JEREMIAH 29:10-14 – “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
THEME OF THE DAY: THE PRIVILEGE OF PRAYER. Today’s scripture is a familiar one for most Christians. The portion most referenced is “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” This is often exhorted in teachings, books, and sermons to have a deeper commitment to the Lord, surrender all our hearts to Him, or be more separated from the world. As good as those instructions are, there is an important element in the Jeremiah passage often missed – the means of this surrender, separation, and commitment. It is not by personal resolve, sacrificial Christian service, or even – and please don’t misunderstand me – disciplined Bible study and listening to sermons or podcasts.
The primary means of seeking the Lord is what He says BEFORE the portion on seeking – Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. Prayer. It is prayer that is the chief means of communing with God, growing nearer to God, and being transformed by God. This does not mean prayer is the exclusive means. Bible study matters. Faithful service matters. Church attendance matters but all of our efforts are not the first steps to a close walk with the Lord. It is prayer. Trace the book of Acts and revival history and see the place of prayer in the church and among God’s people. It was the priority. Yet today, many churches either don’t have prayer meetings or have abandoned them due to lack of desire and attendance. Ponder these words of Charles Spurgeon whose church knew many seasons of revival.
Spurgeon said, “The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of the first tokens of His absence will be slothfulness in prayer.”
Yet, when it comes to prayer, it is far more easily talked about than practiced. Take an inventory of our lives. If we were to follow each other around for a week, based on observation, would we conclude prayer is of the highest priority in our lives? What about our churches? Is it hard? Yes. Is it important? Absolutely and because both are true, prayer is the chief area of attack by the devil and our flesh. So, how do make prayer more consistent and effective? It must be seen as a privilege. Prayer will never be practiced as a discipline until is embraced as a privilege. May the Lord do that great work in us and our churches. Perhaps revival will come out of His good pleasure to a people who delight to meet Him through the privilege of prayer.
PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for the privilege of seeking You in prayer. Help me not to neglect it.”
QUOTE: “Prayer will never be practiced as a discipline until it is embraced as a privilege.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,