Monday, March 7, 2011

Lesson 3 - A Heart Committed to Prayer

A Heart Committed to Prayer
A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

Let’s take our journal that we began last week and take the next step in developing a heart devoted to God. Our first entry was describing the woman we want to be spiritually in one year. Then in five years, and finally in ten years.

Now let’s take the next step…

Let us dedicate and purpose to spend the next year developing a meaningful prayer life. Write this goal on the top of the next page in your journal.

Consider that favorite hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.

Blessings of prayer that each one of us can cultivate a heart of prayer:

#1 A deeper relationship with God

 Prayer increases faith
     o Keep a prayer list. Write out your prayer list in your journal and begin taking your concerns to God each day. Watch your prayer list and see how He answers each one.

 Prayer provides a place to unload burdens
     o John 16:33 – Problems and sorrows are facts of life

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

     o 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your cares and burdens on God

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

 Prayer teaches us that God is always near
     o Psalm 46:1 – Cultivating a heart of prayer is a sure way to experience God’s presence.

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

 Prayer trains us not to panic
     o Luke 18:1 – Turning to God for every need will replace our panic nature with God’s strength.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

 Prayer changes lives
     o Prayer changes things but most of all it changes us!

#2 Greater Purity

 The one major change in our lives as a result of prayer is purity.
 Becoming pure is a process of spiritual growth, and taking seriously the confession of sin during prayer time moves that process along, causing us to purge our life of practices that displease God.
 Gossip as a struggle
     o 1 Timothy 3:11

Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

     o Titus 2:3

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

     o Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?
     o Confess it to God.
     o Matthew 5:29-30

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

     o 1 John 3:3

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

     o Sin leads to confession, which will lead to purging.

#3 Confidence in Making Decisions

 Make no decision without prayer.
 Galatians 1:10

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

 Do God’s will – not your own. Acts 13:22

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

 Make no decision without prayer.

#4 Improved Relationships

 You cannot think about yourself and others at the same time.
 You cannot hate the person you are praying for. Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

 You cannot neglect the person you are praying for.

#5 Contentment

 If God doesn’t meet it, you didn’t need it!
 Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

#6 God-Confidence

 One of the highest reported problems reported by women is low self-esteem.
 God-confidence comes as the Holy Spirit works in us.
 As we pray and when we make choices that honor God, the Holy Spirit fills us with His power for ministry.
 When we are filled with God’s goodness, we are confidently and effectively able to share His love and joy.
 As we practice the principle of make no decision without prayer, we experience a divine assurance with every step we take.
 Psalm 100:2

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 Psalm 40:8

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

#7 The Ministry of Prayer

 The power of prayer can change your life and can change others lives also.
 Prayer is a ministry.
 Use your journal as a prayer ministry.
 Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Yes, But How?

 Start a prayer log to record requests and responses as you travel your own personal journey of prayer.
 Set aside some time each day to linger with the Lord in prayer and remember that something is better than nothing. Begin small – and watch for the mighty effects!
 Pray always (Ephesians 6:18) and in all places, enjoying God’s presence with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; - Ephesians 6:18

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. – Joshua 1:9

 Pray faithfully for others – including your enemies (Matthew 5:44)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

 Take seriously the powerful privilege of the ministry of prayer.

Do you think praying – even for just five minutes a day – could change your life?

Lingering in God’s presence through prayer will increase your faith in Him, provide a place for you to unload your burdens, remind you that God is always near, and help you not to panic.

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