" Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]." James 4:10
Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers, and promising healing, restoration, and the peace that passes all understanding, if we pray. Let Your words flow through me and not my own. Let those with ears to hear, hear. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Praying is new for me. I think that is another part of the reason why I started attending Saturday Night Prayer Meeting at church. I was hoping to hear people pray, so I could get a clue, and also, hopefully, the courage to pray out loud with other people. Of course, I now realize that it was not courage that I needed, but the Holy Spirit, because if you have the Holy Spirit, then God will give you the words to say at the right time:
"For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." Luke 21:15
Knowing that still does not break down 'the Wall' we have put up around ourselves, which comes from a lifetime of self-conditioning to keep people away. I say, "we," because I know I am not the only one. I have heard too many people say, even recently, that they like animals more than they like people, or even, God forbid, 'I hate people,' which a family member told me very recently.
Since some coincidences, however, are God-scheduled opportunities, I took that opportunity with my family member to tell her what I had learned about hating recently. I said something like, I was there (hating people) not long ago, but I love them now. It is hard, but you have to look at everyone as if they are you.
Thank God, she is on her own path with God, and she replied, 'You know what is so weird? I had that exact same thought yesterday. I was judging someone. I literally thought to myself, what I would have said in her position.'
Praise God. God is Great - All the Time!
Hate Evil: Proverbs 8:13
Love Your Enemies: Matthew 5:46
Bless those who curse you: Matthew 5:44
Now, God's Word literally tells us everything we need to know to have productive, happy, fulfilling, and abundant lives, now and in life everlasting. Jesus boiled down all of the Law and the prophets that were prior to Him into two things, two things that could change the world: Love God with all of your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as if it were yourself.
That is it! Most, if not all, of God's blessings are unlocked by loving Him and others: tithing, offerings, meditation, healing, prayer, which brings me back to the topic of this blog: Prayer.
We only began attending church at the end of 2021. I had been watching some Pentecostal sermons online during the lockdowns, and was hoping to find a Pentecostal church. However, when there is a church a half a mile from your house, you have to give it a shot, so we did.
Lovely church, lovely people. It could have been home, except it was missing one very important element to me: The Holy Spirit. Not only could you not feel the presence of God in the church, it felt almost stifled. We attended only twice, and then started looking again.
Thank God, we found our current church. I really believe the presence of God is in the entire church building all of the time.
Prayer is a big part of the church. After each worship service, we have a prayer time. Our pastor has always encouraged people to come up to the altar and pray. Again, I am new to prayer, and to God for that matter, but what I know is that God has been talking to me for three or four years now, and almost all of that time I was not even attending church.
Really, I just started praying more regularly, other than at meals, in the last couple of years, in my home, in the shower, in the bed half asleep in the middle of the night, occasionally getting up and praying, but never on my knees. I mean, it hurts.
So, recently, the last couple of services, Pastor has been encouraging us to kneel to pray (at the altar, in the pew, wherever). Again, I was like ugh. There is a little bit of guilt then, for not kneeling, which probably comes from the Holy Spirit, so I got up and kneeled to pray when he said it. But, again, ouch.
In the back of mind, I am thinking, God listens no matter where you pray. I know this firsthand. So why should I cause myself pain? Forgive me, Lord, and Pastor David.
Then, today, because God is Great All the Time, this showed up as the Verse of the Day on biblegateway.com:
"Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]." James 4:10
Now, as I have written about many times recently, we know God's Word is alive and powerful. I also KNOW that the Holy Spirit is present in my church. Knowing those two things, and now knowing the Scripture James 4:10 above, I would be pretty dumb not to humble myself in the presence of the Lord by kneeling.
God's Word tells us to do this one thing, humble yourself in His presence, and be exalted, raised in character, elevated, raised high.
Definition of exalt:
1: to raise in rank, power, or character
2: to elevate by praise or in estimation
4: to raise high
So, do you have to kneel, or even pray around the altar? No, of course not. We have something called 'free will,' and it allows us to do pretty much whatever we want, within the law, and hopefully within some moral limits.
To activate God's blessings, however, we have to obey Him. His Word is written for us, to tell us how to activate His Power on earth, and, of course, in eternal life everlasting.
Kneeling, as a sign of respect for, and surrender to, the One who created all things, may hurt for a moment, but the blessings may very well last a lifetime.
"O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and prayer]." Psalm 95:6
And, of course, in the end, we know that every knee will bow to Jesus, and every tongue confess to God. Romans 14:11-12
This body of flesh is temporary. This pain is temporary. God forbid we ever forget the pain Jesus endured for us (see video below). Isaiah 53:5-12
Hallelujah. Praise God. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
Faithful and humble servant to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
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