by Pat Higgins
CGG Weekly, August 27, 2021
"Prayer reminds us who we are, and who our Father is. Prayer expresses our dependence and it reinforces our dependence."
Most would agree that we live in the fullness of the Laodicean attitude of God's church, and because we are alive now, it is safe to assume that we all have strong Laodicean proclivities. To believe otherwise is a presumption—which Psalm 19:13 warns us against—most of us had as members of the Worldwide Church of God. Seeing those results, it is too late in the day, and not very wise, to make the same mistake twice.
To see where we stand, notice the example of someone most of us would agree was not a Laodicean. A speaker once reported that Herbert Armstrong said he always tried to be aware that he was in God's presence by constantly asking God for help. It was common for him to pray 30 or 40 times a day—short prayers asking for assistance with a decision, counseling a person, preparing an article or sermon, etc.
Notice the advice he gave church members in the October 1957 Good News:
You must go to a private place, alone with God, and have long talks with Him—yes, every day! Unburden your heart to Him. Take all your problems, your interests, your plans, your troubles to Him. Talk over everything with Him, continually. Then, even when going about your work—when walking down the street—when driving your car, or wherever you are or whatever you do, talk with God as you work or as you drive or walk along. Go to a private place, and kneel in prayer (on both knees) as often as you can, and at least once every day. But talk with God often in between. Pray without ceasing! (Emphasis ours.)
What we see in Mr. Armstrong's example is one who opened the door to God and Christ at every opportunity because he believed, unlike Laodiceans, that he needed everything (John 15:5). Notice what Christ wants from us Laodiceans:
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:19-20)
Christ wants a relationship—not just any relationship but a deep one that will last for eternity (John 17:3). He wants a bride that cannot get enough of Him, not one that takes Him for granted. As we can see from Mr. Armstrong's example, he could not get enough of being in the presence of God and Christ.
As Laodiceans, if we cannot rouse ourselves to open the door to Him at every opportunity, He will make one last attempt to rescue us—the fire of tribulation:
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. (Revelation 3:18)
Christ expects His future bride, the one He will spend eternity with, to love Him with as much zeal and passion as He loves us. He suffered torture and crucifixion so we could be His Bride.
Using Herbert Armstrong's example, we can perform a simple daily test to determine how much Laodiceanism has infected us. At day's end, ask how much time we spent communicating with God and Christ and how much time They were in none of our thoughts (Psalm 10:4). If we find ourselves short, the solution is simple: Repent and zealously build that relationship by increasing our contact.
Besides the ideas suggested by Mr. Armstrong, we have many opportunities to acknowledge before God and Christ our need for everything. Notice the possibilities we have during our day for self-examination and walking and talking with God, for opening the door. When . . .
. . . a family member or we leave the house, ask for protection. We should not take God's protection for granted (James 4:13-15). And when all return home without incident, thank God for granting safety (Ephesians 5:20).
. . . faced with worry and anxiety, acknowledge God's presence and power (Psalm 23:4).
. . . someone we care about comes to mind, thank God for allowing them in our lives and pray for their protection and about any challenges they may be facing (Philippians 1:3-4).
. . . a difficult person comes to mind, pray about our attitude and for the wisdom to treat them as would be expected from a son of the Most High (Luke 6.35).
. . . an enemy comes to mind, pray for them (Matthew 5:44) instead of nursing ill feelings.
. . . reaching for food that is not good for the body, acknowledge God's stern warning in I Corinthians 3:17.
. . . faced with choices of right and wrong, ask for the will and power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13).
. . . seeing the beauty and complexity of nature, thank God for His creation (Psalm 107:31).
. . . something good happens, no matter how small, thank God for it (I Thessalonians 5:18).
. . . meeting people, ask for help to be an excellent example in word and deed (Mathew 5:14-16).
. . . facing the distresses, anxieties, and problems of life, acknowledge God's promises and desire to rescue (Psalm 34:4-10).
. . . faced with indecision, ask for insight and guidance (Proverbs 2:3-7).
. . . dealing with a bad habit that blocks overcoming, acknowledge our need for God's presence (Psalm 9:3).
. . . driving amid the challenges of traffic, rude or dangerous driving, and other travel difficulties, request help not to return evil for evil in thought or deed (I Peter 3.9).
. . . in contact with those in the world, especially when we require service, and frustration and anger begin to build, it is the perfect time to ask for God's help to respond appropriately (Proverbs 16:32; Ecclesiastes 7:9).
. . . someone asks for help, ask God to reveal what good work of service He has prepared beforehand for us to accomplish in this situation (Ephesians 2:10).
This list is not complete, but it is a beginning to show God that we realize how much we need Him and Christ to be intimately involved in the details of our lives. During our day, we can demonstrate our desire to walk with Them, to build the relationship by opening the door to Their presence at every opportunity. Responding to Herbert Armstrong's call to pray without ceasing is the answer to our Laodicean tendencies. His example illustrates the relationship required to escape the Tribulation (Luke 21:36) and spend eternity at Christ's side (Revelation 3:21).