It is almost Christmas.
A very busy time for most, but a lonely time for some with more time on our hands than usual. Kids and loved ones are far away or no more.
What an opportunity to use this time to draw closer to God!
Open with my Bible, pen in hand, note book waiting.
I started reading.
What is it with this longing that jumps up and down on my shoulders and disrupts my concentration to the extend of giving up?
I will pray .“Lord, I will pray. Lord, I will talk to You. You are my friend.”
My mumblings sound like a car in a roundabout that lost track of the exits. Around and around. My words are saying nothing.“Lord, where are you? I miss my child. I miss my sisters and brothers. But I said that before.”
I can’t pray.
Back to basics.
Once I was a new Christian and needed to learn how to pray. Now I am an old Christian and need to relearn how to pray. Dug and found my beginners prayer instructions filed away for just such a day as today.
The wheel of prayer. From a book called: ‘Change your world through prayer’ I had made copies for myself and my youth group a long time ago. I think the author is Bennie Mostert.)
I invite you to do this with me. To start off with, it can be a bit jerky as you will be reading through the explanations and have to force yourself in to the place where God wants you to be.
The best thing that is coming out of it for me is the loss of self centeredness. It is about God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Seeking God’s presence brings us to the needs of others.
I would love you to share as you go along. We can pray for each other but we should focus in mostly on others.
Comment at the bottom of the blog page or contact me directly.
Here follows direct extracts from the book Change Your World Through Prayer.
(All print in blue is my personal interruption and not in the book.)
1. PRAISE is and act of commitment to God. Through praise we acknowledge God for who He is, exalt Him with our words, our whole being and our attitude, in prayer. All prayer should start with praise. Psalm 115:1 says: “Not to us, O lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” We praise Him for His name, His justice, love, holiness, omnipotence, greatness, faithfulness, His Word, His Creation, His redemption, etc. You can for instance, use a different theme each time in this time span of praise and worship. Expand on this theme as much as possible, meditate on it, weigh the practical implications of it on your life and the lives of others. Watch out, thought, for a mere repetition of words. (Make your own praise notebook. Write down praise words from the different Psalms. It is so handy to read them out loud in times of temptation, trials, attacks or just to glorify our Lord and draw near to Him.)
2. WAITING ON THE LORD is an act of silent love or adoration of God. It incorporates worship and praise to God for who He is. It is to worship God and to praise Him for who He is.
During this period of silence we tune in to (adjust ourselves to) God himself, we direct our whole being to Him and commit ourselves to Him anew. We rejoice in and over His presence. Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God.” We can say this is a very intimate form of communication between God and ourselves, it is I, as the limited (shackled) and finite being before God who is the Unlimited and Infinite Being. We make sure at this point that we are in contact with God. This time of contact with the Lord cannot be hurried, there is no place for impatience and haste here. During this time you think of nothing else but God the Father, His Son Jesus your redeemer and the Holy Spirit. You need not express your thoughts in words. Concentrate on your relationship with God and your love for Him.
3. CONFESSION is the condition to admission to God. This is a time of self-examination (introspection) and allowing the Holy Spirit to point out any unconfessed sin to you. I acknowledge my sin and sinfulness before the Lord during this period; I confess my sin and turn my back on it; I break with my sin and accept the Lord’s forgiveness. Confession is the cleansing of the Christian. Sin builds a wall between us and God so that God cannot hear us (Isaiah 59: 1-2)
Our sins are paid for and forgiven solely through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the grounds of His death on the cross. I don’t ask God to change the circumstances during confession, but that He will forgive and change me. Confess each form of failure, negligence and sin.
4. PRAYING SCRIPTURE – To be able to pray in a balanced way, I have to spend time in the Word. (Very important!) I must get to know God’s promises and pry themto God. The promises of God create faith. In the first place the Bible is a book tht has to be believed and obeyed. During this period I ask: “Lord, what promises can I make my own; what commands must I obey; what warnings must I pay attention to?” The Word is your prayer manual. (There are lots of examples of this on my blog. Go to the ‘Read and Pray‘ tab.) We must remind the Lord of His promises in His Word day and night. As you read Scripture, ask the Lord how to apply it in your life and in your prayer time. Your prayers must become quotations from Scripture more and more.
5. WATCHING – a time of spiritual perception (observation), to be spiritually aware of matters to pray for. It will lead to praying for the needs of others and some of your own needs. You tune into the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit specifically to draw your attention to specific matters, so that you can pray for them. Be especially wary and alert for the onslaughts of the Evil One during this time. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the plans, methods, strongholds and strategies of the Evil One. Paul teaches us to watch and pray with thanksgiving: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col. 4:2). Satan will certainly try to keep you from praying and confuse you so that you can not concentrate. Be wary, rebuke and resist him. Be sure to pray purposefully. What are the problems people experience while teaching the gospel? Pray for that. Are there things reported in the newspapers, things that we hear on the radio or see on TV that we should pray for; things like economic problems, political unrest, wars, etc.
6. INTERCESSION –to intercede for others, to pray for others. In intercession we concentrate on the needs and distress of others – we stand in the gap for someone else. Intercession is God’s method to get His children involved in His plan for the world. We become involved in world evangelization during intercession. When you intercede you stand at God’s side and you work with Him for the salvation or for the benefit of someone else. By faithful intercession you can do as much as those who are physically in the field. Work out a systematic plan for intercession, start with your own household and family, then your friends and church, then your town, your country and lastly the whole world. Every Christian should have a burden for lost souls and a world in need. Remember, the church of the Lord also needs intercession. Intercession is not only on behalf of unbelievers. Spiritual warfare is an element of intercessory prayer that deserves a specific place in our prayer time. Pray and ask the Lord to show you through the working of the Holy Spirit where the powers of evil are working. Binding evil forces in Jesus’ Name, break their strongholds and resists them. Resist the devil, don’t give him a hold in your life. Jesus conquered the Evil One on the cross. We as believers must proclaim His victory in each area of life. Spiritual warfare will also be part of your prayer time during Watching and petition.
7. PETITION for your personal needs. The believer may, and should come to his Father and pray for his own personal needs. And he can pray expectantly, even for the smallest things. During this period we pray for our “daily bread” and we also pray for spiritual strengthening and equipment for our lives and work as believers. I look to the Lord in total dependence to meet my needs. We must never ask out of selfishness. No, our requests must bring praise to our Father. Anticipate what your needs are going to be during the day in this period and pray for them.
John Rice said: “Prayer is asking and receiving.” Tell the Lord why you ask these things from Him, thus ensuring that your intensions are pure. Come with frankness, as our Father wants to meet our needs gladly.
8. THANKSGIVING is to acknowledge your appreciation to the Lord for what He has done for you and others. During this period I thank God for who He is, His gifts, His answers to my prayers, His care and provision. Thank the Lord for spiritual, material, physical and any other blessings. Be specific in your thanksgiving and beware of generalizations. Tell the Lord you are grateful. Think about the day or days gone by and thank the Lord for everything which you have received from Him.
9. SONG is melodious worship. Song does not have to be used during communal worship only. The intercessor can sing his own (new) song to the Lord or make use of existing songs as circumstances determine. Song and spiritual warfare (our battle with the Evil One) are inextricably linked to each other. During this period one praises, worships, exalts and adores his Father in song. Your singing can take the form of praise songs, songs that testify to God’s power and grace, thanksgiving and songs about God’s Name. To sing to the glory of the Lord is definitely a command from God (Psalm 100). Sing enthusiastically and heartily, because you are exalting God. The attitude of your heart and the fact that you are carrying out His instructions are of greater value to the Lord than whether you can sing beautifully or can sing in tune.
10. MEDITATION means to reflect upon or examine a matter more closely (deeply), to evaluate it spiritually. During this period I think about the Being and the nature of the Triune God, His creation and great deeds. You can use a portion of Scripture to reflect upon, a Psalm for instance, but also other portions. Christian meditation is the opposite of Eastern meditation. To the Christian, meditation is an active process of evaluation, searching and pondering, where he uses his full intellect and is led by Scripture and the Holy Spirit in his meditation. Meditation is to ponder in a discipline way. Beware that Satan does not plant his thoughts into your mind. Also beware of negative thoughts during this time. Consider everything that is true, pure, noble, right, beautiful and praiseworthy. When you meditate on a certain portion of Scripture you must ask yourself, among other things, what this portion means to you.
11. LISTENING is a period during which you ask the Lord to reveal new things to you, things that He wants you to notice and pay attention to. You deliberately ask God to reveal His will and strategies/plans to you. In waiting on the Lord the emphasis is on loving God. During meditation we want to learn more from God. During the period of listening we want to hear what God wants to say to us. During this period I ask: “Lord, what do you expect from me; what is your will for me?” You can also ask te Lord specific questions, perhaps some difficult questions that you do not have the answers to. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Write down all the thoughts that come from the Lord in your opinion, and put them to the test in the Scripture. Use them as directives for the execution of God’s command. Be careful not to say immediately that: “The Lord said this and that to me.” Always test if the Lord is still with you in the matter and be prepared to make a change of course, if necessary.
12. WORSHIP, to exalt God and to say to Him: “I know who I am praying to and I trust Him with my prayers (supplications).” This is a period of jubilation before the lord. Let your amen be strong at the end and confirm this that you believe that God has heard you and will answer you. Amen means: it is true and sure, so shall it be.
This is it. The 12 ingredients of our prayers. You never could think it this easy to spend an hour in prayer. I sometimes carry the ‘5’ minutes with me and it becomes much longer as I do chores in the house to the praise music or walk with the songs in my heart. Each section can be an hour in itself if that is what we want to concentrate on. Let us not mope about being away from out loved ones. Let us pray and prove our God is a living God who lives in our hearts. We praise Him as we experience his love, which is stronger than anything else in this world. Jesus is King.
“Sleep” What happens when we die?This is the first time I find myself totally disagreeing with an article in Joy magazine.
I don’t think anyone should be that sure about us going to sleep at death and comparing the disappointment of it to father Christmas or to say we have been duped into wrong view points. If, at the end of the day, some believe differently (and they do) it won’t make any difference to their salvation. And anyway, the sleep would be like the blink of an eye – that last breath out and the ‘new’ breath in.
I am with the living Jesus now and believe to walk on in this relationship after the body’s death, with the only difference that I will see fully. I believe I will be absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5: 8)
I also know that Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah with the transfiguration. “Suddenly two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus.” They were not asleep and obviously in an ongoing relationship with Jesus.“To be with Christ is far better” Phil 1:23
In Acts 7: 55 Steven saw Jesus when he was stoned. He saw heaven open. He saw Jesus! He also said “Jesus receive my spirit.”“Where I am you may also be.” John 14: 1-3 “…will live even though he dies.” John 11: 25 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil 1: 21
Our citizenship is in heaven.
I do hope to be asleep to this world. I will not shed a tear any more for what sins thrive here. My work will have been done. I will leave my prayers behind – they will accomplish what God had promised.
I like to believe that my spirit is given to God at death and that with the return of Jesus I shall receive my new body (spiritual, permanent, and glorious).
My prayer: Lord, your thoughts are not our thoughts. Your ways are so much higher than ours. If we misunderstand you, Father, please forgive us. Jesus I want to be with you when I die – continually as I am now. I don’t want to sleep and not be with You. I want to understand and I don’t want to grieve You Holy Spirit. But Lord, If I am going to sleep then please let me blink fast so I wont know if I had slept.