Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for this year? If so, how are you doing in keeping them? I read somewhere that most resolutions made on Dec 31 are broken by the end of the first week. That is not a promising statistic!
While the world’s concept of “making resolutions” is not a Christian doctrine, there can be no denying that one aspect of being a Christian is to be a man or woman of resolve.
We are commanded to “examine ourselves” as to whether we are “in the faith” or not.
Prior to participating at the Lord’s table (Communion), it is incumbent for all to go through this self-examining process. (By the way, it is not to examine yourself to see if you are “good enough” – none of us ever are! It is primarily to see if you bear the evidence of being a child of God).
This examining of ourselves will inevitably reveal sins that need to be confessed, weaknesses that need to be strengthened, and failures that need to be dealt with. But it must not stop there. There must be a resolve by God’s grace to confess those sins, seek His strength to overcome our weaknesses, and faithfully deal with our failures so that we might be good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
One of the major failures for most Christians is in the realm of prayer. It would be almost shocking to hear a truly regenerated child of God say they were satisfied with their prayer life; that they were convinced it was as good as it could be, that there wasn’t any room for improvement, etc. In fact, just hearing those words would convince us we were listening to someone with a heart of pride.
Do you know that the great saints of Scripture were – without exception – men and women of prayer? Did you know that the great saints of church history – as far as we know from their diaries, autobiographies and biographies – were men and women of prayer? Their theologies might have differed, but I do not know of one person who accomplished any significant or lasting work for God who was not given to prayer.
Something else, to read about them is to be impressed that they were resolved to pray. They knew the difficulty of prayer, and they knew that if they did not make it a matter of fervent resolve and determination, that they would fall into the same miserable condition that so much of the Christian church finds itself in today – a lack of prayer, which inevitably means a lack of power.
King David was a man of prayer. He was a great sinner, but he was also a great saint. And, I believe he was a great saint because he was a great ‘Supplicator’. He knew how to pray. But that doesn’t mean it came naturally to him. Prayer is a spiritual work, and “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him “(1 Cor. 2:14). David was a great pray-er, because he determined he would be a man of prayer. Consider these statements of his:
Psalm 55:16,17 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear me.
Psalm 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee; for thou wilt answer me.
Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
These are but a sampling of texts that show us David’s resolve to pray by the language he uses.
The question now is this: Are you willing to make this an area you will resolve to improve? A more fulfilling prayer life doesn’t “just happen”. It is difficult work and the opposition to it will come in many forms. And that is where the matter of resolve comes in. Are we going to pray through the obstacles and opposition? Then we must lay hold of this truth with all our strength and not let it go. But even more than that, this truth must lay hold of us until it becomes a burning conviction in our hearts, as it was in David’s, to resolve, “I will call upon God… Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud”, and do so with the confidence that “He shall hear me!”