Every Thought Captive

Communication in Prayer

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

Photograph of Blake Schwarz

Blake Schwarz

Director of Fellows Program & PCPC @WORK

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Blake Schwarz leads the faith and work ministry of PCPC, and serves as the director of The Pegasus Institute. The Institute runs intensive cohorts designed to help Christians dive deeply into theology and apply it in the world around them. Blake met his wife, Julia Flowers Schwarz, while attending Wake Forest University and went on to receive his Masters of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is currently working on DMin focused on the intersection of faith and economics and what it takes for a city to thrive. Julia and Blake have three children, and they spend most of their free time enjoying them.