June 14, 2019 Brethren Letter
I’ll begin tonight’s letter with a few paragraphs written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the July, 1964, Plain Truth magazine. The title of the article is “How to be an OVERCOMER.”
Spiritual training, to get and KEEP in constant vigilant condition to meet the foe of temptation and sin requires CONTINUOUS, EARNEST, PERSISTENT PRAYER! That is why we are commanded so often to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! To KEEP IT UP!
We can keep in spiritual training only if we keep our affections — our minds — our thoughts — on SPIRITUAL things. Read Col. 3:1-10. Most of us keep our minds filled with earthly, material cares and interests, turning to the spiritual only occasionally! Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Sometimes it takes a siege of FASTING AND PRAYER — earnest, DETERMINED, PERSEVERING PRAYER — seeking God with all our might — with weeping — staying with it, DETERMINED, until we get thru. Then we must keep in CONTINUOUS prayer. Cast ALL our cares upon HIM. We are not doing that. If you do, there will be many things a day to pray about! And it takes daily PRIVATE prayer, in real earnest, besides family or public prayer. Is eternal life WORTH IT?
As Mr. Armstrong pointed out, we as true Christians should be seeking the Kingdom of God and HIS (God’s) RIGHTEOUSNESS first. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus Christ’s words are very clear on which priorities we should have in our spiritual lives.
In the book of I Thessalonians, we not only see that it is important to converse with God in prayer, but it is IMPERATIVE that we have a significant and meaningful PRAYER LIFE, if we are to grow. “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (I Thessalonians 5:17-19).
To “pray without ceasing,” means there should be no neglecting of prayer, even for a day. If we’re not praying to God, or our prayer lives become a
random “hit or miss,” we could very easily find ourselves in the process of quenching God’s Holy Spirit. God doesn’t force His Spirit on any of us. “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing [with the faith of Christ], you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).
If we’re not diligent in our prayers, and we’re not applying ourselves, how could we even expect God to be listening to our words? “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). As Christians, we should want a close, personal relationship with our Father in heaven. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:6-7). That’s why prayers are so important. We can have a deep, personal relationship with God, through prayerful conversation.
In Psalm 141 we see that King David’s prayers were likened to “incense.” “A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense [as sweet incense, or perfume], The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:1-2). Another example of prayers being referred to “incense” is found in the book of Revelation. “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense [sweet aroma, fragrant powder], which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).
Our prayers should be like a sweet aroma to God. First, whenever we approach God’s throne, our attitude must be right and humble. Secondly, our prayers should be “beaten fine” with detail and specifics. Listed here, are two good examples (to study on your own), of how each of these individuals zealously cried out to God, in fervent detail with their prayers. By events in each of their lives, we can easily see the blessings involved for each them. One example is of King David (Psalm 143:1-10; Acts 13:22; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24), and the other example is of a woman named Hannah (I Samuel 1:1-20, 2:1-2). Both examples are excellent to read about and study!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,