After attending the SBCV Prayer Summit withClaude King and Richard Blackaby I told one of our church members, “That was INCREDIBLE, but quite painful at times!” There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how moving it was to sit and listen to those godly men teach, inspire, equip, and motivate people to deeper levels of prayer and obedience to Christ.
I can’t begin to summarize everything, but wanted to take a minute to share a couple of points Claude King made from I Corinthians 11 where Paul reminds to prepare spiritually for partaking of the Lord’s Supper. He shared these elements as part of the cleansing and self-examination process:
1. Entire Consecration.
To ‘consecrate’ means to be set apart for a special purpose. To be set apart for God’s purposes we must be cleansed and made holy because we can’t do it on our. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can accomplish that work – which is what we celebrate in the Lord’s Supper.
2. Wholehearted Love.
Jesus reminded the church at Ephesus that they had abandoned their first love (Rev 2:4). Jesus told his disciples that if they loved him they would keep his commands (John 14:15). He also reminded the disciples that THE identifying mark of being his followers would be their love for one another (John 13:35). Part of our self-examination for the Lord’s Supper is to evaluate our love for Christ, demonstrated by our obedience to him, and our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
3. Complete Obedience.
You may have heard it said that, “He who aims for nothing hits it every time.” While we will never attain perfect obedience in all we do, “If we don’t aim for it, we won’t get anywhere close” said King.
He also humorously noted that all too often Christians seem to use the excuse of never being able to attain perfect as a rationalization for tolerating sin in their lives. Just because we do sin every day doesn’t mean we’re SUPPOSED to!
4. Full Surrender.
The word consecrate comes from two Hebrew words, “open hand” and “to fill up.” It’s the picture of a Priest standing at the altar with open hands, ready to receive the sacrifice or offering brought by the worshipper. As long as the worshipper held the sacrifice/offering he or she had control over it, but when it was placed in the Priest’s hands the worshipper gave up all rights and control of the sacrifice – it belonged completely to God. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1-2 that we are ‘living sacrifices.’ The imagery is that we (our complete being) put ourselves in the hands of Christ our great High Priest as living sacrifices to be used by God for his purposes.
5. Posture of Prayer.
King shared how medieval kings instituted an annual appreciation time called a ‘homage ceremony.’ The word ‘homage’ comes from the Latin word for ‘man.’ Medieval Kings held celebrations and feasts for the subjects in their kingdom. During that time the subjects came, one by one, to the King who was seated on his throne. He would extend both hands, open, and empty toward them. The subjects knelt on both knees, clasp their hands together (like praying hands), placed their hands between the Kings hands (who would then clasp them in his) and say to him, “I’m your man.” Doing so was saying to the King, “I’m yours..my land, my family, my resources, my future. Everything I am, have, and ever hope to have is at your disposal.”
Hopefully my words painted the picture of what we know as a posture of prayer: on our knees, hands together, surrendering and submitting ourselves completely to Jesus Christ kneeling before him in his throne room saying, “I’m your man” or “I’m your woman.” It’s a picture of submission that came from medieval times, but grew to be equated with prayer.
My prayer for you is that you’ll regularly spend time evaluating your life and service to Christ in light of these four areas and that you will MAKE time for a regular ‘homage ceremony’ where you bow before and completely surrender to your King, Jesus.