Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Talks (CALLED Session 2)

This will be the first of three posts on Spiritual disciplines. Of course I won’t cover all of them in three posts, but I will cover as many as possible.

The first one will be prayer, mainly because it’s hugely important in our Christian walk. I would say that after the consumption of God’s word (reading the bible), prayer is THE most important aspect of our relationship with God.

What I’ve noticed is we get so caught up in our “everything right now” culture that we approach our relationship with God that way. As long as we accept Christ as our Savior, the rest of our relationship will work out. We act like just because we did the “hard work” of accepting God’s FREE gift of salvation that we’re good. As if the work is done, and now it’s up to God. But that’s not the case. We have work to do. There are things that help build our relationship with God that we need to discipline ourselves to do. Prayer is one of those things.

It is so important to not only understand, but believe that prayer is our life line. It is our connection to the Divine. Sadly most Christians look at prayer as either a duty or reserved for moments of desperation. But, it’s neither of those. It’s a benefit of our relationship with God. We get to talk to Him. We get to commune with our God without going through a priest. In order to grow deeper, EVERY relationship requires communication and that’s what prayer is. The bible is God’s means for talking to us and prayer is our way of talking to Him.

I think another problem that a lot of Christians have with prayer has to do with the fact that there are past prayers that they prayed that weren’t answered they way THEY wanted. When that happens they begin to question whether God even hear their prayers. 1 John 5:14 & 15 reassures us that God hears us when we pray. It says:

14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

Andrew Murray said it this way, “Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.

I tried really hard to figure out what to say about prayer, but then I thought who better to teach on prayer than Jesus. Jesus tells us how to pray in Matthew 6:6-13.

6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Jesus is telling us that we need time alone with our Father. There are numerous times in the NT that Jesus went off by Himself to pray. It is in those moments of silence and solitude that we can focus on God and experience Him.

7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

So many guys are afraid to pray because they think they don’t have the right words. They think they sound funny or odd. But Jesus is telling us that it doesn’t matter what you say. He says not to babble on just for the sake of talking, because God knows what you want before you even ask for it. Billy Graham said that “Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.” So talk to Him like it is. This is how Jesus instructed us to pray.

9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

This is a fairly well known prayer model that I learned early on and it covers all the stuff that Jesus prayed. It’s called ACTS.

AAdoration is to adore God, to worship him and to fulfil the commandment to love him with all of our heart, mind and soul.

CConfession allows you to clear up the things in the relationship between you and God which are displeasing to Him. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us.

T Thanksgiving. God is always blessing u and so we need to be constantly thanking God for his blessings.

SSupplication is to ask God for our needs and the needs of others.

Bottom line is that prayer is a discipline. We have to dedicate ourselves to it. If we are to be men that lead, we first have to seek Him who leads us.

Read:
Matthew 6:6-13

Prayer:
Pray through the ACTS model of prayer.

Put into Practice:
During your prayer time, spend some time being quiet. Don’t focus on the way you talk to God, just talk to Him and let Him talk to you.

In Him,

Bruce