A few weeks back, Bay and I served for a week at Camp of the Woods in Speculator, NY.
The camp is situated on beautiful Lake Pleasant (one of the finger lakes in the Adirondaks).
We enjoyed the opportunities the Lord presented us for ministry, and we were blessed with snippets of free time where we could sit on the balcony of our room and simply watch the sun set.
Above all, we enjoyed the messages brought to us in "Adult Chapel" every morning from Dr. Crawford Loritts on "effective praying."
Day one, I quoted him as saying:
Proud people do not pray effectively...
The obvious reasons resonate with all of us:
Powerful and effective praying come from hearts that are right within...
Powerful and effective praying result from hearts that are totally dependent on the Lord...
Proud people are independent people.
Arrogance always leads to isolation (an attitude desirous of being in control).
"We are most free when we are most dependent!"
So powerful and effective prayers give up and lean into the faith-life.
Faith in Christ Jesus.
James, the Lord's brother whispers in our ear...
"Need something, especially wisdom? Ask in faith, with no doubting...(James 1:5)"
He goes on to say (James 5:16b) that the prayer of faith offered up by a righteous person (that's anyone who's surrendered to the Lord) has great power (just look at the life of Elijah)!
In between chapter 1 and chapter 5, James reminds us that God resists (stands against) the proud, but gives grace to the humble (4:6).
I've thought of an illustration (well, I borrowed the idea from someone else, actually, and put my spin on it).
Perhaps I should have started with this.
I really dislike shopping.
Recently I was asked by a friend, "If money were no object, what would you like to have?"
My answer: A personal shopper. Someone who knows what to buy that would work best for me...and I'd never have to go to a store!
However, that said, I would miss window-shopping!
I love seeing the displays (especially at Christmas time).
Those who create them know how to put the items they are selling together so that folks want to go into their store and BUY those very things.
But window displays are only for looking.
You can't touch them.
You can't dismantle them and take them home.
There's a barrier that prevents us from doing so...between myself and the display is a thick pane of glass.
That thick pane of glass between my prayers and God's ears?
God desires to answer our prayers; indeed, He does!
His promises are certain!
But faith doesn't work alongside pride.
The two are mutually exclusive.
So, if there's pride in our hearts, it's impossible to pray in faith.
I'll finish with yet another Andrew Murray quote:
He continues by saying,
"True, we can still have strong convictions in our minds, while there is pride in our hearts, but a living faith, bursting with the power of God, is impossible!"
I'm certainly finding myself mulling this over and over again...deeply convicted!
Assignment #6 in Humility:
Where is pride standing in the way; a barrier between you and faith?