Power In Prayer
Take time for prayer, as it will help you stay strong in the Lord and make wise choices, not rash ones.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I trust so. I have just been talking to my Heavenly Father, and asking Him to fill my heart, and mind, and my voice, as well with His truth, and His love, and His power, so that someone listening may find help. Try to put a handle on it, is what I do, put a handle on the Word of God, so that you can get hold of it for yourself.
These days, we’ve been just sort of hitting the high spots in summary fashion, going over the Book of Mark, before we leave it for a while. And I’d like just to remind you of something in the closing part of Mark Chapter 14. Our Lord Jesus said, “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” What were the temptations that they faced in that hour? The first, of course, was the temptation to take it easy. They were tired. It had been a long day and they were probably pretty tired. And so when the Lord Jesus went forward a little space from them, and prayed so earnestly, He came back, and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, sleepest thou?” This is a man that said, “I’ll die for you.” “Couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. Again, He went away and prayed, and spake the same words. When He returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer him”. They had nothing to say.
He came the third time and said, “Sleep on now, take your rest.” A little sarcasm there. Now, what’s the point? A temptation to take it easy when you should be praying. Prayer is work and it’s a battle. Satan puts up a fight. Whenever you decide you want to pray, there will be 1,001 reasons why you shouldn’t. The bell will ring, the baby will cry, somebody’ll knock at the door, you’ll think of something that you forgot to do, and you ought to do it, and your mind will be distracted in 1,000 different ways, because Satan fights the idea of prayer. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. And so, it’s work, and it’s a battle, and you have to be on the job, if you’re going to do effective praying. The temptation is to take it easy.
Have you ever fallen asleep saying your prayers at night? I have, I know. And then, I would have to ask the Lord to forgive me, how insulting it is to fall asleep in the presence of the King of the universe. You wouldn’t do that, if you were visiting royalty somewhere on this Earth, you’d be alert every moment. But you and I, without thinking, I think, many times, we treat God in a way that is most disrespectful, fall asleep when we should be praying. Well, that’s one of the temptations, and notice, please, and this is just a little aside, but it’s significant, it seems to me. He came and said to Simon, “Simon, sleepest thou? You’re the one that said you’d go with me. You’re the one that said you’d be faithful to me. You’re the one that said you’d be willing to die for me. Now, when I need you, you’re sleeping.” Then He said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” And He found them, again, asleep, when He came back. Neither did they know what to answer Him.
Now, the real tragedy of taking it easy, of falling asleep on the job spiritually, the real danger of being a victim of apathy in your spiritual life, is that you have nothing to say of any eternal value. You have nothing to say to the world around you, that’s the problem. A person who neglects his prayer life, very soon has no witness to speak of. Oh, if you want something to say to people, get alone with your Lord, so that He can give you something in your heart, that will blessedly spill over in the jostling of life. They didn’t know what to say. Why? Because they’d been sleeping. Oh, instead of taking it easy, instead of being the victim of apathy and indifference, instead of sleeping on the job, let’s be alert, let’s do our praying faithfully, let’s begin everyday meeting with our Heavenly Father, so that we do indeed have something to say to the world around us. That’s the first temptation.
Second, of course, is mistaken action. One of them that stood by, and one of the other Gospel writers identifies that person as Simon Peter, drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Jesus said to Simon, “Put up thy sword into thy sheath. This is the wrong thing to do.” Luke mentions that the Savior healed that ear, put it back on, healed it. Mistaken, traumatic action taken in self-will, without much prayer, are without much guidance. The temptation to yield to the urgent, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” Someone said to me one time, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” And I think that’s probably not too wise a piece of advice.
You know, you can sink the boat by shooting a hole in the bottom of it. You’re doing something, even it’s wrong, may not be too wise a course to take. Peter, of course, having fallen asleep, was ashamed of himself and he said to himself, “I’m gonna show Him that I am loyal. I’ll show him.” And out came the sword, and with his awkward fisherman’s swipe at the nearest person, he missed the man’s neck. He was gonna cut off his head, and instead, he cut off his ear. Mistaken, ill-advised action, not born of prayer. All my mistakes have been made in a hurry. How about yours? Yes, all of my mistakes have been made, because I didn’t pray enough and seek God enough. That’s the second.
Now, the third, of course, is to say, “I’m gonna get out of here.” It says, “They all forsook Him and fled.” They all forsook Him and fled, and even the young man, who some people think was John Mark himself, who had followed him clad only in a linen cloth thrown around his body, he ran away, and had to leave his clothes behind as he ran. I wonder how he ever got home? I’ve wondered several times [chuckle] in my life how John Mark ever got home without a stitch of clothing to cover him. I presume he hid in the shadows and darted from here to there, ’til he finally made it home. [chuckle]
The temptation to flee, to get away, to go someplace else. You see, the thing that we have to remember, is that you can move away from a situation, but you bring yourself with you when you move. You bring all the reasons for problems with you when you move. And when you run away, you don’t really get away. That’s the problem. You have all of your memories, and all of your hang-ups, and all of your hurts, and all of that, so you don’t really get away. The temptation to get away is, well, it doesn’t pay out. It doesn’t pay out. What did they help by running away? Anything? No, they weren’t any help, either to themselves or to the Savior. They simply compounded the essence of His loneliness in that hour, when nobody stood with Him, and He had to go alone, first to the high priest, and then to Pilate, and then to Herod, and then back to Pilate, and finally, to the cross. That’s the third temptation.
Then the fourth is the temptation to try to be unnoticed, to be anonymous, not to be identified as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. Simon Peter faced that himself personally. And there was one of the maids of the high priest, she saw Peter, and then she said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied. And a maid saw him again, began to say, “This is one of them.” He denied it again. And a little while after, those that stood by said to Peter, “Surely you’re one of them, because you talk like them.” So he began to curse, and swear, and say, “I don’t know this man,” and that was the time when he remembered that Jesus had said, “You’re gonna deny me three times before the rooster has a chance to crow twice.”
Oh, it is a temptation to try somehow to avoid being tagged, being identified as being a Christian. Why? Well, because you know the world has no use for your Savior. You know that people around you, worldly, godless people around you, have no use for Him, and that when you’re identified as belonging to the Lord Jesus, you’re gonna be the butt of their jokes, and the object of their ridicule and harassment. And so fearing that, you think, “I’ll be quiet. I’ll just button my lip. I won’t say anything.” Well, did it work for Peter? No. He wasn’t able to avoid being identified anyway. They said, “You talk like Him.” Once you have been touched by the nail-pierced hand, and your life has been redeemed, and you have been born again, beloved, you cannot avoid being identified as belonging to Jesus. Don’t try.
“They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” We read of Peter and John, as they were being examined on the morning after having been thrown in jail, Acts Chapter Four. “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. You talk like Him.” Oh, it doesn’t help. See, my point is, it doesn’t help to try to avoid being identified with Christ. All it does is upset you, and hurt you, and put you back, keep you from progressing in your Christian life. And all the while, people know anyway, that you’re one of His. See, that’s the point, there’s no percentage and no mark-up in this kind of a deal, because people know anyway, and they expect you to live, and act, and talk like a Christian.
You see, one of the reasons why the media has had such a field day reporting the failures of some Christian leaders lately, is that the unsaved people expect Christians to live like Christians. They’re not surprised when somebody else stumbles and falls, they expect that. But when somebody says, “I know Jesus and He’s my Savior,” they expect, the world does… I’m talking about unsaved, godless people… Expect you to have a high standard and to live as your Savior would. They’re disappointed when you and I fail. The world is disappointed when you and I fail. They feel that, somehow, we’ve let them down. Oh, today, make sure that you stand tall for your Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if He’s touched your life, you’ll never be the same anyway. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation. Old things passed away, all things become new.” Stand tall for your Lord Jesus and let people know that you belong to Him.
Dear Father, today, help us to stand tall for the Lord Jesus, to identify ourselves with Him, our blessed living Lord. I ask in His 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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