Always Sinning – Step #2 in Learning How to Be Always Praying
Lesson #3 (Always Sinning) of the Always Praying series really hammered home for me the answers as to why I don’t pray. Pastor Wilson gives two main points to explain why we Christians might have a lackluster prayer life:
- underestimating the forces of darkness or
- overestimating our own spiritual kryptonite to fight off the enemy
These two delusions can keep us from feeling our own real weakness. It is that weakness that is so precious. Without it, we cannot humble ourselves before a holy God who waits for us to ask and accept His relief in every time of trouble.
As for myself, I know that ‘His relief’ is also ‘His will’. This sometimes tempts me to not even ask because I suspect that I am not going to get exactly what I envision as the ‘right relief’. I have dubbed this “spiritual-pouting” and it just wreaks of idolatry and spiritual immaturity. I don’t stop to consider God’s vantage point and power is so much greater than mine. It’s predictable:
- trouble comes – I never stop to consider the origin (God – the devil)
- stinkin’ thinkin’ – twisting, ruminating on or adding to the facts of the situation
- inward grumbling instead of praying – denying God’s providence & presence
- outward sinful actions – denying God’s ability to help me by acting on my own, outside of His will
Picture a movie theater full of angels with 3-D glasses and buckets of popcorn anxiously awaiting the latest scary movie (of my life), Canceling-Client Sends Melissa Into a Rage. (I own a massage therapy practice.) The tension builds on screen as my client is 15 minutes late for her appointment. One angel with hands half over his eyes, screams, “No, don’t check your phone”. I pick up my phone. “No, don’t check that voice mail”. I hit play. “Hi Melissa. It’s Kimmy. I can’t make it for my appointment today. Sorry”.
Another angel yells at the screen, “No, No. Don’t take the bait. Lucifer’s been saving this one all day for you. It’s the devil I tell you, the devil! Be calm”! Then another angel whispers to Gabriel, “He even made that new car purchase super easy for Melissa so she’d be worried about money”. Gabriel laughs, “Right and did she really think that previous client’s mystery rash and his suffocating Old Spice was for real? Such a predictable plot.”
The music crescendos as white hot fury races through my blood. I dare not tell you the horrible thoughts I conjured up about my usually beloved client Kimmy. More than one angel left the theater. Suffice it to say that I now had convinced myself of Kimmy’s utter disrespect of my time and my business. I grabbed my phone and fired off a text-invoice for the missed appointment with an all-caps-reminder of my cancellation policy. I then cemented my anger at her with a sticky note to my computer reminding me, in red ink, to ignore her next request for an appointment. THE END (credits roll).
What Happened To My Righteousness?
The reality is that I usually have a two-week wait list; so it’s not like I’m going to be financially hurt by one cancelled appointment. I usually get snow-day excited when a client cancels because I see the extra time as a gift for a long lunch, an errand, or getting to go home early. So, what happened to MY righteousness? Where did all this sinful anger come from?
Lesson #3 (Always Sinning) points out that I don’t have any righteousness at all in my fallen body. We are saved and sanctified in this life on account of His righteousness ‘counted’ to us; and on the day of judgment His righteousness, not our own, will fully acquit us. This was the whole point of Jesus’ sacrificial gift in his death. Therefore, we are both saint and sinner at the same time.
No matter how minor or major the devil’s schemes are, he has been given authority by God to do what he is doing to us. It is meant to humble us to our knees; crying out for Him. This is the mess God intends us to wade through to become sanctified.
“So if I’m always sinning and always in the devils cross-hairs, what can I do about it?” Pray for repentance of those sins. Pray for awareness of the devil’s schemes. Pray for awareness that God is always present, guiding us, strengthening us and gradually perfecting us to be with him. James 1:2-3.
Next week in Lesson #4 (Always Worshiping), Pastor Wilson adds to our prayer tool box by revealing a practical beginning to every prayer you pray and how this is exactly what God wants to hear from us. This universally adaptive template will leave you knowing that your prayers are powerful, effective and never lacking.