Luke 2:19 (NLT) but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke 2:51 (NLT) Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Luke 1:10 (NLT) While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
Luke 3:2-4 (NLT) Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!
These passages reveal to us that there is a time to think/meditate/pray privately, and a time to pray corporately. In private I think about what God is doing in my life and converse with Him about it. And coming together corporately to share through prayer some of the struggles and or the requests I’m wrestling with.
One author states that the phrase, Clear the road for Him, in Luke 3:4, would look like this culturally, “A monarch traveling in the wilderness regions would have a crew of workmen go ahead to make sure the road was clear of debris, obstructions, potholes, and other hazards that made the journey difficult. In a spiritual sense, John was calling the people of Israel to prepare their hearts for the coming of their Messiah.”
Winter is coming. It’d be easy to look out your living room window, see the snow on your driveway, and pray for it to disappear. Will that work? Possibly. What’ll it take to clear your driveway? Either you putting some effort into going out and getting it done, or that kind neighbor that is willing to help clear it for you. Some of us have that one neighbor who just loves to get their snowblower out and clear off everyone’s sidewalks or driveways. God bless such individuals.
In private we should be preparing our hearts to hear from Him. Asking Him to remove any obstructions in our lives so we can be more like Him each day. And corporately we should be that crew of workmen going ahead of our brothers and sisters in Christ…helping them prepare their hearts for the difficult journeys they're either currently experiencing or are potentially going to face up ahead. Sometimes when you’re in the mess it’s difficult to hear from the Lord or discern hazards to come. This is where the value of corporate prayer time is so important. Someone removed from the situation can see it completely differently and prayerfully provide some good advice.
Corporate time together is accountability…find a group of people you trust and can confide in. People who are wise and have your best interest in mind. Take some time to think on the things the Lord has laid on your heart and if you’re struggling knowing what to do with what He’s sharing with you, then bring it to your trusted group and see if they have some wise words for you and or have them pray over you concerning your request.
This takes honesty and humility. Are you willing to have others go alongside and ahead of you as you journey through your spiritual life? Are you willing to humble yourself enough to allow others to help clear your path even when it seems like all you do is make your own path more hazardous? Jesus is with you. Your fellow brothers and sisters are with you. You can have victory over anything and He can speak either directly to you through private prayer and or through others in corporate prayer. Let me encourage each of you to put yourself in a position to have the best opportunity for Him to make your paths straight today. Just start with some time alone with Him. Trust me…He’ll begin revealing some stuff to you if you would choose to refrain from leaning on your own understanding. Now what will you choose to do with what’s weighing on your heart? What’ll you do if you don’t feel like you’re hearing or receiving any answers from Him in your private time alone with Him?
Practicing His Presence,
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him [come to Him, pray to Him, cry out to Him], and he will make your paths straight.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter