Seven Laws of Prayer

a man praying before a mealI listed to a sermon tape a few weeks back titled “Seven Laws of Prayer” by Ron Dart. If you’d like to listen to it, CLICK HERE!

Ron Dart is probably one of the best Bible teachers I’ve ever listened to, and has a way of explaining things in a way that makes it easy to understand.

Anyway, he was clear that he wasn’t teaching “THE” seven laws of prayer, but just seven laws of prayer.

So, let’s take a look at those seven laws of prayer:

1. We all must die.

This is an important point, because often we are praying for others that they be healed from some injury or sickness. Now, it’s a good thing to pray for people to be healed and live, but remember, we all must die at some point. It’s very clear in Hebrews 9:27, that all men must die once. So, it’s okay to ask God to prolong your life or the life of a friend or loved one, just keep in mind that we all must die at some point and time.

Reading “2 Kings 20″ made me look at asking God to prolong one’s days in a different light. I would always ask God for healing for someone, but now with a caveat that says, “If it’s advantageous to that person”. A very righteous Hezekiah was granted an extension on his life, and I think in the end he probably wished he hadn’t. If you’re not familiar with the story of Hezekiah, I would suggest reading 2 Kings 20, and you will understand better what I’m talking about.

2. Prayer without works is vain.

If you are anything like me, you find many opportunities to pray for others. Now after you have prayed for someone, is that it? Do you move on with life and forget all about it, or do you follow up? Do you go and visit the person you’ve prayed for in the hospital? Do you send them a card or call them to check up on how their doing? Do you give them another thought?

I do realize that it’s not always possible to do that with all the people you pray for, but do you do it with the ones you can? If we want God to bless someone through prayer, should we not do the same in whatever way we can?

3. You need help to pray.

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

I imagine most of us have our own routine for prayer. But after we thank God for our blessings, and make our petitions to Him, what then? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I run out of words before I want to end my prayer time. That’s when we need to just let our spirit do the talking for a us. I think sometimes the feelings in our heart go far beyond what were able to muster in words.

4. You are God’s servant, not the other way around.

Now I’m not going to bad mouth anyone, but asking God to provide a close parking spot because we don’t feel like walking a little is not the kind of thing we should be bothering God with. Or asking God to provide a cab or all green lights because we’re in a hurry.

What if you asked God to grab you a cab, and by doing so you caused someone who really needed it to have to wait. The same with a parking spot, what if you’re wanting a really close spot because you don’t feel like walking keeps someone who truly needs that spot from getting it. These are small things I realize, but God is not our genie in a bottle to be at our beck and call for such things. God deserve more respect than that.

5. Absolute honesty is required.

David is a perfect example of honesty in prayer. When he was hurting and afraid, he told God how he really felt. “Break their teeth” “Put gravel in their mouths”. God knows how you feel, be honest. If you are feeling hateful toward someone, or are deeply hurts inside, tell God how you really feel. He knows anyway. Don’t try and be pious and ask God to bless the person who hurt you when that’s not really what you want. Tell Him the truth and ask Him to heal your hurt and anger. Then as He helps you overcome your hurt and anger, you can begin the process of forgiveness.

6. Prayer takes time and meditation.

Prayer isn’t something to be rushed through. Prayer is a conversation with God, not a time to race through a bullet point list of needs with God. Also, prayer isn’t just a time to speak about what’s on your mind, but a time to let God speak to you. The way we do that is with meditation. No, not meditation where you sit on the floor with your legs crossed chanting. The meditation I’m talking about is thinking deeply about the things of God. Trying to wrap your mind around things like what’s life really about. What does that scripture really mean, and how can I apply it to my life. Sometimes I think we spend more time meditating on our favorite TV shows than about are relationship with God.

7. When it comes to words, more is not better.

God understands us better than we could ever understand ourselves. Have you ever gone to God in prayer, and felt a wave of emotion come over you where you couldn’t speak? I have. I think it’s when we realize just how fortunate and blessed we are, and how much He has done and sacrificed for us. It can be humbling and overwhelming. And as a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a deep feeling of reverence toward God is worth so much more. God cares about sincerity and has never been impressed with long lofty prayers full of thee’s and thou’s.

Matthew 6:7
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

God accepts no less than truth and sincerity when you come before Him. He knows that none of us is perfect, and we all have many flaws. So, He would rather have you sit silently and reverently before Him than speaking many lofty words trying to impress Him.

Do you have any laws of prayer that you could add? I’d love to hear them if you do.

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.

 

Are We Living in the Last Days

Photo by  mliebenberg

Photo by mliebenberg

That’s a question that’s been being asked since the Apostles of Jesus the Christ walked the earth. Even they thought they were living in the end times until close to the end of their lives. During World War II many believed they were living in the end times, and with good cause; the holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki bringing about the death of millions.

As we look around us we see so much evil, violence and destruction it’s hard not to think we are living in the end times. We have the breakdown of the family, school shootings, divorce at over 50% and more and more children being born with little or no stability in their lives. I think if most Christians or Jews were asked, they would agree that we are certainly getting close if not already there.

Of course, until the advent of the atomic and hydrogen bombs it wasn’t really possible to get to that place where if Christ were not to return every man, woman and child would be wiped off the face of the earth. And if that were not enough, we now have bio weapons that could easily exterminate every living creature on the face of the earth.

So again, I ask, are we living in the end times? Well, maybe.

Could all Tribulation  hit the fan next week, or next month? Or could it be in a year from now, five years, 10 years or 50 years from now? Many men have claimed to know when Christ would return, and many men have ended up with egg on their face. The Bible is very clear that no man knows the hour or day that Christ will return.

So why am I bringing this up anyway? Well, let me ask you some questions.

If you or I are driving to work tomorrow and have a blow out at 70 miles an hour; or forget to look both ways before stepping into the street and are pancaked by a bus, were we nto living in our last days?  If we are diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 6 months to live, aren’t we living in our last days.

Do you see where I’m going with this? We get so caught up in the times we live in that we tend to forget about what’s really important in life. It’s like we’re waiting for some ominous sign to be revealed before we decided to take things serious and get our lives together.

When a preacher is giving a fiery sermon on the return of Christ, what is he trying to do? Well, it’s obvious, right? He’s trying to get people scared enough to look at their life, and evaluate where they stand with God.

Long life is not guaranteed to anyone. I’m fond of the expression, that every day above ground is a good one; it helps one be grateful and appreciative. None of us knows when we will draw our last breath, so wouldn’t it make sense to live every day as if it could be our last? When I say that, I’m not talking about living each day with dread and fear, but living every day to its fullest.

If you woke up tomorrow morning and knew that that day would be your last on this earth, how would you spend it? Would you spend it cursing everyone that didn’t drive the way you thought they should. Would you spend your day thinking only of yourself, or would you want to do something good, or memorable for someone else?

If you knew that day was your last, would you spend your day being easily offended or holding a grudge against, or judging your mate because they hurt your feelings. Would you do something that offended someone and refuse to say you’re sorry? Would you spend that day thinking about what you could acquire before the end of the day, or would you want to be sure that all your family and friends knew how much you cared about them.

I spent many years thinking more about me than others. My comfort and what I wanted always played an important role in my life. I wanted the best cut of meat, the largest piece of pie, or the best seat in the house. It’s embarrassing to think about and especially to admit. But, if I’m going to ask you to evaluate yourself in this area, I have to be willing to share who I was.

We live in a world that thrives on me, me, and me. Every commercial tells us we deserve it, we’re worth it, we need it.

I am so grateful that God had the patience and grace to help me get over myself. Oh, I’m far from perfect, but I have come to learn that contrary to what society tells me, I am not the most important person walking around on planet earth.

When we stand before God to be judged, He will not judge us on what we had, or how successful we were. He will judge us on who we are and what we did to and for others.

When you get up in the morning, what do you hope for that day? Is it all about you? Is it all about what you can get? Or is it about what you can give or contribute?

Most mornings when I pray now, I usually ask God to help do the kind of things that would help others to have a better day. I ask Him to help me make someone smile today, and help me be nice to others. I ask Him to help me to make someone laugh, and to help me find an opportunity to do an angel task for someone “a kindness to someone without wanting anything in return”. I’ll ask Him to help me be encouraging someone today, as well as, to help me to be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Not all my days are filled with doing good, but I strive to do my best. I have my bad days, but I also find myself far less concerned about what I want, and much more concerned about the welfare of others. And that my friends feels good.

So the moral of my story is, “Every day could be our last day, so let’s stop waiting for the End Times to start living the life we’re called to live”.

If tomorrow is your last day on this earth, when you stand before God, how will He view your life?

Believer or Disciple?

a man praying before a mealAre you a believer? Do you believe that Jesus is God? If so, how many points does that give you? Where does that belief put you with God? How does that measure up in your relationship with God?

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

So even the demons believe that Jesus is God, so how does that square with being a believer? You hear people say that all the time, “I’m a believer”.

Let me ask you a more important question! (Are You A Disciple Of Jesus?)

Well, I guess we should determine what a disciple is to determine if we are one or not?

Harper’s Bible Dictionary describes a disciple as an apprentice or pupil attached to a teacher or movement; one whose allegiance is to the instruction and commitments of the teacher or movement.

Does that describe your relationship with Christ?

So, above we see that a disciple is not just a believer, but he’s an avid learner and imitator of his teacher. Are you and avid leaner and imitator of Christ?

What did Jesus say about being a disciple?

Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

Are you in training? Do you have the peace of God?  Are you investing yourself and time? Are you, am I like our Teacher? Do we emulate Him, do we speak His words, and do we act as He did?

Part of being a disciple is being like what Paul talked about in Romans 8:29: For whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, …

To be a disciple then, we must be emulating and conforming to the image of Christ. Are we doing that?

I would be lying to say I was a perfect disciple. I can assure you I don’t always speak His words, or act the way He would in all situation. What I can tell you is when I fail; I get up, brush myself off, and move forward. I want to be like my Savior, but He is a hard act to follow.

Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him? Unless you do, the scriptures say we can’t truly be His disciple!

So, what is something that might identify us as disciples? Let’s take a look at some scriptures on that.

John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

Do we abide in Jesus? Do we accept and act in accordance with His word and His will; not just with lip service, but with action?

James 1:22-25 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

A doer isn’t someone who just hears and believes something, a doer is someone who takes what he learns and does something with it.

So, what’s another way to measure whether we are a disciple of Jesus?

John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sometimes people aren’t very lovable, but Christ doesn’t say anything about only loving the lovable. Also, this is not an emotional love He’s talking about, but a charitable love; a loving in spite of.

As a disciple we’re supposed to follow Christ’s example. People will know and judge us according to our actions, and how we treat others. What are your actions telling others?

Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself falling short as a disciple, we all fall short more often than we’d care to admit. But, being a disciple isn’t a matter of getting everything perfect, it’s a mindset and commitment to emulate the one you follow.

Isn’t it the same in life when learning a skill? Those who truly want to succeed in life, in relationships, in business or some career must have a disciple’s commitment in their learning.

There is no greater calling to me than to be a disciple of Christ. That doesn’t mean that your whole life is about reading the bible, and spending hours in prayer each day. Some are called to evangelize or preach so most of their time will be serving the church. Others are called to write, or to be activists for just causes; they are called to devote time and study to that calling. Some are blessed with financial success so that they may help others in that way.

Being a disciple of Christ is about the heart. If you feel you are having problems with your heart, ask God to be your cardiologist, and make it right.

Why Do We Tear Others Down?

Photo by  EngelFish

Photo by EngelFish

What is it about people that they feel such a compulsion to talk about and tear down others? What pleasure do we derive by gossiping about co-workers, bosses, Hollywood celebrities and sometimes even friends? Pull up just about any news site and there is no shortage of salacious stories, and gossip telling us about someone in Hollywood doing things that are really none of mine or anyone’s business.

So why do we do it? What possible benefit can we derive from it? There are probably many reasons, but I think a big one is the same reason people bully others. When we tear someone down it makes us seem a little superior to them. So many of us struggle with self-worth issues that we are willing to do almost anything to show ourselves valuable or important to others.

I don’t know about you, but I have never once listened to someone tear down someone else and said to myself, “Boy, I’m really impressed with you”. It’s like intentionally hitting your hand with a hammer to get attention; you’ll get attention alright, but your hand is going to be mangled. And that’s exactly what happens with your reputation. When you run around gossiping or speaking evil of others your reputation will be mangled.

Give me a couple hours of hearing someone complain about their life or other people, and I feel exhausted. Give me a couple hours around positive people who are doing things with their life, and I’m on fire and ready to take on the world.

So what is it you want in your life? Do you want to spend your life always putting others down, and looking for ways that you’re better than them? Do you really want to waste your time finding fault and being a busy-body? When you break it down and look at it in that context, I think you will agree that that kind of life is not one that most of us want to aspire to.

When all is said and done, don’t we all just want to be happy? Don’t we all just want to be liked and appreciated by others? To be happy and to have friends, you have to be a friend to others. To be appreciated, you have to become the kind of person people appreciate. That is not a gossip or someone who speaks evil of others.

In “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie says, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” You’ll notice that it doesn’t say anything about tearing others down, but by becoming interested in them. By finding the good in them.

Show a genuine interest in what someone else has to say, even if it’s not a topic you’re interested in, and you will see their face light up. Greet people with a genuine smile, and most of the time you will have that smile returned to you.

Be nice to people, and most will be nice to you. Be a trustworthy friend, and you will be admired and appreciated. Talk bad about people and the only friends you’ll have are other people who like to gossip and tear people down.

Start looking for the good in people, and you will find yourself much happier. It’s easy to find fault in people, because were all human and filled with faults. But there is also lots of good in each of us, and when you look for and focus on that good, your life becomes so much better and happier.

In parting, I would like to share this quote.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain–and most do.” ~~ Dale Carnegie

Why Isn’t Life Working The Way You Hoped?

feast sunsetWhy is it so many of us never seem to get to where we want to be in life? What is it that keeps us from reaching our dreams? Why is it that so many of God’s children have so little belief in their potential?

Can you imagine if God saw us like many of us see ourselves? What chance would any of us have making it into His Kingdom? God wants us to dream, and to go after those dreams. He wants us to be lights and to help lift and build others. But I have to ask, how can we be lights, or help lift and build others when we don’t believe in our own God given potential?

If God gives us a gift and we don’t exercise that gift to help serve others, then we squander that gift. Self-doubt and negative thinking is polar opposite to what God wants for us, but it plagues so many of us. I say that from experience. We dream of being a writer, a musician or whatever, but self-doubt and negative thinking tell us we don’t have what it takes. Why do we listen?

If you have children, do you judge and see them according to their shortcomings, or do you see the great value and potential in them? Why do we not cut ourselves the same slack that we cut for our children and others?

We get stuck listening to negative chatter and forget that God has a plan for each of us. We just need to start seeing ourselves they way He does.

With that said, I’d like to share The Tale of Three Trees with you. It’s an awesome parable that shows God has a special plan for each of us. When we don’t see ourselves as God sees us, we hamstring that plan. God wants us to be successful in all parts of our lives, but we have to remove the self-imposed shackles we put on ourselves.

Drink in this parable and see if it doesn’t help you see things a bit differently.

‘The Tale of Three Trees’

Three little trees stood high upon a mountain discussing their dreams for the future. The first little tree looked up at the dazzling night sky and said, “I want to carry the treasure of kings and queens. I want to be beautiful. I want to be filled with all the riches in the world.”

The nearby stream caught the second little tree’s eye. “I want to be a mighty sailing vessel,” he said. “I want to sail in the roaring oceans, roam the high seas, and deliver kings and queens safely to their destinations.”

The third little tree loved the mountaintop. “I want to stay right here and grow and grow and grow,” she said. “I want the people that pass by to look at me touching heaven and think of God.”

One day, many years later, three lumberjacks came to help the three trees with the next season of their lives.

The first tree, now beautiful, was cut down. “I will become the most beautiful treasure chest,” he thought. “I will get to hold all of the world’s riches.”

The mighty second tree was cut down. “I will now sail the roaring oceans,” thought the second tree. “I will be the mightiest of all sailing vessels.”

The third tree, with her branches stretched toward heaven, was also cut down. Together with the other two trees, she was taken down the lovely hillside.

The first tree arrived at a carpenter’s shop. The beautiful tree was aglow with excitement. But he wasn’t made into a treasure chest. The skillful carpenter made the beautiful tree into an ordinary feeding trough.

The second tree was brought to a shipyard. The mighty second tree thought, “Now I will be the most vigorous of vessels.” But the strong second tree was made into a simple little fishing boat.

The third tree was brought to a lumberyard. There she was made into beams and put aside. “Why did this happen?” thought the third tree. “All I ever wanted was to touch heaven.”

As the weeks passed, their dreams began to fade from memory. However, one magical night brought the first tree’s dream to life. A young mother put her newborn into the trough.

“This manger is perfect,” said the mother to her husband. And the first tree knew he was cradling the most important treasure ever.

One night the fishing boat was used by a tired traveler and his friends. They quickly fell asleep, and the small boat floated out to sea. The sea became rough, and a thunderstorm was brewing. This frightened the second tree. If only he were a mighty vessel and could withstand the force of the storm!

The traveler was awakened by the storm, and he stretched out his arms and said, “Peace.” The sea became calm and the thunderstorm vanished. It was then that the second tree realized he was carrying the Almighty King.

One morning, the third tree was taken by soldiers and carried through a hostile mob. She trembled with fear and distaste as a man’s hands were nailed to her. But three days later the sun rose. The earth was full of joy. She realized that everything had changed because of God’s love.

The first tree was made beautiful.

The second tree was made mighty.

The third tree made people think of God.

We need to start seeing ourselves through spiritual eyes the way God sees us. If He has called us to a better way, who are we to doubt that calling? Who are we to not strive to be and do our best at what God has called us to do? So, what will become of your tree?

———————————————————————————————————————————————-
“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.