“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep, let you laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:7-10
“God’s purpose for your life is to knock you out of you so He can fill you with Himself.” Bill Stafford
When I heard Bill Stafford share these simple words, I was in a hotel meeting room in the Smokey Mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with a small group of war weary pastors. We had come to take part in a “ReFresh” Conference led by Dr. Michael Catt. Stafford’s words didn’t add weight to my soul. They left me with an overwhelming sense of relief. Life suddenly made sense. Life-giving truth always does.
Jesus set a priority, and a pattern for prayer, but His most enduring template for the earnest prayer warrior is His purpose of prayer. His prayer in The Garden, on the night before His death, Jesus prayed with one purpose in mind, “YIELD.”
“Not My will, but Thy will be done.” Luke 22:42
“YIELD” signs must be the most ignored and violated traffic signs on the planet. At the point where two lanes of automobiles merge, a simple, triangular, one word sign is placed. It does not call for anything but submission. There is no command to stop, or even to slow down. More often than not, it triggers the urge to surge, not the urge to merge. Surging satisfies rebellion. Merging avoids a collision.
Though not specifically mentioned in this passage of Scripture, prayer is birthed in the climate of humility. “YIELD” is the sign and the fruit of humble praying.
With all due respect to Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign.” “YIELD.” Simply put, prayerlessness is your first sign of pridefulness. Your pride leads you to all kinds of rebellions decisions and needless collisions. “STOP.”
Scripture is relentless in placing personal responsibility where it belongs, at the scene of an accident. When wisdom is ignored, and your urge to surge overwhelms your urge to merge, you are to blame, not the devil.
You have the opportunity and the power to resist the devil. When you don’t resist him, you cooperate with him. You can’t stop the devil from being the instigator and initiator of chaos, confusion and crisis in your life. You can refuse to let him set the course for your life.
NOTE TO SELF: The Father knows the devil is the instigator. The devil lobbies to be the navigator. When you pray, you draw near to The Father. He demotes the devil and promotes you. Believing prayer begins with your first breath of humility. Don’t STOP praying until you YIELD to The Father. Avoid the collisions that prayerless and prideful children never see coming. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!