After last week’s post we need to call in the second bouncer who protects the powerful promise of prayer for those in the 41414 club!
How do you build up prayer power? Jude gives us a possible option.
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 1:20
But what is praying in the Holy Spirit for you? Is it being zapped by some charismatic gift from heaven? Is it praying from the Spirit inspired Scriptures or praying with holy, sanctified character? While you’re deciding on an answer, here’s another question!
How did Solomon pray?
One day he had an amazing encounter with God who invited him to join the 41414 club.
“That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 2 Chronicles 1:7
What would you ask for? What do you want?
To coin a once popular phrase from Harry Enfield, you might ask for “Loadsamoney.” Number two on the list might be fame, and then a healthy long life, and protection from enemies. You could no doubt find various forms of such prayer aspirations on most pages of the glossy “How to be happy” Christian magazines, and their self-centred echo resonates in even the most orthodox prayer meetings.
We must stop putting the cart before the horses! Take five minutes to tame the fleshly prayers and listen to Solomon’s answer.
“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” v.10
Like Solomon, we need to constantly call in Wisdom to our prayer lives.
Someone, disappointed, may then ask: “Does that mean I can’t ask for all the other stuff?” On the contrary, God is generous and loving, wanting to shower you with intelligent blessings. Once the wisdom is in place we are safe to receive the measure of “Shalom” appropriate for our growth and personal situation. Wisdom adds, like sonship, the necessary component of discipleship. The promise says “Yes.”
“…therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” v.12
Practical James also sees the ongoing character building qualities of heavenly wisdom.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
So ask for wisdom:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
True wisdom is not simply “clever thoughts”, wisdom is a person. Wisdom shared the creative process with God and is always a source of inspiration and joy. Wisdom was born of Mary in a stable. Solomon used his lifelong revelation of wisdom to write Proverbs. The eighth proverb is an ode to wisdom and well worth a meditative read in our quest to be wise.
“Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.” v.30-31
Not many of us could claim to be wise in the harsh judging eyes of the world. However, as we have seen, the source of true wisdom goes beyond intellectual capacity to the ability to receive a living relationship. God is constantly calling us to a living relationship with Christ, the true wisdom from heaven.
“…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God– that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” v.30
So, indeed, build yourself up in faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, praying for more intimacy with Christ, praying for wisdom.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9