Discover characteristics that all good leaders have in common. You can really do it! Get started with these practical ideas. Do you want to get into the heart of your child? Use these questions as springboards for meaningful discussions. Take the Bible Reading Challenge to encourage you to dig into the Scripture daily.
Cultivate a heart of gratitude and begin your day journey to joy! Build a stronger marriage one day at time as you take Nancy's Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. This challenge is tailor made to encourage you through the demands of motherhood and equip you to be the beautiful mom God wants you to be.
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Pick one that works for you. Understand and embrace the distinct purpose God created you for with the help of this booklet by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This creative family devotional plan will provide your family with an unforgettable Thanksgiving holiday together. This creative small group plan corresponds with the "Blessings of Thorns" radio series and CD drama for a meaningful Thanksgiving together. This study will point you toward the only pathway to holiness and genuine revival. Discussion guide for the book "Brokenness. Nancy contrasts characteristics of proud, unbroken people who are resistant to the call of God on their lives with the qualities of revived, humble people.
Learn how to develop trust between group members and foster an environment where members can help each other grow. Learn the characteristics of a of a meek and quiet spirit versus those of a rash and fretful one! Do you understand how to reach the generations represented in your group? This chart describes general characteristics for the four major generations today. Check the state of your prayer life with this ten-question quiz. After checking your prayer pulse, you may be in need of some "Prayer CPR. Help your children develop a huge vision of God by reading the biographies of these men and women of the faith.
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God expects His children to be characterized by these actions. Cultivate the garden of your heart for the One who has chosen you to be His own. Die to pride and self, and experience the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus! Flattery and exaggeration don't seem harmful, but God desires truth in our innermost parts. Examine your life and relationships Read More. Do you know Him personally?
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Breathe easy. This resource will help walk you through the basics of event planning. Download the PDF. Every group has those dreaded moments of silence when the members avoid answering a question. Learn helpful comments to help keep the discussion flowing. Learn how to provide a safe bridge to help your members feel comfortable sharing openly and honestly. Fifty creative ideas to help your family have fun without the TV.
God's Word identifies the attitudes and actions we are to display toward our spiritual leaders. The outcome of our lives is not determined by what happens to us, but by how we respond to what happens to us. Learn how to develop a prayer ministry for your group. Experience the great freedom and joy of walking in the Truth! Debra Fehsenfeld shares her struggle with the slavery, secrecy, and guilt of bulimia and the process through which God brought her to lasting freedom.
Blair Linne did a masterful job summing up the True Woman '14 National Women's Conference on October 11, in this original recitation. It's true that Scripture never mentions masturbation specifically, but it does speak thoroughly and explicitly about sexuality and sinful lust. Embrace the attitude of gratitude and discover that the world looks different through the eyes of thankfulness. A wise leader will think through how to handle difficult situations so if they arise, you will know how you wish to handle it. Feeling overwhelmed? Learn to seek God for what He wants you to do. This study will encourage you to take a fresh look at our holy God.
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Your Prayer Life
This is our legal position before God. We will never have more grace available than is ours on the day that we are born again. But in our living condition we want to experience more of what is freely ours. And it humbles us and transforms us at the same time. They are effective because of the authority of Jesus, which is based on His finished work on the cross.
Therefore, our prayers work even when they are short, when they are weak, and when they are poorly worded. The value of ninety-second prayers Short prayers are effective. Even ninety-second prayers matter and can connect our hearts with God while releasing His blessing to us.
Do not put off praying until you have a full hour to pray. Even while you are rushing to an appointment, waiting at a stoplight, or standing in line at a store, you can offer ninety-second prayers that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others.
They conclude that their weak prayers are ineffectual and may even despise them. Others believe they are growing in prayer only if they feel good during their prayer times. They wrongly conclude that their prayers are meaningless when they feel dry and distracted. What should we do when our prayers feel weak or ineffective? Instead of measuring the effectiveness of our prayers by the emotions we feel in a particular prayer time, we must measure it by what God says in His Word. Jesus declared in the Word that everyone who asks and keeps on asking will receive, and everyone who seeks and keeps on seeking will find Matt.
Our prayers—all of them—are heard, even if we do not feel anything when we offer them. Beloved, our weak prayer times may not move us, but they move the heart of God. The apostle John emphasized that we can have confidence that our prayers are heard regardless of how we feel while we are praying. Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Because God views our weak prayers through the blood of Jesus and the riches of His glory.
Ephesians is a good example. God assesses the activity in our lives very differently from the way we assess it with our natural minds. The fullness of the glory of our lives in Christ is hidden from our own eyes as well as from the eyes of others in this age. Yet it will become evident to all when Jesus appears at His Second Coming. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Because it is indiscernible and hidden from our emotions and our five senses, we cannot measure it.
We look at our lives as small, weak, and boring, and yet Jesus sees them through the lens of the riches of glory. By understanding the value of our weak prayers, we are empowered to see them as relevant and powerful. We sometimes think we must have perfect wording when we pray. Remember, God knows our hearts—and He has given us His Spirit to intercede with us and for us. I had been leading this prayer meeting each Saturday for nearly four years.
We had about twenty people who regularly attended. One Saturday I arrived around fifteen minutes early. The only two cars already in the parking lot belonged to the young guys who were running the sound system. As I approached the door to enter the building, I heard music that was incredibly loud.
It was glorious and beautiful and very loud. I quickly assumed that the meeting was going to be the most powerful Saturday morning prayer meeting I had ever attended and that something special would happen. My anticipation was very high. The prayer meeting began, and I thought that at any moment the glory of God would manifest in an unusual way. But nothing of the sort happened. It was as run-of-the-mill as it was on many other Saturdays. Then I went up to pray on the microphone as I did each Saturday morning, thinking that something powerful might happen, but I felt very dull as I prayed.
Why did I hear them? What did it mean? Then suddenly the Lord gave me a very clear word. It came as an impression. Beloved, our private times of prayer and our public prayer meetings may not move us, but they move the angels, and more importantly, they move the heart of God. Perhaps, like most of us, Cornelius felt that his prayers were weak and not very effective. It must have been quite a shock to hear that God would remember his prayers as a memorial before His throne. I like to imagine Cornelius praying with his soldiers. I envision three or four soldiers gathered to pray, without worship music and without Bibles.
Because they were not born again, they did not possess the indwelling Spirit. Imagine: no Bible, no indwelling Spirit, and no anointed worship music! The Lord views our short, weak, poorly worded prayers through the cross of Jesus. He sees things very differently from the way we view them through our human perspective. Our prayers matter to God, regardless of how we feel when we pray. As I eventually learned on my prayer journey, the key to experiencing delight rather than a sense of duty in our prayer lives is understanding the fullness of what prayer is and discovering that it is the means by which we participate in the fellowship of the burning heart along with the three persons of the Trinity.
The implications for this truth are vast, far beyond what we may think. Those who see salvation this way pray only for that which will make their lives more comfortable—financial provision, relational blessings, physical health, and anointed ministry—but this is not the ultimate purpose of salvation. God is after our hearts; He is looking for our love; He is searching for those who will freely enter into and participate in the love shared within the Trinity.
This is the glorious destiny of those who say yes to His salvation. As John pointed out in his Gospel, the essence of eternal life is to know God—to have experiential knowledge of Him. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ. He wants us to come to know Him intimately by talking to Him and living in the experience of His love in this age and the age to come. Jesus was after so much more than making our lives easy and comfortable when He became a man to die on the cross for us.
There is something much bigger going on, and His agenda goes far beyond our temporary earthly happiness. We have been offered the great privilege of knowing God, and the call to grow in prayer is a call to participate in the fellowship of His burning heart—to participate in some of the family dynamics within the Godhead. The ultimate reality of the kingdom is the burning love that has existed within the fellowship of the three persons of the Trinity from before the creation of the world.
God is love. His very being is wholehearted love 1 John In other words, the essence of how God thinks and feels flows from His heart of unwavering, passionate, infinite, wholehearted love. From eternity past, the Father has loved the Son with all His heart, mind, and strength, and Jesus has loved the Father and the Spirit with this same intensity. Each person of the Trinity loves the other two persons with deep, powerful, eternal love.
The Father, Son, and Spirit are each fully satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. But the joy of love compelled the triune God to create beings who could share their love. Love demands expression; thus, it must be shared and multiplied. Love is the foundation of our relationship with God, the essence of salvation, and the key to understanding how to pray.
The call to participate in the fellowship of the burning heart that exists in the relationship among the persons of the Godhead is the cornerstone of the call to prayer. One foundational premise in Scripture is that God loves us with the same intensity with which God loves God. Jesus was saying that He loves us as much as He loves the Father and that the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus. Think about that for a minute. The Father loves Jesus and us with the same intensity! Does it bother Him that God loves me as much as He loves Him?
Second, God loves His people with all His heart and strength. Third, our love for God springs from His love imparted to us. What a glorious destiny! This radically changes how we view our lives and how we understand salvation. Each person of the Trinity loves the others with all their heart, mind, and strength. I fully embrace the truth of the Trinity as commonly taught throughout church history.
There is one God who forever dwells in three distinct, divine persons. The way God loves within the Trinity is the same way—the only way—He loves us. He cannot love partially; He always loves in fullness and wholeheartedly. His love neither diminishes nor grows because it is infinite in measure and eternal in duration. He never loves us with just part of His love —that would be to deny His own character.
Our love for God The Pharisees sought to trick Jesus with a question. It is the first call for every believer. The Lord loves us with all His heart and wants us to respond to Him with all our love. He is worthy of our wholehearted love. It is His inheritance to receive all our love. Note that the command to love God with all our hearts does not begin with us. We must see the first and great commandment in its eternal context of the fellowship in the Godhead. God created humans not merely to be passive recipients of His holy love but to be active participants in loving Him.
We love ourselves through the lens of the revelation of Jesus, His cross, and our great worth to Him. Clearly we must love ourselves in order to fulfill this command.
40 Sermons on Prayer on Apple Books
In fact, we will never love others more than we love ourselves in the grace of God. The task is made easier when we are able to see ourselves as God sees us. We have indescribably great value and worth to Jesus. He desired us so much that He gave His life for us and has crowned us with glory and honor Heb. Understanding this changes the way we feel about God, our life, and others.
The Bible calls us both to love ourselves Matt. These two commands may seem to be contradictory. The Lord wants us to enter into the deep feelings He has for us in Christ. God desires to liberate our hearts from self-hatred. He knows that when we love ourselves we will stop wishing that we were someone else and be genuinely thankful to be the glorious people He made us to be, with our specific callings.
Then we will be able to accept ourselves as we are in Christ because He accepts and loves us as we are in His grace. We are to love ourselves in Christ and not despise our appearances, gifts, or ministry assignments. We are to thank Jesus for who we are in Him as well as for the unchangeable aspects of our lives—our appearances, natural abilities, personalities, families, parents, nationalities, and so on. They are God-given, and we are to thank God for them. As you agree with the will and heart of God, thank Him for who He made you to be, and praise Him that you are precious and valuable to Him exactly as He made you and sees you in Christ, over time you will begin to feel differently about yourself.
The truth will set you free! The same love that burns within the fellowship of the Trinity will flow from us toward others. Our loving others as Jesus loves us is a dynamic expression of the fellowship of the burning heart. The Lord wants us to enter into how He feels about others because He knows having His heart will change the way we see people and how we respond to them. We can love even fellow believers who mistreat us because God loves them just as He loves us John We will delight in one another in the same way in which God loves and delights in all His people.
Moreover we will be empowered to extend our love for others beyond the people who enjoy the same things we do, beyond those who are popular, and beyond those who are powerful and can enhance our status. The reason has to do with the way God made us. The beauty of God is a very big subject and extends beyond the purpose of this book, but let me make a few short comments about it. Jesus is filled with love, beauty, wisdom, joy, and ultimate goodness. We can live fascinated by Jesus as we ponder the many truths about Him and our relationship to Him. By fellowshipping with Jesus, we are connecting with the Man who is ultimate beauty Ps.
Therefore, as we grow in prayer, our capacity to enjoy beauty increases. It also works the other way around. A drop of water, the ocean, a star, a flower, an atom, a leaf, and a bird all possess vast beauty, but we miss much of their beauty when we give them only a passing glance or look at them with a dull heart. Boredom is not the result of seeing what is real but the result of seeing with a dull heart. Our communion with God, or lack of it, greatly affects our perspective on life. Talking to Him regularly allows us to see His beauty in many places.
Dubay teaches that prayer is the primary, God-ordained way in which we encounter Jesus, who is in Himself love, reality, and beauty. Jesus is everything! He must be our consuming goal because anything less than everything is not enough. Our lifelong search is really the search for deep relationship, lasting purpose, delight, and beauty. Many people seek to quench their eternal thirst with temporal experiences, pleasures, and accomplishments. The worst tragedy in life is to live in continual boredom without interacting with the divine.
Bored people are compelled to search for different pleasures to fill their spiritual emptiness and loneliness. If we are not growing in our understanding of the beauty of Jesus and His purpose, then we will inevitably spend our free time and resources seeking fame, fortune, pleasure, entertainment, and recognition from others, which do not satisfy. They may temporarily deaden the pain of emptiness and loneliness, which stems from not having a growing relationship with God, but encountering beauty is the only real and lasting solution to overcoming boredom.
We will never be completely satisfied by our achievements, skills, wealth, fame, pleasures, or possessions. Because the human heart was created to need more than what is available to us in the natural realm. Only the eternal, supernatural God can fill our longings.
We are spiritual beings who need something beyond what we received in our natural makeup. The apostle James, who was known in the early church as a great man of prayer, gave the church invaluable insight into this subject. His letter in the New Testament includes his teaching on effective prayer and what it accomplishes. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. It is the destiny of every believer to release the power of God through his simple prayers. Our perspective on life changes dramatically when we believe that our prayers really make a difference. First, it is prayer with confidence in the authority of Jesus over sickness and the works of darkness.
Jesus affirmed a Roman centurion for having great faith in His authority over sickness Matt. Our faith is to be anchored in the knowledge of His authority over every other power that exists. We are not to shrink back due to shame or guilt, for He has given His own righteousness to us as a free gift 2 Cor. Third, it is prayer with confidence in the desire of Jesus to bless. He deeply desires to heal, set free, and bless His people.
God is our Father; He is eager to hear the prayers of His children. Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! We pray in faith, knowing that God, whose heart burns with passion for us, really does desire to bless us. We are inclined to follow his advice only when we are in strong relationship with one another. Some believers are committed to growing in relationship with others but are content to have a weak prayer life.
The Bible sets these two values together as complementary, not competing. They are not to be separated because effective prayer flows best from those who are in strong kingdom relationships—sharing deeply with one another, partnering together in kingdom activities, and relating to one another in humility, honor, and forgiveness in the grace of God. A strong prayer life will eventually lead to strong relationships with people. Those who sincerely value their relationship with Jesus are energized to love people more deeply. Prayer is not about being anti-relational or antisocial.
True prayer has the opposite effect. It is all about love—loving God and people. People of prayer should be the most energized in love. The Lord cares so much about relationships that the Scripture exhorts husbands to honor their wives so that their prayers will not be hindered. Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. He can pray with eloquence and energy in public, but if he speaks in unkind ways to his wife in private, without repenting of it to her, then his prayers are hindered.
The Lord insists that men treat their wives with understanding and honor. Husbands must take the lead in humility in their marriages. I have known men who want to be faithful in prayer but are not faithful to honor their wives. But God places great value on the marriage covenant. Obviously it is best if a husband likes his wife, but there is something bigger at stake. It is about honoring the marriage covenant because God is a God of covenant.
The Lord can restore positive emotions in a marriage regardless of how bad things may be. I have seen the Lord bless men who chose to serve and honor their wives even in a season when they did not have romantic feelings for them. The Lord blessed these men by eventually turning their emotions toward their wives again. God so honors the covenant of marriage that He awakened the former emotions these husbands had for their wives. As the Spirit brings the prayer movement to a crescendo, He will also bring honor to women in their homes. A righteous person is any believer who sets his heart to obey Jesus as he seeks to walk in godly character with a lifestyle of practicing the truth 1 John Setting our hearts to obey is very important, even if we fall short of mature, consistent obedience.
There is no such thing as a person who is so mature in righteousness that he is above all temptation and never falls short in his walk with God. I am so grateful for the gloriously reality of the grace of God! I have met those who imagine that if they pray and fast more, they can walk in a little immorality or be dishonest in their finances or slander the people who cause pressure in their lives. They think that being extra zealous in the spiritual disciplines will balance out areas of persistent compromise.
Prayer is far more boring and difficult if we seek to live one part of our lives as if it belonged to God and another part as if it belonged to us. There is a dynamic relationship between our lifestyle and our ability to enjoy prayer. Our spiritual capacity to experience and enjoy God increases as we walk in purity.
Where there is ongoing, willful compromise in our lives, it will greatly hinder our spiritual growth and our capacity to agree with God in prayer. Sin hinders our love for Him. We must sincerely seek to live in wholehearted obedience because obedience is not optional in the kingdom life. When we come up short in our obedience, we must acknowledge it and confess it rather than seeking to rationalize it. It is more popular to emphasize our authority in Christ.
That is also an essential truth, but the lifestyle of the one praying does matter. What we do negatively and what we neglect to do positively deeply affect our prayer lives. What does it mean to be earnest? It is important to understand what earnest prayer is because it is one of the primary conditions of effective prayer as set forth in the Scripture. Two aspects of earnest prayer First, earnest prayer comes from a heart that is engaged with God. To be earnest implies that we are not praying by rote or just going through the motions.
Being earnest is the opposite of speaking our prayers mindlessly into the air. We are to focus our minds and attention toward the Lord when we pray. Second, earnest prayer is prayer that is persistent Matt. We must not stop asking and thanking God for the answers until we see them with our eyes. We must not be casual about our prayer requests but persistent and tenacious. His message was that because of our persistence, the Father answers. He applied the parable by exhorting us to ask, knowing that the request will be fulfilled; to seek, knowing that we will find; and to knock, knowing that the door will open v.
In other words, we are to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. The message is a call to perseverance. Because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Earnestness in prayer is not measured by the volume of our prayers. This may seem obvious, but some assume that shouting a prayer proves they are earnest about it.
Allow me to make a pastoral observation. During many years of leading in prayer, I have come across numerous people who devalue their prayers because they feel the prayers are not offered with enough emotion and energy. They misunderstand the nature of passionate or earnest prayer.
- Because U Can Do It.
- the hold fast a charles spurgeon sermon sermons from proverbs book 1 Manual?
- From 1k to 1 Million.
- Daily Devotionals, Christian Devotions for Bible Study.
It is mostly about being persistent and engaging with God from the heart. It is not about our prayer style in a public prayer meeting. The majority of us do not speak our prayers with intense emotion and volume in public, but we should not conclude that our prayers are ineffectual or second-class. If shouting is what defines earnest prayer, then the prayer lives of about 99 percent of us would be classed as non-passionate and lacking earnestness. Because most of our prayers are offered as whispers from our hearts throughout the day. Even the most energetic prayer warriors probably offer less than 1 percent of their prayers in a public prayer meeting where they shout their prayers.
Yet their private prayers, which are often mere whispers of the heart, are still earnest prayers. In the New King James Version of the Bible, the translators used the word fervent in James to convey the concept of earnestness in prayer. This word is not found in the verse in Greek manuscripts. Quiet prayers can be passionate and earnest. In First Samuel we read of Hannah, who was praying for a child and was filled with anguish in her soul over her barrenness. She was weeping and speaking from her heart so softly that Eli the priest could not hear her.
The Lord answered her prayer, and she became the mother of the prophet Samuel 1 Sam. The point is, we should not conclude that our prayers are ineffective or that we lack earnestness simply because we do not have a loud, aggressive prayer style. Passion is not about energy and volume; it is about being engaged from the heart with the Lord while praying and persevering in faith without quitting. So keep at it, and do not draw back, even if your prayer style is softer than that of others. I encourage you not to compare your prayer style to that of others and conclude that you are deficient in prayer simply because you do not shout your prayers.
Some draw back in their prayer lives because they embrace another wrong idea about earnest or fervent prayer. Thus, when they are discouraged or tired, they assume their prayers will be of no effect, and they stop praying. I have good news— our prayers are effective even when we are tired, discouraged, or not in a good mood.
The work of the kingdom is based on who Jesus is and what He did on the cross, not on how we feel. God answers our prayers because of the blood of Jesus and His desire to partner with His people. If we measure ourselves by a wrong idea of what passion or earnestness in prayer is, then we will be tempted to pray much less. Prayer is not about informing or persuading God but about connecting with Him in relationship. He is looking for conversation and dialogue with us.
Some believers think that by praying more they earn the answers to their prayers. God wants us to talk with Him more because He loves relating to us. We do not earn answers to prayers by our persistence or obedience. God knows our needs before we do, so we are not informing Him of anything by our prayers. Rather, He uses our needs to call us into a dialogue of prayer so that we connect with Him.
He so values relationship with us that He links the release of some of His blessings to our prayers, our conversations with Him. Then when He answers our prayers, we rightly conclude that He listens to us and that we move His heart. That is one of the main reasons the Lord requires His people to pray consistently. It is a statement of His heart for us. The Lord wants to converse with us far more than we want to talk with Him. This is a mystery to me. He is so interesting, and we are not very interesting.
Because at the core of His being, He is infinite love, and He loves conversation with His people. Weak people can pray earnestly. Elijah was a weak man with a nature like ours. He was prone to fear and discouragement, and he had the same weaknesses and temptations we face; yet his prayer life was still very effective 1 Kings 17— James emphasized this point to give us courage to pray, even in the face of our weaknesses.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain. We may be surprised when we meet Elijah in the age to come. We may picture him as physically strong, with a dynamic personality, something like Charlton Heston when he played Moses in the famous movie The Ten Commandments.
But he may in fact have been a physically weak and unimpressive man according to human standards. When we meet the great men and women of the Bible face-to-face, we may be surprised to discover just how much like us they are. It is faith in a great God that makes a great man or woman of God.
During the reign of King Ahab, Elijah called the people of Israel to repent of their backsliding. His prayers led to the healing of a nation when Israel turned back to God. Elijah prayed for a drought, and a drought came. He prayed earnestly, with persistence. Seven times he prayed for the drought to break and the rains to come. Even though the Lord had told Elijah that He would send rain and had commanded Elijah to tell Ahab that rain was coming, the Lord required Elijah to pray until the rain actually came. Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain.
In other words, if God answered the prayers of a weak man like Elijah, prayers that led to the healing of a nation, then how much more will He answer the prayers of weak people like us that will lead to the healing of individuals? Remember, the context of the passage in James we are referring to is prayer for physical healing James — The point is that God is committed to healing hearts, bodies, and nations using the prayers of weak people, and these weak people accomplish much with their prayers when they are in agreement with God.
No matter how impossible it seems, the Lord will answer prayers that are according to His will. Effective prayer is answered prayer. For example, God may answer in a different way than we expect. Or He may answer the prayer at a different time. Many believers overlook the biblical connection of effective prayer to the righteous lifestyle of the person praying. However, the Scripture emphasizes this point over and over.
It is important to remember that God answers in His way— which is often different from the one we would choose—and in His timing. His ways are so different from ours! See Isaiah —9. We must be careful not to become offended with Him when He delays the answer to a prayer. But we must trust His leadership in the manner and timing in which He answers our prayers.
The delay of answered prayer is designed to provoke earnestness in us. Some people who are reading this book are in situations in which there is no human remedy to the obstacles they are facing. Jesus has power over any problem that may rise up against us. The Bible sets forth important conditions for effective prayer.
These conditions include those we have discussed in this chapter—faith, good relationships, righteous living, and earnestness—as well as knowing our authority in Christ and perseverance. However, the conditions that are most emphasized today are faith and our authority in Christ. The biblical conditions most neglected are expressions of loving God as seen in kingdom relationships, a godly lifestyle, and perseverance in prayer.
We must remember that the purpose of salvation is to walk in a deep relationship with God. Though God desires partnership with us, we are much more to Him than merely His kingdom workforce! We established in chapter 1 that salvation is a call to relate to Him with obedient love and not just to work for Him and gain more blessing on our circumstances. Neither perseverance nor obedience earns us answers to our prayers. Jesus so desires relationship with us that He calls us to resist the compromise that injures our hearts and our ability to love Him.
If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. In other words, loving God, obeying God, and having an effective prayer life are different aspects of the one subject of living in such a way that His glory may be seen in our lives. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. The Bible does not describe a category of sincere believer who is casual about sin in his life.
Jesus will relate to us only on His terms, not on ours. He is full of grace, but His terms are clear, and they are established on His definition of love, righteousness, and godliness. God is looking for our agreement with Him because it strengthens our relationship with Him. The Lord is zealous for certain things, and He does not want us to be casual about them and draw back from focusing on them in prayer.
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It is prayer that is prayed under the following ten conditions, some of which I have only touched on in this chapter. Indeed, our prayers accomplish much in this age and in the age to come. The challenge is in not being able to fully measure right now the extent to which our prayers impact us, other people, and the nations. He still remembers our prayers from five years ago or even twenty years ago.
They are in a golden bowl near to His throne and near to His heart. In the vision recorded in the Book of Revelation, the apostle John saw the prayers of all the saints, not just those of the end-time saints. I believe that the prayers we offer today will still be effective in the distant future—five hundred or five thousand years from now. What we accomplish in prayer affects events on the earth today and also those in the distant future. Our prayers now for cities and nations will continue to have an impact in the age to come.
The prayers for revival and justice offered by all the saints from the whole of history will be fully answered together at the end of the age. Our prayers have a significant, partial release in our generation and a greater, more complete release in the future—even in the age to come. As we gain greater understanding that our weak, simple prayers are not forgotten, we are motivated to persevere in prayer, even when we feel discouraged.
Our love in this age is weak, but God is still moved by it. He will never forget the love we show toward Him in ministering to others in prayer or performing other acts of service. None of the prayers we offer or the actions we take in the will of God is wasted. Remember Cornelius? According to the account in Acts , an angel appeared to this Gentile, a Roman soldier, to let him know that his prayers and financial giving would be remembered forever as a memorial before God. Now, if the Lord eternally remembers the prayers of a Roman soldier who did not yet have the Holy Spirit because he was not yet born again, how much more will He remember the prayers of born- again believers?
This verse helps us to understand that there is continuity between what we do now and what happens in the age to come. But in order for such prayers to flow out of us, we must adopt a lifestyle of abiding in Christ. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. These verses are the essence of His foundational teaching on prayer. Jesus declared that He is the vine, the source of life, and that we are the branches, the expression of His life.
A person who cultivates a lifestyle of abiding in Christ is one who bears fruit that remains. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul links the subject of lasting fruit—work that remains—to eternal rewards 1 Cor. Jesus will give eternal rewards in the age to come as an expression of how He feels about the way we love Him in this age. How glorious it is that He remembers and esteems our small acts of obedience! Others may not see or appreciate them, but God notices and values them.
We bear fruit in two ways: inwardly in our character and outwardly in our ministry and service to others. Thus our fruit consists of godly character2 as well as ministry and service. Choosing humility, purity, and kindness leads to fruit that lasts forever. Through the activity of the Spirit in us and through us, we can do things that bear lasting fruit that God esteems forever. Our life becomes epic as we grasp the implications of this truth. Fruit-bearing that lasts forever is for anyone who will cultivate a life of abiding in Christ.
Maybe you have no education, no money, no gifting that you can see, and no friends. Maybe you feel unloved and believe that you are not beautiful. No matter what your circumstance or status is, you can still bear lasting fruit if you abide in Christ. It is one of the most neglected activities in the kingdom, yet it involves only three simple aspects—talking to Jesus, applying His promises, and obeying His leadership. These activities overlap, but they are not the same. Talking to Jesus The core task of abiding in Christ is talking to Jesus.
It is so simple that anyone can do it but so simple that many do not do it. The Christian life is an ongoing dialogue with a real person. In fact, the essence of Christianity is living in an ongoing dialogue with the most glorious Man who ever walked the earth. He is fully God and fully man, and we get to talk to Him! Jesus has much to say to us, but He allows us to set the pace of the conversation. If we start, He will continue the conversation as long as we do.
When we stop, He stops and waits until we begin again. He responds in the degree to which we communicate with Him. We abide in Christ more consistently by having many short ten-to twenty-second exchanges with the Lord throughout each day, in addition to having longer, focused prayer times that we put into our regular routine or schedule. Applying His promises The second aspect involved in abiding in Christ is applying the promises in His Word to our hearts.
Emotions such as shame, guilt, fear, or rejection often rise up in us to challenge what God says in His Word about His loving us, forgiving us, and providing for us. The enemy challenges these truths in the Word and accuses God continually Rev. We take a stand for what the Word says is true about us by speaking the Word over the negative emotions that rise up in us. The lies will not go away by themselves; they must be actively resisted as we confess the truths of the Word.
Others choose to ride out the storm of the negative emotions that rise up in them. Obeying His leadership The third aspect related to abiding in Christ is obeying His leadership, and we must not minimize this vital part of abiding. Jesus clearly stated that our obedience and our love for Him are closely connected: He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. I will love him and manifest Myself to him. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Obedience is an expression of our love for Jesus, and we are to set our hearts to love Him with a spirit of obedience. He was saying He will release the grace of His presence to our minds and emotions in such a way that we can feel it. Only in the context of obedient love does He reveal the deeper things of His heart. Some preach a distorted grace message that emphasizes the freeness of forgiveness while undermining the necessity of loving Jesus in a spirit of obedience.
Those who love God in truth will set their hearts to live in a spirit of obedience in every area of their lives—including their use of time, money, and words, and in what their eyes look at. This is a grave error. He loves us with all His strength. He wants us to love Him with all our strength. The Bible tells us that it is the obedient, or the pure in heart, who will see God Matt. What this means is that they will experience God more. The result of walking in purity is that our spiritual capacity to feel or experience the love of God increases.
Furthermore, God does not love us more when we obey Him; He already loves us completely and fully because of who He is—He is love. However, we do experience His love more. We feel it. We are inspired by it more. Some talk to Jesus regularly yet do not apply His Word to their hearts. Others apply the Word but neglect to talk to Jesus regularly. Some seek to obey Him but do not apply His Word. Others claim His promises but do not set their hearts to obey Him. We see two elements of this transforming union in John —11—we abide in Christ, and Christ abides in us.
The first idea, that our life is in Christ, is familiar to most of us, and we have just seen what it takes to make this a reality. But the truth that Christ lives in us is often overlooked, and few emphasize its implications. It is important to live in the light of both truths because doing so makes it possible for us to bear lasting fruit for the kingdom. First, He abides—lives—in our spirits instantly when we are born again. Second, He abides in our hearts progressively as He manifests His presence in our minds and emotions. Paul was praying that Jesus would abide, or dwell, in their hearts.
Jesus dwells in our spirits on the day we are born again, but in this verse in Ephesians, Paul is referring to our souls, or our hearts—our minds, wills, and emotions. The Holy Spirit wants to form Jesus in our hearts—in other words, in our personalities. Jesus is presented as knocking at the doors of hearts, and we are to open the doors and let Him in.
We often use this verse with unbelievers. He stands at the door and knocks. Jesus wanted deeper fellowship with them and desired to move in their lives in a greater way as they opened the doors of their hearts to Him. It has at least three results. Second, He inspires us with courage to keep diligently seeking God.
And third, He empowers us by renewing our minds, wills, and emotions to live in obedient love, and then releases His power through us to touch others. The Spirit teaches us. The Father sent the Holy Spirit to us to teach us all things John The Spirit is the great teacher, and He dwells within us. It is a most glorious privilege to have the teacher living in us. The Spirit inspires us. He will woo us and motivate us not to draw back or quit. One of the greatest needs in the body of Christ is the continual motivation that the Spirit gives us.
Because one of the most common temptations is to draw back from pressing in hard after God. The Spirit inspires us to recommit again and again to live in wholeheartedness and to never let go of our vision to walk in the fullness of God in our lives. The Spirit empowers us. The Holy Spirit empowers our hearts and our hands.
He renews our minds, wills, and emotions so that we live in obedient love, and He releases His power through us to touch others. This is the covenant that I will make with them. I will put My laws [Word] into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them. It is the spirit of revelation Eph. You can put a thousand different subjects at the end of this, my favorite prayer. In summary, our abiding in Christ means that we have daily conversations with God, apply the promises of His Word to our hearts, and obey His commands.
Abiding in Christ is the foundation of our prayer lives and the lifestyle that is necessary if we are to bear much fruit that remains forever. Have an appointment with the King and keep it. I understand the difficulties you may experience in developing a consistent prayer life because I too have struggled through many of the same difficulties. But by the grace of God, I have been able to maintain a consistent prayer life for more than thirty-five years. In this chapter I will share a simple but practical plan to help you grow in prayer, a plan that has helped me for many years.
I still use this three-part plan today: 1. Set a schedule for regular prayer times. A schedule establishes when you will pray. Make a prayer list. Cultivate a right view of God. A right view of God causes you to want to pray. If you will take these three simple steps, I boldly declare that over time both your consistency in and your enjoyment of prayer will increase dramatically. When I was struggling in college to establish my prayer life, a leader suggested that I schedule a time each day and make a prayer list.
He assured me that doing these two things would change my prayer life over time. He was right! I was hesitant at first, but his counsel to me worked. If you schedule time for prayer and make a prayer list, you will pray ten times more than you do now. I have made this statement for more than thirty years. People usually do not believe it, and some even argue against it.
It will work for you, and then you will wonder why you did not start this practice much sooner. For this reason we must be intentional about developing consistent prayer lives. If we do not set our schedules ourselves, others will set them for us, and the result will be very little time for prayer. It is of the utmost importance that we schedule time for prayer. Of course, we will not keep our schedules percent of the time, but we will keep them more often than we do not. I feel pretty successful if I keep my scheduled prayer time 85 percent of the time.
I aim to keep it percent of the time, however, and I treat my prayer time as a sacred appointment that I try not to miss except for an emergency. I encourage you to do the same. Praying on the run is part of abiding in Christ and will help you to abide in Him also, as we learned in the previous chapter.
But you will pray and abide in Him much more consistently if you have regular times to talk to God set into your weekly schedule. If you do not intentionally set apart time to pray, you will not pray nearly as much. We cannot consistently misuse hours each week and still have strong prayer lives. Growing in prayer takes time. It is normal for unexpected events and emergencies to interrupt our schedules. But we must aim to stick to our plan for prayer at least 85 percent of the time. You may have to occasionally reevaluate your set or scheduled prayer times. It may be necessary to tweak your schedule to keep it working with other things happening in your life.
We each have one hundred sixty-eight hours each week to use. If we take ten hours a day to sleep, eat, and get dressed seventy hours a week , that will leave us about a hundred hours a week for work and other things. We have time for what we truly care about. Without scheduling prayer as part of our regular activities, we may sincerely intend to have an hour of prayer a day, but we will often not get around to it.
As we make prayer a part of our planned routines, we will pray much more consistently. A prayer list is a simple tool that can help keep you focused during your prayer times. Often when I sit down to pray, my mind is blank. I have found them invaluable. I was eighteen years old when I made my first prayer list, and forty years later I am still using lists because I still need them. By no means do I limit my prayers to the things on my lists. Using my prayer lists as a guide, I am free to depart from them at any time. I often feel a desire to pray in a different direction, and I enjoy praying with the inspiration that comes from the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When I follow His prompting, I may not finish praying through my lists. The more we pray, the more our prayer lists will grow and change over time. So I add prayers and people to my prayer lists any time I need to. I have three prayer lists: one for my personal life, one for people and places ministries, businesses, cities, nations , and one for justice issues, including governments and social problems.
I pray for the release of the gifts, fruit, and wisdom of the Spirit in each of these areas, as you will see in the next chapter. Below is a brief rundown of some of the content of my lists. For my personal life This list includes several categories, such as praying for my inner man, my ministry, and my circumstances physical, financial, and relational. I share these prayers in detail in chapter I also use the acronym TRUST to remind me of five short phrases that help me commune with the Holy Spirit, who dwells within me see chapter For people and places I keep an updated list of individuals, ministries, and cities that I pray for on a regular basis.
I pray for individuals family and friends , ministries including my local church , missionaries and missions endeavors in particular parts of the world, and so on. I also pray for the destinies of specific cities —Jerusalem, for example, and Cairo, because the Lord laid this city on my heart—and for nations in great need such as Egypt, Syria, Haiti, Russia, North Korea, Israel, and so on. I spend extra time praying for the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel because Scripture exhorts us to pray for Jerusalem Ps. My list sometimes includes situations related to economic injustice, water rights, civil unrest terrorism, riots, and so on , natural disasters hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, drought , disease AIDS, tuberculosis, and so on , social crises for example, famine and genocide , and more.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe most of us will pray ten times more if we will use these two practical tools of establishing a schedule for daily prayer times and developing prayer lists. By putting these practical tools in place, you will be better equipped to pray with focus and consistency in the years to come. Why not put it to the test in the next year and see how much more you will pray by having a set time for prayer and using prayer lists?
I disagree. Consistency in prayer— talking to the Lord regularly and with focus—simply positions us to sit before Him more often so that we can receive more of His free grace in our daily experience. Being aimless or passive and thinking only of the present moment is not what liberty in grace is about.