You, too, are in the middle of a war!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Discipline

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

Revelation 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.

A foreign soldier was brought before his commanding officer and accused of communicating with the enemy. He had been seen emerging from an area where their troops were known to patrol. The poor man summed up his defense in a few words, stating that he had slipped away to spend an hour alone in prayer. "Have you been in the habit of spending an hour in private prayer?" demanded the officer. "Yes, Sir," he replied. "Well" said his commander, "never in your life have you been in more need of prayer than right now. Kneel down and pray aloud so that we all may hear you."

Expecting cruel punishment, maybe even death, the soldier dropped to his knees and poured out his heart to God. His prayer revealed a deep intimacy with God. His earnest fluency, humble appeal for divine intervention, and very evident trust in one who was strong to deliver, told without a doubt that he came regularly to the throne of grace.

"You are free to go," said the officer. "No one could have prayed that way without a long apprenticeship — soldiers who never attend drill are always ill at ease for the review."

This soldier was praying intensely because he was plunged in the midst of a battle — while we are in the middle of a war in Israel — the entire world is a battlefield on an epic level spiritually, and you're in the thick of it.

One of the tactics of the enemy is to prevent us from praying. I read a statistics recently that the average Christian spends just seven minutes a day in prayer.

Let's realize the strategy of the enemy, and become disciplined in prayer. As you pray, remind yourself that you're not just praying, but warring against principalities and powers in the heavenly places. As we come to a realization that we're are battling, our prayers will become more intensified and our actions will then be backed by the power of prayer — this is how we change the small world around us!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Discipline

Salvation is of the Lord!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Discipline

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Jonah 2:2 And he said: "I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.
9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."

Jonah now acknowledges that God put him where he is, and he accepts His discipline. "Sheol" is the "grave", the "pit" or the "abode of the dead". Did Jonah die, or was he only nearly dead from three days of fish stomach acid, and little or no air? The text doesn't say; only that if he didn't actually leave his body, he came as close as a man can get to it; three days worth. In this nebulous and miserable place Jonah cried out, probably from the deepest depths of his agonized soul…he cried out to the Lord.

First, he gave thanks; quite amazing, but very plausible for a true man of God who has come to his senses. Anyone who truly loves the Lord is grateful for His discipline, painful as it may be. And finally, Jonah repented and consented to "pay what he had vowed". What this vow was we can only speculate. It may have something to do with a promise of devoted service in connection with his calling as a prophet of the Most High; or it may have been a promise he decided to make right there in the fish's belly. In any case, he was coming into agreement with the will of God once again. It must have been a great relief.

Jonah then prophesied once again; "Salvation is of the Lord!" Hallelujah! Jonah knew this now in a way and depth unprecedented until this moment of "resurrection". His near-death experience gave him a depth of revelation of God's power to save that few of us will ever experience. It will prove to be tremendously effective for the prophet's future ministry.

"Salvation is of the Lord." It starts and ends with God. How well do we know this? How often do we relearn it? Jonah's experience in the belly of a great fish cleared and focused his mind toward what matters most in all this world. In the terrifying darkness he realized the folly of resisting God's reality and will. What might we need to sacrifice or endure to reach that level of conviction? Can we honestly pray that the Lord would have His way with us in the midst of all the little ways we "run away" from Him? Jonah's "quiet place" was forced upon him. But up to now, for most of us, drawing near to the Lord for deeper revelation is still a choice we can make.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Discipline