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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chapter 5: Experiencing the Spirit’s Motivation in Prayer

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

In Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20, God teaches us to “pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jesus called the Holy Spirit a “helper,” the support in our weakness whose help we can lean on as we pray. The Holy Spirit makes prayer a reality in the believer’s life and everyday situations. We trust the Spirit of God who produces in us a Christ-like fervency and compassion.

The Holy Spirit motivates us to pray with zealous striving and agonizing.

My Story

A few years ago, I had a conflict with someone very dear to me and the situation was too close to be seen objectively. Every time I tried to pray, I became angry and bitter and couldn’t speak the words that God would have wanted me to say. But my intense feelings made me submit before God. The Holy Spirit created within me an emotional cry that was not an eloquent plea for this person’s soul, but an impassioned voice that cried out to God for mercy on their behalf. The Holy Spirit interceded before the throne for this person in a way I couldn’t feel at that time and that I never could have expressed. All I had to do was surrender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and humble myself before God, even if my heart was not in it.

Discussion

How do we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to speak for us?

Challenge

First Step: We respond to the Holy Spirit as he reveals the needs in our lives and of those around us.

Second Step: We acknowledge our inability to accomplish any of this without God: “We must realize that we cannot change our own hearts or the heart of another person.”

Third Step: Let this become our continual attitude and depend on the Holy Spirit to renew us as we confess and take on our spiritual responsibilities which are far too much for our own strength. Real spiritual emotion and compassion is the product of the Holy Spirit. We depend on the Holy Spirit of God for our motivation in prayer.

(Adapted from A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher, Moody Publishers, 2003)

Let us know your thoughts. And don’t forget to journal!

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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 4: Turning Your Temptations into Victorious Prayer

Romans 12:21 ” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

We can “turn back” a personal temptation by using it as a springboard for prayer for ourselves and others.

My Story

In this season, I find myself tempted to anxiety over the safety and well-being (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of my two college daughters. I am often distracted to tears and outright panic. I have already been using these times to pray and recommit my girls to God and to remember His promises from His word. “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19, NASB)  I have a small Facebook group of several moms, who also have college freshmen and their own anxieties for their children. When the anxiety comes, I am now praying not only for my girls and myself, but for my friends as well.

Discussion

What are your temptations? How can you use this temptation as an opportunity to minister to yourself and others?

Challenge

Beware the second temptation! Satan might remove our first temptation because we are using that temptation to pray and turning it around for good. Hopefully, we can then avoid the second temptation to stop praying.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 3: Sharing Your True Desires with God

Hebrews 4:16 “Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace to find help in the time of need.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

God longs to answer our prayers, but sometimes the prayers on our lips are not a true reflection of what is truly in our hearts. We say the right words, but our hearts are far from it!

The author tells the story of a man who cried out to God for deliverance from a bad habit. After much prayer, nothing happened. A wise and loving friend graciously asked him if he truly wanted deliverance. “Maybe,” he said, “you love this bad habit and don’t really want God to deliver you at all.”

This breakthrough began the process of him actually beginning to break his habit with the God’s help.

God already knows what we think. It is important to the process that we understand what is going on in our own hearts and that we are honest with God about the struggle. He is more than willing to come to our aid when we come to Him humbly and honestly.

For God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

My Story

For me, identifying my real problem is often my biggest struggle. Sometimes I fail to see the forest, and only see the trees. But I have found that when I am honest with my struggles, the very place where I wrestle with God becomes holy ground.

Discussion

How are you hurt? What tempts you? What do you find that helps you take these things to God’s throne and ask for mercy and grace? Ask God to help you be honest with your struggle and to give you strength and courage to do what is right.

Don’t forget to journal what God teaches you. We would love to hear from you.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 2: Praying With Confidence When You Feel Unworthy

Psalm 115:1 “Not to us O LORD, not to us but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

When we feel unworthy, not confident, and admittedly needy, we can know God’s love and faithfulness and trust Him fully.

Reflection

In coming before God when we have had a bad day, or feel unworthy or needy, we need to know that we can come with confidence despite our feelings. This is admittedly hard to do on some days. But if we come humbly, acknowledge what we lack, and lay down (sometimes physically) our needs through prayer in His name, God is there with us, desiring to listen and work through our circumstances. As the saying goes, “Let go and let God.”

Thrasher states that the concept of “name” in scripture refers to one’s character, reputation, or authority. Saying “in His name” is no mere incantation, as if we could control God’s response to our want. Instead, praying in God’s name means confidently relying on His character, His reputation, and His authority.

Too often we take our challenges on our own shoulders and do not give them over to the Lord.  This is taking on too much in our own power and strength. When we pray genuinely in His name, we call on the character and reputation of our Lord. We honor who He is and the work He can do in our souls and circumstances. This ultimately gives God the glory and should be our bottom line for every action and thought. As Thrasher said, “When a sheep ends up in the right place, discerning people do not praise the sheep but rather the loving and caring Shepherd.”  It is not about us—but how we come to Him and let Him work. We can do this by confidently praying in His name.

We enjoy the “awesome privilege of living for God’s name!” We should pray in such a way that to “draw attention to Him—even in the routine of the life”—what I like to call the “dailies” of life. We need to call on His name and trust Him.  When we do this it truly brings Him glory and avoid the appearance of being accomplished in our own names. John the Baptist said in John 3:30 “He must become greater and I must become less” (NIV).

Discussion

What do you need to let go of to truly trust and “lay yourself and your circumstances in His good and loving hands?” What is it in your life that needs to change? What have you not let go of in even the smallest way to come before Him with complete confidence?

Let us know your thoughts. And don’t forget to journal!

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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