Monthly Archives: October 2015

ABC’s of Prayer

177624_originalI don’t think we often realize what a privilege it is to have instant, direct access to God. God loves us so much, that He has made Himself available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And yet, I have to confess, prayer is one of the hardest spiritual disciplines for me to practice. 

In Acts 4, we read how the Christians prayed together with one heart, mind and spirit as they lifted their voices to God (Acts 4:24). The result was a great boldness in sharing God’s message. In the same way, a great force of God’s power can be released as we commit ourselves to effective prayer. But in order to be effective in our prayers, we need to understand what God’s Word has to say about prayer. As we read and study the Scripture, we can learn what the will of God is and as we know His will, we can pray and ask according to His divine purpose. With this in mind here are a few things I have learned about how to pray effectively over the years from the Scriptures.

In order to pray effectively, we need to pray…

Abiding

Abiding is the key to successful praying. In John 15:7, Jesus states, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.”

Believing

In Matthew 21:22 we read, “Everything you ask in prayer, believing you shall receive.” Faith, which is an attitude of believing, pleases God.

Clean Heart

John declares in 1 John 1:9 that, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Confession restores communion with God and is a preparation for further fellowship with Him.

Directed by God’s Word

I love what 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” If you want to pray with confidence for God’s will, pray the Scriptures!

Empowered by the Holy Spirit

The Bible says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). I like that about the Holy Spirit. He goes where I cannot. He comprehends things I cannot. He does things I cannot. But when it comes to the things I need to do, He equips me to do them.

Forgiving Others

Mark 11:25 states, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Holding a grudge is not good for the soul. And an unforgiving attitude hinders our prayers. So talk to God about it. Ask Him to give you the strength to forgive others, so you can let go and move on.

Godly Motives

Pray with the right motivation. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Selfish motives cannot be blessed by God.

Humbly

Pray with a humble and submissive spirit. As it states in 1 Peter 5:6, Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Our hearts often connect with God’s heart in a God-honoring way as we develop and approach Him with humility.

Interceding for Others

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18). When you pray on another’s behalf, you experience the blessing and grace of God, as you reflect His character, conduct and commitments.

What might you add to the list?

The Tale of Two Seas

11934625_1620979234832173_649298077_nIn Israel there are two major bodies of water. One is the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful lake 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, filled with fish and surrounded by lush foliage. It is Israel’s largest fresh water lake and absolutely picturesque. The other body of water is the Dead Sea, 50 miles long and 11 miles wide and it’s shoreline is 1300 feet below sea level. I have been told that seven million tons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea every day, and the saline or salt content of the water of the Dead Sea is 10 times saltier than the oceans of the world. The Dead Sea definitely lives up to its name. No seaweed or plants of any kind live in or around the water. There are no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creatures living in or near the water. And fish accidentally swimming into the waters from one of the several freshwater streams that feed the sea are instantly killed.

Both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are fed by the Jordan River There is really only one difference between these two bodies of water, really only one thing that causes the Sea of Galilee to be beautiful and alive while the Dead Sea is barren and lifeless. The difference is that the Sea of Galilee takes water from the Jordan River, and then it gives water. The water simply passes through. As a result, the Sea of Galilee is full of life and beauty. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, only takes water, but it gives nothing back, and as a result it sustains no life. Those two bodies of water bear witness to a truth of human life. It is in receiving and then giving back that life and hope are sustained. In other words, The Sea of Galilee is a conduit, The Dead Sea is a container. The first is full of life, the second is full of death!

The same is true in our spiritual life. If you and I have spiritual input but no spiritual output, we will become stagnant, lifeless, bitter, and caustic. However, if we like the Sea of Galilee are receiving and giving back, we become vibrant, healthy and life-giving. No wonder Jesus did much of his ministry along the shores of the Sea of Galilee! Because God never designed us to be like the Dead Sea; we are designed to be like the Sea of Galilee. This is the wisdom and reality of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.

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