Prayer pt 7 - Resting in the Lord
We are in the 7th message of a series on Prayer
In my opinion, prayer is the most important topic Christian can study
Why do I say that?
I cannot do that without an effective prayer life
Let me give you an example
How many of you here have ever flown commercially?
I don’t fly much, but I have flown into and out of some major airports over the years
The first time I flew was when my grandfather was in the hospital in Orlando Florida and they were not sure he was going to make it
I decided to fly down, and fortunately he did pull through
His hospital wasn’t far from the Orlando airport and when I looked out his hospital window I could see the approach path for the airport
Every 5 minutes or so you would see a plane land or take off
How were those planes coordinated so well?
They were in contact with air traffic controllers
The job of air traffic controllers is to manage airspace so there are no mid air collisions between planes
I’m not sure how many flights arrive and depart from Orlando every day, but there are lots of them!
Can you imagine the chaos that would take place if the planes could not communicate with air traffic control?
Honestly, I think it would be catastrophic!
The same holds true with our relationship with God
I absolutely need God’s guidance in many areas of my life!
If I could not effectively communicate with God, I am convinced the results would be catastrophic!
In our series we’ve looked at several aspects of creating a quality prayer life
We’ve looked at what prayer is and what it isn’t
We spoke about how to hear from God and then began talking about specific types of prayer with Gratitude and Thanksgiving, along with praise,worship, and adoration
Last week we spoke about the importance of Dialog with God
Our topic for today is one that I think is often overlooked in our modern Christain culture
Today we are looking at - Resting in the Lord
What do I mean by resting in the Lord?
We all know what it means to rest
Resting is a time of relaxation and quiet
All of us would agree that rest is a good thing, however I really believe that our society as a whole struggles with rest
Very few people get it right
Typically I see one of two extremes - people who rarely rest on one side and on the other people who, for the most part, only rest
I heard Perry Noble say that God calls those who won’t work lazy and those who won’t rest disobedient!
Before I go any further I want to make a clarification - notice that in this quote he said those who won’t work, not those who can’t work
There is a huge difference between those who are unable to work and those who refuse to work
I know many people who would love to have a job, but due to disabilities or other valid issues they are not able to
I also know those who absolutely could work, they just choose not to work.
However this message is not about those who, for good or bad reasons, do not work
Today’s message is focused on those who do not rest
The reality is that we live in a society where rest is discouraged
Where working long hours and even taking work home to do in your off hours is considered a badge of honor
According to a Market Watch article published in 2017, 54% of American workers do not take all their allotted vacation each year
The reasons given are fear based - the fear of falling behind and the fear of losing their job
We are often told that in order to succeed we must work long and hard
The problem is, though, that our bodies are not designed for this
When you go back to the creation story we see God resting on the 7th day - in the 10 Commandments we are told to keep the Sabbath (7th day) Holy - in the Old Covenant Law the Israelites were commanded to do no work at all on the 7th day
We are designed with the need to have regular rest and relaxation
Let me give you a good analogy
I drive a 2013 Toyota Corolla
It has a 4 cylinder engine and gives me really good gas milage, however, it’s not designed to go at 100mph 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Could I do 100mph in the car?
But if I set out on a trip to California and tried to drive 100mph the entire time I am not sure that my car would make it
Even if it did I’m sure there would be issues with my car
Why? Because it’s not designed to go full speed for long periods of time
Infrequent short periods are no big deal, but long periods will ruin my car
It’s just not made for that
The same holds true for our bodies
We can go full out for short periods of time with no problem
But if we regularly work long hours 7 days a week with no rest or relaxation, there are going to be problems!
We typically call these problems Burnout
If you google the physical effects of burnout you will see everything from chronic fatigue to insomnia, depression, anger, frequent illness, and many more
The bottom line is we need to make sure we are getting adequate rest
Which brings me back to our message today - Resting in the Lord
What does it mean to “rest in the Lord?”
Resting in the Lord combines physical rest with spiritual practice
This involves prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading
Another key component is solitude - being in a place where you will not be interrupted
Let’s face it, we live in a world full of interruptions
Robocalls, text messages, emails, social media alerts - and that’s just with our phones!
Add in other interruptions from people, pets, and everything else and it’s no wonder we have trouble resting in the Lord!
So, how do we do it?
How do we rest in the Lord?
To explore this topic I want to take a look at the life of Jesus
Mark 1:35-39 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" 38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Before sunrise we see Jesus going off to a place of solitude to pray
There are a couple things here that stand out to me
First, Jesus feels that it is necessary to pray
Stop and think about that for a moment
Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, God come in the flesh
Why would God need to pray to God?
Because when Jesus left heaven to come to earth He willingly laid aside His deity - all His God powers - and came to earth as 100% human
The Bible tells us that everything that Jesus did - all the amazing miracles - was done through the power of the Holy Spirit
Here is why this is important
If Jesus did all His miracles as God that is certainly impressive, but it doesn’t mean much to me because I am not God, nor can I become God
However, if Jesus did everything He did as fully human through the power of the Holy Spirit then that means everything to me!
Why? Because the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus lives in me!
It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesu did everything
How did Jesus get that Holy Spirit power?
By resting in the Lord - by taking the time to pray and commune with God in solitude
Jesus told us that we could not only do the same things He did, but that we would do even greater things
How? The same way Jesus did
By taking the time to pray and commune with God in solitude
Here’s the other thing in this passage that stands out to me
When did Jesus go to pray?
I am in no way, shape or form a morning person
I love to watch the sunrise, but only if I’ve stayed up all night to see it!
Why did Jesus choose this time to go off and pray?
Scripture doesn’t tell us so we can’t know for sure, but let’s think about this practically
The only time He could be alone
As soon as the others woke up they were in a tizzy because they couldn’t find Him “Everybody is looking for you”
Jesus then said “let’s go someplace else”
There were people that needed Jesus
“The poor will always be with you”
Don’t let the urgent take the place of the important
How do we know the difference?
Listen to the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit!
How do we do that?
By resting in the Lord!
It’s in that solitary communion with God that we learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit
But it takes time - we must be patient!
Mark 6:45-46 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Jesus went once again to pray by Himself
In fact, we see Jesus doing this regularly
It’s through this discipline of resting in the Lord that Jesus was able to accomplish His mission
It’s through our resting in the Lord that we will accomplish ours as well
Find a place that you can be alone and avoid interruptions
The time of day doesn’t matter, whatever works best for you
Spend that time praying
Speak with God
Be silent and listen
Read the Scriptures
Meditate on them
Wait for God to move!