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The Dangers Of A Unpraying Heart

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2024 12:00 pm

The Dangers Of A Unpraying Heart

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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February 17, 2024 12:00 pm

In this episode of Encouraging Prayer, James Banks and Robby Dilmore, discuss the dangers of a heart that doesn't pray much. 

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Hello, this is Will Hardy with ManTalk Radio. We are all about breaking down the walls of race and denomination. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few minutes. Enjoy it, share it. But most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Network Podcast.

Anytime about anything. On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the best-selling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. So today on Encouraging Prayer, we're going to take a look at the parable of the prodigal son with a bit of a twist. James?

Right. Instead of looking at the prodigal, we're going to look at the older brother. He's what you might call the other prodigal, because keep in mind, at the end of the story, he's more distant from the father than the younger brother.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of things. Robbie, would you just bring us up to speed on the story of the prodigal son if someone's not familiar with it? Jesus tells it in Luke 15, so just go ahead.

Right. Well, here's the Joe Friday version, just the facts. So essentially, his son asks for his father's inheritance early. Totally disrespecting him. He heads off to a far-off country, wasted on prodigal living, as it's called, and harlots and that kind of thing, and then ends up feeding pigs. He comes to his senses, returns home, and the father has been waiting for him a long way off, and is so excited, gives him this unbelievable, wonderful greeting, and then says, you know, kill the fattened calf, and we're going to have a big party. Well, the older brother is not at all thrilled by this whole deal, because he feels like, you know, wait a minute, I was the guy that was left behind here, and I've done everything you said.

Why are you giving him a party, and I don't get one? That's right, that's right, and the story ends with the father urging the older brother to go in, but we don't know what happened. So the older brother in this story represents those who have been in the father's house for a while, you know, just like many of the people who Jesus was speaking to. They were faithfully practicing Judaism, but they worshiped God in the temple, you know, they wouldn't think of leaving him, but according to Jesus, some of them were distant from him, and it's that distance we're going to look at, because it's all about the dangers of a heart that really doesn't pray much. Oh, wow.

So let's talk about the dangers this causes for us. Okay, well, think about Saul, you know, in Acts 9 where Ananias meets Saul, and God tells Ananias it's okay to go see this man who previously had been breathing out murderous threats, you know, toward Christians. The reason God gives is for he is praying, you know, Ananias is, it's as if he's saying Ananias is finally praying, or I'm sorry, Saul is finally praying, and the point of all that is that for the first time in his life, Saul's prayers are really sincere. It's like he's having a heart to heart with God, and we need to ask ourselves as we look at that, okay, how is my heart when it comes to my prayers? Am I there, you know, am I in that place of running to my father, like the prodigal, day after day, because if not, there's a danger, and you see that danger in the older brother. He's the one who, you know, he seems to be close, but he isn't really. What jarred this in my thinking was something I read from Andrew Murray this morning, a pastor from a previous generation, and he said about this, the older son complained of the father's gracious reception of the prodigal, all the feasting, rejoicing, while he had never been given a young goat that he might make merry with his friends. The father, in the tenderness of his love, answers him, son, you were always in my house, you had only to ask, and you would have gotten all that you desired and required.

And that just caught me, it's like, all you had to do was ask, and he doesn't, and because he doesn't, his heart is bitter. Wow. Wow, that's a very important detail, isn't it, right there? Yeah.

Yeah. So, you know, if you want to go toward the dangers this causes for us, first of all, it causes us to have harder hearts. I mean, it makes us feel like, oh, it's all up to us, you know, it's kind of like the woman who has a baby and says, look what I made. Well, yeah, she definitely had quite a role in it, but God created that baby through her, you know, or like the, you know, the guy who prides himself on his achievements without realizing that God gave him the gifts to be able to acquire what he has. Again, that's the first danger, it hardens our hearts, and I've got another one after that.

Go for it. The second is, it just takes us away from everyday gratitude. You know, just that realization that, I mean, look at where the older brother's emphasis is, it's all on himself.

You know, you never did this for me. Yeah, he finally speaks to his father when he's angry, but he's really just thinking about himself, instead of realizing how blessed he is to be in the father's house. And so, you know, his gratitude has been affected by not asking, because if he had asked, if he had said, hey, you know, could I get together with my friends and, you know, have a young goat and have a party and all that. His father would have given it to him, you know, everything I have is yours. There's no doubt this father would have, because look at what he did with the inheritance with the younger brother. But because the older brother doesn't ask, again, he becomes ungrateful.

Yeah, and I can't help but notice you were saying that. I thought it was something I had never thought of before, that he wasn't grateful that he had a younger brother. And I have one, and at some point in time, the father will be gone, and what you'll have is your younger brother. And of course, my younger brother came to Christ over the last couple years, and what a joy it has been, right? And to have a little brother that's a little brother.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's, again, you see this direction that when we don't pray, when we don't thank God, that their lives can head in so quickly. And so, here's a thought.

This is from P.T. Forsythe, who was a Scottish philosopher and pastor, but listen to what he says. All energies, ambitions, and passions are but expressions of a standing urge in life. And he says, if you are not praying towards God, you are towards something else. You pray as your face is set toward Jerusalem or Babylon. The very egotism of craving life is prayer.

The great difference is the object of it. To whom, for what, do we pray? The man whose passion is habitually set upon pleasure, knowledge, wealth, honor, or power is in a state of prayer to these things for them. Yeah, and we'd better, with that, pray. Father, we do. Wow, James, through the Holy Spirit has reminded me, I know that what we're really asking for is you, Lord. And Lord, help us to see that, wow, you want to have a party with us. And let our hearts long for that. And I ask this in Jesus' name. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-17 14:12:58 / 2024-02-17 14:16:38 / 4

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