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by Cate Russell-Cole
10/19/2015 / Church Life
I understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, "I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all."(1 Corinthians 14:18) There are days when I'm sure I know why he did pray that much. Can you imagine being a key figure at the start of the Church, dealing with false teachings, bad attitudes, power plays, persecution and on top of that, living out your own daily Christian walk? There must have been many times when Paul was so desperate and overwhelmed, all he could do was pray, and pray and pray, just to keep his head above the water.
When we hit the hard times and our prayer life dramatically improves, we thank God like Paul did too, wondering why we've been such lazy pray-ers in the past. We know that when we put the effort in, God pours the blessing out, sometimes so readily that we're stunned that we achieved so much so fast. But as Jesus points out in Matthew (26:41) our spirits may be willing, but our flesh is weak.
I've learnt the hard way that if I get involved in something without praying first, I'm back to front. It's easy to say, "this is my gifting," or "someone's needed and there is no-one else, I'll do it," before asking the Father, "do YOU want me to do this?" We become overextended, tired and cross. Our joy disappears, Church is a chore. It's nothing but hard work. "But there are so many needs," I keep hearing. "If this group folds, these people will miss out." Don't you think the Father knows? Do you think His planning is so bad that He has forgotten to cater for every need - and can when we listen.
I am trying to learn to act the right way. Instead of quickly volunteering or slotting automatically back into an old role, I'm endeavouring to put prayer first. Sometimes it means I have to shut up, put everything else down and be humbly silent before God, waiting for His leading. Jesus, with as much wisdom, power and authority under His belt as He had always came back to the Father's Will being more important than His.
When we walk only in what God has for us, then we have peace, joy, strength and an unbelievable flow of blessings pouring out upon our lives. It's then that we are effective, not when we are overburdened and rushed, and not when we feel like we're in a rut. If we put prayer first in every area of our lives continually, then we'll have a productive year that will outstrip anything we've ever done.
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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