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Archive for the 'Prayer' Category

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Developing Intimacy With God

10. The Function of Prayer

The function of prayer, which is the act of communicating and conversing with God, reveals a constant hunger for God’s help. An inner yearning, just as a child yearns for its parent. It is consolidating my desire towards the ultimate goal, of eternal life, joy, worship and knowledge of God – and of being fully known by God. It is also through the Bible that my desire to know God and be known by God, evolves and develops. That is why prayer and Bible reading go hand in hand. Prayer emits my words and thoughts to the God I seek to know, in response to His reaching out to me.

Through prayer, God can comprehend the Christian Disciple, regardless of language, grammar or oratory skill, if the Christian Disciple approaches with a correct attitude. Words, however, are not just to be a mental action but also an emotive act, conveying emotions and feeling. Prayer is a way for me to convey my deep emotions, feelings and expressions to God, regardless of my language skills, or lack thereof. The words spoken in prayer portray my innermost feelings and desires to Him.

This is because God is alive, and what is more, He is personal. He values language and expects His people to talk to Him. If for some reason, I am unable to convey my words in prayer, then Romans 8:26, intimates that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me! WOW! Remember, as a Christian Disciple, the Holy Spirit lives within you and I, seals us as God’s children, unites us as family and He is the Great Comforter and Encourager. How easy it is for me to forget this fact of spiritual life. Prayer epitomises the Father–child relationship, symbolized in my relationship with God. It further symbolizes the freedom and peace in prayer, advocated by Jesus to communicate His deepest desires, as in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) and as we read in John 17. Prayer is not just me talking to God, but also being silent, to allow God to talk to me.

Now a question we all ask at some time or another. I know I have regularly. We ask it, either consciously or even subconsciously: Does God answer all prayers?
Firstly, the answer I expect, may not be the answer I get! Is that your experience of prayer? I know that it is often my experience! So often I pray, expecting one result and I end up getting another completely unexpected result. I then often think that God hasn’t answered my prayer! Sometimes the answer He gives, is ‘Yes’. At other times, it is ‘No’ or ‘Not yet. Wait.’ When I recall that God works outside of my restrictions of time and space, it is a lesson for me to not only learn, but also to remember. A lesson which says that I am to trust His judgement and wisdom. After all, He is God and I am not. I am to acknowledge that He is the Master and I am His servant. Alas, sometimes when I pray, I like to think I am the Master and He is my servant. Is that also your experience?

Why are some prayers unanswered? There are various reasons, I think, that prayers aren’t seemingly answered. It may well be due to things like:

  • unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18)
  • disobedience (Proverbs 28:9)
  • pride (Luke 18:11–14)
  • doubt (James 1:5–7)
  • selfishness (James 4:3)
  • others not responding to God’s call upon them to be the answer to the prayer
  • no reason, that for now that can possibly be conceived, seen or understand.

    God knows best and I am to acquiesce to His love and His knowledge – despite my tears and tantrums towards Him. He is the Master and I am to be His servant. He is willing to hear my voice. He wants to hear my voice. He wants to hear of my love for Him. I am in a relationship with God, because of God, and I desire to show my love of God and tell Him that I love Him. His desire is to have me serve Him and for Him to lavish His love upon me, in all manner of ways and in all circumstances of life. Is this your experience of God and your life with Him?

Next week we start to look at Jesus’ teaching on prayer as part of our Developing Intimacy With God.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the gentle moon and joyful stars,
and watch over the darkest night.
You are the source of all peace,
reconciling the whole universe to the Father.
You are the source of all rest,
calming troubled hearts,
and bringing sleep to weary bodies.
You are the sweetness that
fills our mind with quiet joy,
and can turn the worst nightmares
into dreams of heaven.

Amen

(A prayer of Erasmus from the 16th century)

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Developing Intimacy With God

9. Prayer - Some Thoughts

As Christian Disciples, followers of Jesus Christ, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. That can easily be seen in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, what we call the “Lord’s Prayer”, which we look at together later in this series. If you and I are engaged in spiritual warfare, that means we are to have weapons. Prayer, along with studying and reading the Bible, are our weapons of spiritual warfare!

Prayer is at the centre in the relationship between God and the Christian Disciple, consequently building friendship and intimacy between God and ourselves. Prayer is to be the major action of fellowship between God and humans – of you and I communicating with God, both in talking and listening (Genesis 18:33) – as individuals and with other people. Not just as certain times of the day but also throughout the day – constant communication and not just for 30 minutes in the morning.
Prayer is also a way of “letting God in” to the life of the Christian Disciple, of enjoying the company of God, relating all aspects of life to Him - and into the life of the Church – local, national and global.

Prayer is also a means of protection for the Christian Disciple, in that the Christian Disciple is too weak in their own understanding and strength to withstand all that is against them. God Himself assists me as I pray: where yearnings are corrected and strengthened.

Prayers expressing my desires and thoughts, offer a contributory way to my journey as a Christian Disciple. A cursory look at the book of Psalms in the Bible, will show that they are superb biblical examples of prayer. Prayer is ultimately what we as humans were made for: conversing and communicating with God, all the while developing intimacy and relationship with God. This dynamic relationship enables me to engage in prayer that is personal and relational.

However, prayer is only the penultimate stage in the relationship with God. Prayer is the forerunner of the day when I as a Christian Disciple, will know fully, even as I am fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12). All true prayer consists of a desire, a yearning and a longing to know God better, and that is to be my prime motivation: to know God better. That is why prayer is a spiritual weapon, and it is also the reason satan tries to stop Christian Disciples from praying.

That’s it for this week! Next study in this series we look together at the function of prayer
 

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Friday Prayers

 

 Prayers for Refugees...

Today on Partakers we are praying a series of prayers - ancient and modern - for refugees worldwide. As we know, Jesus our Lord, was a refugee when a baby, as Joseph & Mary escaped to Egypt with him. Come on in, download the mp3 and pray with us!

We commence with a prayer from the ancient Syrian church...
O my God,
You are the unsearchable abyss of peace,
the ineffable sea of love,
the fountain of blessings,
and the bestower of affection!
You are the God who sends peace to those that receive it;
open to us this day the sea of Your love,
and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Your grace.
Amen

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Friday Prayers 12th June 2020

Today on Partakers, we are praying specifically into the CoronaVirus Pandemic which is affecting us all globally... Come and pray with us!

One of the prayers we are praying is:

O God, we pray into this situation regarding the CoronaVirus pandemic.
O God our Father, help and heal all those who have this virus
and give wisdom to those working on a vaccine or cure.

We are bereft of the number of people suffering from this,
yet we know you are in control.
We trust in you and we worship you alone. Amen

Father, from your twin wellsprings of grace and mercy,
hear these cries of our hearts and take the burdens we carry...

Amen…

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Partakers Friday Prayers

5 June 2020

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

A prayer of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

O Almighty and all-knowing God,
Who is without beginning or end!
Who is the giver, preserver, and rewarder of all virtue!

Grant me to stand firm on the solid foundation of faith,
be protected by the invincible shield of hope,
and be adorned by the nuptial garment of charity.

Grant me by justice to obey you,
by prudence to resist the crafts of the Devil,
by temperance to hold to moderation,
by fortitude to bear adversity with patience.

Grant that the goods I have I may share liberally
with those who have not,
and the goods which I do not have I may seek with
humility from those who have.

Grant that I may truly recognise the guilt of the evil I have done,
and bear with equanimity the punishments I have deserved;
that I may never lust after the goods of my neighbour,
but always give thanks to you for all thy good gifts.

Plant in me, O Lord, all thy virtues,
that in divine matters I might be devout,
in human affairs wise,
and in the proper needs of the flesh onerous to no one.

And grant that I may never rush to do things hastily,
nor balk to do things demanding,
so that I neither yearn for things too soon,
nor desert things before they are finished.


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Developing Intimacy With God

6. The Bible Helps Equip You To Serve God

One of the main ways that the Bible helps you, is by equipping you for active service! There are at least four ways, in which the Bible does this in your Christian life!

Firstly, the Bible also equips you for doing battle with Satan and resisting temptation. Paul likened this believers’ spiritual armour to that used by Roman foot soldiers (Ephesians 6:11-17). In Paul’s pen-picture here, the Bible is compared to a soldier’s sword. A sword is not only used to defend, but also used to attack. Jesus defended Himself from satan’s attack by using Scripture to show the devil how wrong he was (Matthew 4:3-4).

Secondly, is that the Bible equips, and is useful for, evangelism and pointing others to Jesus Christ. In Acts 8 we read that the Ethiopian was puzzled by Isaiah 53. It was in explaining about that, that Philip could talk to him about Jesus Christ and bring him to faith. (It is also thought by some that he was responsible for starting the Christian church in Ethiopia which continues to this day).

Thirdly, the Bible equips you as a Christian to use your spiritual gifts. Paul talked often about them and one list is in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit, to you the believer, so that the church is encouraged and God is glorified. Your spiritual maturity derives from building Bible knowledge, which in turn helps you use your talents in the best way possible to serve God and other people.

Finally, the Bible equips you in order that you may give counsel to others seeking help. An example is seen in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where Paul urges Timothy to use Scripture when teaching others.

As you read your Bible regularly, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you! You will start growing in spiritual maturity. As you do, and as you use these methods living the Christian life, you will grow into spiritual maturity.

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PulpTheology Book

"Developing Intimacy With God"

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G’day! The book this week is "Developing Intimacy With God: A Little Book of 95 Prayers". Inside this little book, there is something for you to learn afresh or be reminded about, regardless of who you are.

Prayer is to be a sign of intimacy with God as it develops our relationship with Him. Prayer I have discovered, is to be an ongoing conversation with God.

Prayer is how we are energized and invigorated as we strengthen our relationship with Him. God is personal and He loves to hear us and talk to us. Prayers are not just the unprompted and spontaneous variety, but also the written form. Jesus Himself would have said scripted prayers as part of 1st century Jewish worship. In this little book, we have some prayers from the Bible as well as from the Church down through history. They are prayers which I have used in my own life - both personally and corporately.

This book is also as a way to celebrate that moment in time, when on 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, started what we know now as the European Reformation, when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle. Therefore, in this little book, to celebrate that momentous act in Church History, there are 95 prayers – prayers from Moses through to Martin Luther and onto to John Stott of our own century. Come, Church! Let's pray together!

Whether you have not started the Christian journey yet, you are just starting your journey as a Christian, or have been a Christian for a while, you can either learn afresh or be reminded about the prayer and your Devotional Life. Come on in!

"Developing Intimacy With God: A Little Book of 95 Prayers" available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle with ISBN: 978-1512136838
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You can purchase this book at Amazon UK on this link:

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Developing Intimacy With God

5. Keys To Understanding The Bible

You may well be asking a particular question by now. Just how does God the Holy Spirit illuminate the Bible to you. What is it that the Holy Spirit uses to help make the Bible easier to understand?

The answer is prayer. Pray and ask that the Holy Spirit will help you as you read. That is a major part of his role in your life as a believer. He will use the Bible to enlighten and illuminate your mind, heart and will as you seek to be obedient to the Lord.

Remember the Bible is inerrant and infallible. That is, it does not mislead in matters of faith and practice. It does not contain errors or mistakes in its original form. It is the Bible that God intended us to have. God speaks through it so it is totally trustworthy. That statement strictly speaking, only applies to the original manuscripts and languages. Because of that, we are to maintain the Bible as our final authority over all things. We can do this because if any part of the Bible appears to contradict another part, there must be a meaning in the contradiction - even if we find it difficult!

The Bible is a balanced and unified message from a God who does not change. By reading the Bible regularly, you will be see how it holds together. I would recommend reading it daily, perhaps first thing in the morning to help your day start off well. As you read, it is a good practise to always ask yourself questions about the Bible passage you are reading. Use a good set of daily devotional studies! There are many available for you and your own taste. Use a Bible you can read easily. There are many translations available to suit your taste and style of reading.

Finally, expect to be changed when reading the Bible with an obedient heart, mind and will. The Bible is God’s Written Word because it is active, and God will not cease transforming you into the image of Jesus the Living Word.
 

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Friday Prayers 22nd May 2020

Today on Partakers, we are praying specifically into the CoronaVirus Pandemic which is affecting us all globally... Come and pray with us!

One of the prayers we are praying is:

O God, we pray into this situation regarding the CoronaVirus pandemic.
O God our Father, help and heal all those who have this virus
and give wisdom to those working on a vaccine or cure.

We are bereft of the number of people suffering from this,
yet we know you are in control.
We trust in you and we worship you alone. Amen

Father, from your twin wellsprings of grace and mercy,
hear these cries of our hearts and take the burdens we carry...

Amen…

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