A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10
“It is of utmost importance for us to understand this more abundant life, because for a true life of prayer it is necessary that we walk in an ever-increasing experience of that overflowing life.
It is possible for us to begin this conflict against prayerlessness in dependence on Christ, looking to Him to be assisted and kept in it, and still be disappointed. This is the time when prayerlessness must be looked upon as the one sin against which we must strive. It must be recognized as part of the whole life of the flesh and as being closely connected with other sins that spring from the same source.
We forget that the flesh and all its affections, whether manifested in the body or the soul, must be regarded as crucified and be handed over to death. We must not be satisfied with a weakened life, but must seek an abundant life. We must surrender ourselves entirely so that the Spirit may take full possession of us and manifest His life in us so that our spiritual being will be completely transformed.
What is it that particularly constitutes this abundant life? We cannot too often repeat it or in different ways too often explain it: the abundant life is nothing less than Jesus having full mastery over our entire being through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) in Living a Prayerful Life (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2002) 50.
After returning home from warm Southern California to snowy Colorado for a day (pictured above on our morning walk yesterday), I flew to Memphis, Tennessee, last night for meetings with stewardship educators at the Stewardship Summit in Southaven, Mississippi over the next few days. I pray God blesses us abundantly at this event at which stewardship educators gather to learn from each other.
As I continue to explore the theme of “abundance” in 2018, I found that Andrew Murray offered a rich perspective on prayerlessness as largely the barrier to abundance. Think about it. To go to the place where we can experience abundance, we must be totally dependent on Christ and remain in communion with Him. We must cast our fleshly desires aside and allow the Spirit to have full mastery over every aspect of our lives.
What’s this got to do with generosity? Friends, everything we are and all we have belongs to God. The prayerless one navigates life seeing only the scarcity and pursues financial independence, and even arrogantly proclaims, “No one will have to take care of me.” Alternatively, the prayerful one grasps abundance because, in every aspect of life, that person pursues dependence on God, and perpetually receives supply for enjoyment and sharing.
Here’s how this might look in everyday life. Start each simply with the Lord’s Prayer (cf. Matthew 6:9-13, I like to pray it daily when I stretch my back after I wake up). Assume the posture of “dependence on Christ” as Murray puts it, in perpetual prayer and conversation with God throughout the day (often couple it with fasting to set aside the flesh in pursuit of God’s desires). Lastly, trust, that for His namesake, He will lead, guide and provide.
Jesus wants you and I to combat prayerlessness by depending on Him so we take hold of abundant life and can point others to it. When we do, it’s the greatest act of generosity we can perform. It’s why we are here on this earth.
kurios M firstname.lastname@example.org
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