Thursday, February 18, 2016

Prayer Challenges: Improving Your Prayer Life

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Prayer Challenges: Improving Your Prayer Life
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 Prayer Challenges: Improving Your Prayer Life

This year, one of our pastors encouraged us to improve our prayer lives by presenting three prayer challenges:
  1. Fast and pray.
  2. Pray for one hour for 7 days in a row.
  3. Pray through the night.
I. Dethrone the god of your stomach. Set aside time to fast and pray.
Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:16-18
 II. Participate in the “Power Hour.” Spend one hour of your morning in prayer for 7 days.
In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. – Psalm 5:3

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. – Psalm 119:147-148
 III. Pull an all-nighter. Pray through the night. 
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12

They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” – Mark 14:32
  So Nathan went to his house.

Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.

Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:15-23

*The problem is not with unanswered prayer but unprayed prayer.

Pray with an open Bible, a notepad, and a prayer list. Turn off all technology. Keep praying. Pray in a quiet room, alone, and without distractions.

Prayer Guide:

P – Praise and Thanks

R – Repent. Confess (1 John 1:9)

A – Ask (1 John 5:14)

Y – Yield – Be quiet and listen. God wants to tell you something.

The Altar of Sacrifice: A Closer Look

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The Altar of Sacrifice: A Closer Look
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 The Altar of Sacrifice: A Closer Look

In today’s lesson in A Woman’s Heart:  God’s Dwelling Place by Beth Moore, we took a closer look at the altar of sacrifice.  In ancient times, when a person entered the tabernacle court, the first thing they saw was the altar of sacrifice.  The altar was a place where God dwelt with the children of Israel.

It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God. – Exodus 29:42-46

In this study, Beth wanted us to realize 4 points about the altar of sacrifice.
  1. The altar of sacrifice was a place of awe.
  2. The altar was a place of relief.
  3. The altar was a place of refuge
  4. The altar was a place of joy.
This has been one of the most in-depth studies I’ve ever done on an Old Testament topic.  I’ve never studied the tabernacle more closely.  Beth Moore is a talented Bible teacher.  If you would like to go through the entire study, A Woman’s Heart:  God’s Dwelling Place, you can get your own copy here.

Beth has also authored many more devotionals and Bible Studies.  I look forward to going through another one as soon as we finish this one.

Read all posts in this series here.

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