WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 13, 2020
TOPIC: DON’T BE TOO BUSY FOR PRIVATE PRAYER
BY T. O. BANSO
“So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16 New King James Version).
Throughout the ministry of Jesus before His crucifixion, He often spent time in private prayer. He practised solitude. Luke 5:16 says, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (New King James Version).
In Mark 1:35, the Bible records, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (New King James Version).
Moreover, Luke 6:12 says, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (New King James Version).
Also, the Bible says in Luke 11:1 that Jesus prayed in a certain place and when He finished, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, as the disciples of John taught his disciples.
In Matthew 17:1-2, it was Jesus together with Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, excluding the other disciples. In the Garden of Gethsemane, although Jesus took some disciples along, He kept some distance from them to pray alone (Matthew 36:39-44).
Apparently, the disciples of Jesus emulated Him. In Acts 10:9, the Bible says that, at noon (the sixth hour), Peter went up on the housetop to pray. He was alone there. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. Don’t be too busy not to spend time alone with God in private prayer; public prayer is not enough. Create some time daily for it – it doesn’t have to be for a long time.
Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (New King James Version). Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matthew 6:6, 18).
Don’t let a busy schedule crowd out prayer from your daily agenda. Don’t wait until you’re in trouble before you turn to God in prayer for deliverance. Don’t wait until the arm of flesh is failing you before you run to God for strength. “No one will succeed by strength alone” (1 Samuel 2:9 New Living Translation).
A similar truth is stated in Psalm 33:16-17: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (New King James Version).
Your efforts can never be a substitute for prayer. The less you pray; the more you are prone to falling into temptations. Jesus taught His disciples to pray that they would not yield to temptation (Matthew 6:13, 26:41).
The less you pray, the more anxious you become. Pray, don’t be anxious. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version). Anxiety will drain you spiritually. As the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, you should cast all your cares upon God, for He cares for you.
Seek the LORD in prayer; seek His strength. Don’t run out of energy by feeling self-sufficient. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (1 Chronicles 16:11 New King James Version).
Speaking to Moses on the law of the burnt offering, the LORD told Him “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:12-13 New King James Version).
Learn from this and keep the fire of private prayer burning. Don’t let it go out. Don’t limit your prayer to the public prayer in church. Pray with others in the church or in any other place and pray privately. Charles Spurgeon said, “Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here, therefore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer, of vital and experimental religion.”
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, I receive your help to be faithful in spending time in private prayer. Help me LORD to keep the fire of private prayer burning and not to go out. I come against any device of Satan to hinder me from private prayer.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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