Author Archives: daytontn

Four Somber Hobbits. One Sober Human. Reflections on turning the BIG 50

There is a poignant scene towards the end of The Return of the King where Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry–now returned from their long adventure–are sitting in a pub, mug in hand.  The place is a buzz.  Smiles and laughter abound.  Everyone is having a good time.  Everyone except for the four.  They gaze about, noticing the carefree attitude of the patrons, but they  cannot summon the same.  They’ve been through too much.  They’ve experienced things they would have never expected.  They’ve seen things they wish they never had seen. They had done things they wish they wouldn’t have done.  They had said things they wish they hadn’t said.  It had been a rough go-of-it.  They were now somber.  They were a bit more serious.  Frivolity didn’t quite attract their interest anymore.  They had grown up.

I am sitting at the same table.

Today is my fiftieth birthday.  We are celebrating as a family, making a memory for the kids.  And–like the hobbits–I am a bit more sober.  I, too, have seen death.  I’ve experienced difficult days and seasons.  I’ve seen things I wish I had not seen.  I’ve done things I should not have done.  I’ve said things I should not have said.  My adventure hasn’t always been an easy one either.  But I have survived.  I sit here this morning with a mug in my hand.  The green of the Shire surrounds me.

Frodo may have left on the boat, but Sam returned to his wife and children.  Life went on.  Sam dug in and loved his family.  That is my intention as well.  The majority of my adventures are in the past.  My Army days are a distant memory.  My pursuit of academic degrees is finished.  I am done climbing mountains.  Any hope of earthly glory has diminished.  I have dug in.  I am loving my family.

Several years ago, I heard of someone here in Dayton that left his wife and children because the responsibility was too much to bear.  Rather than dig in, he ran.  That’s not my way.  In fact, it’s not the way of the Wehse men.  We are far from perfect, but one of our strengths is endurance.  We stay.

Whatever mid-life crisis I experienced is over.  Thankfully, it did not include another car or another woman.  I did not need to start over.  God had given me too much for me to think I lacked anything for my happiness.  I am a truly blessed man.  I am a recipient of special and common grace.  God is both my Savior as well as my Heavenly Father.  He has given me two glorious books to teach me that He is great and greatly to be praised–The Word of God and creation.  He has blessed me with many sweet memories and a future too   glorious to conceive.

And He has given me today.

Today–my fiftieth birthday; a day in which to celebrate God’s grace with my wonderful wife and five children who still look up to me and think I am funny.

It’s going to be a good day; a good day indeed.

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Death: God’s Ultimate Care for Our Joy

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  Psalm 116:15

A friend of mine went home to be with Jesus this past week.  The morning of his funeral, I read a Charles Finney sermon entitled, The Death of Saints Precious.  This particular sermon was preached at a funeral in 1849.  While I love all of Finney’s main points, this one especially stood out to me:

“God accounts their death precious, because He really enjoys their joy better than they do themselves.”

His first point was similar:  “God deems the death of His saints precious because their happiness is very dear to Him.”  Are you following Finney’s logic?  Because God cares deeply for the happiness of His children and because He actually values their joy more than they do themselves, He considers their death to be precious.

I thought about that again this morning as we studied Psalm 104 in Sunday School.  Consider the rending of verse thirty-one in a couple different translations:

“Let the LORD be glad in His works” (NASB).

“May the LORD rejoice in His works” (NIV).

That’s exactly what God does when He welcomes one of His children home!  Angels high five one another.  Confetti falls.  Music shakes the place.  Joy and happiness abound.  What a moment!  Finney wrote, “In a very real sense, when God receives His children home, He receives the reward of all His labors in their behalf.”  God has worked for the salvation and sanctification of His recreated image bearers. Their much-anticipated arrival in glory greatly glorifies God!  He has pure joy and the joy of the saint surely is indescribable!

Due to these facts, Finney challenged those in attendance that day to be careful not to mourn selfishly.  He admitted  doing so upon the  death of his own wife.  He confessed, “I said to myself–Shall I be thinking of my loss and not of her much greater gain.”  His conclusion was actually a warning, “Let us behave how we take exceptions, even impliedly, to God’s dealings!”  I love that!  Be careful when you call God’s character into question–even when experiencing intense grief.  God is good and does good (Ps. 119:68).  And, if anything is good, that which promotes God’s joy and the joy of His children surely is!

So, rejoice when those who know God the Father through Christ are ushered into the tangible presence of God–the home of pure joy!  Mourn appropriately, but thank God for this wonderful truth:

“In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps. 16:11).

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Live Out the Sacrifice – Overcome evil with good

“Do not be overcome evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21

This verse summarizes everything just mentioned by the Apostle Paul.  It is the umbrella under which the previous commands land.  Paul began this important section of Scripture by challenging the believers in Rome to present themselves as living sacrifices (12:1).  He then gave a list of commandments that–when applied–allow Christians to guard against evil and, in fact, overcome it on a daily basis.

Consider again the list:

  • Do not be conformed to this world (12:2).
  • Renew your mind (12:2).
  • Do not think too highly of yourself (12:3).
  • Use your spiritual gifts appropriately (12:4-8).
  • Love with purity (12:9).
  • Hate what is evil (12:9).
  • Cling to what is good (12:9).
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (12:10).
  • Give preference to each other in honor (12:10).
  • Avoid spiritual laziness (12:11).
  • Rejoice in hope (12:12).
  • Be patient in trials (12:12).
  • Devote yourself to prayer (12:12).
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints (12:13).
  • Practice hospitality (12:13).
  • Bless those who persecute you (12:14).
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice (12:15).
  • Weep with those who weep (12:15).
  • Guard yourself from pride (12:16).
  • Leave vengeance in God’s hands (12:17).
  • Live at peace with everyone (12:18).

WOW! That is quite a list!  Are you discouraged?  Surely you do not believe you are obeying these commands perfectly?  No one does.  That’s why we desperately need Jesus.  He lived out the commands of God without fail.  Now–as we trust in His finished work–we are free to strive for consistency in our lives as it pertains to practical righteousness.  Thus, a study of the list is beneficial.  It helps us to evaluate whether or not we are truly living the sacrifice.  The exhortation Paul gave to the first century believers is Rome is ours as well.  We are to offer ourselves each and every day to such an extent that God is glorified and people are blessed.

So–browse the list one more time.  You are weak in more than one of the areas listed.  I am weak in several as well.  With God’s help, what are we going to do about it?  After confession and prayer for assistance, what first step can we take?

What first step can we take today?

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Nobody is a nobody

Pride is wicked.  Pride leads us to think that we are better than others.  Pride causes us to look down on people. That’s why Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Rom. 12:16).  The translators of the King James version render a portion of this passage as follows:  “condescend to men of low estate.”  I typically like renderings of The Message, but I take exception with this particular selection:  “…don’t be stuck up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be a great somebody.”

Can you see what bothers me?

Nobodies.

The NIV utilizes the word people.  The King James employed the term “men.” The concept conveyed in Romans is simple to understand.  We are to prove we are on mission by ministering to individuals in a socio-economic status different from our own.

Nobody is a nobody.

Everybody is a somebody.

I am a somebody.  You are a somebody.  The man with the cardboard sign on the corner is a somebody.  We have all been created by God, and we all bear His image.  As such, we all have dignity.  We all also have needs.  The stranger asking other strangers for money isn’t the only one needy among us.  The rich have needs.  The middle class have needs.  The poor have needs.  And one of those needs is for friendship.  God created each of us with both the capacity and the need for intimacy.   We must have friends.  Our challenge, therefore, is that we carefully select our friends.  As Christ-followers, we are not free to only choose our friends from the rich, famous or people-like-us classes.  We are called to attend the wedding of the poor (John 2) and speak to the woman with the bad reputation (John 4) and accept the dinner reservation from the shady businessman (Luke 19).

We are called to live like Jesus.

Meditate upon His life on earth for a moment.  Even a cursory reading of the Gospels illustrates that Jesus had no intention of being liked by the movers and shakers of His day.  His selection of His disciples proved He was not attempting to stack His deck so that He would  gain credibility.  Yet he did not disdain those with more money than Himself (if it is possible to think of Jesus as lacking anything!).  Some of His friends had more temporary wealth (Lazarus).  Others were unemployed fishermen.  Jesus could relate with people in any class.  Jesus would minister to people in any social class.  So should we.

This is a great opportunity for us to examine our lives.  Think through your list of friends.  Are they all like you?  Do they make about what you make?  Do they live in a house similar to yours? Does being seen with them in public cause you to feel good?  One way in which you know you are probably obeying this verse in Romans 12 is that when you think of one of your friends, your answer to the questions above is “no.”

“Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:6; The Living Bible).

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Making harmony together

“Live in harmony with one another.”  Romans 12:16

Why is it so difficult for believers to get along?

The Bible describes and alludes to many, many conflicts between believers.  Paul and Silas couldn’t compromise (Acts 15:39), the Christians in Corinth were divided on a variety of issues (1 Cor. 1:10-12), Euodia and Syntyche could not get along in Philippi (Phil. 4:2,3) and the Apostle James needed to address the fights and quarrels in the 1st century church at large (Js. 4:1).  Even the original disciples argued amongst themselves (Lk. 22:24).

What’s our problem?!

Sin.

I surveyed some of my children this past weekend to again gauge their understanding of the depravity of man.  My question was simple:  Are we sinners because we are born sinful or because we sin?  My thirdborn provided me with the best answer:  “Both.  We are born sinful and that makes us sinners, and we sin, which also makes us sinners.”  Don’t you love it when you hear great theology from “the mouth of babes”?!  Dayton is indeed correct!  We are sinners because we are born in sin.  When Adam fell in the Garden, we fell with him.  Every human being is conceived with a sinful nature.  Romans, chapter five, offers a great explanation of this reality.  We are also sinners because we sin.  We sin from the earliest of age, proving our condition, our nature.  And as we grow, we sin more and more.  We commit sins daily—sins of word, thought and deed.  Our sins against God each day are too numerous to count, and we regularly sin against others.  We even sin against ourselves!

One of the best books I have ever received is entitled The Valley of Vision.  It is a collection of Puritan prayers written by believers who grasp both the fall of man and the grace of God.  Here’s one of my favorite lines:

“My country, family, church fare worse because of my sins” (Self-Knowledge, p.69).

In other words, we are not God’s gift to the world (that title is reserved for Jesus)!  In fact, because of our sin, we end up being more of a curse than a blessing to this planet!  And our sins—conscious and unconscious—greatly affect those around us.  That sin—that baggage—is carried with us into the community of saints.  We take it with us to church.  It is present within all our relationships.  And that is why believers struggle to get along.  That is why we need to be commanded to “live in harmony with one another.”

The word Paul chose to employ here that some translators render “harmony” is a Greek present, active participle.  The sentiment being conveyed by the Apostle’s choice of grammar is one of lifestyle.  Christians are to be of the same mind–moving as one on the essentials and making every effort to be charitable at all times.

As we were preparing for our wedding, Jodi and I began searching the Bible for some verses that we would challenge ourselves to live out daily.  We settled on a passage from the book of Ephesians.  Paul was writing to a group of believers who needed to be reminded to put others above themselves.  We chose to memorize the verses from the Living Bible.  It is easy to see why keeping these words before a church or a couple is important.  May God help us all to live these out in His strength and for His glory.

“Be humble and gentle; be patient with one another making allowance for each other’s  faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit, and so be at peace with one another” (4:2,3).

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Emotional Engagement

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  Romans 12:14

Christians are called to be emotionally engaged with one another.  We need to know when the good stuff happens to each other as well as when the bad stuff does.  For Paul’s audience, this knowledge was possible through their regular gatherings together for worship.  I trust those first century Christians also rubbed shoulders with one another throughout the week.  But our culture is different.  We are modern.  We are connected via the Worldwide Web.  And nothing has done more to help us stay connected like Facebook.

Facebook is a blessing.

Have you found that to be the case?  Just this week we have had perhaps hundreds of “friends” praying for our fevering baby.  In a very real sense, they were weeping with our weeping.  Those who told us so were truly emotionally engaged.  We see such participation as well when we share good news on FB.  Many respond with awesome comments and praise God for His manifold blessings.  So–we do appreciate the tool of Facebook which allows connection that distance and time often diminish.

However grateful I am for the conduit of Facebook,  I am aware of the necessity of personal contact.  No social media will ever replace human presence.  Individual-to-individual ministry will always trump that latest and greatest technological resource.  Can I give you a concrete example?  Someone just now came to the door.  It was my wife’s chiropractor.  She had been following our woes this week (three of us have a viral infection).  She’s probably been praying as well, but she decided to do something practical.  She brought us a package of herbal tea (the expensive stuff).  Isn’t that awesome?!  Isn’t that a great example of weeping with those who weep? (She was also “contributing to the needs of the saints!”)  She was alert to what was going on and she cared enough to do something about it.  Our Aunt Vonnie did the same today when she surprised us with supper.

We need to be alert to what is going on and care enough to do something about it.  If our family, friends, co-workers, fellow students (etc.), experience joy, we are called to rejoice with them.  And, if they encounter the unexpected, unwanted drama and trauma that is part and parcel to our life, we are commanded to weep.

Remember you are rarely “fine.”  Others usually are not “fine.”  Poke around a bit.  Ask specific questions.  Risk personal contact.  Rejoice.  Weep.

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Bless the cursers

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rom. 12:14

It is entirely possible that this command is one of the toughest commands to obey in all of Scripture.  We are sinful creatures.  When mistreated, we are quick to respond.  In our flesh, we lash back.  We attempt to repair what was damaged while doing some damage of our own. We recall the oft heard statement “Vengeance is mind, saith the LORD” (Deut. 32:35), but we feel justified in taking a few shots ourselves before leaving the persecutors in God’s hands.

You know what I am taking about. We’ve all been guilty of trying to settle the score.  It’s only natural. That’s why Paul continued in v.17:

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. 19 Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” 21 Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.

Why do you suppose that we are commanded to leave room for God’s wrath (12:19); to “turn the other cheek” (Mt. 5:39)?  Why must we overcome evil with good (12:21)?

Because we bear the imago Dei.  And as image bearers of God, we are to mimic Him.  That’s why the Apostle Peter p0inted to Jesus as our model:

18 [i]Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse. 19 For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. 20 But what credit is there if you are patient when beaten for doing wrong? But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered[j] for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[k]

23 When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Admittedly, Peter was speaking to slaves in the first century.  Like their ultimate Master, Jesus, they were entrust themselves to The Judge.  Rather than respond in an unrighteous fashion, they were to live for righteousness (2:24).  Since they had returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of their souls (2:25), they were act, react, speak, think, etc. like Christ.

We are to do no less.

My reason for writing this particular blog entry is simple.  I am working through Romans, chapter twelve.  Your reason for reading today may be completely different.  Perhaps you are neck-deep in a challenging situation.  Maybe you have been mistreated recently.  Maybe you are about to be.  Being persecuted is definitely a tough spot.  God’s help is critical during such a time.  We need His assistance if we are to glorify His name and walk like His son.  Leaning on Him is of absolute necessity if we are to remain meek.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:3

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Exercise Hospitality

Hospitality.

We all have an idea of what is commanded in this verse from Paul in Romans, chapter twelve. It’s the idea of opening up ourselves in order to bless others.  Some tend to think of inviting people over for dinner when the word hospitality is used. However, the concept is more far-reaching than that.  Consider the comments of John Gill:

Given to hospitality; or, as it may be rendered, “pursuing”, or “following after love to strangers”; which is properly hospitality: respect is to be shown not to such only who are members of the same community with us, but also to such of the people of God, that may be of another country, or of some distant parts of our own, not before known by us; who by persecution, and distress of some sort or another, or by some providence or another, are obliged to remove from their native place. These we are to love, and show our love to, not only by directing and advising, but, if need be, by giving them food and raiment, and lodging them: this is a duty incumbent on ministers of the Gospel, and on private members, and on all who are in any capacity to perform it; and which should be done cheerfully, and without grudging; and what persons should use, inure, and give themselves to, yea, should seek after, and call to objects of it; as Abraham and Lot did, who thereby entertained angels unawares, and is what the apostle here means by pursuing and following after it (eSword).

Following after love to strangers.

What must we do?  Pursue strangers!  That’s easier said than done for some of us.  While others find it easy introducing themselves to people, a few of us find the experience quite stressful. What is helpful for us is to remember the purpose behind the action.  We reach out, we follow after, we pursue strangers in order to minister to them.  It is a proactive way in which we can live out the reason for which we were created: to glorify God and bless others.

After being rebuffed in several attempts to minister to students at a local college, we found a backdoor entrance through our church.  One Sunday, the church promoted an “adopt-a-college-student” program.  We jumped at the chance, and have enjoyed getting to know a fun-loving, intelligent young woman and a couple of her friends.  We were a bit anxious that first night.  What would she be like?  Would she like us?  Would we like her?  Could she handle our commotion and noise?  Thankfully–the answers are yes to all of those questions!

Our risk reaped rewards.

Risk often reaps rewards. Occasionally, risk will lead to remorse. However, fear should not dissuade us from obeying what is explicitly commanded.  Individuals in our community need us–particularly the visitors among us.  College students away from their families need to be able to hang out in a home from time-to-time.  Folks new to the church need to know that they are welcome among us.  Transfer students in high school need new friends–and fast!  As you can see, hospitality is practical and it is an activity in which we should all be engaged.

Are we?

May God use us in the lives of others!

 

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Contributing to the Need of the Saints

Giving to the needy within the church is a commandment for all believers.

But let’s be honest–some of us are more needy than others.  This is particularly true in affluent America.  Even in the small town in which we reside, many couples make up to $100,000 per year–far more than is required to live in our current cost-of-living situation.  Paul has a word for those individuals and couples in 1 Timothy 6:

17 Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, 19 thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life (New American Standard, Revised).

Rich in the present age is a bit of a slippery description.  Wealth is relative.  While it is true that $1,000,000.00 per year is rich in any culture, $50,000.00 only lands you in the middle class in the United States.  But Americans afflicted with affluenza should not compare themselves to the rich and famous of their gluttonous society.  Rather, we should understand that $70,000, $80,000 or a six figure income is indeed more than is needed to both provide your needs and bless others.

And bless others.

That’s what Paul has in mind here in Romans 12 where he commands the Christians in Rome to “contribute to the needs of the saints.”  Some saints have more than enough.  Other saints had less than enough.  IT IS THE RESPONSIBLITY OF MORE THAN-ENOUGH-SAINTS TO HELP THE LESS-THAN-ENOUGH-SAINTS.

If there ever was a theme in the Scriptures regarding how God’s people should use their money it is this: It is the responsibility of more-than-enough saints to help the less-than-enough saints.  Notice the word responsibility.  I deliberately chose that word over privilege.  Our opportunity to bless other Christians is indeed a privilege since it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). However, we must never consider our opportunities as options. We are commanded to alleviate the sufferings of the saints and to assist in meeting their needs.

Need more motivation?

10 So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.

You have to admit: the Bible is clear on this issue.  We cannot sit by as fellow Christians have unmet needs when we have a GOD-GIVEN ABILITY to meet those very needs. It is the responsibility of more-than-enough saints to help the less-than-enough saints. If you have more than enough, it is for a reason.  Pray for God to direct you as to whom and how you can bless.  If you have less than enough, ask God to meet your needs and wait patiently as He puts the pieces in place to do just that.

For a great paragraph on this issue, navigate over to the Quick Takes page.

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Living Out the Sacrifice – Devoted to Prayer, Part One

 

“Devoted to prayer.”  Romans 12:12

Prayer is like breathing for a believer.  We do it consciously and subconsciously.  At least we should be.

Convicted yet?  I am!  I do pray, but I am convinced that my prayer life cannot appropriately be described as devoted.  I sure don’t pray continually as commanded by the Lord through Paul (1 Thess. 5:17).

My lack of prayer is nothing short of folly.

Why?  Because of the simple fact that God hears and answers the prayers of His people.

He really does.

I shared that truth recently in a class of college students.  My text was one of my favorite on the subjects:  Luke 11.  Listen to what Jesus had to say on the issue:

Luk 11:5  Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; Luk 11:6  for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; Luk 11:7  and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.‘ Luk 11:8  “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Luk 11:9  “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luk 11:10  “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Luk 11:11  “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Luk 11:12  “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? Luk 11:13  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

It is easy to see why this passage is such an encouragement to us to pray, isn’t it?!

Believers have a Father who hears and answers our prayers.  He enjoys giving good gifts to His children! That’s why we are exhorted to pray persistently (the friend kept pestering his buddy) and specifically (we ask for a fish, not a snake).

Our motivation for persistent and specific prayer comes from the Scripture.

Stephen J. Cole from Bible.org adds these important observations to the topic:

The Greek verb means to adhere to, persist in, be devoted to, or hold fast to something (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich [University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed.], p. 715). It is often used with reference to prayer in the New Testament. As the early church waited for the promised Day of Pentecost, we read, Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer ….” Later, Luke sums up the activities of the Jerusalem church (Acts 2:42), “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

When the apostles sought to find seven faithful men to take care of the problem of meeting the needs of the widows, they explained (Acts 6:4), “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Paul instructed the Ephesians (6:18) about prayer, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints ….” “Perseverance” translates the noun that is related to the verb, “be devoted to.” In Colossians 4:2, Paul writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” And, although he does not use the same word, Paul expresses the same concept in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” The Greek word translated “without ceasing” was used of a hacking cough and of repeated military assaults. So the idea is not that we pray every waking minute, but that we keep coming back to prayer again and again. We are relentless in prayer.

So these verses tell us that prayer is not to be a little segment of our lives, where the extent of our praying is to bless our food before meals or to pray with our kids as we tuck them into bed. Rather, prayer is to permeate all of life. We should pray about virtually anything and everything. And so, being devoted to prayer is one of those commands that I’ll never be able to check off my list and say, “I’ve got that one down. What’s next?” No, there is always room to grow more devoted to prayer. 

https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-84-devoted-prayer-romans-1212c

A secondary motivation comes from our experience, but space prevents me from elaborating at this point. However, the information above should be all the exhortation we need at the presence.  God invites us to pray persistently and specifically, and we are told the He both hears and answers the prayers of His people.  Since “there is always room to grow more devoted to prayer,” let’s do so!

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