Prayer is the filling station

OK, so the "survey says" that most people in America believe that there's a God. So does Satan. He knows there is.

I believe Satan, the devil, Lucifer, prince of darkness (whatever you like to call him) knows more about God than any of us. The book of Job shows him coming into God's court on a regular basis (Job 1:6). He has studied his opponent and knows him better than the greatest theologian in the world. But, does he follow him? ... submit to him? ... humble himself in God's sight?

And how do you do that, Bill, you say? Come before God. Come into His presence. Begin with prayer. Begin by calling in the troops. The "God of Hosts" ("hosts" is a military term in the Bible for armies) is ready 24/7. Here's a helpful hint. God gave us one mouth and two ears. Is there a clue there? Come into God's presence and "be still ... and know that the Lord is God" as the Psalmist wrote (Psa. 46:10).

Many of us just celebrated the birthday of the church, known as Pentecost, described by means of external symbolization and the witnesses' internal transformation. Just as happened on that day in Acts 2 the essential work of the Spirit of God is transforming eyewitnesses into "ministers of the word."

In his book, "Power Through Prayer," the well published author on prayer, E.M. Bounds wrote, "What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use - men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods but through men. He does not come on machinery; but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men - men of prayer." (Where he uses the word "men," I would add, "women" too).

I believe that the church is not built on people, but through people. The "head of the church" is not the pastor, reverend, bishop, priest, etc. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the board members who lead and direct the organization. Church people are not perfect; they're forgiven and filled with grace. They know it and they show it. D. T. Niles once said that the sharing of the gospel (the good news) was "just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread."

The Apostle Paul spelled out the identifying marks of a believer and follower of God and Jesus Christ. In the fifth chapter of his letter to the Ephesian church, which many believe was a "circular letter" meant for all the churches as a Haustafel ("house code"), he said that the people would be joyful, worshipful, thankful as well as humble if filled and led by the Holy Spirit.

About the fifth century B.C., God gave these words to a dying nation, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Ch. 7:14)

In Second Corinthians, Paul said, "If anyone is in Christ, they will become a new creation"(2Cor. 5:17). So, for the Christian it's appropriate to ask, "What's new?" - and also, "Are you full of it?" ... isn't it?

Those who believe should be, and can be joy-full, worship-full, and thank-full ... if they just pull over and stop in at the filling station. But, that's just the "beggar" talking in me.

Let's pray.

The Rev. Bill Baltz of Christ Presbyterian Church is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.


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