First Let Me Give Honor To God whose the head of my life...
Today I just want to talk about a major but overlooked practice that has faded as we age through time. “Saying Grace”. I know you probably like, oh that’s nothing I say “grace” or in other word pray before eating all the time. Yet I want to inform you today that it’s more than that! All month we’ve me talking about having a Heart for God, discerning motives, the motives behind prayer and so on. Nevertheless, this is one of the most powerful messages God has ever given me, and I must say, I do get some powerful ones.
Last week as we discussed motives, I asked you why do you pray? Why do people feel the need to pray and prophesy publicly on social media? Well, I’m sure for many people there are many answers. Nevertheless, I was asked a question earlier this week by my son. (Disclaimer, he isn’t my biological son, but rather a spiritual son that God lead me to take in.) He asked “why do you pray out loud sometimes? I’ve noticed sometimes pray out loud, sometimes you pray in tongues, and sometimes you pray in your head and look really focused.” At first, I laughed, but then I asked: “what made you ask me that.” He said “because you always say your grace out loud and I never pray out loud but I wanted to know if there is a difference? Do God still hear me?” This question literally stirred me up for the next day or so. It was a simple question yet very potent. However, the Holy Spirit immediate gave me the answer in a very understandable way.
“Son, notice I only pray out loud when I’m saying my grace when I’m in church, or on a prayer call. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3 ‘For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.’ Skip to verse 7 it says ‘a time to be quiet and a time to speak.’ Yet the great Apostle Paul even writes to tell us in 1st Thessalonians 5:17-18 to pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks for it is the will Of God.’ Therefore, in certain times in life praying out loud isn’t completely bad because even Jesus when He raised Lazarus from the dead looked up to Heaven and began to pray out loud. John 11:41-43 says “So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” Then the Bible declares the dead man came out.
Here’s my point and I’m closing, “Jesus taught us in Matthew 6 - that we should be like the pagans, and hypocrites praying in public with long, extended prayer to be seen by men.” He was exposing to us the motive, yet He appears in Luke with the sister of Lazarus and utters a prayer publicly. Notice, Jesus recognized that nothing has changed within the relationship of Him and His Father. Even the people around him have witnessed the power of their relationship. On the other hand, those same people doubted him and the father at this moment, simply because something bad or tragic has happened. Let me pause parenthetically digress (Ain’t that just like us nowadays. The minute something bad or contrary happens, those who believed in us begins to doubt us.) Nevertheless, Jesus takes this moment to teach the people by reveals our Father to them. The son relinquished his credit as the ultimate deity to exalt the father. Although Jesus is someone special, he was once again stripping himself of his awesomeness to show how great God is. As always Jesus should be our ultimate example, the only reason He prayed out loud amongst a crowd was not to prove anything but rather allow God to step in to prove himself. The power wasn’t in his prayer but rather in him admonishing the Father.
Often times, in this generation we are constantly trying to prove something. Society has embedded the ideas within us to exalt ourselves with working in an effort to look good because of our spectators. Subsequently, we have come to neglect true honor God, except when we need him. We've even neglected the truth that He has already given us all that we need. Yet it is when we grow arrogant and forget that we are the sheep of His pasture that we are overcome by our own selfishness. It’s was never a command for us to say grace over our food, or pray before driving out in our car, yet we do so to honor God and to show those connected to us that we are nothing without him. Let’s be real, how many people in your circle or even at your job know that you have a relationship with the Father. Do the people around you assume you are great by your own works and efforts or do you use your power to witness to reveal the father? When someone sees you, do they see God? In John 11:41-43, Jesus basically takes a moment to say or ask for grace, not for himself but rather for the ones around him. Grace is something we often take for granted. We are graced to eat, to have cars, to have access to social media. We are even grace to roam about freely and do what we please. It isn’t by our own works or efforts that we are able to do these things, it is by His grace that promotes was giving to you. It was by grace that you didn’t die last month. Therefore, as the talented tent maker for Tarsus us in Thessalonians “in all things give thanks.” That is different from being thankful. Yes, we are thankful that we woke us up this morning but did you really thank Him for doing it. See there is a major difference. Jesus was thankful that the father heard him as always but He was publicly thanking him to compel those around him to honor the Father just as much. I don’t pray out loud for me, but in those moments when out loud prayer is needed it is for those around us because our prayer life is only as powerful publicly as it is privately.
Do me a favor, and let’s start saying grace. Of course, we are graced to eat what we want, when we want it, however, that ability came by mandate of God. However, saying our grace is simply taking a moment to honor God because it's one thing to be thankful but it something else to give thanks. One of our duties as believers is to always give thanks to god because it lets our light and relationship with the Father shine as a beacon of encouragement to others. So Let’s Say, Grace!