IF MY PEOPLE …
Terry R. Baughman
“‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5–6).
Twice quoted in the New Testament by both Peter and James lends importance to the principle, “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). The activation of grace is a direct result of our attitude in petition.
Recall the story Jesus told of a praying publican and a proud pharisee. The Pharisee compared himself to others and loudly expressed thanks that he wasn’t like them, obviously inferior to his spiritual position. On the other hand, a tax collector, seen as one on the bottom rung of society by other Jews, prayed in the distance, not wanting to attract attention or the scorn of others who might see him praying. He fervently prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Jesus said that publican’s prayer was heard and he went away justified, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
A recognition of our unworthiness should not prevent us from petition, but rather give us boldness to approach Him. Take courage in the knowledge that Jesus invites all to come to Him in such humility. When we pray with the spirit of humility we don’t command healing, order angels around, or take dominion through our great faith and passionate invocations. In prayer we subject ourselves to God’s will. We humbly submit to the only One with power and authority, dominion and power, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jude’s concluding benediction was such an acknowledgment, “To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 25).
The conditions are set. The Lord said, “If My people … will …” (2 Chronicles 7:14). We know what to do; it’s a matter of will we do it. We talk about prayer. We encourage others to pray. We promise to pray. But, do we pray? We must DO it; not just talk about it. We have the pattern, we learn the process, we compile our petitions … now, it is time to PRAY!
What a great resource has been made available to us if we will but take advantage of it. The results are exponentially greater than any effort. The reward surpasses our every expectation. We have seen prayers answered and miracles happen when simple prayers are offered with quiet conviction that God is listening. Prayer is our privilege and our opportunity to effect change in the Spirit and affect the atmosphere on earth. It is time to humbly approach God in boldness knowing we have an unlimited response of grace. As the writer of Hebrews stated, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Activate grace when you pray!
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).