Get To The Point
When you pray, you don’t have to make a speech to God.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Well, I’m so grateful for the privilege of just being with you and sharing with you from the Word of God. We’re looking at Romans 15:29. Paul said, “I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” What does it mean to be a blessing? We’ve been talking about that. I noticed in the Old Testament there was what was known as the patriarchal blessing and it got me thinking about this whole matter of blessing your family.
Now the patriarchal blessing was generally observed at a time when the head of the family was either in a dying condition or someone was leaving or whatever it was. Jacob and Esau were blessed as you remember by Isaac; Jacob by trickery, and Esau coming in a little later getting the leavings, so to speak. But there was this aged man, Isaac, his eyes now blind, lifting up his trembling hands and blessing Jacob with the blessing of the first born which Esau ordinarily should have had except that he sold his birthright for the mess of pottage. You remember that story?
Now comes Esau and said, “Bless me, even me also, oh my father. Doth there not remain yet a blessing?” Well, Isaac said, “I’ll bless you but you won’t have the blessing of the firstborn.” And so he spoke words of blessing to Esau. And that got me thinking about this whole matter of being a blessing to your family. Have you thought about that? Now, some of you, of course your family has grown up and moved away and others of you are too young to have a family as yet. But all of us have lived in family situations and we have, then, the, what my old theology Prof, Dr. Champion used to call the “interpreting background of mind.”
We know what we mean when we’re talking about the family and blessing, being a blessing in the family. You want to think about that with me for a moment? I think the first thing that’s necessary in being a blessing to the family is that we be blessed ourselves. We’ve all had the experience of living in a household where somebody came downstairs to breakfast and looked like a thundercloud and you greeted him, said “Hello! Good morning Jim” or “Good morning Hilda” or whatever it was and they greeted you with a loving snarl.
I say we’ve all had that experience and sometimes we’ve been that person ourselves, haven’t we? It does seem as though some days, everything is out of joint and it would have been much better to stay in bed and not get up. All right, do you have the cure for that? Do you know how to be blessed yourself before you greet the family and become an emergency going somewhere to happen? The secret is to be in the presence of your blessed Lord long enough for Him to tune up your soul.
Fifteen years or more ago now, I went through an experience one evening that was very disagreeable. I had to go to a certain hearing, a municipal hearing. And the minute I entered the room, the chairman of that particular group took off after me and he never quit all night long. He was abusive, his statements were pejorative to say it mildly and I felt bad about it. As a matter of fact, just to be honest with you, dear friends, I got mad. I was angry. Now, the Lord kept my mouth shut which was a mercy “open mouth, insert both feet” is the rule.
And so the Lord kept my mouth shut but beyond that, when I came home, I was just steamy. You could see the smoke coming out of my ears. And my dear wife, Coreen, greeted me at the door and she said, “Well, deary, how did it go?” I said, “Don’t talk to me; I’m mad.” And I went to bed and tossed a while and then fell asleep. Well, I woke up about 5 in the morning, still angry as could be. Well, I knew that this wasn’t going to work and so I toddled along down the hall to this very room from which I’m speaking with you now, at the end of the hall on the second floor of the big white house and I got down on my knees and I said, “Oh, God, I can’t handle this. I’m so angry at this man I just wish that you’d do something for me.”
And I had read the Word of God and I prayed and I waited and I read the Word of God again and I prayed and I waited. Well, along about 6 o’clock, I could feel the steam going out of the pressure cooker. Almost a physical sensation it was. And my spirits began to lift and the resentment that I had felt against that particular chairman faded away and it was over. I was fit to live with again. Now, it may not take you as long as it took me to get straightened out. But I’ll guarantee you, dear friend; you won’t be a blessing to anybody else in your family until you let the Lord straighten out your own moods and your own feelings.
That’s the beginning, isn’t it? That’s why it’s so important to have a morning time of devotion with your Lord. Very important to have a morning time of devotion with Him so that He can tune up your soul, so to speak, and get you operating on heaven’s wavelength, then you’re ready for the jolts and the nicks and the abrasions that you meet in everyday life if you’ve gotten ready for the day with your Lord. That’s the first thing. Now the second thing, it seems to me, in being a blessing to your family, is to be yourself but apply the presence of God to human nature situations.
You don’t have to be pious all the time. I have a little Cookism that I use in that connection. I say, if you see a person who’s pious all the time, you have to watch him ‘cause he’s apt to lie about other things, too. Not everybody feels like singing “Holy, holy, holy,” all the time. Just be yourself but bring the blessing and presence of God into every day ordinary situations. You put two pieces of toast in the toaster and then forget it. And all of a sudden you smell something burning and there, your toast is a burnt offering.
And as you draw it out of the toaster, you give out with an expression of disgust and annoyance, whatever it may be, “Oh, rats!” whatever, anything short of profanity. And everybody in the house knows that you’re upset because the toast was burned. Now, put that thing in its proper perspective. Here you have around you people who will still be alive a million years from now. You’ll still be interacting with them, assuming that they’re all saved; you’ll still be interacting with them on heaven’s shore a million years from now.
How important is it going to be that the toast was burned? In a million years, how important will it be? Well, you know, don’t you, that it’s not gonna be that important. What will be important is whether or not you had control of your spirit, whether or not the Holy Spirit of God was running things, whether or not you blew up or gave up, or instead, looked up and trusted the Lord to control you. That will be important. So I say, bring the grace of God to everyday situations. Now, it’s pretty hard to say, “Well, buddy let’s pray,” after you’ve lost your temper over a spilled glass of milk. Far better, isn’t it, when that happens just to whisper a prayer and say, “Lord, help me act like a Christian father ought to right this minute,” you know.
You don’t have to say it out loud but you can pray it in a hurry and you can remind yourself that when you were his size, you did the same thing, only worse. To be a Christian in the family means, first of all, to be a blessed person yourself; second, to be under the control of the blesser in ordinary everyday situations. There are a lot of things in a family that are not easy, they are irritating, they are frustrating, they are disappointing. As life goes on, different ones of us have to give a little and we get jostled a little, in the family situation.
If you’re going to be a blessing in your family, learn to let the Lord Jesus control you in everyday situations, huh? What else? Well, the family appreciates it if when you pray, you’ll be the real article — really talk to God. If you want to know how phony some of our praying sounds, get a tape recorder and quietly turn it on just before you have family worship. Don’t say anything. Have it in a drawer of the credenza on the side of the room or whatever and just turn it on before you have family worship and then listen to the prayers that you and other people may offer.
And after it’s all over, you take that tape recorder and you bring it up to your study or your den and turn it on and listen to how stilted and artificial most of what we say to God really sounds. Now God knows how to interpret the longings of our hearts and we don’t have to be perfect in our praying for Him to hear us if we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I know that, and so do you. But the fact remains that if you want to be a blessing to your family, you better learn the secret of being real with God. Someone came up to me the other day at a banquet and said, “I appreciated your prayer. You talked as if you were just talking to God.” “Well,” I said, “I was.”
You don’t have to make a speech to God. He is your heavenly Father. And the Bible says that God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying Abba Father. “Abba” is like our word “Papa,” “Papa God.” That’s exactly what the Holy Spirit helps you say — a loving, natural, unposed, unstilted approach to God. You can be a blessing to your family if you’ll develop that natural, wholesome, sincere, non-phony, approach to the heavenly Father. Another way you can be a blessing is by noting answers to prayer.
Children, as well as grownups, love to be reminded of how God answers prayer. I remember on one occasion, I would suppose now to be a quarter of a century ago, we were faced with a very dramatic financial need in our family and we needed X numbers of dollars. The need was very well-defined and there was a deadline on it and we had to meet it and I didn’t have the wherewithal. And so one night as we sat at the table, I said to Coreen and the children, “We’re going to pray about this and ask our heavenly Father to do something for us.”
And so I prayed that God would meet the need that we had at that time. A few days later, I got a letter from a man who said “I don’t know why I’m doing this because I wouldn’t need to pay this that I owe you for another 6 months. But,” he said, “I want to get it done and I just feel I ought to do it now.” And he enclosed then a check which had to do with royalty matters on something I had written, I guess. And he enclosed the check. He said, “I don’t owe this for another 6 months but I just want to take care of it now.”
And the amount of that check happened to be a dollar and change over the amount that we needed. And so that night, I brought the check with me to the dinner table and I set the check out there when it was time for family worship. And I said, “Now, folks, we’re going to thank our heavenly Father for answering our prayer.” I think that sort of thing will bring a blessing to your family if you trust God to meet your needs.
Dear Father today, make us wholesome and real and warm and a blessing, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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