Fred, here your host of the Free Range Preacher on Prayer podcast. Richard kindly told you that, but we are in a fact-check world. Only a joke.
Suppose I have been listening to the Lord; His will is evident now. In that case, 2023 will be a year of not only jubilee and forgiveness but also consolidation and prayerfully more precise communication on prayer and our community with Almighty God.
Concerning that, today's episode will cover some thoughtful basics on our prayer lives and their purpose.
The center of today's episode is the quality of our Christian lives, humility, and community in our relationship with God Almighty.
Many years ago, when I was a very young but enthusiastic Christian, we moved to a new city, and I was working temporary jobs. In one of the workplaces, I worked with a Jewish man.
In an effort, a clumsy one, to share the gospel, I would tell my friend and boss about different stories I read in the Old Testament. This went on for a week. At the end of that week, my friend began to ask me after each story, "So what?" Not really sure of what he meant or myself; I never answered the question. I did not even attempt to try.
I think his name was Ken. I did, however, keep sharing Old Testament passages with him. Nevertheless, on the third day of "so what," Ken told me, basically, "I'll let you off the hook." He told me he knew my efforts were to tell him about Jesus and share the gospel with him. He told me he was a Messianic Jew and already knew Jesus as the Messiah and His Savior. He further said to me that stories are less meaningful in the Hebrew culture if they do not contain a so what. Biblical stories he was talking about. He then encouraged my evangelism efforts and admonished me to always remember the so what when I was talking about Christ.
That lesson has stuck with me, and in thinking of this year of consolidation and clarity, I have sometimes struggled with the "So What" of some episodes. One of my commitments this year is to try to get better at that.
In line with that thought, and in line with the title of this episode, I've also been thinking of Samual Rutherford's writings, mostly his letters, and the simplicity and clarity of his use of language as well. I have concluded then I have also, at times, been affecting cleverness as opposed to transparency, and I want to change that as well. (If I can.)
Now to the crux of the episode:
I have had trouble, joys, sadnesses, and God's loving discipline, the rod, as the Bible says.
Under the rod of God, I know a few things:
1. I want to avoid experiencing them again.
2. I am thankful for every hurt and stroke of His discipline.
3. There is no better place to be in the flesh than at the foot of the cross, knowing His presence and mercies. Even if we know them through discipline.
4. Experiencing and knowing God is any Christian's most satisfying life.
Radical life ridicules life, profound Christian lives can only come through prayer and Bible study, or what is a true community with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the God who created us, redeems us, loves us, and gives us His presence for eternity.
Our community, with God, is knowing Him.
"And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.
We have no community or relationship, we used to say, without knowledge of others. Eternal life is the knowledge of Him.
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
1 Peter 5:6
Humility is the operating system in which the programs of prayer and Bible study are run.
So what you are asking me. Lots of information, so what?
After four years of doing this podcast and working in God's mercies, I can confidently tell you, my brothers and sisters. The satisfaction of your souls, your joy and peace, the meaning of this life you are leading for the glory of God. To have the joy inexpressible and full of glory, we must draw close to Him in humility through prayer and knowledge of His word.
I urge you for your own souls to practice prayer, study the word of God diligently, and live in humility by faith.The actual community you long for in your inner man is only found in the pursuit of Him.
Brothers and sisters, we are commanded to return to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls and to know Him right now in this life.
Let us pray for one another.