Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’S name is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! Ps 113:1-6 (KJV)
We will be considering another element of prayer called “Submission”. This is the most difficult aspect of prayer. We want answers to our prayer not minding the will of God but that shouldn’t be. All true prayer must be offered in full submission to God. After we have made our requests known to Him, our language should be, “Thy will be done.” I would a thousand times rather that God’s will should be done than my own. I cannot see into the future as God can; therefore, it is a good deal better to let Him choose for me than to choose for myself. I know His mind about spiritual things. His will is that I should be sanctified; so I can with confidence pray to God tor that, and expect an answer to my prayers. But when it comes to temporal matters, it is different; what I ask for may not be God’s purpose concerning me.
As one has well put it: “Depend upon it, prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes, and bend His government according to my foolish, silly, and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel, and carry out His purpose fully. I am afraid sometimes we think of prayer as altogether of an opposite character, as if. thereby we persuaded or influenced our Father in heaven to do whatever comes into our own minds, and whatever would accomplish our foolish, weak sighted purposes. I am quite convinced of this, that God knows better what is best for me and for the world than I can possibly know; and even though it were in my power to say, ‘My will be done,’ I would rather say to Him, ‘Thy will be done.’
We invite you as the year is rounding off, to embark on self-auditing on all your activities though out the year. Is your account balance or are you find wanting in any areas of your life. Come with me as we encourage you to rend your heart not your garment.
“Rend your heart, and not your garments.” Joel 2:13
Garment-rendering and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations—for such things are pleasing to the flesh—but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self- righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
HEART-RENDING is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation. Thank Most High God for Your Greatness and for watching over Your flocks. Help us also to watch over our household so that we can present them accepted before You.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” Proverbs 27:23
Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, “Search me, O God, and try me”; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul.
The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as “the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men.” Let me stir you up in His name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God Himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this day. Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy.
Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth His praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, “Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”
How dangerous this will be on the last day because there will be no second chance. What are doing now you have all the time and opportunity to seek Him out and be counted among those that are worthy? Always take stock, my beloved if not daily let it be frequent.
Let our prayer toady be Lord may I be found worthy to be part of your kingdom in Jesus Name! Amen!
Back to “submission” It is reported of a woman, who, being sick, was asked whether she was willing to live or die, that she answered, “Which God pleases.” “But,” said one, “if God should refer it to you, which would you choose?” “Truly,” replied she, “I would refer it to Him again.” Thus that man obtains his will of God, whose will is subjected to God.
Mr. Spurgeon remarks on this subject, “The believing man resorts to God at all times, that he may keep up his fellowship with the Divine mind. Prayer is not a soliloquy, but a dialogue; not an introspection, but a looking toward the hills, whence cometh our help. There is a relief in unburdening the mind to a sympathetic friend, and faith feels this abundantly; but there is more than this in prayer. When an obedient activity has gone to the full length of its line, and yet the needful thing is not reached, then the hand of God is trusted in to go beyond us, just as before it was relied upon to go with us. Faith has no desire to have its own will, when that will is not in accordance with the mind of God; for such a desire would at bottom be the impulse of an unbelief which did not rely upon God’s judgment as our best guide. Faith knows that God’s will is the highest good, and that anything which is beneficial to us will be granted to our petitions.”
As we rend our heart and keep touch with heaven on our activities, may we be willing to accept the will of God in every matter as in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; it was until they were in fire that God came to their rescue. What about Daniel? He was in the Lion’s Dan before God manifested His power. Therefore in your case, God still wants to manifest His power and glory in that situation, so hang on there and see Him move on your behalf. Will you be humble enough to wait? It takes humility to receive from God.
Finally, like Paul what can separate us from the love of God? (Rom 8:35-39) (Hab 3:17). May that be your confession.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang Ifeoma Ohondu.