“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36
It’s possible to have so many gifts wrapped and stacked under the tree at Christmas to actually miss one. Or it’s possible you hid the gift and couldn’t find it when the time came to give it. Gifts get misplaced and sometimes forgotten, then months later or even years later they are found. Not only is this possible but it’s probably more common than we know. Some of that can be explained by just having too many gifts that you have forgotten what was purchased. It may also have something to do with the value of the gift. The greater the value, the less likely it is to be lost or forgotten.
Just like it’s possible to miss a gift when the opening frenzy begins, it’s very possible that followers of Christ haven’t discovered all the spiritual gifts God has so freely given them. Think about it, if you had a spiritual gift from God you haven’t discovered up to this point, wouldn’t you want to know what it is? We know we have at least one spiritual gift and it shouldn’t surprise us that we have more than one knowing the generosity of our Father and the kingdom purpose behind those gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts,] brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:, 7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit [of all:] 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another [different] kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
When it comes to spiritual gifts, we should be as children and wonder, have I missed a gift? Why not take another look, there may be one more gift you have yet to discover. To look, tell the Father how thankful you are for the gifts He has already given you, then ask Him if there are any more. I can promise you He will not be upset, but He will be delighted in you.
When I Pray
Praying to God has always been a part of my life. I know how to pray, but I’m still learning to hear God’s voice and to pray those things He places on my mind, and I’m still learning how to be still in His presence. One of the privileges we have in praying is making intercession for others. Recently I have been especially blessed by visualizing myself standing before the throne of God in my prayer time, and I sincerely believe I am there. This is the faith of every believer whether they visualize this or not. I’m not trying to visualize God, but rather, as I stand there and talk to God, I begin to call out the names of those I’m praying for and then visualize individuals joining me as I speak their name to the Father. Usually I’m standing there before God and I start calling out the names of my family. And I will say something like, “Father, I have Kristen (my wife) with me, and I know you know her needs, so I ask you to bless her (and I will name in details of what I know to pray for her). And I will do every member of my family that way, but the point is I’m standing before God with them beside me. After that, I go through my prayer list of other names, calling each one out and then again seeing them with me. I call out the names of those in my church, and by the time I finish my time in prayer, I’m standing in the throne room of God with a lot of people!
Praying this way takes time and faith and it can renew your love for praying for others. God’s Word says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him,] for he who comes to God (in prayer) must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.“ —Hebrews 11:6
Why not try this the next time you go to the Lord in prayer and see how many people you can bring into the throne room of God with you. “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” —Ephesians 6:18
When you go to God in prayer, don’t go by yourself. Bring as many people as you can into the throne room of God. That’s what it’s there for and that’s why the door is always left open.
Calvary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas was my family’s church growing up from the time I was 8 years old. It was a small town church filled with godly people who loved the Lord. Mason Gray was the pastor there when my family joined and he was the one who baptized me. As a young kid I listened half the time, but when it was time for the service to end, there was like a renewed interest in the service that came over me. It didn’t take long to know who prayed publically and who didn’t, and I never wanted our pastor to call on Brother White for the closing prayer. Brother White prayed great prayers as far as I was concerned, but his prayers were stretched for seemed like ages. He was very serious about the Lord, but spoke slow and somehow stretched out even one syllable words.
Looking back on it today, I have come to believe that every follower of Christ should pray long prayers. I’ve been in prayer circles where by the time you took your cap off and lowered it in reverence to pray, the “Amen” came and it was over. I do believe in short quick prayers to God, but the follower of Christ is called to long prayers. It was the apostle Paul who said to “pray without ceasing.” Jesus said,
“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13
Praying should become such a normal part of our lives that we weave them in and out of our normal conversations. For the follower of Christ, praying should be like breathing, and it can be and will be when our minds are constantly going towards heaven. Whatever you do, don’t stop talking to God! I heard a man praying recently and in the middle of his prayer he started talking to the people who were listening and then he went right back to praying to the Father. God’s ears are always open ready to hear what His children have to say. Pray all day long!
“I said, “No!” Sometimes the repeated asking has to be met with a strong and decisive response. I’ve heard it and maybe you have too, and when you hear it, it’s over, the asking ceases and the countenance drops. You’ve hit the limit and the tolerated number of petitions and you probably should have seen it coming. God has a “No” in His vocabulary, but He is not the “No” God. Some view God as stern and quick to say “No,” when in reality, He is very willing and many times says either “Yes” to our request or “Wait.” Paul had been given a thorn in his flesh that he believed needed to be gone. Paul asked the Lord three times to take it away. He said, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Paul must have believed this thorn was a hindrance to his ministry, but God didn’t say “No” to hinder Paul’s ministry. God said, “No,” because He knew Paul’s visions and his temptations to be “exalted above measure.” Another way to say that is, God knew Paul could get the big head, full of pride, and think of himself more highly than he should. And there was another reason God said “No” to Paul. It’s the same reason God will not hesitate in saying “No” to you and me today. God wants us to experience His grace. You can handle a “No” from God so long as you have His grace, otherwise, life is just hard and confusing. Has God told you “No” lately? He is a good Father and a good Father knows when to say, “No.” If you have been told “No” lately, why not ask God for more grace? Grace can keep you going even with a thorn stuck in you. And this is good news, we can actually live in God’s grace because there was a thorn that stuck in Jesus. Pray for more grace today—that’s all, just more grace.