One major request of the disciples was, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The disciples had an intimate view of the prayer life of their Master. Jesus prayed with them, but, more often, He went off to be alone to spend time in His Father’s presence.
It didn’t take long for the disciples to figure out that whatever else they learned from Jesus, prayer was central to His life.
We all know this, and yet, how is it that we think we do not need to pray as much as our Savior? One reason is we lack personal role models who flesh out, day after day, a life of prayer.
God became flesh, and the disciples had a front-row seat to witness Jesus’ life. We all can read of Jesus’ prayer life, but I believe the disciples would concur that witnessing it firsthand was profoundly different. We need flesh-and-blood examples whose lives preach so loudly we cannot mistake the message.
The writer to the Hebrews admonishes us to reflect upon our godly leaders and imitate their faith. Lonnie Riley [pictured below] is one of those leaders whose faith I want to imitate.
Last week, I shared the way in which God “set me up” for new instructions in prayer. Those new lessons came from both the teaching and the life of Lonnie Riley, key catalyst in the transforming revival in Lynch, KY. Had not Lonnie lived these lessons, there would not have been any weight behind them.
I cannot articulate Lonnie’s life principles as clearly as he can, but l will try to summarize them.
Ask the Lord to speak to you about what is on His heart.
Hear from the Lord as He speaks and burdens your heart for what He wants.
Get confirmation from the Word or another supernatural means.
Begin looking (seek) for God’s answer – not making it happen (an Ishmael), but waiting on God to do what He promised.
When God does open the door(s), obediently walk through them (knock).
Lonnie modeled for me the absolute confidence that once God spoke and confirmed His Word, it was an accomplished fact. There was no anxiety in waiting. It didn’t matter how long God took. It was going to happen as He said. And this is the moment when story after story flows from Lonnie’s experience with God.
The stories provide undeniable proof that what he was extolling was not mere theory. And the absolute calm that emanated from him was the rest of faith (Hebrews 3-4).
I am asking the Lord to help me walk following Lonnie’s example – to hear from God, to rest, to wait, and to allow God to be God and glorify Himself.
How am I doing? After being challenged in Lynch by one of Lonnie’s staff to not doubt God’s limitless resources, I should not have been surprised by God’s answer.
My wife Carol and I believed God spoke to us about her not teaching summer school. I have not drawn a full salary this year, and my partial salary was not adequate to make ends meet. Summer months usually see a drop in giving.
I was trusting God, but I can’t say I was looking for this answer. I was focused on other needs. I recently received notice that Kingdom Catalyst (my ministry which is based in Calif.) would be receiving a $7,000 donation from a source I would never have imagined. The following week, we received another $1,000 donation.
I am overwhelmed. May this be the first fruits of many more miraculous, God-glorifying stories.
I am learning to pray . . .and learning God’s ways.