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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chapter 11: Learning George Mueller’s Secret

Joshua 1:8 “This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. then you will prosper and be successful. (NET Bible)

Main Idea

George Mueller lived an adulthood dedicated to the preeminent priority of prayer. His dedication to this necessary discipline enabled him to pastor, evangelize, and care for orphans in a way that showed the world a God who answers his children. And the secret to Mueller’s prayer life was his “devotion and delight in God’s Word” (79).

My Story

In my early adult years, I found myself often crying out to God in prayer. I wanted to know his will with certainty. Should I go to this school? Should I marry this man? Should we buy this house? How even should I pray? Did I have the right questions? The right focus? I prayed and prayed for answers and certainty, but failed to find them. Eventually I realized this principle that Thrasher mentions in our current chapter: praying from Scripture. So I prayed, “Lord, show me in Scripture your answer to my concerns.” Then, opening my Bible to passages that I thought might apply, I expected God’s answer to leap off the page. It did not.

What had I missed about this praying-from-Scripture principle? Over time, my ears began to hear the full message of Joshua 1:8–9 and Psalm 1: 2–3: “meditate on it day and night.” If I avoid regularly reading, studying, and contemplating God’s word, I will lack his words and his will on my tongue when I cry out. I will lack wise fingers to find the right pages among many. I will lack his answers when I need them.

I know this, and still when the schedule spills over with activity, I let the busyness crowd my time in Scripture. I notice my prayers growing shallower. I hear God’s answers as if through ear plugs in my heart. I lower the shades on his glory.

I think George Mueller had it right: one hour of prayer and four hours of work beats five hours of work. I look forward to Thrasher’s next chapters on how to make the steady “practice of meditation a reality” (81).

Challenge

The Christmas season, ironically, often becomes a season when we tune out God due to our busyness. May these days leading up to the holy-day find us in the Word and on our knees.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 10: Achieving Victories You Never Thought Were Possible

Matthew 18:20 “For when two or three are assembled in my name, I am there in their midst” (NET Bible).

Main Idea

In this journey we call life, we are all faced with decisions—some more difficult than others. But it is the intercession of the Holy Spirit through other fellow Christians’ prayers that make the answers clear.

My Story

I remember times when the circumstances of being a mother seemed very much beyond my control. They burdened my heart and caused great sadness that overwhelmed me; I saw no simple answer. My children were in some difficult situations that I could not parent them through. I saw my role as a mother undermined and feared I would fail without help.

I have several friends with whom I have met for twenty years. They are lovely women who have undergone many of the same trials I have. We consider ourselves a prayer and accountability group. I can share my innermost thoughts and fears with them. We prayed over each situation regarding my children. God worked through them to bring peace to my troubled heart. After that, I only had to trust God, and wait to see what would happen.

Each dire state of affairs was transformed into blessings by God. These experiences were so far beyond my control. But it was the common voicing of my needs and the needs of my friends that worked these miracles in my life. I would not be who I am today without these women. God has truly blessed me and I am ever so grateful to them and their giving hearts.

Discussion

Having the agreement of other hearts in prayer in one’s life can lead to deeper connections with God and his people on a human and spiritual level. The intercessory work of fellow believers creates a blessing and should be valued at each opportunity.

Challenge

  1. Ask God to bless you with a prayer partner, a person with whom you can pray and share your thoughts. This friendship can infuse spiritual knowledge into your life that is more than the power of your own prayers. If you are married, try to initiate this connection with your spouse. This could strengthen your relationship with one another and with God.
  2. From your rising to your setting, make prayer the first and last action of your day. Prayer can change anything, so try to find different times during the day to pray alone and with others. This will connect you with God at spontaneous moments and draw you closer to your fellow Christians.

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

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 9: Receiving Help in Prayer from Others

I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” (NET Bible)

Galatians 6:2 “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

In chapter nine, Thrasher brings us the idea that one specific way of aiding our prayer life is cultivating the affirmation and and blessing of godly companionship to help us cast our cares upon the Lord.

My Story

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, my world came crumbling down. “Overwhelmed” is an understatement when faced with the prospect of cancer and one’s own mortality. Had it not been for the many who came alongside as my husband and I cast our care (of this diagnosis) on the Lord, I think my we would have despaired of life itself. Many prayed for our well-being, our strength both emotionally and physically, discernment of options, and perseverance along with simple, gentle comfort from God.

We can honestly say we have never felt more uplifted in our spirit, strengthened in our resolve to fight on, and clarity in the decisions we had to make than at this time. If we had not had others around us who took on, felt our pain, and fought the battle alongside us we would have had a much harder time walking the path the Lord had set before us.

We had a peace and strength that “was beyond our understanding” (Philippians 4:7).  We knew it could only come from casting our cares and burdens upon the Lord with others right there alongside us. The Lord asks us in I Peter 5:7 ” to cast all our cares on Him (the Lord) because He cares for us.” While He cares for us and wants us to bring everything, humbly, before Him, we also need to grasp how important it is to have others stand beside us, praying for us and with us. Even the Lord himself in crisis (in the garden of Gethsemane), asked his friends to “keep watch with Him in prayer” (Matthew 26:37-38). God also encourages us in Galatians 6:2 “to carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Thrasher states “the Bible clearly affirms the blessing and need of godly companionship. Iron sharpens iron so a person sharpens his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Having others pray for and with you is a mighty powerful thing. Others can pray for your situation, strength, discernment for the road ahead, protection and comfort.

Discussion

How important is it for you to live in this crazy, busy world with a peace that passes all understanding? Do not be a lone wolf. Cast ALL your cares on the Lord but also have someone in your life come alongside and walk with you in prayer, sharing and caring as you walk this earthly life together.

On the flip side, be always aware of who you can come alongside and be in prayer for. Do you have someone you can pray with? If not seek and search out someone you can share precious prayer time before the Lord. Do it today! If you have someone you do pray with, touch base with them and continue to spend precious prayer time with them and with the Lord

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

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 8: Receiving Help When You Don’t Know How to Pray

Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…”

Main Idea

In our weakness and human limitations, we don’t always know how to pray.

We often struggle with knowing what is best in a given situation. The Spirit of God helps us to pray. He who knows our hearts and the very mind of God, pleads the deep desires of our heart and helps us to pray according to the will of God.

In this chapter, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit is our helper and brings the longings of our hearts before the throne of God.

The author gives a story of a personal friend who visited a bitter old woman. She wanted nothing to do with the church. So, he offered to pray. His heart was so broken for her situation, that tears rolled down his cheeks and no words could come from his lips. He felt like an utter failure. However, in his weakness “he leaned upon the Spirit of God who poured out tears of compassion.”  It was his tears that began to turn the heart of this bitter old woman.

Often, it is in our weakness that we pray our best prayers.

My Story

I remember a time when one of my daughters was dating. She had two young men pursuing her for marriage. I did not know how to pray.

I specifically remember being in a food court at a local mall and crying out to God from the depths of my heart. “You know all things. You know all hearts, what do I pray?”

Then, as clear as day the thought came to me. Pray that she seeks Me and loves Me with her whole heart. If she loves Me, she will love what I love… and the right decision will be made clear. When I came home, I found her on the sofa in tears. She had her Bible opened and was holding a missionary biography that she was reading. She asked if she could get a hotel room for the night, so she could spend some time alone in prayer.

It been over five years, since she and her hubby have said “I do.” Each passing year gives testimony of what we did not know, but He did. She chose well. One of the greatest joys outside of bringing our children into the world is watching them continue in what they’ve been taught and delighting in the spouses God has seen fit to give them.

Discussion

Are you in a situation where you do not know how to pray? Ask God to help you pray and listen.

Challenge

Sometimes what appears to be right at the moment, is not always the best. We need God’s help when we pray.

Is there a longing in your heart that is not being answered? Could it be that God is desiring to grant you an even deeper longing and desire of your heart?

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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