What’s Your Pleasure?


“Morning sex on Sunday is better than church.” Bill Maher said that.

Okay, I have three things to say in response to Maher.

One, I don’t disagree with him.

Two, but I see sex and church as two distinctly different things. We’re not comparing contacts with reading glasses here.

Three, I don’t see the two as being mutually exclusive, as in, you need to choose—which will it be, morning sex or church?

My dog's pleasure is an open sunroof.

Having said that, I want to start with Maher’s statement, which I’ve done, and end with the significance of intercessory prayer.

You’re joking.

No, I’m not.

So you started with a gratuitous sexual reference just to get our attention?

Not exactly. It actually has something to do with where I’m going.

Yeah, I bet it does.

Sigh!

Maher’s statement reflects an attitude that people have about spiritual matters in general and that I have with intercessory prayer in particular.

Yeah, right. You’re just making that up.

Stick with me on this one. Then decide.

Here’s what I’m thinking.

Worship, prayer, Bible study, devotions are all things that people approach with a sense of duty. You’ve got to do this stuff whether you like it or not. It’s like eating your vegetables. They may not taste good but they’re healthy for you. At least, that’s the word on the street (and from the pulpit).

Some of those spiritual disciplines appeal to me …

And some of them don’t.

I specifically struggle with intercessory prayer, placing the needs of others before God in prayer. Those who know me well would tell you my mercy-and-compassion gene is pretty miniscule. Someone gets hurt on the basketball court and I grab the ball to wait for the floor to clear. I’m not making this stuff up (I only wish I were).

So recently, before hearing Maher’s statement, I was reflecting on Jesus, where he is, and what he’s doing right now in Heaven.

Where He is. Jesus is “at the right hand of God …” (Romans 8:34b NIV). I would say that’s pretty darn close to God the Father. Close enough that Jesus wouldn’t have to shout. So what’s he doing in Heaven “at the right hand of God …”?

What He’s doing. Jesus is “interceding for us …” (Romans 8:34c NIV).

Maher finds sex pleasurable (and so do I for that matter) and church a pain. For me, it’s not church but intercession. It goes against my less-than-compassionate nature.

Yet Jesus through whom all pleasure, sexual or otherwise, entered the world finds pleasure in speaking to the Father on our behalf.

Think about this for a moment—the options open to Jesus.

He could …

… surf in Maui …

… lunch in Paris …

… ski the Alps …

… dive the Caribbean …

… hike the Appalachian trail …

… dance across the Milky Way …

… and so much more than you or I could imagine.

Yet He “is at the right hand of God interceding for us.”

I would even venture to say that intercessory prayer for Him isn’t a burdensome duty but a pleasure.

If Jesus finds intercession both necessary and pleasurable, perhaps I need to spend more time on my knees carrying the needs of others to God in prayer.

I’m curious. Do you agree with my line of thinking? I’m also curious about something else. How can we intercede on one another’s behalf? I’ll think about that last question and get back to you in the comments section.

Recommended reading:

Kisses from Katie blog (God at work in Africa through a young woman’s life; I encourage you to watch the video as well)

Donald Miller‘s One Person, Who Believes They Have Agency, Can Change the World

Kari Scare’s Give in to the Craving! (theme similar to today’s post)

Jon Acuff’s “Do We Really Love People Who Aren’t Christian?”

Top 4 Posts the last 7 days:

My Novel “Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes” Debuts

My friend Kelly with "Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes" on book's tour of city sites

3 Observations About an Encounter With the Living God

Why I Need to Listen to My Wife (and Other Wise People)

4 Lessons I Learned from Heaven Is For Real

You can find Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes at:

WestBow Press

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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14 Responses to What’s Your Pleasure?

  1. tnealtarver says:

    My brother Roger has lung cancer and is going in for chemo treatments now and surgery soon. His attitude has been that his situation is win-win, healed or home with Jesus. Join our family in praying through his sickness.

    • Mary Jeffries says:

      Tom remember what you taught me long ago. I will pray for your brother and your family right now! Just like you taught me..like a good brother teaching his sister in Christ. Please let me know how this goes. thanks

  2. Kari Scare says:

    Interesting line of thinking. To be honest, I think my husband would understand and relate to it better than me. To start, I don’t struggle with intercessory prayer. I just pray for what I might need if I were in the person’s position or situation. However, I do struggle in other areas. One is being spontaneous, which is often necessary in our Pentecostal church. Another is the Martha kind of tasks. I’m much more a Mary type, though I realize both are important. I just published a post Monday about craving God, and I think the same idea I was trying to convey with food addictions and how we crave them sort of fits here. Maybe not. Regardless, I do like the risk you took with following and posting your line of thinking. It did get me thinking.

  3. Chris Patton says:

    Great post, Tom! Unlike Kari (or my wife), I do relate to your argument…on all levels!

    I appreciate the unusual tie-in (which I should come to expect from your blog)! You have me thinking…

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  6. I bet one can have sex with their spouse and then go to church right?

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