Corrected and Disciplined
If our prayers are to avail much we must receive correction and disciplining from the Lord. He wants us to grow up in all ways for our good and His eternal purposes.
It is now more than 30 years ago before I knew that I would be writing the Prayers That Avail Much® Family Books, when I had my first serious encounter with God’s correction and discipline.
This moment is etched vividly in my mind. It was early morning when I sat down at one end of the sofa for my meeting with the Lord. After greeting the Father and acknowledging the presence of Jesus, I asked the Holy Spirit, my Teacher, to take the things of Jesus and teach them to me. Opening my Bible to Matthew 18, I eagerly began reading.
Oh my, I was so joyful, so delighted to be in the presence of my Lord and Master when verse 10 stood up in huge letters!
Beware that you do not despise or feel scornful toward or think little of one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always are in the presence of and look upon the face of My Father Who is in heaven.
Immediately, my defenses were up. Thoughts of justifications assured me of my innocence. I prayed. “God, you know that I’m Your child, and I would never allow myself to despise one of Your little ones. How could I ever feel scornful toward anyone?”
Too often we sugarcoat our wrong attitudes and bury our true feelings, and I have learned that buried feelings never die. When we continue to hide or deny the reality of our feelings in the face of glaring truth, it paralyzes our growth, and we will stumble again and again until we are honest with ourselves and with the one who knows everything about us.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict and convince us of sin, righteousness and judgment. Our job is to submit ourselves to His correction and training. In His gentle way, He reminded me of the family’s drive home after the previous Sunday morning service.
As the scene unfolded in my mind, I felt so ashamed. I still wasn’t ready to let go of my defense, but I wanted to recapture the joy of being in His presence. I remembered how I had once again dissected our pastor’s sermon, explaining where he was wrong. I could hear my husband’s voice: “This man has been studying the Bible for at least twenty years, and you began studying only two or three years ago. How is it that you have learned more in two years than he has in twenty?”
Indignantly, I explained to my husband in a very firm voice that I had been studying longer than he knew anything about. God had called me to teach, and after all, I had received “revelation knowledge” of which he knew nothing. All this was for the benefit of our four children, who were sitting in the back seat.
At that time I had very little experience in the school of prayer. So as I sat there on the couch, I continued my line of defense before the Lord. “Now, Holy Spirit, You must realize that I could not allow my children to believe what our pastor was preaching. After all, I am responsible for teaching them the truth.”
Feeling that my defense was justified, I attempted to read on, but verse 10 would not let me go. The pain of having to admit my sin—despising and feeling scornful of one of my Father’ children—was almost more than I could bear. The bottom line was that I had never resolved my issues with authority figures. My issue had to be clarified and unraveled. God gave me the grace to be honest with myself and with Him; this issue was about to be resolved.
My face burned with shame when I realized the effect my criticism was having on my children. It was painful for me to admit that my husband was right and I was wrong. How puffed up and self-righteous I sounded as Sunday after Sunday I criticized the pastor we had chosen for ourselves and our children! The entrance of God’s Word exposed the darkness, and the correction and discipline began as I confessed my sin. God was training me in His ways and for His purposes, and it has all proved to be for my good.
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
Today I am so thankful that the Father loves me too much to allow me to continue in my sin. He is an awesome God and Father of us all.
Excerpt from The Road That God Walks, © 2000 by Germaine Copeland
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.