Tuesday, March 5, 2013

what I'm reading: a call to prayer from How Long O Lord

Do you ever feel like there's not much point praying? Or that there's not much point praying persistently, fervently, and at length?

I do. I found this deeply challenging. It's from Don Carson's How Long O Lord.
There are some Christians who think that intercessory prayer is likely to be successful in proportion to its length, fervency, intensity, volume, and high-mindedness, that individual conversions or even wide-scale revival can be had for the asking, and that the key to successful praying is badgering God into doing what he otherwise would not be willing to do.

There are other Christians who...cannot quite see what the point of prolonged intercessory prayer is at all. They know, of course, they should engage in prayer...But...they find it easier to make sense of Jesus’ injunction not to let our prayers rabbit on and on under the assumption we will be heard because of our many words (Matt. 6:7), than to imitate Jesus’ example in praying right through the night (Luke 6:12)....

The false prophets of Israel are denounced in these terms: “You have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD” (Ezek. 13:5)...They have not interceded with God on behalf of the nation...So judgement threatens:
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezek. 22:30-31)
This is remarkable. God seeks out believers who will pray in this intercessory way. He expects to be pleaded with along these lines...

The responsibility of his people to pray rests heavily upon them.

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