The Daily Cross in Prayer
Author: todd tomasella
(The following is Chapter Four from the book “I Die Daily”)
The Daily Cross in Prayer
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalms 5:3
Let’s isolate and dismantle these words of God a bit. Under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David says to the LORD:
- That He (God) would hear his (David’s) “voice”
- That “in the morning” the Psalmist would arise and seek God in prayer
- Deliberately “in the morning,” he would “direct” his prayer and praying to the LORD
- “in the morning … I will look up”
From this passage, we see that David planned or scheduled, in an intentional and calculated fashion, to meet with the LORD every morning. The phrase “in the morning” appears twice in this inspired transmission of the Holy Ghost. The man whose heart panted after the LORD – to behold His precious beauty – declared that he would “direct” (point) his prayer upward to the LORD “in the morning.” (Ps. 5:3; 27:4; Acts 13:22) Communing with the LORD was priority to David, and therefore occupied first place in his daily life. He sought the LORD firstly as he arose from sleep, and before he went forth into his day.
Jesus commanded that if any person will come after Him – truly follow Him – he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him (Lk. 9:23-24). There is no place that the cross applies more than in daily prayer. The moment one arises, he will choose either to seek God or dwell upon self-sentiments and such. He will seek Christ, or he will seek his own salvation or rescue from his troubles. We all make a “daily” choice:
“… choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
No different from those covenant saints the LORD spoke to in this important passage, those whom we dwell among are serving self – the flesh – and yet we are called upon by the LORD to “choose” to daily serve Him rather than self. We are called to “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15-16)
The LORD is calling us to purposefully declare Him as the LORD and Master of our lives, and this we do by making the premeditated decision to seek Him daily in prayer communion. Like Joshua, the way we “choose” to “serve” God must be premeditated, deliberate, daily, and in practicality. Daily, early morning, first fruit prayer is all three of these. It is the fruit of the crucified life – the life that is dead to self and in whom Christ dwells and reigns. – “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)
To those who seek God and not their own devices, there are many benefits (Ps. 68:19).
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The precious peace of the “Prince of Peace” rules and reigns and makes sound the hearts of those who deny self’s ability to overcome and solve issues and problems, and instead earnestly and diligently rely upon God’s power to do such for them (Isa. 9:6; 26:3).
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3-4
As we center our whole being upon Jesus Christ, our thoughts will be upward to His “glorious high throne,” which is “the place of our sanctuary.” (Jer. 17:12)
God is calling each of His saints to center his whole being on those things that “are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8)
So, according to Philippians 4:6-8, saints are to rely upon the LORD and not self by submitting all their requests in prayer to Him who is their Source, and to think upon those things of Christ which are “true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report … if there be any virtue … if there be any praise.” It is upon “these things” that we are instructed to “think on.” (Phil. 4:8)
God’s thoughts are infinitely higher than ours, and yet it is not until we become truly “crucified with Christ” that we are going to be ruled by His thoughts and peace (Isa. 55:8-9; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:6-7).
Changing the way one thinks is being done by millions of people who are not regenerated (not born again). New age and religious teachers hold this thought transformation teaching closely. Anyone can change the way they think for self-serving reasons – to stop smoking, to visualize and earn more money, to have more self-esteem, etc. However, hell still awaits all who are not born again, and that takes facing the living God and Judge in repentance for sin and placing all faith in Jesus Christ, the only Savior (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5). The only renewing of the mind and thoughts that brings glory to Jesus Christ, is that which begins with one casting his whole being upon the LORD afresh – presenting himself a “living sacrifice … unto God.” Let’s look at Romans 12:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Those who are presenting their bodies to the LORD as “living sacrifice(s)” are infused and enabled by His grace to keep their minds or thoughts stayed (fixed) upon the LORD and not self, as they look for Jesus’ soon return (Col. 3:1-4). They trust Christ and not their own strength, reasoning, whims, philosophies, or wisdom. As they give themselves over to Christ and His infinite divine power, and become weak in self and self’s abilities, Jesus’ power raises them up to trust Him and rely upon Him alone – to rest the weight of their whole beings in Him who is able. They first declare that they are not able, and that only “God is able.” (Eph. 3:20; 2 Cor. 9:8) These are they who have and are finding out in a personal way that there really is nothing impossible with the LORD!
“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27
Abraham trusted God. He is our human example of a man who walked with God – by faith believing that God would raise up that to which he died. Concerning the promise of a son being born to him and his aged wife, the Bible records these words from the LORD to His servant Abraham:
“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:14
If God can and will split the Red Sea for His people, and cause a 100-year-old man and his 90-year-old wife to have a child, what in your life can’t He do? (Gen. 17:17)
Here’s yet another question posed to our hearts from the LORD:
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
God requires that we die to self-will, self-help, and self-esteem, and lay our lives in His holy, perfect, and more-than-sufficient hands. He can then work in us and in our lives – raising up His holy standard and power to glorify Himself in and through His children. Nothing will be impossible for the LORD to perform in the lives of those who deny themselves and, like Abraham, trust God to raise up His solutions, answers, and blessings to bring Himself glory.
“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth (makes alive) the dead, and (God) calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Romans 4:17
God called forth Isaac out of Abraham’s loins when it was an otherwise impossibility in the natural. In your life, beloved, “Is there anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14)
Our connection with God is all about relationship, and the quality of that relationship is exemplified in our prayer lives – or lack thereof. If a person is pursuing the LORD, he has a prayer life. He lays down his own desires and life and seeks God’s life. This is perhaps in no other scrutiny seen more clearly than in the value he assigns to his prayer life, and the heart affections and time he is willing to invest in it.
In Psalms 63, the Psalmist captures the life of the person who truly has a heart after God.
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” Psalms 63:1-8
The following is an excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:
“‘At that day ye shall ask in My name.’ John 16:26
We are too much given to thinking of the Cross as something we have to get through; we get through it only in order to get into it. The Cross stands for one thing only for us – a complete and entire and absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing in which this identification is realized more than in prayer.
‘Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.’ Then why ask? The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God. If we pray because we want answers, we will get huffed with God. The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our spiritual huff shows a refusal to identify ourselves with Our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace.
‘I say not that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.’ Have you reached such an intimacy with God that the Lord Jesus Christ’s life of prayer is the only explanation of your life of prayer? Has Our Lord’s vicarious life become your vital life? ‘At that day’ you will be so identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.
When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to fix the blame on someone else. That is always a snare of Satan. You will find there is a reason which is a deep instruction to you, not to anyone else.”
PRAYER: Father, please bless me to honor You and Your will first and foremost in this life You have granted me, by my being authentically crucified with Christ. Please unite my heart to fear Your holy name and to number this short time on this earth as a gift from You. I love You, Jesus, and thank You for dying for my sins and for the resurrection power of the Holy Ghost You placed in me upon salvation, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. You must increase and I must decrease. I declare and deliberately decide to place You first daily in my life – I am crucified with Christ. Early will I seek Thee. Amen.
- Discuss Psalms 5:3 along with Mark 1:35 and the importance of daily and first fruits prayer in the life of every disciple of Jesus.
- Transcribe onto an index card and discuss Romans 12:1-2 (KJV recommended).
- Write out on an index card Mark 10:27: “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (KJV)
Order your copies of “I Die Daily” at SafeGuardYourSoul.com
About the Author
This author is grateful for the saving grace of God which he fully understands that he does not merit outside of Jesus Christ. Todd Tomasella is the author of several widely read books, tracts, and articles, and founder of Grace and Truth Bible School. By God’s grace this follower was found and has walked with the Savior since 1984 and is daily endeavoring to build up members of Jesus’ body and make Him known to lost souls. The Gospel tract ministry has reached approximately 1.5 million souls worldwide while the email devotionals, books, articles, ministry websites, and Bible School have been established to equip Christ’s saints for the work of the ministry and edifying of the body of Jesus (Ephesians 4). Visit SafeGuardYourSoul.com
Jeff Camino – http://learnbibleprophecy.com/