Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Lifestyle of Prayer

Another Bible Study wrapped up tonight after 6 weeks of talking about what it truly means to live a praying life. We discovered that 6 weeks is entirely too short, but here is a very brief overview of what we discussed. I especially enjoyed hearing from you women each week in sharing your God stories and how He is working in and through you as you seek intimacy with Jesus through a vibrant prayer life. 1. God is sovereign. He will do what He wants, when He wants, with whomever He wants. (Isaiah 31:2, Daniel 4:35; 5:21, Psalm 115:3, Job 2:10; 42:2) He will even use pagan people or nations to bring about His will in the lives of His children. (Romans 9:17-18) 2. He has chosen to use man to accomplish His will and purpose here on Earth. He has chosen to use the prayers of man to unleash the power of His Holy Spirit on the Earth. (Exodus 32/Ezekiel 22, James 5:17-18) Our prayers will not change God’s mind, but they are necessary to bring about God’s perfect will in our lives. 3. The same Holy Spirit that had a part in creating the Universe lives inside each born again believer. (Ephesians 1:13; 3:14-21, Acts 1:8) We have the choice to either “feed” the Spirit or “starve” the Spirit in our own life. (Galatians 6:8, I Thessalonians 5:19) The vast majority of Christians today never tap into this supernatural power of God in their prayer lives and so never experience the extraordinary workings of God in their daily lives. 4. Many people say that they pray and wonder why it doesn't seem God is listening. Sometimes we just don’t acknowledge that He’s working because it’s not the way we wanted Him to work. Other times however, God doesn't hear our prayers. If we are holding on to sin the Bible says God won’t hear our prayers. (Psalm 66:18) Further, He says that if we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us! (Matthew 6:15) Many of us miss out on a deeply intimate walk with the savior because we hold a grudge or can’t let go of a sin. The one prayer God always hears is the one of repentance (I John 1:9). Confess your sins often, be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit to take care of sin quickly, and always forgive others readily. 5. We are told by Christ that our prayers ought to be according to His purposes and not our own concerns or desires. (John 14:14, James 4:3, Matthew 6:25-34) We accomplish this by delighting in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), abiding in Him (John 15:7), and by seeking His face (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). As we draw closer to God through Bible reading, Study, meditation, and memorization as well as through an unceasing daily prayer life, we begin to experience prayer as it was meant to be experienced…. Inspired by God, powered by the Holy Spirit, and according to the name of Jesus Christ. After we understand these truths and allow God to transform our prayer lives, then we can understand how with a tiny bit of faith we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20, I Corinthians 13:2), and how we can ask ANYTHING according to Jesus’ name and He will do it! (John 14:14) Prayer begins with getting to know God, trusting His ways, and living in obedience to Him. It results in the almighty purposes of God being played out through and among the lives of His children. I encourage you to study this further, beginning with the scriptures listed here. Allow God to lead your prayer life as you read His word. Look at everything with an eternal perspective, seeking first the Kingdom of God. Then experience Him as He transforms your life!

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