Every Thought Captive, a weekly devotional from Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCA)
December 02, 2016
Communication in Prayer
by Blake Schwarz
Have you ever been in conversation with someone and it was apparent that they weren’t really listening? They were pretending that they were listening, they made eye contact, they nodded, but they were really meditating on what they wanted to say next.
I believe that this is how we often treat God. In my devotional time, I often begin with a chapter of Scripture and end with a time of prayer; yet the two are rarely connected unless the specific devotional exercise I’m engaged in is geared toward praying through a passage of Scripture.
This is what it looked like the other night:
Read Micah 2–
Woe to those who devise wickedness
and work evil on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
because it is in the power of their hand.
They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them away;
they oppress a man and his house,
a man and his inheritance.
Therefore thus says the LORD:
behold, against this family I am devising disaster,
from which you cannot remove your necks,
and you shall not walk haughtily,
for it will be a time of disaster.
In that day they shall take up a taunt song against you
and moan bitterly,
and say, “We are utterly ruined;
he changes the portion of my people;
how he removes it from me!
To an apostate he allots our fields.”
Therefore you will have none to cast the line by lot
in the assembly of the LORD.
“Do not preach”—thus they preach—
“one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.”
Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
Has the LORD grown impatient?
Are these His deeds?
Do not My words do good
to him who walks uprightly?
But lately My people have risen up as an enemy;
you strip the rich robe from those who pass by trustingly
with no thought of war.
The women of My people you drive out
from their delightful houses;
from their young children you take away
My splendor forever.
Arise and go,
for this is no place to rest,
because of uncleanness that destroys
with a grievous destruction.
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies,
saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,”
he would be the preacher for this people!
I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
He who opens the breach goes up before them;
they break through and pass the gate,
going out by it.
Their king passes on before them,
the LORD at their head.
Contemplate the Meaning of the Passage for a Moment –
Wow, God is really angry with the way that the powerful are treating the weak. I should keep that in mind. This is also a great chapter to use in that curriculum I’m working on. The context of Judah’s sin during the kingdom and leading up to the exile is exactly what we are seeing today.
Pray about My Struggles –
Lord, my three-year-old’s tantrums have reached a whole new level. What the heck am I supposed to do with her? Help us to be better parents, to love well, etc…
Was that real communication?
Let me lay out a few points for us to ponder:
1) God is sovereign
2) God speaks to us through His word
3) We speak to God in prayer
God in His sovereignty chose that passage for me at that specific moment. Sure, I ‘ve been reading though the minor prophets, and I put this plan in place, but He in His majestic ordering of all things chose for me to read it then – accounting for the days missed, nights I read a half chapter, and other devotional practices I jumped into when I wanted a change of pace. It was His word for me at 11:30 PM on November 20, 2016, and I wasn’t listening.
This is what it probably should have looked like:
Read Micah 2 –
Contemplate the Meaning of the Passage for a Moment –
Wow, God is really angry with the way that the powerful are treating the weak. Some basic questions I should ask of a given text include:
1) Where am I in this story? Is this a warning to me in a position of power? Or is it comfort to the remnant? The answer probably depends on the day.
2) Where is Christ and how does He relate? He is the true shepherd who will ultimately gather the sheep.
3) Savor Christ. The sheep are literally breaking the gates down to run out and follow the LORD.
4) How should I respond?
Prayerful Reflection –
Lord, you are doing a marvelous work in the hearts and minds of Your remnant. Thank you for the ways that You have done so in my life. I pray that all of that energy, excitement, and passion in my three-year-old will ultimately be channeled into breaking down gates to follow You. Lord, do a mighty work in her life and give me the wisdom, grace and care to be the shepherd she needs. Amen
About the Author
Director of Fellows Program & PCPC @WORK
Park Cities Presbyterian Church
Blake Schwarz joined the staff of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX in 2015 to help build a new faith and work ministry, PCPC @WORK. Blake has served as the volunteer director of The Pegasus Fellowship since 2014. After gaining a deeper and more intimate understanding of the felt need, Blake left his post as Dean of School at The Cambridge School of Dallas to devote his full time attention to developing this program.
Blake met his wife, Julia Flowers Schwarz, while attending Wake Forest University. He went on to receive his Masters of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary. Julia and Blake have two little girls, Margaret and Alice Arthur, and they spend most of their free time enjoying them.