John 15:7 – “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This is no blank check to ask for things out of greed or that are otherwise self-serving. If we remain in Him and His words remain in us, we will be so closely in step with Him that the things that we ask for will be His will.
My Advice – This is the “secret” to being successful by God’s standards (and there can be no better standard). You would be wise to follow the advice that Jesus gave.
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This needs to a regular practice for believers. We need alone time, where there are no distractions. Distractions can come from our environment (went off), others (solitary), and our daily agenda (early).
My Advice – You need to spend time with God each day. The mornings are best, since they get you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is near to all who call on him. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – At times, He seems distant to me, most likely because I have distanced myself from Him, not because He does not want to be close to me. At times, my prayers seem to go no further than the ceiling, but that does not mean that He is not listening. At times, I feel so empty of Him, but that does not mean His Spirit has departed from me.
My Advice – If you feel the same at times, ask yourself what I ask myself – “who moved?” Like the prodigal, we may have fallen, but we can “fall back.” We can return. Like the prodigal’s Father He’s watching for our return.
Jonah 2:2 – “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Unfortunately, we often wait until we are in distress or the depths of despair before we call upon the Lord. We need to be in constant communion with Him, not just when we need His help.
My Advice – Do not restrict your calling on God to when times are bad. You would not like your friends, family or anyone else to treat you like that and you do not want to treat God like that.
Joel 2:32 – And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This promise is not just reserved for the unsaved. It holds out a promise to those who are saved as well. If we call upon Him, He will save us from disaster, regret and discipline.
My Advice – When in trouble, call out to God. He will deliver you. When you’ve fallen into sin, call out to God, He will forgive you.
Daniel 9:18 – We do not make requests of you because you are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Because we are saved, we are considered righteous in God’s eyes. Righteous because of the blood of Jesus. Nevertheless, when we approach God with requests we should understand we are able to do so because of His mercy.
My Advice – Do not be self-righteous when asking God to answer your prayers. Be humble and recognize that it is only because of His mercy that you can ask for anything in the first place.
Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Wise men (and women) still seek Him, even after they have found Him. Because being born again is not the end of seeking. It is merely the beginning. We become children of the Father and have access to Him 24/7. Regrettably, many only seek this access (through prayer) when in times of need. Then we pray in earnest, often wondering why the answers are not immediate. At other times, prayer may be nothing more than something we mumble before meals, or words we recite from memory without thinking before we retire for the evening. Prayer is, or at least it should be, much more than any of these. It should be a continual state of mind. It should be more than a list of urgent requests or dry recitations. It should be an intimate two-way communication between a loving Father and devoted child. He, the Father, should be more than someone that we take for granted will be there when we need Him and standing by just in case when we do not need Him (or think we do not need Him).
My Advice – Developing an intimate two way communication does not come naturally for everyone. Like those in Jesus’ day we need to be taught how to pray. Jesus’ response was to give an example, which became known as the Lord’s Prayer. It was then and is now a model (not a formula) that can launch us into effective communication with God.
There are definite characteristics in this model prayer that we can use as an initial guide in how we ought to pray. These characteristics are:
Understand the relationship
Focus on His holiness
Submission, petition, confession
Forgiveness (of others)
Seek guidance and deliverance
Praise and belief
Coming Soon – An updated version of my Bible study “Got Spiritual Milk?” will soon be available in the Store link on my home page. What you see above is a short excerpt the chapter dealing with the sixth of twelve “steps” discussed in the study.