Friday, February 20, 2015

Awake, O Sleeper!

What does the Bible really mean when it refers to falling asleep?

Falling asleep in the Bible is a reference most often used in connection with prayerlessness. A declining prayer life always precedes spiritual death. A person will often justify being overly busy, distracted, or simply too tired to pray. These are all spiritual warfare tactics used by the enemy in order to weaken a believer's prayer life. These tactics are used against even the strongest in their faith, the deception being a blind spot. Prayerlessness leaves a person spiritually naked, weak and vulnerable to temptations of the flesh, as well as sickness and disease. Eventually it will lead to the person's spiritual death if they do not wake up and realize the seriousness of the situation. The biggest problem with this, I believe, is that a believer tends to think that spiritual death cannot happen to them.

This is why we are warned in first Corinthians 11: 28 -31 to examine ourselves. Vs. 30 tells us, "For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged."  This portion of scripture deals with how we treat others in the body of Christ, but judging ourselves on any matter, and examining ourselves in light of what scripture reveals, is key to understanding what the Spirit is communicating. It could be through dreams, song lyrics, articles or prophetic words, for example. The question is, are we shrugging off those clues or are we actually asking God if it applies to us?

In Matthew 26:40, Jesus warned his disciples to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. He told them that their spirit would be willing but the flesh was weak, and so they fell asleep. Again, a few verses later, at a time when the need was great and He desperately needed their prayers, He came back to find them sleeping and resting. I'm sure that they were all spiritually, emotionally and physically exhausted from the warfare that had been against them, but I also believe the enemy was responsible for a spirit of slumber that came upon them so that his will and purposes could hinder their prayers and allow him to complete the very thing that he was trying to accomplish. We know that it was the Father's will for Jesus to go to the cross, however Jesus still instructed his disciples to pray and yet they all fell asleep. I don't believe Jesus wanted them to pray against his going to the cross, and perhaps the prayers were not so much for him; but, the disciples needed to pray for themselves and for what would transpire next. I believe that is why the enemy came with a spirit of slumber to tempt them to fall asleep. Do not neglect your prayer life!

Daily we hear of new terrorist activity around the world, ungodly new legislature that is being turned into laws that will strip us of our constitutional rights, and much more. There are many reasons to pray, but are we actually giving our selves to passionate, white-hot prayers to appeal for heaven's help, or are we just adding our voice to other complaints and failing to do anything to effect change? I can admit that I often neglect the very thing I am called to do, and I'm sure that many of us are also at fault. We need to do more than just have an opinion; we need to pray like we really NEED God's intervention. We need to take authority over that spirit of slumber and overcome the things that tempt us to be lazy or apathetic in our prayer life.

One of the most dangerous warnings of this temptation towards prayerlessness is that people will be unaware and insensitive to the things of the spirit. This is not a time when anyone can afford to be caught off guard. We cannot risk being blindsided and unaware of both the plans of the enemy, as well as what God is trying to communicate.

God sends messages and His messengers to warn of impending danger. Awake, O sleeper! Are you listening? Now is the time to pray, and pray like never before. Do not be self deceived into thinking that you could not enter into the consequences of prayerlessness or even spiritual death. It's like sleeping on the job, and it can do more than just get you fired! It could happen to anyone succumbs to prayerlessness, living in the flesh and allowing themselves to be spiritually naked, weak, and insensitive to the things of the spirit. I believe there will be deaths this year that are preventable, if people will just wake up to the reality of their spiritual condition. If you feel weak in your prayer life, or haven't been giving it your all, then NOW is the TIME to do something about it. Prayer is like revving up your spiritual engine and putting gas in the gas tank. Prayer is what fills your life with revelation, power, and spiritual strength for your entire body. Pray for yourself, pray for your family, and pray for world events but pray most of all without ceasing. This is the way to ensure that you stay strong in the Lord.

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