Friday, September 15, 2017

How to React to Hurricanes

Rev 8:8  The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.

The Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8-9 and the plagues brought on Egypt serve a similar purpose.  Not only do they affect many of the same areas like water, land and Sun but they are even called plagues in Revelation.  In both cases they warn of final judgment and call on sinners to repent. 

This gives us some insight into how we are to view natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and disease.  God sends these things to mankind as reminders that life is coming to an end and judgment awaits.  Under the trumpet judgments only a third of mankind die while later one under the bowl judgments all die.  The bowl judgments picture final judgment where the opportunity to repent is past.

The reason this is important is seen in the way modern man views disasters when they happen as in the recent hurricanes of Harvey and Irma.  In the past when people at least pretended to believe in God such occurrences would cause people to assume it was God’s judgment and they would wonder what they had done to bring such things on.  Today when most people are busy trying to suppress the knowledge of God they either blame it on “nature” or just as bad assume they know why God has sent such things. 

On one hand you have self-appointed prophets who tell us that falling into certain sins is why God sends these things.  The problem with simplifying it down to this is that such disasters fall on every other nation as well and has since the Flood.  Not to mention that such disasters fell on nations even before they legalized certain sins, etc.  So it might make for emotionally charged preaching but it comes up a little empty.  Such things can’t be known with any certainty and so it does little good to speculate.

On the other hand I heard some misguided souls saying that the recent hurricanes hit Texas and Florida because they voted for President Trump.  Few things reveal America’s inability to think through issues than such statements.  If this is true then what are we to make of hurricane Sandy tearing through NJ and NY?  Obviously God was punishing them for voting for Obama!  At least now we know what is going on when wild fires ravage California!

No, instead, Exodus offers us a hint as to how we are to view such events in our life.  Exo 7:4  Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. Exo 7:5  The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them."  Over and over again the Lord tells Moses that he is sending these judgments on the Egyptians so that they will know who the true God is and what kind of God he is with the end that they would worship and obey him. 

This is why such events are to be seen as warnings.  They remind us that we live in a fallen world and a fallen creation and the result is death and judgment.  It is to cause us to turn to the true God and make sure we are right with him and ready to stand before him someday.  Those who call themselves Christians and tell us that God doesn’t send disasters but that is a work of Satan have no idea what kind of God the God of the Bible is.  He is not a God to be trifled with.  While he is a God of love, his love is seen in that he sent his Son to provide salvation from his judgment on sinners.  Too often people take his love to only mean that he will let their sin slide in the Day of Judgment.  Warning judgments should be understood that when God sends judgment on your neighbor, it is too late for him but you have the opportunity to repent.  Such statements as we saw above are only America refusing to listen to God.

I was reading after Ligon Duncan and thought he made a great point when it came to how Pharaoh was viewing the Lord.  It is clear that he saw God as just another god who could be ignored.  He found out differently and I leave you with Ligon Duncan’s take on the God of the Bible: 

“There is a passage in the chronicles of Narnia, when Jill is approaching the only stream in Narnia, wanting a drink. And when she gets there, Aslan, the great lion, is guarding the river. And she is frightened by it. And she’s trying to find out whether she’s safe or not. And she says to Aslan, "Do you eat little girls?" And his response is, "Little girl, I’ve consumed kingdoms, and peoples and worlds." And she continues to try and negotiate with him to make sure it’s safe, and he won’t give her any comfort. And finally she says, "Well, I’ll have to go find another stream." And he says, "Little girl, there is no other stream." My friends, there is no other God. You’re not going to be able to go and find another god that’s safer, another god who’s more manageable, another god who is more domesticated. There is no other God. He is the sovereign God of heaven and earth; and the only thing that you can reckon with in the midst of trouble, is that He is good. He is sovereign; you may not understand what He’s doing, but He is good. And God intends for us to learn His sovereignty. What an awesome God to, as it were, trifle with Egypt as He is doing.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Do We Have Hard Hearts?

Exo 7:3  But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt,
Exo 8:15  But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exo 7:14  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go.

The hardening of our sinful hearts has not always been easy for some to understand and accept.  Without doubt some of this involves the unseen work of God in which we are not privy to but enough is said to be able to draw some important conclusions.  Part of the difficulty is seen in the three verses quoted above.  All through the Exodus account we read sometimes that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh hardened his own heart and sometimes, as in the third verse, it merely states that his heart was hardened in some way. 

The purpose of this article is to make a point about what it means to have a hardened heart but let me briefly try to explain how I believe the above verses all fit together; how can God harden a heart and at the same time the sinner is said to harden his heart.

Since all men and women are born depraved, by default all of our hearts are hardened in our sin.  We call this the doctrine of Totally Depravity.  Notice Paul’s description of all humanity in Rom. 3:
Rom 3:10  as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11  no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Rom 3:12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
Rom 3:13  "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
Rom 3:14  "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
Rom 3:15  "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16  in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17  and the way of peace they have not known."
Rom 3:18  "There is no fear of God before their eyes."…
Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Being totally depraved speaks to our inability to do any good work before God and to the animosity that exists between us and God, Rom 8:7  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Rom 8:8  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But totally depravity doesn’t mean that we are as sinful as we could be.  The Spirit of God works in the world to restrain man’s sin in order that God’s purposes will be accomplished. 

And so man by nature has a hard heart and seeks to continue in his hardness and when confronted with the gospel further hardens his heart by refusing to submit to the righteousness of God.  So what does it mean when God hardens a heart that is already hard?  I think it can best be understood as he stops restraining the sinner from doing what he wants to do by nature but instead allows him to digress even further in his rebellion.  I have illustrated it by holding a book up in the air.  If I let go it will drop because that is all it can do because of the law of gravity.  So the Holy Spirit holds back all men from being as evil as they could but when it suits his purposes he “lets go” and allows them do what they want to do and this can be described as hardening their heart.  He no longer restrains them from their desire to sin.

Pharaoh by default had no desire to let Israel go because he wanted them to worship him. The Lord let him keep Israel until such time as the Lord wanted Israel to go and then he refrained Pharaoh from doing what he wanted to do.  Israel’s worship wasn’t as important as the misery of the death of his son.  But in the whole scenario Pharaoh was only thinking of Pharaoh.  So when God hardens a heart he merely lets it fall further into its hardness.

But the word for hard in the OT means heavy which is interesting for a couple of reasons. It is interesting that these Egyptians believe that the heart was the essence of man and the key to eternal life.  They believed that it would be weighed on the scales of justice.  If it was heavier than the feather of justice, he was damned.  Misdeeds added weight to it.  So even in the Egyptian theology a hard heart was an evil heart but they had no idea how bad things really were.  

It is also interesting that this word for hard or heavy has the same basic meaning as glory.  We know that the word glory has the idea of the weightiness or importance you put on something.  So when we glorify God we are acknowledging his importance or worthiness.  So if I can connect all of this I would say that a hard heart is a heart that has put the worthiness or glory on something other than God.  Sin is at its heart man seeing himself as more important than God.  He has transferred the weightiness or worthiness to himself and robbed God of what he is due which is for us to acknowledge that the Lord alone is worthy to be praised.  

Perhaps this will help us examine our own hearts to see if we have allowed sin to harden our hearts so that we have been dazzled in some way by this world so that the glory of God has been darkened in our minds and we therefore serve the flesh with what is due to our God and Savior because we have put the heaviness or importance on temporal things rather than the eternal.  Our lives betray our hearts that have put too much glory on this world and the awesomeness of God has been forgotten.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Remembering the Word

2Pe 3:1  This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,
2Pe 3:2  that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.

In Peter’s second epistle, he is warning the church of false teachers who will lead them into sin and away from Christ.  In warning them against error he doesn’t have them focus on the error but on the truth found in the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God.  He exhorts them to grow “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”, 1:2.  To use the old adage, one becomes an expert spotting counterfeit money by studying the genuine, not the false.

In the above verses Peter also points out that much of what he is writing is not new but he is reminding them of things they have already been taught.  So he is causing them to focus on the genuine over and over again.  The implication is that we tend to forget what we have been taught and along with that we tend to store biblical teaching in the hard drive of our memory not the RAM.  What I mean by that is that we walk out of church and we tuck the message away until next week as if it isn’t relevant and necessary every moment of every day.  We don’t live our days with the Word of God constantly in our minds.  We haven’t let it permeate our thinking so that it determines our world view and identity; so that it is readily available in our minds when we need it.  We let our current financial or relational status or political climate or the discomfort we are in determine our thinking and actions and mood rather than letting the Word of God be continually guiding us.

It is amazing how so many modern day saints think that one message a week is sufficient Bible study.  One would have to assume that they have retained everything they have ever heard and it stays fresh in the memories so it is right there when they need it.  I think the reality is that we need to learn and relearn the Word and it needs to be drilled and redrilled into us because our natural bent to sin will easily take over our worldview and thought patterns if we don’t keep our minds saturated with the Word of God.

Peter gives us a good example of this in Luke 22:60-62.  In the previous evening Jesus told him that before the cock crowed in the morning Peter was going to deny him three times.  Now I know that if the Lord told that to me I would think that all I have to do is not forget what he said and hold out for a few hours.  There is no way I am going to forget his words and deny him not once but three times.  But my sinful tendency, just like Peter’s, is to let self dominate my thinking.  Like Peter, as soon as I am confronted with the possibility of physical danger my natural tendency is self-preservation even if it means disassociating myself from the Lord.  Instead of dwelling on Jesus’s words, Peter and we tend to dwell on self and this is why we need constant, steady Bible study and teaching.  I think this is seen in the text in Luke, Luk 22:60  But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. Luk 22:61  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." 

Can you image Peter looking at the face of Jesus and remembering what he had forgotten just a few hours before?  How prone we are to forget and how much we need the power of God to keep the Word before us and to be controlled by it.  But without the Word in our heads, it can never permeate our hearts.  Let’s pray that we would have a proper desire to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and to be patient when the preacher preaches on something that we “already know and don’t need”.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What Land are We Looking For?

Gen 28:13  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Gen 28:14  Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

One thing that Christians have debated from the very beginning of the church is how are the land promises given to Abraham fulfilled.  Were they fulfilled by the time Christ came or is there a future fulfillment for them to be regathered back into the land of Palestine?  Some see the Jews being regathered back into Palestine as pretty much the culmination of God’s plan for the world.  People like John Hagee have made it their life’s ministry to “help” God fulfill prophecy by physically relocating Jews back to their “homeland”. 

While it is a vast study that is too large to cover entirely here, I want to offer a few thoughts that might help us find a more practical application for the subject.  Where this can move into unfruitful and even dangerous areas is when people seem to be more concerned and even excited over Jews being gathered to Israel than they are about the gospel being proclaimed to them.  Some even go so far as to say that the Jews don’t need the gospel since God loves them outside of Christ and their future isn’t connected to Jesus’s work but the blood that runs in their veins. 

One of the problems as I see it is that many fail to realize that the land promises while fulfilled literally in the OT always had a universal goal in mind.  In other words, the promises look forward to the day when God’s people will dwell in the whole earth not just in a tiny part of it.  By “God’s people” I mean all those in Christ because anyone not in Christ ultimately will have no part of God, period.  It was necessary for the Jews to possess the land for a time so that Christ could come and do his work but the goal was never Palestine but a new heaven and earth because the goal was never just about the Jews but about the elect unto salvation.  The above passage shows that early on the Lord was speaking about his people possessing more than just a few square miles in the Middle East. 

Elsewhere in Genesis, for instance, we see that it was never just the Jews in mind but that the Gentiles would be brought in to create a people way too large to merely indwell Palestine, Gen 12:3  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Gen 15:5  And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Gen 22:17  I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, Gen 22:18  and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."

It is important to note that nowhere in the NT does anyone refer to the Jews waiting to inherit the land.  Anytime there is a reference to anyone inheriting land it speaks of the church and the word “land” is changed to a more universal word like “world”.  Mat 5:5  "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Mat_6:10  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Rom 4:13  For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  Rev_5:10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."  Rev_11:15  Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

If Israel gets to live in Palestine for a few years then I am glad for them.  I will be with Christ so I will have something much more glorious to think about.  But what is sad is that there are so many who are much more interested and excited in the Jews getting their own country than they are about Christ’s kingdom being established on earth.  Christ told us to go into all the world and establish his kingdom through the gospel, not worry about getting Jews to Palestine.  

There is a lot more that could be said about this but I think a biblical and a much more practical, Christ honoring case can be made that the land promises to Abraham as well as all the promises are fulfilled in the new nation that God is making through the preaching of the gospel that includes Jew and every other people group, Rev 5:9  And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, Rev 5:10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Do We Vent or Pray?

Exo 5:22  Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?
Exo 5:23  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all."
Exo 6:1  But the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."

The above passage is an example of a poor prayer.  If we are truthful, all of us have prayed equally as badly when we think that we know better than God and care about people more than he does.  Yet Moses and no one else in the Bible is ever chided for coming to the Lord with their needs or questions, in fact, we are commanded to do so; “Pray without ceasing”.  As we see in the next verse, the Lord intends to correct Moses’s approach to his problems by trusting in God, not by accusing God of doing something evil.  But even when our faith and prayers are weak and misguided, prayer is necessary and good.  So Moses isn’t chided but neither does the Lord let his prayer go unchallenged.

The great heroes of the faith in the Bible always kept a line of communication open with God; they weren’t in the habit of going to some man to do their praying for them.  We are a kingdom of priests which expressly means that we are free from going through another man.  We can go to God through Christ.  Isn’t that better than having to go through a priest or even your pastor who can never care for you like Jesus and who have no power to help you anyway?  Isn’t it better to be able to pray at any time rather than hoping that I will remember to pray on your behalf?

Asking God why is not sinful providing it is asked honestly and faithfully looking to God for help.  Even weak prayers are not condemned but God uses them to communicate to us.  I think this brings in another good reason for us to have a healthy prayer life.  The world knows that suppressing things is not good; things need to be vented.  The problem is they don’t know how to vent properly.  One popular method of venting is to take your frustrations out on something, like punching a pillow or screaming at the top of your lungs.  If we stop and think about this for a moment we can soon see how foolish and unhelpful this really is.

First of all it isn’t helping the problem.  At best it releases some tension but only for a while because the problem is still there with all its anxiety.  It is also quite self-centered as it exposes someone who can’t handle things when they don’t go in a way that pleases them.  It is merely an adult throwing a socially acceptable temper tantrum.  It is what someone who doesn’t have God on their side does because they really have no recourse for help.  So they are saying that I can’t have my way and I am going to let everyone know that I am not happy.  Fine, but now what?  You haven’t fixed anything and you haven’t dealt with it in a way that will bring peace and certainly not bring honor to the Lord.

Yes, we were designed to vent our frustrations and needs and we can do so by talking things out.  We were made to find relief through prayer to the only One who can help us in a meaningful way and One who loves and cares for us better than anyone else. 

God answers Moses’s prayer by pointing to himself and his power and purpose.  Instead of yelling and throwing a hissy fit because we aren’t getting our way, we can hand things over to the Lord who has told us that everything has a purpose that will ultimately end up for our good.  If there is any piece of knowledge that is more helpful than that, then I would like to hear it.  Talking things out with the Father who has been brought near to us through Jesus’s work, is the only God-honoring effective way to “release tension”; to deal with problems and find peace and comfort in a world in which we “will have tribulation”.  God made us and knows what we need better than we do.  Useful, saving, true faith takes him at his word and rests in his providence. 

Do our prayers reflect faith or accusations like Moses’s did?  One will bring peace, the other will just bring more frustration.




Friday, July 14, 2017

Are We Like Moses or Isaiah?

Exo 4:10  But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." Exo 4:11  Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Exo 4:12  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." Exo 4:13  But he said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else."

There are a lot of wonderful things to learn from Moses.  No doubt he becomes a great example of a leader who loves his people so much he is willing to die for them.  But like most OT characters there are some lessons to learn that teach us how not to serve the Lord.  The above text is one example.

Few people ever got to meet God, let alone see some aspect of his glory, like Moses did.  While he will see a greater glimpse of God’s glory later on, he has certainly had an amazing revelation of God at the burning bush where among other things he was told the Lord’s name that demonstrated his eternality and self-sufficiency.  But it is precisely because of this encounter with God that the above text stands out.  He soon forgets how glorious the Lord is and asks to be excused from doing what the Lord wants him to do using the excuse that he is insufficient to perform the task. 

This text is sometimes entitled by preachers as “Here I am, send somebody else”.  It is an astoundingly good example of how we are so quick to live by sight and not by faith even when we are given an actual physical demonstration of God’s glory.  Moses has not only seen some of God’s glory in the burning bush but has seen three amazing miracles of his power and yet he can only look at himself and conclude that he can’t obey God because God has not gifted him with the abilities necessary to perform the work. 

Of course, Moses’ failure is that he looks at himself and not the revelation of God.  We easily see ourselves in this because we are experts at making excuses as to why we can’t obey the Lord due to circumstances all around us.  We justify our depressions and unloving attitudes because of things that have happened conveniently forgetting that God allowed those things in order to train and strengthen us, not as an excuse to think only about ourselves and disregard his calling.  We take it upon ourselves to decide that God failed to give us the required gifts needed for a certain task or service even though he clearly commands us to do it.  It is good for us to consider that such thinking is actually an attack on the wisdom of God.  We know that God sees it as such by his response in vs. 11 when he essentially says that Moses is blaming God because God gave him his mouth.

To me, the lesson that screams out from this account is that the Lord is sufficient for us and that nothing is impossible if the Lord commands it.  Case in point: Luk 1:36  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Luk 1:37  For nothing will be impossible with God."  If God can cause an elderly woman have a baby then we immediately are without excuses when it comes to doing whatever the Lord would have us do.  Vs. 37 makes it clear that nothing is impossible “with God”.  Nothing God calls us to do is impossible because he will supply the strength.  All things are impossible without God.

Finally, there is an interesting parallel between Moses and Isaiah.  Like Moses, Isaiah also was given an amazing glimpse of God in his glory.  He also saw that in comparison he was a ruined sinner who needed grace, Isa 6:5  And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"  Like Moses he was given a task to take a message to people who would not want to hear God’s Word and would not respond properly.

But the difference between Moses and Isaiah is that when God asked was there anyone up for the task Isaiah says, “Here I am, send me!”  His vision of God encouraged him that he could do the most difficult of tasks.  Moses, upon seeing how little he was compared to God, kept his eyes on himself and so naturally didn’t believe he could do anything.  Thankfully the Lord works with Moses until his confidence (faith) is in God and not in his own abilities.

May the Lord give us a vision of himself in his Word that we abandon all excuses and by faith remove all mountains as we give ourselves totally to his glorious power.  Will we be like Isaiah, eager to obey, or like Moses and blame God for not making us like we think he should have?

Friday, June 23, 2017

For the Sake of Your Prayers

1Pe 4:7  The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

This is an interesting verse in its motivation of prayer to be self-controlled and sober-minded.  We probably would think that we should exercise self-control and sober-mindedness in order to be godly and effective in service or to save ourselves from fleshly addictions and so on.  But here Peter exhorts us to be vigilant for the sake of our prayers.

I see two ways to take this.  He could mean that we need to be careful to be godly so that our prayers will be heard.  This would be in keeping with chapter 3:7 where he tells husbands to live in an understanding way with their wives so their prayers are not hindered.  This is assumed to mean that God won’t answer your prayers if you are living in known sin especially in your relationship with your wife.  I think there is something to be said about this interpretation but there also might be more here than just having our prayers heard; especially in the text above.

Perhaps Peter is thinking back to the night of Jesus’ betrayal when instead of praying he and the other disciples slept.  It is clear from the Gospel accounts that the disciples had no clue as to what Jesus was about to face in his cross work.  It is also clear that Peter was overconfident in the flesh as seen in his encounter with the girl where he ended up denying Jesus three times.  He does this after promising the Lord that he would never deny him. 

So as they enter the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks them to pray with him but they are not being vigilant, sober-minded, and self-controlled because they are not aware of the danger they and the Lord were in.  They are overcome with the flesh as they grow weary and instead of praying they pamper the body with sleep.  There is nothing wrong with sleep, of course, but in this case prayer and the sustaining power of God both in their lives and their Master’s was much more needed.

So perhaps the point Peter is making in 4:7 is not to be diligent in godliness so that God will answer our prayers but more so that we will recognize how important praying is and be vigilant to pray often.  Too often we look at prayer as the last resort; “When all else fails, pray!”  But I think we are better off to be proactive and always be praying and anticipating our needs rather than walking through life unaware of the enemies of the flesh and our souls.  Had the disciples not been “intoxicated” with a kingdom in which they had positions of honor over their enemies and had they been more in tune with the will of Jesus they would have realized how important prayer was that fateful night.  Instead they run; they deny; they fear and the only thing that gets them through all this was that Jesus prays for them that their faith will not fail. 

Peter’s point then could be that we have to see life as it really is; to have a biblical worldview.  God uses our payers to keep us dependent on him and his Word.  We are told to prayer constantly, 1Th 5:17  pray without ceasing, because we are dependent on the Lord at all times for everything.  When we have the mindset that God just wants me to be happy and have ease and health and things, we will not have any real need to pray and seek God’s face, his help and his will.  At best our prayers will be a quick prayer at meal time because we have no real sense of our need for his power.  

Part of godliness and successful service is having an attitude of prayer.  It isn’t a last resort, it is how God sends his power and blessings to us so we can be effective for him.  If we aren’t vigilant and spiritually minded, we will not be effective and constant prayers.  In fact, we might not pray much at all.