Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Prayer

Another week in the Proverbs 31 Journey. This month we are looking at the Proverbs 31 virtue of reverencing God. We have learned that trusting God in His Sovereignty, believing He IS in control of all things, and that all things which have happened in our lives are just part of His plan. Amazing isn't it? Then last week we took hold of what it means to have a faith that fears God, knowing that in fearing Him we are able to better reverence Him. Challenging concepts but necessary to your faith if you are to become who God designed you to be. This week we are going to be looking at the effect of conversing with God and how that builds our reverence of Him.

Memory scripture for this week: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us".~ 1 John 5:14

Life is in such a hurried pace these days. We are running pel mel from one activity to another, watching the clock, and if we manage our time well we sometimes actually get to come up for a breath. Drive-thrus dominate our dinners, sports with our children can become our only "family time", and the economy robs us from being home as we try to make ends meet financially. It can make us plain tired.

Not too long ago I felt this pressure in ministry. Doing, creating, leading....and I realized I was missing out on some pretty important things such as fellowship, resting in the message of a song or a sermon, or just being ministered to by others. It can wear one out spiritually. How? Well, if we are not careful we find our devotions time is on the run (or on a CD in our car radio), our prayers become quick pieces of conversation, WHICH God appreciates, but if we are not careful, they can become stale, empty words. We may find we don't allow time for silence to hear God speak back to us. If we are not careful, as we attempt to survive in our day, we can be too busy for God. Though we don't mean to, we miss a blessing, a thought, a word, a whisper directed to us from Him.

"When we are faithful in prayer, God will keep our lives in tune with Him." Stephen Nelson Rummage, Praying with Purpose (2006)

In tuned with God. Most suredly, the Proverbs 31 Woman was. If your not sure, go here and re-read Proverbs 31 10:31 in the amplified version. No doubt the Proverb 31 Woman was a woman of prayer. To become a women of prayer you have to make the effort and to take the time to commit to it. Like me, you may find that you have to put our foot down and get intentional with your one-on-one time for conversing with God. An intentional prayer life combines prioritization and balance and a deliberate act of devoting a specific time to prayer which will often develop into a habit. Prayer acknowledges God's sovereignty and in prayer we experience His sovereignty.

"We can't establish a relationship with God apart from communicating with Him. Human desires and needs require communication. Prayer is an absolute necessity in the interchange of a believers heart with the Father." ~ Stephen Nelson Rummage, Praying with Purpose (2006)

Conversations with God can come in all forms. Jesus set the example for us throughout the Bible. In scripture you read that he went away to be with his father-He needed a quiet place to be alone with Him (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). Do you have a quiet place where you can be alone with God? Do you have a set time for talking to God each day? Above all other things, communication with His Father was vital for Christ. Can you imagine some of the conversations they had...the tears they shared...the mentoring...the strength...the power He received when He would rest in Him? We can have that too! Prayer is power my friend!

Prayer is not a substitute for hard work. It is work! Prayer isn't meant to change God's mind. It's suppose to change us and to align our thinking with God's." ~ Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God

Our conversations are an act of trust and should be considered sacred, no matter what form they are in. Whether you are in a closet on your knees, on your face in a dedicated prayer time, or in conversation about your day, your heart, your concerns as you drive to work. God is there and there is power in prayer!

Even if you are in a rush and all you can do is call out a quick plea of "Lord give me strength" when a tough situation knocks at your door...God is there and there is power in that prayer.

Maybe your prayers occur along a running path or while you are stuck on your back from an illness...God is there and there is power in prayer.

Maybe your words are lost and all you can say is "Jesus", if you can say anything at all. He knows your heart and the Holy Spirit intercedes for you when you are too weary and frustrated to pray...God is there and there is power in prayer!

Prayer is sacred no matter its form. Prayer is reverence in action!

"Prayer is our way to the place of power, our path to the solutions for life's indecipherable dilemmas...Prayer always stirs the heart of God" ~Emily Barnes, in Youniquely women: Becoming who God designed you to be. K. Arthur, E. Barnes, & D. Otto (2008)

Jesus went to prayer when He needed to perform a miracle (John 11: 42-43). He went to prayer for strength before He walked the road to Calvary (Luke 22: 39-42). Do you seek God first when stress hits, when you need a miracle, or when you need guidance? I talk to God all the time. I have spent plenty of time in silence trying to hear His voice or to calm my mind so I could talk to Him and hear His voice. But if I am honest here, I need to be more intentional in reverencing Him in my prayer time...on my knees...on my a quiet place with the door closed pouring out the gratitude on my heart. A Proverbs 31 Woman is disciplined in this because she:

'Loves the Lord [her] God with all [her] heart and with all [her] soul and with all [her] mind.’ ~ Matt 22:37

Here are some verses to ponder this week as you seek to be intentional in reverencing God in your prayer life:

Ps. 5; 31:14-15; 50:15; 55:22; 62:8; 63:6-7
Isa. 55:6
Jere. 29: 11-13; 33:3

Matt. 7:7

Lk. 3:21; 5: 16; 11:9; 18:1
John 14:14; 16: 23b-24
Phil 2:5
James 4:8
1 Thes. 5:17
1 John 5:14
1 Peter 5:7

Ladies, I have to say it again...the P31 woman is intentional in reverencing her God. She values the time she gives Him and He values the glory it brings Him. She sets aside time for scripture reading and study. She prioritizes her prayer time and her conversations with her God. And it doesn't end there, she continue to communicate with Him throughout the day. She hides His word in her heart and she prays it back. Praying the word of God is praying God's will. Like a couple who is married for many years begins to resemble each other, so too does the P31 Woman resemble her God when she spends more and more time with Him.

God accepts all forms of prayers but we can learn it best from Christ when He taught us to pray in Matthew 6:19-13 (HCSB):

Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as Holy,
Your Kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Gives us our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven out debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

So how do we pray as Jesus prayed based on these His prayer? We first and foremost acknowledge God's sovereignty and our need for Him. This pleases God when we do this. We praise Him and acknowledge His goodness in our life. This tells Him we love and appreciate Him. We pray for His will to be done in our lives and the the situations we are lifting up to Him. This shows Him our commitment, our trust, our surrender to His plan, even if we are not sure of that plan. We pray for our needs and the needs of others. This demonstrates our dependence on Him. We identify any sins in our life and seek His forgiveness. We open our hearts to Him so He can reveal anything in our life that needs to be removed or re-directed. This demonstrates our humility. We pray for protection, what I like to call "His covering". This speaks of our reliance on Him. And we seek to give Him honor by believing and trusting in His sovereignty. That is reverencing Him.

Do you make every opportunity an occasion to pray? Is praying as natural as breathing for you? Christ lived by prayer and so should we. Can I say it again...prayer is power-use it! Prayer will transform your relationship with God. Prayer will also transform your life, your home, your marriage, your career, everything! The Proverbs 31 Woman was no doubt aware of this. She communed with her God in the daily circumstances and in so doing she grew in wisdom and strength.

I encourage you to visit this virtuous women web site. Click on the button to the right and find a world full of Proverbs 31!!

Next week, we will look at what it means to empty self when reverencing God!

Believing Him~Pamela


Leah @ Point Ministries said... vitally important. It is the spiritual discipline that I believe Satan hates more than all others. It is the one that I have to be deliberate about carving out time for each and every day, otherwise Satan throws all manner of distractions my way.

Great post with lots of wisdom.


Yaya Yarns said...

Amen!! and how badly I needed to read this!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Prayer... the hallmark of our faith when it comes to knowing God! Yes, i am a pray-er, but I want to do more; I've often thought I'd like to cloister myself off from the rest of the world to earnestly and deliberately devote myself to prayer and scripture reading... all day long. Perhaps I'll take a retreat along these lines in the days to come.

Thank you for the teaching here... I pray that your prayer time this week be filled with many tender moments of knowing God and hearing his voice.

Love you.


God Chaser said...

Great lessons here- thanks for sharing your heart and leading me to reverence my God mor eby spending time in prayer.

Mariel said...

amen! without intention we miss the purpose God has in every detail. I am praying for intentionalness this week! I want a heart that continually seeks God in prayer throughout the day.