Day 1: The Highest Recognition
Great praying is the sign and seal of God’s great leaders and the earnest of the conquering forces with which God will crown their labors. –EM Bounds
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1Corinthians 9.25-27
Some of us may not be world’s athletes like the ones competed in the recent Asian Games or in the Olympics, but everyone who claims to pursue Jesus Christ are athletes too; we are the Heaven’s athletes. We may not be taking part in the Olympic arena, but we are definitely in the center of the unseen arena of heaven.
And as the apostle Paul told the church in Corinth, both worldly and heavenly athletes goes into strict training in order to get ‘the’ golden prize. Truth of the matter is that all eyes are certainly fixed on a prize higher than any medal, the prize of recognition. Whether selfishly or selflessly, being recognized as the best or one of the best in the field has no comparison.
In all games or battles, the time and labor we toiled in training is the real deal. It determines the athlete’s performance. The more we sweat in training, the less we bleed in battle as one quote goes. Surely, all athletes understand this. We run, we lift, and we practice. Likewise, heaven’s athletes sacrifice, serve, give, and share. However in all these outward practices, all the same, the sustenance of our body is of more importance.
In the secular arena, it is the right diet and in the spiritual arena, it is the filling of the soul. It is what’s called prayer. Often heard but less done. Absolutely known but seldom experienced. Always uttered but hardly connected.
Prayer is the harder work. It is in fact the greater work. It is the pulse of our spiritual life. The faster it beats the livelier we are spiritually. It is the oxygen on our spiritual body, the more we breathe it the more we endure the spiritual marathon. It is the eyeglass to the spiritual matters, the more we look through it the clearer and sharper our vision becomes to the road we should take. It is then easy to conclude that our feeling of lethargies in our race for God can be tracked down to this simple yet primary work. The movement happens and is fulfilled through bowed hearts at the feet of the Master Mover.
Do not run aimlessly, give a solid blow, Paul reminded. Therefore, train hard; make your body your slave. Be disciplined in prayer, converse and make yourself known to God. Prayer alone directs and aims our life to the bull’s-eye of our ultimate purpose. It is the key to the door of God’s heart because when we pray we build a deeper relationship with Him.
EM Bound’s unambiguous statement in his book Power Through Prayer, ‘Christ knows nothing of prayerless Christians’ is indeed reflective.
Prayer, true prayer alone, is where we will truly receive our recognition from the Audience of One. There’s no other formula, for even the most gifted is not going to make it to the finish line without this. There is no higher and greater reward than this.
- The Highest Recognition
- Pray when it is Difficult, all the more when it is not. (James 5)
- Pray for Others
- The Prayer Warriors
- True Prayer