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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chapter 7: Being Guided in Prayer

Psalm 38:9: “O Lord, you understand my heart’s desire; my groaning is not hidden from you.” (NET Bible)

John 14:26: “But the (Helper) Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

In this chapter, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit is able to guide us in our prayer. This guidance from the Holy Spirit is dependent on our relationship with God. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us “stay in touch with our hearts so that we may fellowship with God” and be sensitive to what, when, and for whom He wants us to pray.

My Story

In my world, the abyss of the “endless prayer list” can drive me to the place of not praying at all. How freeing to be able to ask God to help me be in touch with the desires of my heart and His.

No story of a miraculous prayer-prompt comes to me at this time as I think about this. What does come to mind though is a habit I have of asking God for a verse from His Word to send, write, pray, or share with a friend or loved one. Most often, the Helper brings to mind a verse, and I pray it out and send it on. Every once in a while, I hear that the verse was exactly what was needed at the right time. Even when I don’t hear anything, I am confident that his Word always accomplishes His purpose. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Is 55:11).

Discussion

The word desire stands out in this chapter both in terms of my desire and God’s desire. How are these related to a relationship with God and prayer? Do I need to have my relationship with God at a certain place in order to pray effectively?

Challenge

In Luke 11, one of Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Thrasher encourages us to “ask God to deliver [us] from anything that is hindering [us] from praying [our hearts] to God.”

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Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 6: Receiving Strength to Believe God

Ephesians 3:16–17 “I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

This week, Thrasher reminds us that “the Spirit empowers us to believe God.” Not only does God want us to pray, and to pray within his will, but he wants us to believe that he will answer. The story that Richard Harvey recounts of the unbroken flask reminds us that God does work in mighty ways on His behalf and ours—when we pray and believe. But we must remember that “in his will” part. When we pray outside God’s will, we must expect the answer “no.” When we come to God in prayer and “ask Him what He desires us to believe Him for,” then we can and must expect the answer “yes.”

My Story

Dare I pray for an unbroken flask?

I struggle with knowing how to pray within God’s will, don’t you? Is it God’s will that my friend miraculously recover from cancer? Or is it his will that she continue to die with such grace that others desire the hope she has? Both answers glorify him. How can I know how to pray?

When I pray for our country and pray that our leaders will honor God through the laws they enact, I know God desires this. But does he will it? Does he promise it? How can I know what to believe? How do I know when God has answered, “Not yet, keep praying,” and when he has answered, “No.”

When should I expect God to keep the flask from breaking?

I believe we find the first answer to this question in the Spirit’s leading through prayer. Thrasher says, “In prayer we are to come to God and ask Him what He desires us to believe Him for.” We must depend on the Spirit to make clear God’s will, God’s word, and God’s promises. We must believe that he will tell us. And we must listen. We will know when to pray for the unbroken flask because we measure our relationship with God in seconds rather than days or weeks. We will know when we seek and study his heart.

And we find the second answer to this question in the unbroken flask’s context. Like Nehemiah praying for to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, or David believing that God would give him victory over Goliath, the context of the college freshman’s prayer was an expectation that God would defend his own name and honor against those who maligned it. Time and again, scripture shows God mightily defending his name–against Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s army, against the Philistines in the times of the judges, against Assyria’s attempt to invade Jerusalem. In all of these instances, God’s people had experienced devastation and a sense that God had forgotten them, but at the right time, through the prayers of repentant, righteous people, God defended his name. Dr. Lee’s students endured his open mocking of God and prayer for twelve years. Maybe he was right, they thought. Yet it only took one man willing to believe that God would—and could—defend himself for God to prove Dr. Lee wrong.

Discussion

Do you know what God is asking you to believe this year? Have you asked him? When you think about God’s promises, what obstacles keep you from standing firm in your belief? Mocking? Penalties? Fear? How are you working to overcome them? How does the Spirit encourage you to believe?

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

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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