Presentation on theme: "Praying the Word: Scripture as a foundation for prayer University Chapel July 31, 2011 Margaret Cottle."— Presentation transcript:
Praying the Word: Scripture as a foundation for prayer University Chapel July 31, 2011 Margaret Cottle
Last week: Amy Bratton spoke about Anselm of Canterbury and the rhythms of prayer. Carl Armerding reminded us to be hungry and humble in our expectancy.
Journeying deeper into prayer: --not easy --more about obedience than feeling (audire—to hear—same root as obedience) --is the key to a vibrant relationship with God --was demonstrated by Jesus
Why is it hard to pray? …difficult to find time and space to concentrate. …uncertain what to pray for and how to pray. …opposition “the world, the flesh and the devil.”
The Scriptures are a great resource for prayer. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17
My journey…. 1979-85: excellent adult Sunday classes 1985: my question to Sonja Cameron… --Bible Study Fellowship for 2.5 years 1988-2008: Precepts Bible Studies 2008-2010: Community/Vancouver Bible Study Plus 15 years of reading the One Year Bible I did not always feel like participating in these studies. Being one of the teachers kept me persevering. Progress was slow and incremental.
What did I learn? Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut. 6:4-9 (NIV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm119:105 (NIV) ( a representative verse for the many verses in Psalm 119 which emphasize the “word.”)
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.
’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’” Isaiah 55:6-11 (NIV)
Luke 11 Jesus taught His disciples: --to use a structure we call the “Lord’s Prayer” --to be bold, to ask, seek and knock --to have faith that the Father gives good gifts
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14: 13, 14, 25, 26 (NIV)
John reminds us in his first letter: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
James encourages us: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (I often remind the Lord of this promise as I begin to pray.)
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
If we pray using the words from Scripture, we can be certain that we are praying in Jesus’ name, and according to the Lord’s will. Praying the Scriptures involves the “whole counsel of God,” not random verses used out of context.
The Lord uses His words to bring our hearts and minds into conformity with His will. One of the ways that the Holy Spirit “leads us into all truth” is by interpreting the Scriptures in the context of our own lives.
Practical tips from my own journey: The Lord cannot speak to me through His word if I do not know His word. It is difficult for Him to bring His words to mind as I pray if those words are not already stored in my memory. This takes time.
10,000 hours before proficiency in many disciplines… Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers
Overwhelming in the beginning… …but easier once you know a few “steps”
Practical tips from my own journey: prayer partners/groups prayer cards/prayer journals Scripture cards One Year Bible Scripture meditation/memory (Psalm 16) fasting and memory “joggers” “listen” creatively…e.g. the Lord may speak through images consistent with Scripture knowing and practicing a few “steps” can help us when we stumble or “stall”
The “Jesus Prayer” from the “Desert Fathers” “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, A sinner.” Relief for my “pinball” brain activity…
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; Psalm 91:1-4 “Broody Hen” image and trusting God
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
Praying Psalm 91: There will be intervals of silence between the verses to give time for silent meditation. Praying through Scripture is also meaningful in a group setting.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge— then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”