Prayer Tip: Pray the Answer

Reminder: this Saturday 8/12 is 1/2 Day of Prayer. Come join us at the Plaza for any or all of the time 0800-1200.

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Do you remember working math problems when the textbook had the answers to odd numbered problems in the back?  Most of us looked at the answer first and then worked out the problem with the answer in mind.  The Bible is our answer book and we can pray the same way!

II Cor. 1:20 (Berkley)  “..in Him (Christ) all the promises of God are yes…”

“Promises are molds into which we pour our prayers.  They foretell what to expect.  They shape our praying.  They motivate, direct, and determine our supplication.  This makes Christian praying different – we pray from God’s promise which is His answer, and expect it to be fulfilled.”   Armin Gesswein

Make the Bible your prayer book and plead the promises of God!  Fix your eye on God’s promise rather than the need.

Prayer Tip: Bargaining With God

Have you ever tried to bargain with God?  “If you do this for me, God, then I’ll _________”.  You can fill in the blank.  Consider Paul’s description of God to the Athenians.

Acts 17:24-25 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things;

That pretty much leaves us without any bargaining power.  God doesn’t need anything we have since everything we have came from Him to begin with – ‘life and breath and all things’.

The GOOD NEWS is that we don’t need to bargain in order to receive from God what we need.   Consider:

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, …

Rom. 8:32  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Keep asking and believing God for what you need and keep surrendering your ideas of what that is.

And continue giving Him praise and thanks throughout the process.

Prayer Tip: Pray BIG

Have you ever had an Ephesians 3:20 prayer time?  What’s that?  I’m glad you asked.  I like that verse in the Living Bible.

Eph. 3:20 LB Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

A————-B—————————————————C———————>>>>

Point A is what I think the need is and B is what I believe is actually possible in this life.  An Eph. 3:20 prayer is letting my imagination run wild and praying the greatest ‘answer’ C that I can dream up.  Be assured God can do infinitely beyond that!!!  That’s usually when I simply ask Him for everything that He has for me.

Try it.  You probably even have a much better imagination than I do.  That’s not a problem for God.

Prayer Tip: Do You Try to Tell God What to Do?

Often when we pray, we have in mind exactly what we think God should do, when He should do it, and we even try to tell Him how to do it.  Think about it.  Does that really make sense?

Isa. 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For ”uc”>as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

His ways are so much higher and better than my ways, it doesn’t make sense to insist on my way.

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

I’ve concluded that if I’m going to trust Him fully and experience the good He has for me, I’ll need to distrust myself/my own understanding and not insist on what I think I want.

More often now I tell Him what I think the need is and then ask Him how I should pray.

Prayer Tip: Only Two Purposes for Prayer

Dr. Hugel – There are two and only two purposes for prayer – 1) to bring us to God and 2) to get us in agreement with His perspective/will.

Prayer is not about overcoming God’s reluctance but rather laying hold of His willingness.  Isa. 30:18  “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you…’

I John 5:14,15And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

If prayer is fundamentally about getting to know God, how does that change the way you pray?

Prayer Tip: Emotional Drains that Sap Our Strength

Reminder: 1/2 Day of Prayer this Saturday June 10 at the Plaza 8 a.m. to noon.

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Bitterness is an obvious drain that destroys the person harboring it and defiles everyone around them. But what about things like fear and worry and disappointment and self-pity?

 “The clearest evidence that God’s grace is at work in our hearts is that we do not get into panics.  The one great crime on the part of a disciple, according to Jesus Christ, is worry.  Whenever we begin to calculate without God, we commit sin.”     Oswald Chambers

We’re told (actually commanded) ‘do not fear’, ‘do not worry’, ‘fix your eyes on Jesus rather than yourself or your circumstances’. How are we to do that?    PRAY.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

Psalm 3:3-4 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain.

Psalm 27:13-14 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.

John 14:1 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

Prayer Tip: Is Bitterness Draining You of Life?

Are you (any hint of) bitter?  “All bitterness is ultimately toward God.” (since at the very least, God allowed ‘it’.)

Ephesians 4:30-31 (NASB)
30  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… 31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Bitterness towards people requires forgiveness….there is no other way to get rid of it – vs.32.  It is actually self-destructive.  Someone has said, “Bitterness is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”  A big key in forgiving others is choosing to focus on how much God has forgiven you.

But what about bitterness towards God?  That requires surrender … which comes out of trust which comes by God’s grace which comes out of humbling myself.  Possibly the greatest statement of faith in the Bible was made by Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” (13:15)  Can you truly believe that God causes all things to work together for good? Rom. 8:28  He really is that BIG.

We can’t really comprehend the extent of the destruction caused by being bitter …. And not just to ourselves, through our bitterness ‘many (everyone around us) are defiled’. Heb. 12:15

It should be obvious that bitterness hinders/chokes out the effectiveness of prayer.  A bitter person cannot experience the repentance that God blesses. (Heb. 12:17)

Pray ‘search me, O God’ this week to surrender and forgive and experience an unprecedented realm of largeness in your praying.