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Posts tagged ‘talking with God’

The Prayer of Jesus: How to Talk to God

SOURCE:  Dr. Bob Kellemen

There’s nothing more important in life than our relationship with God through Christ.

This is, of course, true for our eternal life. It is also true for our daily life. This is why Jesus taught his disciples—and us—how to pray, how to talk to God.

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4 

Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus teaching us how to pray. Known by many as “The Lord’s Prayer,” I also like to call it “The Prayer of Jesus.” For all eternity, the Father, Son, and Spirit communed together and communicated (John 1:1-18; John 17).

So…when Jesus teaches us how to talk to God, we need to listen.

A Memory Aid: “CHRIST” 

If you’ve heard me teach or read any of my writings, you know I like memory aids. Sometimes, I use alliteration—starting each point with the same letter. Sometimes, like today, I like to use acrostics—using each letter in a word as a teaching devise. We use it to learn how to pray in Christ’s school of prayer.

I’m doing that today with the Lord’s Prayer, or The Prayer of Jesus, using our Savior’s title—Christ—as our memory aid. You see it outlined below.

For a one-sheet, front/back Word document version, go here: The Prayer of Jesus: How to Talk to God.

For a one-sheet, front/back PDF version, go here: The Prayer of Jesus: How to Talk to God.

The Prayer of Jesus: How to Talk to God 

Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4

Your Daily Prayer Guide: “CHRIST

Prepare to Pray: Meditation“Our Father Which Art in Heaven”

C   Commune with God: Adoration—“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

H   Honor the King: Intercession—“Thy Kingdom Come”

R   Radically Commit: Submission—“Thy Will Be Done”

I   Invite God-Rescue: Supplication—“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

S   Savor the Savior’s Grace: Confession—“Forgive Us Our Sins”

T   Triumph Over Temptation: Petition—“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

Confidently Trust God: Glorification—“For Thine Is the Kingdom”

Learning How to Pray in Christ’s School of Prayer

  • Prepare to Pray: Meditation—“Our Father Which Art in Heaven”
  1. Meditate on the perfect fatherly character of God: Our Father in heaven.
  2. Contemplate the nature of God’s fatherhood: Our Father of holy love.
  3. Reflect on the Body of Christ: Our Father, not only my Father.
  4. Enjoy God the Father’s full attention and acceptance in Christ: Bask in His fatherly grace.
  • Commune with God: Adoration—“Hallowed Be Thy Name”
  1. Praise God for Who He is: Worship, magnify, exalt, and glorify your heavenly Father.
  2. Thank God for what He does: Express your gratitude for all His grace-gifts, for His works.
  3. Pray that the whole world would be in awe of God: All the earth grasping, enjoying, and        exalting the character (name) of God.
  4. Set apart God as the supreme desire of your heart: Let your daily mission statement be to exalt God by enjoying God.
  • Honor the King: Intercession—“Thy Kingdom Come”
  1. Pray for a deepening of God’s rule in your heart: Surrender to God’s governance.
  2. Pray for a widening of God’s rule in all people’s hearts: Salvation.
  3. Pray for a deepening of God’s rule on planet Earth: Christian living (make a difference).
  4. Pray for the soon return of Christ: Second Coming.
  5. Pray that you will live for God’s kingdom and not for your own: Total allegiance. 
  • Radically Commit: Submission/Direction—“Thy Will Be Done”
  1. Pray for the right purpose: That all you do is motivated by the desire to glorify God.
  2. Pray for calm assurance: The understanding that God’s glory and your good are inseparable, that the Father’s will is always good and best.
  3. Pray for clear discernment: That you will know God’s will for your personal life, family, church, work, community, country, and world.
  4. Pray for radical obedience: That God would grant you the courage to do His will.
  5. Pray for supernatural power: That God would empower you to obey His will.
  6. Pray with brutal honesty: Share the desires of your heart, any confusion, doubts, and perplexity with your heavenly Father.
  7. Pray with other-centered focus: That family, church, community, national, and world leaders would know and do God’s will.
  • Invite God-Rescue: Supplication—“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
  1. Confess humbly (Give): Acknowledge your spiritual poverty, admitting that without God you are and have nothing. Pray for the faith to believe that all you need is God and what He chooses to provide.
  2. Asks unselfishly (Us, Our): Pray for others and for yourself.
  3. Request wisely (This Day, Daily): Pray for today’s needs. Trust God for today’s supply. Ask God to give you nothing more and nothing less than exactly what you need and can handle.
  4. Entreat practically (Bread): Pray for physical, material, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual needs. Pray for freedom from worry as you trust God to supply your every need.
  • Savor the Savior’s Grace: Confession—“Forgive Us Our Sins As We Forgive Those Who Have Sinned Against Us”
  1. Acknowledge Sin: Confess known sins and ask God to reveal hidden sins.
  2. Repent humbly: Your debt is immeasurable; His grace is infinite.
  3. Enjoy forgiveness: Claim Christ’s forgiveness and acceptance. Your slate is wiped clean!
  4. Grant forgiveness: Forgive those who have hurt you and sinned against you physically,      emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually.
  5. Seek reconciliation: Go to those you have sinned against to restore the relationship.
  • Triumph Over Temptation: Petition—“Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil”
  1. Seek protection: Ask God not to allow Satan even to tempt you to sin.
  2. Seek boundaries: Ask God to keep you from situations where you are most prone to sin—your besetting sins, areas of vulnerability, temptations, etc.
  3. Seek victory: Ask God to defeat sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil in your life.
  4. Seek faith: Ask God to help you to trust His awesome power as your only hope for triumph.
  • Confidently Trust God: Glorification—“For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory Forever, Amen”
  1. Trust God (For): Believe that since God is the Almighty, Eternal King that He can answer.
  2. Glorify God (Thine): Pray that God will be glorified by your prayers.

Be Yourself in Prayer

SOURCE:  Desiring God/Stephen Miller

Sometimes it seems as if many believers feel the need to alter who they are when they come to God in prayer, particularly when others are around. As if God will not hear them if they are themselves, they play characters, hoping to be more acceptable to God and others.

I have personally struggled over the years with what to say and how to say it when I pray. I’m in good company. Even the apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray. And with kind, compassionate patience in his voice, he taught them to pray simply, humbly, confidently, according to God’s word, and for God’s glory.

You could sum up Jesus’s teaching into a few guiding principles.

1. Slow Down and Be Okay with Silence

There is no need to use filler language to take up every ounce of space in prayer, as if the Lord can’t handle the silence or doesn’t have time to listen. You don’t have to speed through like an auctioneer. I can’t imagine how I would react if someone came up to talk to me like, “Stephen Miller, just… just Stephen, we should just go to lunch together, Stephen Miller. Just let’s just go grab… just a burger, Stephen. Stephen, I know you like a good burger from time to time, Stephen Miller. Stephen, just then we could just grab a frozen custard, Stephen Miller.” I know that I am not God, but in my flesh, I might be too weirded out to get a burger with that guy. If we would naturally react to someone talking to us that way, why do we feel the need to speak that way to God? He knows our hearts. Slow down. Be okay with pauses. Perhaps God wants to speak to you in the silence.

2. Pray to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

God is Trinity. One God, three distinct persons, each person fully God. It is truly a great mystery, and I don’t know that we will ever understand it this side of Heaven. Yet each person within the Trinity is distinct. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit. We rightly relate to God as a Trinity, adoring and thanking and pleading with Father, Son, and Spirit in our prayers. Yet while doing this, it can be easy to get confused and begin to thank the Father for dying on the cross and so on and so forth.

While God knows what we mean and sees past our broken prayers, this has got to confuse people who are listening to our prayers, trying to pray along in agreement. When you pray, consider the person of the Trinity to whom you are praying. The Father sends the Son to be the Savior of the world. The Son came obediently, died in our place, rose from the dead, then sent his Spirit to convict of sin, to convince of truth, and to equip and empower us. So as we pray, pray with that in mind.

3. Use Normal Language

My great Grandpa was a firm believer that the only inspired word of Scripture was the King James Version. When he quoted scripture (and he could quote most of the Bible I think), it was always KJV. While he was one of the biggest spiritual influences in my life, it was odd to me when he began to pray out loud, because he prayed in old English. “Our Gracious Heavenly Father, Thou hast bestowed upon us this bountiful feast and the glory belongest to Thou and Thou alone. Wouldst Thou blesseth this meal by Thine own good pleasure…” Then, once he said amen, he would resume speaking in modern language. When you pray, there is no need to speak like someone from a bygone era in order to sound more spiritual or reverent. Use normal language, and pray like yourself.

4. Use Your Normal Voice

We have all heard the hyped-up emotional vocal inflections of a man trying to sell a prayer the way a voice-over actor sells a product. He may talk like Ron Burgundy in real life, but as soon as he begins praying, his voice takes on a reflective Enrique Iglesias whisper that sounds a bit like being on the verge of tears while trying to woo someone into making an emotional decision. We should pray with all of our emotions and affections, but it must be sincere and authentic. If you’re moved, be moved, but be real about it. No need to alter your voice or manufacture emotion. God knows our hearts better than we know ourselves.

5. Keep It Short and Simple

Our prayers can be simple and still faith-filled. I often say that God can use a three-minute worship song as much as a nine-minute worship song. The same is true of prayer. God won’t hear us any more because of our long-windedness. Prayer isn’t a love bank where many words equal a more substantive deposit. Our prayers don’t have to be long or eloquent. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them a short prayer that exemplified the vertical (glorifying God) and the horizontal (edifying others) aspects of prayer. When praying with others, aim to build them up with short, thoughtful prayers, and if you feel the need to pray longer, go to God “in secret” (Matthew 6:6).

It’s never too late to be yourself. God is looking for a relationship with us, not whomever it is that we are trying to act like when we come to him. Prayer starts with our adoption in Christ. That’s why Jesus taught us to begin with God as “Our Father.” There is an intimate reverence there — a humble familiarity.

Prayer is naturally one of the most spiritual things we can do as believers, so we don’t need to add anything extra to over-spiritualize it. We can simply come as deeply joyful sons and daughters with reverent awe that we have been rescued by a God who loves us and hears us.

How to Talk to God When You are Suffering

SOURCE:  Edward T. Welch/CCEF

“Why is God doing this to me?”

These words signal a spiritual train wreck in process.

Any version of a “why” question, when it is directed to or about the God of the Bible, is terribly risky. Even if it begins as a simple question, it gradually accumulates other questions about God’s character and promises, while it generates false assumptions about ourselves.

“Why (God) would you do this to me? (when I haven’t done anything like this to you.)”

“Why would a good father allow this to happen to his children? (If I were God I wouldn’t allow such things to happen.)”

Questions like these will only lead us away from God.

It’s okay to question God, but how you go about it really matters. Here are two ways to avoid the God-ward accusations and self-righteousness that can so easily become part of the why questions.

Use his Personal Name

First, ask “Why, O Lord?”

When we use his less personal name (God) we can slip in a few complaints and feel okay about it, but speak to the Lord and everything changes. He is your creator and rescuer. You belong to him. He is both your liege and the lover of your soul. Your response is praise, thanks and humble requests.

This kept the psalmists from going off the tracks.

Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1)

Not surprisingly, this psalmist ends with hope and confidence.

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. . . . The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:14-18)

The Psalms encourage great freedom of expression. We are strongly encouraged by the Lord himself to speak openly from our hearts. The one thing he asks is that we know whom we are speaking with, which is a normal requirement of any conversation. We don’t talk with a child in the same way we talk to an adult. With the knowledge of his mighty acts in mind, the why question can end well.

Ask in Hope

Second, for a change of pace, and as a way to stay in tune with the psalmists’ style, consider another question.

“How long, O Lord?”

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)

This is the much more frequent question of psalmists, and for good reason. The true knowledge of God is clear and inescapable. He is the one who will deliver his people. There is no question that he hears and responds. The only question is when our eyes will be open enough to see his mighty hand in action. Hope is built into the question; an optimistic conclusion is guaranteed.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6)

“Why, O Lord?” This takes our why questions and adds humility.

“How long, O Lord?” This question considers our suffering and infuses it with hope.

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Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF and holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a neuro-psychology specialty from the University of Utah as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary.

Worry brings about a lot (except a solution).

SOURCE: Taken from an article by  Living Free

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

Worry.

Probably one of the most common traps we fall into. And one of the most useless and damaging. Worry has never solved a problem. But it has caused stress, ulcers, depression, despair, fear, anxiety, and much more.

[S]cripture tells us to replace worry with prayer. Instead of worrying, we are to tell God our needs, remember all he has done for us in the past, and thank him for his faithfulness. As we remember that faithfulness, our faith will grow to trust him now. Then we can experience peace so great that it is beyond our understanding!

And as we live in Christ Jesus and walk in obedience to him, God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. Instead of worrying, we will be enveloped in his peace.

Are you worried about something? Finances … your job … a failing relationship … a rebellious child … health problems. The list of things we can worry about seems endless, but the answer is always the same.

Talk to God about the problem. Remember his faithfulness in the past. Spend time thinking about all he has done for you. Make a list! Then thank him … and determine to trust him in your current situation. Circumstances may have changed – but he hasn’t.

Father, I have been so worried about this situation. I see no solution… no way out. But I realize that I don’t have to see the answer. I need to trust you to work this out in your way and in your time. Thank you for your faithfulness and all you have done for me in the past. Help me to trust you now and to experience your peace that passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name …


These thoughts were drawn from …


Knowing God My Father: Applying the Names of God to My Personal Life
 by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min.

Take Time To Listen

SOURCE:  Living Free/A Passionate Pursuit of God: Drawing Nearer to Him by Dr. Mike Chapman.

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.” Joshua 3:9 NLT

Communication is a vital key to every relationship.

And so it is with our relationship with Christ. Intimacy with God is not possible without communication.

When we pray, we talk to God.

When we listen, God can talk to us.

Unfortunately, most of us spend all our prayer time talking to him, never taking time to listen.

God speaks to us in various ways:

Through the teaching of the Bible. Through Scripture “explosions.” (This is when a verse literally jumps off the page and speaks to us.) He speaks through a “still, small voice” in our hearts and minds. And sometimes he speaks though other people or through circumstances—in these cases, the message will usually be a confirmation of something he has already told us.

Consider this … 
How do we know when we are hearing from God, not the enemy or even our own imagination? First, God comes openly with peace, never causing fear, anxiety or guilt. Second, his message will always line up with Scripture and will build faith. And third, his message will result in more love and more power in our lives—not in confusion.

God loves you and wants to communicate with you.  Learn to listen!

Prayer
Lord, teach me to hear your voice. Help me to talk less and listen more when I pray. Help me to hear clearly from you as I read the Bible. And throughout each day, help me to be more open to hearing you speak to me no matter what else I’m doing or where I am. Teach me to listen. In Jesus’ name …

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