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Prayer: The Most Neglected Treasure in Christ

There is an remarkable process, called plastination, which is a technique used in anatomy to conserve bodies or body parts. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most microscopic properties of the original sample. The deceased body can then be viewed and studied in amazing detail, color, and wonder.

The process of plastination proceeds as follows: the sample is soaked in a solvent such as acetone and the sample’s water (under freezing conditions) and fat are slowly replaced by the solvent. Then the sample is placed in a bath of liquid plastics, such as silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resins. When a vacuum is generated, the acetone starts to boil, and the liquid plastic takes its place. It is then cured, either with gas, light or heat.

We have also seen in our day a plastination of the church. A series of techniques developed to “embalm” the church with artificial preservatives; rendering it only a colorful, lifeless cadaver—a church that had a name to be alive, but is now dead.

How do we guard against spiritual plastination? We must first begin by being a people of prayer. It is the most difficult and isolated of all spiritual disciplines; for we must go into the closet, shut the door, be alone with God, and on our knees in humility, be servants prostrate before the Lord. It is no small thing that the duty and calling of any pastor is “prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4). It is a work of grace; it is heaven’s charge; it is the complete dependency upon God for all things. James was called after his death, “the camel-kneed” because of the thick calluses that covered his knees due to the long hours he spent in prayer before the Lord Jesus. It is no coincidence that he penned these most familiar words, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

It’s been said that,

“before our salvation, we were Christless, stateless, covenantless, hopeless, and godless. Our minds were given to futility; our understanding was darkened. We were cut off from the life of God, ignorant, hardhearted, callous, immoral, impure, and greedy. The only thing we were qualified to receive from God was His wrath. And that is what we would have received, if not for God’s mercy toward us.”

But now, because of our great salvation prayer is the driving privilege and the very life-breath of the believer. The church marches on her knees!

How are to pray? We are to pray “without ceasing.” I don’t know about you, but prayer is one of the hardest things for me to do and too easily forsaken in my life.

But we should never give up on praying; not even though Satan should tempt us that it is in vain for us to cry out to God for all of our needs no matter how small or great. Pray in his teeth – pray fervently!

  • -Pray on, though devils attack you;
  • -pray on, though trials overwhelm you and flood your soul;
  • -pray on, when the heavens seem as brass to you;
  • -pray on, when you think your prayers go unanswered and have been miscarried; continue on to draw near to God;
  • -pray on, though others you love may wound you, hurt you, gossip about you, and abandon you;
  • -pray on, though your heart be cold against spiritual things; pray until the Spirit of God warms it again;
  • -pray on when the philosopher tells you all in life is a matter of chance and natural law; do not be discouraged, for God has given you a wonderful opportunity to show grace to that one through prayer;
  • -pray on, when you are on the mountain top of blessing, the valley of suffering, or in the ease of worldly graces;
  • -pray on, when all is taken from you and you are stripped of this earth’s possessions and comforts;
  • -pray on, though you only see a cloud in the shape of a tiny hand in the distance, pray until the clouds are full, black and pregnant; ready to burst their showers upon you;
  • -pray on when you think you are too busy to pray–for this too is a great mistake for prayer is a saving of time. Remember the words of Luther when he said, “I have so much to do today, that I shall never get through it with less than three hours of prayer;”
  • -and lastly, pray on, for no other reason than it brings glory and honor to God for us to be dependant upon Him and bow the knee in worship to Him in all things.

Pray with contrition- brokenness before the Lord never is unfruitful;

Pray with confession- for if we cherish iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not even hear our prayer;

Pray with commendation- for the Lord is worthy to be praised;

Pray by commandment- for when we pray with an open Bible we are delighting in the things that the Lord has sovereignly designed for us;

And pray with communion- for He is our God, our Lord, our Savior who is not ashamed to call us His brethren

The beloved fourth century early church father, John Chrysostom of Antioch, wrote near the end of his life after being exiled by the Empress Eudoxia for confronting her extreme materialistic and opulent lifestyle these words of prayer and adoration,

“A monarch vested in gorgeous habiliments is far less illustrious than a knelling supplicant enabled and adorned by communion with his God. Consider how august a privilege it is when angels are present and archangels’ throng around. Where Cherubim and Seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne of God that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence and converse with Heaven’s dread Sovereign. Oh, what honor was ever conferred like that? How inestimable is the privilege of entering into the throne room of God surrounded by the hosts of His heavenly angels to commune in simplicity and with rapt attention with the One who is devoted to us. If prayer were nothing more than that, it would be the highest honor to pray without ceasing!”

In Colossians 1:9-14 through the superintending work of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul has given us the most comprehensive guide to prayer found anywhere in his epistles. May it be a faithful reminder of how we are to pray for God’s people and becoming people of prayer.

How To Pray for Others

1. Fervent in Prayer
”For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you” (v.9a)

2. Filled with His Word
“and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (v. 9b)

3. Faithful to Walk Worthy
“so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects,” (v. 10a)

a. fruit bearing
“bearing fruit in every good work” (v.10a)

b. fully increasing
“and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (v.10b)

c. fortified for longsuffering
“strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience;” (v.11a)

d. forever thankful to God
“joyously giving thanks to the Father,” (v.11b-12a)

4. Fit for the Inheritance
“who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (v.12b)

5. Free from the Penalty of Sin
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” (v. 13)

6. Forgiven of Sin
“in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (v.14)