BIBLE STUDY - COMMUNICATING WITH GOD
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In general, Michael was pleased with his life. He loved his wife and children. For the most part, he liked his job. The company he worked for was on the cutting edge of software excellence. The future was looking bright.
When it came to his relationship with God, however, he sensed something was lacking. Although Michael had been a Christian for five years, he sometimes felt like he was simply going through the motions while participating in Christian activities. For him, communication with God involved hearing others pray and adding a few silent words of his own when he attended church or his small group.
Eventually, Michael became restless with his life and his Christian experience. Over time, this affected his marriage and family. ďWere is the peace and purpose?Ē he cried in his heart to God one day,
Michael realised he spent little time with God as He spoke through His Word. Neither did he talk with God about his life. As he started to take small steps in areas, God began drawing Michael to Himself. A more intimate relationship with God developed. Michael began to set aside time each day to read his Bible and talk with God.
He discovered that this discipline of communication with God was critical in every aspect of His life. He saw its value as God worked in his life. He noticed differences in his marriage and even how he viewed his work. Not just a job anymore, it became an opportunity to extend Godís love to others
How would you evaluate your intimacy with God?
How is He stirring your heart and prompting you to talk with Him more?
Prayer is conversation with God
-St. Clement of Alexandria-
Simply defined, prayer is talking with God. Every believer entered into a relationship with God through faith in Jesus. Communication and time together are critical to the health and growth of any relationship. Not surprisingly, believers need to spend time communicating with God in order for their relationship with Him to develop.
Nevertheless, followers of Jesus sometimes have difficulty doing this. Several things can hold us back.
Our communication with God is like that of a child to a loving father
Circle the words that describe how you see, or feel about Him
Aloof Warm Condescending Caring
Uninvolved Impatient Demanding Cruel
Approachable Friendly Unbending Open
Loving Closed Empathetic Cool
Unfortunately for some the word father brings up images of one who is aloof, emotionally detached, or even cruel. Scripture teaches that God is not that kind of a father to His Children.
1Pe 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Mat 7:7-11 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (9) Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? (10) Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? (11) If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Ps 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.
We can talk to God about anything, at any time, and in any place
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Whether thins are going well or not, whether we are full of joy or full of anger, whether we need something specific or just need to listen, God always wants us to talk with Him. Letís look at some things you can pray about.
Heb 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Col 1:9-12 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10) so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Feelings and Troubles
Psa 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Godís will to be done
Mat 6:9-10 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (10) Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Wisdom and Understanding
Jas 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Eph 3:13-19 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. (14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, (16) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Jas 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (15) And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
The time and attention we give to prayer accomplishes far more than we can imagine. Some reasons why it is important are suggested here. You may think of others.
John 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Jas 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Col 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
1Th 5:17 pray without ceasing,
Jas 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
To p[ray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we desire to be conformed to Christ. To pray is to change
Since prayer is simply talking to God, There is no specific format we must follow, no special words we must use to be heard. There are, however, different types of prayers and different components of our communication with God. Some people find acrostic A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)
Adoration is praising someone for who he is or what he has done. It is giving someone credit he deserves.
Psa 149:1-9 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! (2) Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! (3) Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! (4) For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. (5) Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. (6) Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, (7) to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, (8) to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, (9) to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!
The word confess, means to agree with God about our sin.
Ps 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Since every sin we commit is ultimately against God, we need to admit our sin to Him in order to have open and honest communication with Him.
Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! (24) And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Although it is important to admit our sins to God as soon as we are aware of them, it can also be helpful to ask God to search our hearts during times of prayer and reflection. When we are in a prayerful mindset, ready to listen, God will point out sins we have overlooked in the busyness of life.
1Th 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Ps 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
Supplication (or petition) means making requests. We can pray for our own needs or the needs of others. We can pray for pre-Christians to begin a relationship with God. Wed ca pray for believers to grow in their faith.
We can pray for pastors and other leaders in the church. We can pray for those who are helping us to grow and those God uses us to help. We can pray for our relationship and concerns at work, or in our neighborhood. We can pray in joy or in sorrow. If it concerns us it concerns God.
Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread,
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Col 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison--
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