Hey, this is Mike Zwick from If Not For God Podcast. Our show, Stories of Hopelessness, Turned into Hope. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it.
But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. So today, we're going to talk about a R.I.P. prayer, James? I mean, like, rest in peace?
I can hardly wait. I mean, what do you mean by that? Well, first, I don't mean falling asleep when we pray. To explain it, let me start by telling a little story, and it's a true one. You may have read about it in a recent Our Daily Bread that I wrote. It's about the first photograph of a person that was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838, and it shows this lone figure standing on an empty avenue in Paris during the middle of the day. Now, this is the middle of the afternoon, and normally the streets and sidewalks would have been filled with activity, and in reality, they actually were. But the people and the horses and the carriages on the boulevard that day didn't show up because they were in constant motion, and it took exposure time of seven minutes to process images on the photo.
The lone man in the photograph was having his boots shined. He was the only person standing still, and the point of this is that with God, in a far more profound way, stillness accomplishes what constant motion and effort cannot. So today, we're going to talk about the stillness of our souls, if you will, as we learn to rest in Him, as we learn to rest in Him when we pray. And it's interesting, because there's not too much that's written about this when it comes to prayer. Yeah, so something tells me, you know, there's about to be a book on this.
Well, there just might be, but here's the thing. We also think of prayer, usually, as this huge expenditure of energy, and that's why people tend to say things like, oh, I just don't have time to pray, and they immediately, of course, feel guilty about that. But one of the reasons for this is that we miss this concept of resting, and if we get it, we'll always have time to pray, because resting in prayer is all about nurturing our relationship with God. Oh, that's so good. And, you know, now that I think about it, there are all kinds of references to this in Scriptures, aren't there?
Yeah, absolutely there are, Rob. I mean, think about Psalm 116, 7, which says, Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. Or Psalm 91, 1, which says, Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. So there's a picture of rest, biblically, as a really good thing. And then there's David's word picture in Psalm 63, 7, Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings, I cling to you. And those verses are only the beginning. Think of all the Psalms that speak of God as our refuge, or our fortress, running to Him, and realize then that so many of those Psalms are prayers. So this is about resting in peace, prayer.
Yeah, there's really a tenderness about this in there. I mean, you see the personal aspects of relationship come out, like David singing in the shadow of God, singing and clinging to Him. So David was such a fierce warrior, but here he is clinging to God, finding refuge in Him.
That's right. I mean, David really sets an awesome example for us in this. And it's interesting that we don't talk about resting in God more, because it's so important, and it can make such a difference to the way we go through this day. It can help us so much with just being aware of His presence. But James, don't you think that one of the reasons we don't hear more about this is the thought that we're supposed to be working for God and not resting?
Yeah, yeah. I think that's a great point. And this is where we have to get a larger biblical picture of what it means to rest, because resting in God doesn't mean being idle or asleep in Him. That concept applies to those who look away from Him. Romans and Revelation both talk about this.
So does Jesus, when he tells the parable that the foolish bridesmaid... But when we rest in Him in the positive ways that God's Word describes, we stay close to Him intentionally. So you might ask, well, how can we rest when there's work to be done for His Kingdom? Just think about what Jesus said in John 15, If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit.
Apart from me you can do nothing. So resting is a way of abiding or remaining in Him. And otherwise, we won't be as effective. So this is the way we find the strength that we need. It results in more productivity, less busyness, so that we can actually accomplish more for Him and for His Kingdom. Oh, that's so true.
And you're right. I mean, the more you look at this, the more you can see it's really all over Scripture. So let's talk about how to do it. You know, how can we learn to rest in God more? Well, let's start with Jesus' words in Matthew 11, 28, because He's inviting us. You know, Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. There no words that are more comforting in all of Scripture. And resting in Him starts by turning to Him in our hearts.
And of course, I'm speaking to people who've already received Jesus. But the point is that Jesus wants us to rest in Him, to draw strength from Him continually. We can rest in Him any time, anywhere. And it may be as simple as breathing His name, you know, as we go through the day, or saying a simple prayer like, Lord, I rest in you. And it also happens without words.
Resting is about the position of our hearts, not about an expenditure of effort. It is this simple affection in God's direction, if you will, where nothing matters more than being with Him. Simple affection in God's direction. I love that. And that also helps us to stay close to Him, because, you know, when we're living there, close to His Spirit, we're less likely to do things, you know, that are going to grave Him.
Yeah, yeah. Another way to think about this is that in Luke 4, 19, Jesus quoted Isaiah, saying He came to proclaim the Lord's favor. And so often we go through life trying hard to please God. And we need to realize that we already have His favor. And the only reason why we're able to love Him is because He first loved us, as 1 John says. And when we realize that we're so loved by Him that we have His favor, we can live in that love moment by moment and love Him back. And that's a very good place to be. Oh, I love that, James. I mean, this has been really helpful. So, you know, would you wrap things up with a prayer so that we would learn to just rest in Jesus more and more this week?
Yeah, let's do it. Lord, we rest in You right now. We rest in Your love and Your favor. We thank You. We praise You.
Oh, how good You are. How blessed we are. Thank You that You are our place of rest. Keep us there. Keep us resting in our hearts in You, in Your need to pray. Amen. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray. This is the Truth Network.
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