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by Barbara Smith
The Lord Jesus then reminded His disciples of the tenderness and care which they gave their children. (Luke 11:11-12) They would not tease them nor would they give them anything that might harm them. If men, whose hearts are evil, can give goo gifts, how much more will their heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit?
God Initiates the Call to Restore COMMUNICATION!
God has done the work, taken the first steps, and waits upon us to talk to Him. You are connected — the heavenly phone is ringing, friends.
HE means our conversation to be a two-way conversation, enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit who prays when words fail me; who knows what I need when I don't. (Rom. 8:26-27) Through the work of the Spirit — God hears our humble prayers, He strengthens our hearts — and inclines God's ear in our direction. (Ps 10:17)
The moment when I want to avoid prayer, is the very moment to stop what I am doing and PRAY! It is said that Martin Luther, when he was too busy to pray, added an extra hour to his prayer time -- He did not trust his personal sense of priorities.
Comprehension of Christ's simple teaching about prayer, I learned, does not mean immediate answers or split second mastery of spiritual truth. E.M. Bounds noted that, "God's acquaintance is not made hurriedly." He certainly will answer a desperate believer's "arrow prayers," but "He does not bestow His gifts on the casual or hasty comer and goer. To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him."
Now, may I ask, when was the last time you were "much alone" with God? Remember as we go through this material and as we work in the small groups and when you go home from this weekend: "God's acquaintance is not made hurriedly."
This is not a guilt trip — but if you give God a portion of your day, HE will redeem your time. Redemption is HIS business! Jesus had the same twenty-four action packed hours we do, and HE managed to pray. Yes, it takes time — and I know you are busy, but a woman who is to busy to pray, is busier than God wants her to be.
God Enables Our Prayers and Always Answers
What will you do with this great invitation and powerful resource that God gives to all believers -- not just the eloquent ones?
Ask Christ for the strength to obey what the Word shows you: Divine guidance is available to every believer. Christ walks as closely with us as HE did with the disciples (Galatians 5:16) He will never leave us, and He is concerned with our whole manner of living. He is not a psychic friend, telling us what to do. He wants to give us faith to live out HIS commands. We know what to do: He has written His law in our hearts. We need His strength to obey what He has commanded us to do.
God Monitors Our Hearts and Screens Our Calls
If we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. Ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Pray for fulfilment of the promises God has made in the Bible.
The Bible tells us that He has revealed His will to us: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. Deut. 29:29 How can we observe what we won't read or study or memorize? What we don't know about all the words of this law may be hindering our prayers.
God is always at work -- creating a stronger connection. The Bible comforts us, explaining that Christ is praying for us: "He always lives to make intercession for us." (Heb 7:25) Perhaps this summer He is praying for me to become a more diligent prayer warrior and Pray without ceasing.
Praying about Our Relationships
Praying about Our Responsibilities
Praying about Our Reactions
How do you react when twice a month your body goes nuts? How do you react when you run out of money three days before payday — or when an unexpected phone call changes your life?
God has permitted every situation and suffered every one of your reactions to every situation in your life. If you believe that, what do you long for God to do with your emotions?
Praying about Our Righteousness
Understanding how and why you are standing before God, will make a difference in your prayer life. "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isa 64:6)
Do you know the garment that Isaiah is referring to is not the garment worn to do chores that might get soiled and need washing? Here, Isaiah uses the word for stained menstrual garments — rags that would never be recycled — but burned outside the camp!
What would you like God to do with your personal righteousness? Ask for the righteousness that comes from Christ alone: "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ . . . each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Cor 3:11-15)
Christ actively prays for you. Christ agreed to engrave YOUR name on the palms of His hands, so that when He prays for you, your needs are ever before Him. "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before me. (Isa 49:16, Hebrews 7:25) NOTHING has gotten by your broken defenses that God doesn't have a plan to rout the enemy!
Remember you have a prepaid, unlimited private connection, and Christ bids his disciples to "Ask . . . seek, . . . and knock . . . For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened."(Matthew 7:7-8)
Are you still dawdling outside the Throne because you don't have the right words? What would you say? Well — nothing is wrong with awe-struck silence. Nor is it wrong to fall face down and worship. Silent worship is acceptable until the Holy Spirit prompts us to speak. And the Spirit may do all the praying: "for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom 8:26-27)
Prayer is the mechanism that keeps me in touch with my God. It is the soul's desire for God, expressed in praise and petition. Now just like there is a right way and a wrong way to use a phone — I am learning there are better and worse ways to pray. D. God is completely trustworthy.
Christians address the Holy One of Israel as Father through faith in Christ. The Christian faith is unique in that we pray because God invites us to pray so HE can talk to us.
When you are praying, remember: Don't hang up if you think you hear static — or if you think the line is dead. Deposit some more time in your conversation — Speak clearly and distinctly, repeating the great promises from Psalms and the prophets, reading and singing the great old hymns — He will pick up.
One major concern we women have, is those we love. We want our loved ones to know the Lord Jesus Christ!
"Oh God save my husband, my parents or children!" is a worthy plea. Racing into the Throne Room with this upon our hearts is not wrong — but, like the child who won't sit still long enough for a conversation about the family's plans, you may miss the joy of being a part of God's plans for your loved one when you won't sit still long enough to talk through what God has in mind.
Has God made a promise -- said anything in the Bible -- upon which you can base a conversation about a loved one's spiritual well-being?
Praying intelligently is reminding God of HIS words. His words comfort me and challenge me: His Holy Spirit searches my heart, revealing unbelief, wickedness, rebellion.
Use God's own words to talk to God about the burdens you have for the lost whom you love. Consider applying what Paul and Peter said about those we love. "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy." (1 Cor. 7:14) "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Pet 3:9)
Oh God, thank you for your word — your promise, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." I bring before your Throne _________. God I want them to know you, please — to enjoy you forever. In your time Father, reveal yourself- -make them see YOU for who you are — Gracious God, sanctify me — forgive my sins which drown out your message of Grace in ______'s life. Thank you that while there is life there is hope.
Another major issue for women is fretting — being fearful — being "concerned." We are very, very good at that, aren't we? Do you know some promises from Scripture that cast out fear and build faith?
God understands the burdens of women in this day and age. From your small group discussion, you see that He did in the Bible biographies you read. Praying to Him and with Him through our burdens, instead of hiding them, frees our souls, and allows us of serving Him and those we love.
In the Bible, God gave us several examples of women with heavy burdens. HE will make the time to talk to you — why won't you? (See the Proverbs 31 Prayer)
Remaining a Woman of Prayer
"Let [the woman] who means to love life and see good days Refrain [her] tongue from evil and [her] lips from speaking guile. And let [her] turn away from evil and do good; let [her] seek peace and pursue it. "For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Pet 3:10-12)
More Ideas to keep praying —
© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
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