Tag Archive | Bible study

How to Pray, Part 2

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Today I want to go over praying God’s word, what that looks like, and how to apply this technique to your prayer time.  When we pray using the Word of God, we are praying His words back to Him.  Essentially we are praying His will.  When Jesus prayed what is known as The Lord’s Prayer, He prayed “Thy will be done”.  Praying using Bible verses is something that I do often.  I use prayers that others have written, and I have created numerous ones myself.

Colossians 1:9-14 are great verses to pray over yourself and family members.

“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”

When praying through these verses, your prayer may look something like this:

Father, I come to You thanking You for my family.  I continuously ask that You would fill them with the knowledge of Your will for their lives, giving them Your wisdom and understanding for each decision they make.  May they live their lives pleasing You, not grieving Your Holy Spirit.  May they produce the fruit of the Spirit in everything they do: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  May this fruit overflow abundantly in their lives producing the righteous character of Christ.  Please strengthen them with Your power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  May they experience Your endurance and patience in all trials.  Help them to learn to give You thanks in all things, for this is Your will for all of Your children.  I thank You for preparing for them an inheritance in Your Heavenly Kingdom.  Please help them live as children of Light.  Thank You for rescuing them from the dominion of darkness and transferring them to the Kingdom of the Son whom You love, through whom we have redemption and forgiveness of our sins.

What a powerful prayer!  I am sure you will want to pray this often for yourself and family.

There are so many things we can pray over using God’s Word.  I have an entire binder full of scripture prayers that I use daily.  Do you need to pray for your children to be obedient?  Whether they like it or not, may _____ obey the Lord their God so that everything will turn out well for them, Jeremiah 42:6.  May _____ obey their parents because they belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do, Ephesians 6:1.  You can pray that your children will have hearts that desire to obey their teachers, coaches, law enforcement, parents of their friends.  God desires for our children to be obedient.  This is definitely praying according to His Will.

Another topic to pray over is our words.  There are so many verses to use that will purify our speech and make us aware of our word choices.  Psalm 19:14 is a great place to start. “May the words of our mouths, and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing to You, Lord, our Rock and Redeemer.”  Pray this one often.  Every day.  For everyone you know.  We can pray that we will not enter into arguments using 2 Timothy 2:23-24.  Father, I pray that _____ will not get involved with foolish arguments that produce fights.  As a follower of Christ, we know that we need to stay away from foolishly quarreling with each other.  Please help _____ to be kind to everyone they interact with.  Help _____ to be able to teach others how to handle controversy in a godly way.  Help _____ to be patient, especially with difficult people.

And of course, we can use God’s Word to petition Him for salvation on behalf of those we love.  May _____’s name be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, Revelation 21:27.  May _____ openly declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead.  May they receive eternal salvation, Romans 10:9.  And my favorite, Colossians 1:13:  Father, deliver _____ from the kingdom of darkness and transfer them into Your Kingdom of Light.  We pray Acts 26:18 in Moms in Prayer:  Open _____’s eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus.

Praying using the Word of God is powerful.  In future posts I will share more ideas for turning Bible verses into prayers.

Critical Spirit

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Last night was a real eye-opener for me.   I realized that I have a critical spirit.  And the more that I thought about this, the more burdened I became.  As I have gone over my conversations, thoughts and attitudes I have come to see clearly so many sins that have piled up and taken root in my heart.  I want to examine what it means to have a critical spirit, then dive into how we remove and replace those sinful characteristics.

A critical spirit shows up in many ways, all of which act out of our sinful nature.  To be critical is to think of ourselves as better than others.  We have a sense of self-righteousness.  We are never wrong, and no one will ever measure up to our standards.  We always know the right way to do something, and are quick to offer our opinion.  We develop a “holier-than-thou” attitude.  All of this comes from a spirit of pride that can not see any wrong in ourselves.  Remember the verse in Matthew 7:3 says “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”  This means we need to examine our own hearts, motives, words, and attitudes instead of being critical and judgmental of others.  Matthew 7:1-2Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”  There is only one judge and His name is Jesus Christ.  Only Christ can see into the heart and motives of another person.  We have no idea where they are coming from or what their motives are in doing something.  

A critical spirit is one that is never satisfied.  This manifests itself in the form of complaining.  The Bible has much to say about complaining, like in the story of the Israelites for example.  The trip from Egypt to the Promised Land was supposed to only take a short amount of time.  I have heard many different accounts, but the general time-frame should have been around 11 days.  The main reason they wandered aimlessly in the desert was because of their disobedience. And one of the main ways they disobeyed was through complaining.  They were never satisfied.  They wanted to go back to Egypt where there was good food to eat, plenty of water to drink, they didn’t have to walk miles and miles, and they had their homes to rest in at night.  Their distrust in God came out in their words.  Their distrust in Moses to lead them resulted in a golden calf that they worshiped.  Their complaints kept them in the same place much longer than necessary.  Have you heard the phrase “to complain is to remain, but to praise is to raise”?  This is so true.  God wants us to be continually looking for ways to give thanks and to praise Him.  We may not always like our circumstances, but we can always find at least one thing to be grateful for.  Let’s focus on that and stop belly-aching.

Have you ever felt jealous and entitled to something?  That’s a form of a critical spirit.  What about bitterness?  Oh, that’s a big one!  Bitterness is nasty.  Its roots go way down deep.  What comes out of our hearts when we are bitter is not pretty.  And a lot of the time we are not even aware of how much bitterness we have until we explode all over someone.  Other forms of a critical spirit are pride, hypocrisy, gossip, and slander.  Our words tell us a lot about what is going on in our hearts.  The Bible tells us that “for whatever is in your heart determines what you say”, Matthew 12:34.  What is planted in your heart is sure to come out of your mouth.  Trust me.  This happened to me and it was not pretty.  I was so shocked that I have spent the day diving deep into what causes a critical spirit and am determined to eradicate this once and for all!

So what are we to do to replace these sinful habits?  For starters we must get into God’s word.  Searching the scriptures for what He has to say about a critical spirit is a good place to start.  Read Matthew 7:1-5 and carefully consider where you may be acting out of judgment.  Examine your own heart for sin instead of focusing on the sins of others.  We must come to a place where we are hating the sin in our own lives so much that we can no longer allow it to remain.  Then we will be able to effectively pray for others to have open eyes to their sin and to restore themselves to a right relationship with God.  Our focus should always be here instead of negatively thinking about what someone said or did.  Turn it over to God and let Him handle it.  Our desire should be for peaceful relationships and unity among each other.  We are to approach others with a sincere love for them that Christ has.  But we can only do this once our own hearts are clean and we are living with a whole-hearted devotion to God.

After we have dealt with the bitterness, we must learn to forgive.  This is not always easy, but absolutely necessary.  It is vitally important for our relationship with God.  The Bible clearly says that God will not hear our prayers when we are harboring sin in our hearts.  Psalm 66:18 says “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”  To remain in a right relationship with God we must come to Him with clean hands and a clean heart.  Confession is a must.  Thankfully He always welcomes us back into His presence.  

Contentment is something that we develop against a critical spirit.  Instead of striving for a situation to change, we can consider that there may be a blessing of growing closer to God in the midst of the trial.  Or instead of disagreeing immediately with someone, pray for God to show you how to be supportive.

Other ways that are the opposite of a critical spirit are showing appreciation, kindness, calmness, being gentle and sweet, or just being silent.  Not gossiping and slandering is huge is eradicating an oppositional spirit.

I hope this helps you to get a handle on overcoming a critical, negative spirit.  For more information, I suggest watching April Cassidy.  She is the Peaceful Wife and has great insight on this topic.

Acts 26:18

IMG_4489Today our Moms In Prayer group will be prayer-walking around our middle and high schools. I am hosting my weekly Bible study this morning, so I am not able to attend. But I did pray for our high school’s staff and students. I am so thankful that God is Omnipresent. He is with my kids throughout their days. He is present in every classroom, hallway, cafeteria, outside on the playground or football field. His angels stand guard watching over the entire school. Take some time today to pray for your child’s teachers. I have each one written down and pray for them often. Pray for their friends and classmates. Pray over what is allowed to be taught in the schools. And pray for protection over each student and staff member.

Job 12:13

IMG_4488Praising God this morning for His wisdom. How grateful I am that He shares with us wisdom for without it we would be truly lost. Imagine trying to find your way without a map or GPS. No internet access. No phone connection. Just wandering aimlessly around with no idea where you are going. God’s Word is our lifeline. To receive His instructions we must stay connected to Him. Father, thank you for guiding us through Your Word. Thank you for speaking truth to our hearts.

Hebrews 13:21

IMG_4482In this morning’s Bible study something really stood out to me. Lately I have felt a strong calling to do something specific, but have felt very unqualified for this. Thankfully God looks past our limitations and sees our potential. He sees beyond what we are capable of doing on our own and knows what is possible through Him. I am so thankful that we can rely on His work in us to accomplish what He desires for His kingdom.

Psalm 37:4

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Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Lord we are so grateful that You are working out plans that are for our good. We praise You for knowing the deepest desires of our hearts. You are omniscient, all knowing. You know before we do what we will be needing. And You know what ultimately will be best for our lives. I am so thankful for the ways our desires are met. Your plans far surpass our wildest dreams. We may think we know what we are needing or what we want, but in the end when we look back over our lives, we can see Your hand guiding us toward some things and away from others. Oh how grateful we are for this guidance. We are protected from things we had no idea would harm us. You also place in us a desire for following Your will for our lives. You gently lead us as a parent guides their child, holding their hand, walking beside them. May we learn to follow You and not run ahead. May we learn to listen to Your still small voice speaking truth to our hearts.

Fix Your Thoughts On Him

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This verse has come alive to me tonight. I have been wrestling with several things lately, all combined have stirred up inner conflict that is beginning to spill over. It is evident in my thoughts toward my friends, it is coming out in negative words of complaint to my husband, and it is causing me to want to run from several relationships that I have no idea what to do with. I do not like conflict. But tonight these words came gently to me in a way that gave me a new perspective. Instead of continuing to think over all of these things, trying to come up with solutions, or just running around with every possible scenario that could ever happen, I must turn my attention to God. Period. Fixing our thoughts on Him means not allowing our minds to be in charge. We must actively choose to think differently about those situations that are upsetting to us. Did she say something that you took to be rude? Was he not listening to you and assumed you were talking about one thing when you meant something entirely different? What about that slow driver in front of you? Maybe they are distracted by thinking about a serious medical issue in their family. Oh the list goes on and on. For me it has been several different issues with multiple people. By changing my thought pattern I can see things in a new light. I am able to give grace and offer forgiveness. I am more understanding and patient. I can think things through more clearly instead of being driven by fearful thoughts. Tonight pray for God to change your perspective to think on things the way He wants you to.

Eradicate

IMG_4460.PNGI don’t often receive a word from God, so when I do I pay careful attention.

ERADICATE means:
Pull up by the roots
Completely remove
Eliminate or destroy completely
We had a large amount of poison ivy pulled up from our yard and a few months ago and we pulled up an area of grass to create a garden. But it is hard to pull up, or eradicate every plant. Sprouts keep coming up. The soil must be thoroughly tilled. Every root must be removed. Every time a new sprout pops up it must be plucked out immediately. This is how we are to tend to the garden of our lives. Daily we need to be bringing our sins before the Lord to eradicate. Only He can remove them completely. It is up to us however to desire for this to be done. If we are still exposing ourselves to the same situations where we are most likely to sin, then we are not fully working with Him to cleanse our lives.
Think of how much time a gardener spends in his garden. He daily waters, prunes his plants, and pulls weeds. Much care is taken to ensure His plants are thriving the best way they can. In much the same way we are to tend to our hearts. Daily we must water our spirits with the Word of God. Soak in His truths. Bathe in His words. Let them go down deep to the roots of our heart. This is where real growth happens. We do not want shallow plants that will wither when hard times come. We want strong lives that can withstand the storms of life. We need to be continuously fed the Word of God like a tree that is growing next to a river. The Bible speaks of this in Jeremiah 17:8 ‭‭“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Job 11:14 “Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.”

Colossians 3:8 “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”
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James 1:21 “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

God Provides

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Father, I praise You for being able to provide for us everything we need throughout our lives. Whether it is a physical need (health, safety, financially, nourishment), or spiritually (becoming more like Christ in holiness), You will always provide for us. I pray that my children will be very aware of Your presence working in their lives. May they know that it is You who are working in them, providing for them, and guiding their lives. May they become more like Christ in their words and thoughts. I pray they will abound in every good work, giving You the glory for all they accomplish.

God is Able

IMG_4419Our Father is more than able to meet every need that we have. His resources are endless. Today let’s praise Him for being fully ABLE. His knowledge of our circumstances far exceeds our limited perspective. Trust in Him for His timing and ways.