expedition’ where sudden unbidden and unwelcome thoughts come into our minds which are his attempts to see if he can get us to nibble and bite, or which have also been likened to ‘birds flying around a tree’ looking for a place to nest. No, these are seeds the enemy seeks to sow into our lives looking for soil to grow. (However, if we do bite, offer a branch or give time and space to germinate the seed then they do become or thoughts). I am more generally making reference to those patterns and subjects of thought that are well practiced by us. Attitudes and motivations that are well exercised or even defended by us! And of cause the fertile ground of our imaginations about which Jesus taught Matt 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” those which are left unchallenged and replayed become ours, here Jesus links the activity of the imagination with reality, to think was as to actually do! The point being made is our unseen inner life is a real as seen. Every thought that is part of us every motive that moves us and every imagination that is adopted by us resounds within us and broadcast from us into the spiritual dimension.
How does this relate to our prayer lives? The voice we lift up to the lord in prayer is not alone. The question we need to ask ourselves is this. Are the voices of our thought life, attitudes, motives, imagination, actions and that which comes out of our mouths in prayer in harmony with each other or in discord? Helping uphold each other or hindering, even working against our own prayers?
Let me illustrate this point by using Matt 5:7 where we read “ Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” And Matt 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.” If we were to ask the Lord for His mercy and His forgiveness concerning ourselves while at the same time as harbouring judgmental thoughts of un-forgiveness against some else, our prayers are received by the Lord but not in isolation from the sound of our inner judgments and the smell of un-forgiveness that ascends from our heart. Here the verbal and the nonverbal are clearly at odds with one another and actually work against us, hindering us from receiving that which we seek from the Lord! Not only do these voice leave their ‘finger prints’ upon what we are offering up in prayer there can be times when they are actually hindering us in our prayers.
A great deal of the energy can often be spent having to breakthrough spiritual clutter and ‘static’ interference in prayer that most time do not originate not from our enemies, (though he loves to take the credit for them!) but from the consequences of what we are putting out into the spiritual environment of our own lives through the inner voices of our thought lives, (reasoning, judgements and imaginations ) Our enemy is simply taking advantage of what is made available to him and any the open door or legal right we have handed to him intervene in our lives an activities including prayer.
It should be noted that the Lord always graciously receives our prayers and cleanses them on our behalf. But I believe that the Lord Jesus is seeking to grow us in our prayer lives that His influence is active at source of the prayers and at a much deeper level and so we grow in Him and more equipped to co-labour with Him in His Kingdom.
What I am basically pointing to is the need for us to pay as much attention to our inner walk with the Lord Jesus as we do the outer.(now knowing that it as real and seen as the outer) We need to move into the territory of 2Co 10:5 where we read “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
There is need to firstly keep short accounts with the Lord in this area of our lives, bringing them continuously under the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse and deliver us. Especially as we enter into times of communion with Him in prayer. Secondly, we need to engage ourselves in the life long journey of change (sanctification) in these areas. We do so through a relationship with the Lord, learning to respond to and act upon the influence of the Lord’s presence. We are seeking to move from a mixture of ‘voices’ to a single ‘voice’ in Him, to think like Jesus reason like Jesus to be motivated like Jesus.
The benefits that this brings to our prayer lives are in the area of liberty, both freeing us from the clutter of noise that occurs when our spiritual atmosphere resounds with the discord of voices (our mouths saying one thing and our thought life, attitudes, motivations, actions, and imagination saying something different) and in freeing our prayers from bearing the influence and gravity of this discord and exchanging it for the liberty of Heavens atmosphere.
Finally another benefit worth mentioning is when we deliberately seek to make adjustments in how we do life in the light of our communion with the Lord in prayer the more this communion tends to escape from the box of defined times to live and breathe in the liberty of our everyday moments. Another step into transitioning from have prayer in our lives to having a life of prayer.
In the next blog we will draw this mini blog series to a conclusion. May the Lord bless you and make His presence shine upon you. Amen.