By Dr. William Holland
For Capital Region Independent Media
We might as well lay all the cards on the table and establish that it’s easier to go to church and put some money in the offering plate than to develop a consistent relationship with God.
Along with our genuine love for Him is to recognize the need for a fervent prayer life. Being religious without praying is popular. Why is this? Because we do not care enough to pray.
Prayer meetings? Really? The first thing that comes to our mind is that we can pray at home. This is true, but if you already have a faithful prayer life, it seems you would want to be the first one to show up and lead the way.
This is blunt, but most people do not feel comfortable being alone with God because they are not used to it. They might say they pray, but asking God for personal blessings is not all there is to it.
What about the needs of others? Remember when Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane? That was an intense time of pleading and weeping, not to avoid the pain, but He was praying for us. His attitude of love was a complete surrender to the Father’s will. Contrition is a place of brokenness and reverence.
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in half from the top to the bottom. This curtain was used as a dividing barrier to the entrance to the holy of holies. This is where the presence of God was dwelling on earth and when the priest would enter once a year behind the veil with the pure blood of animal sacrifices, God would forgive the sins of His people.
When the veil was ripped apart, it meant that anyone that loves Jesus and receives Him as Lord can now come before God’s throne and receive forgiveness because of the blood sacrifice that Christ made with His body.
You can read all about this in chapter 9 of Hebrews, but Jesus became our High Priest and is now the mediator of the New Covenant that allows God and His saints to be joined together forever. Because of His endless love for us, we are to be dedicated to follow His voice.
We notice that Jesus would often slip away to find a private place where He could be with His Father. It is written so that we can see the perfect example He wanted us to follow. Making prayer our highest priority is hardly mentioned anymore because people do not want to be convicted or condemned for failing in their responsibility to walk with God.
You see, prayer has everything to do with love and being exposed as someone who does not pray reveals their lack of love. If we do not love others, we will certainly not pray for them.
The most popular message today is about how Jesus paid it all and we do not need to do anything. Faith activates grace, and it’s our responsibility to embrace the opportunity to come before His throne with confidence, holiness and purpose.
For those of you that have made a valiant effort to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, you know exactly what I mean when I say there is more here than meets the eye. It’s spiritual warfare 101 and not for the faint of heart.
If you’ve never attempted to have a designated time to talk to God and be committed to it, I recommend dusting off your armor and sharpening your sword. Let’s say you set a time to get alone with God at 7:30 each evening and you plan to pray, meditate and listen for 30 minutes. This seems doable, don’t you agree? Try it and you will be surprised by the amount of resistance. Not only will there be distractions and interference, but even your own mind will rebel against you.
In closing, if there is not a burning passion to draw closer to God, you will easily talk yourself out of it. However, if you are determined, a great place to begin is to just ask Him to give you more compassion and a burden to pray. He is listening.
The Holy Spirit will help you develop a stronger level of sensitivity and remind you to make a prayer list, but you cannot hear Him if you are not listening.
Before you know it, your highest purpose will be to walk in the constant awareness of God’s presence.
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com