Sunday, June 5, 2016

Prayer's wardrobe

'I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…' Isaiah 61:10.


Grandchildren in concert
God has certain ‘dress standards’ for His people. His requirement for priests was holiness when they came into His presence. The book of Leviticus stresses this fact over and over again. God delights also in the prayers of His people. Isaiah 56:7: ‘these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ That applies to a future temple but at the same time there is a glorious principle to apply to ourselves. We are the “household of God” (Hebrews 3:6) as well as being His temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) Such being the case implies God wants us all to be a ‘house of prayer’.  That means we must worship and serve Him in the beauty of Holiness. To approach Him otherwise is to be denied a hearing. Why? Isaiah 57:15: ‘this is what the high and lofty One says ―he who lives for ever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and lofty place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit’…’

We must consider holiness as the atmosphere of ‘the house of prayer.’ Within the house will be hanging various garments in which to be dressed when talking with the Lord.  Philippians 4:6 reveals some different clothes hanging up and waiting for us to ‘put on.’ ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ Paul repeats a similar point to Timothy in 1Timothy 2:1–2.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 the readers were urged to pray continually. This is impossible if it implies without a break. God however does the impossible even with His ‘house of clay.’ His purpose is to have the Holy Spirit exercise His delight in praying in His house (Romans 8:26–27). Only then can we be in an unceasing prayer mode. As we walk, talk, sit and sing, the Holy Spirit prays freely in His prayer chapel. When we stumble the Holy Spirit’s prayers are stifled by a grieving process. Our garment is soiled, spoiled and defiled by unholiness (Ephesians 4:21–30). Fortunately there is provision for our cleansing and restoring His prayer ministry. He wants to take us to the cleaner. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’ (1 John 1:9)

Being a moveable spiritual house for God means He can place us anywhere. Circumstances which we may or may not like or choose can be turned into prayer matters. He does this so as to achieve His purposes. There often is needed an effort of the will not to allow a negative attitude to prevail over us in unpleasant situations. A consciousness of the situation helps to choose the right ‘gear’ to make our request to the Lord. Should we be called upon to confront seditious, cunning and depraved leaders we will need Christ’s Battle gear. Remember Ephesians 6:10–18. We are Christ’s commandos defending Truth and Righteousness.

Being a pastor means there are times to be ‘dressed’ in the robes of a shepherd. This ‘robe’ is made for the heart as well as the mind. We are not only to feed the ‘flock’ but protect it from the wolves and robbers by using the Lord’s rod and staff. Sheep can be mauled or do self harm. It is then our oil of specific prayer and godly wisdom is to be applied where they are and as it is needed.

There are many more ‘clothing choices’ we could consider. Pursue that at your leisure. However there is one type of garment for an effective prayer life within ‘the house.’ This is strictly for a husband and also a father. This is perhaps the most demanding apparel because it is the one most often worn. The tragedy of Christian homes falling apart is due in no small part because the husband/father is not properly ‘dressed or groomed.’ Unfortunate but true it applies to those in ministry households.

Men should seek the ‘spiritual ‘tailor’ to fashion a designer suit to wear at home with the family. He has set out specifications in 1 Peter 3:7. Ephesians 5:25–33. 6:4. 1Timothy 3:1-10. The garment best designed for this setting would be the relaxed casual suit tailored for all household activities. This ‘suit’ will need regular cleaning. However by the grace of God the knees never wear out, the shoulders refuse to sag, it will not be too small or large or go out of date. God’s prayer suit for a husband/father is the most precious garment in the ‘wardrobe.’  What is the more remarkable about such a ‘suit’ is it can be duplicated in the lives of the children, especially the boys. There can be no greater joy for a godly father than to witness his children seeking the heart of God. What a thrill to see their desire to be dressed in a similar style to dad.

Request:  Lord, Are there items in my ‘wardrobe’ needing removal, mending, dusting down or added too once again? Be Thou my Tailor for whatever task you have in mind for me. Amen.

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