Basic Training for the New Year - Part 1

Spiritual Basic Training for the New Year – Part 1
Many thoughts expressed here are from Elizabeth George’s book,
A Woman After God’s Own Heart
Develop A Heart for Prayer 
Luke 10:42
Mary knew it was important to cease her busyness, stop all activity and set aside secondary things in order to focus wholly on the Lord.
  • Choose God’s way in everything
    • When faced with a decision or choice, ask the questions:
      • Which is good?
      • Which is better?
      • Which is best?
        • Go with the one that is best!!! God’s way is always BEST!
    • Commit yourself to God daily
      • a fresh commitment each day through PRAYER
      • If we walk daily in the path He wants, we’ll end up right where He wants us.
  • Develop a hot heart – Rev. 3:15-16 
    • Do we have a cold heart toward the things of God?
      • We don’t even think about God until we need Him
      • Don’t read our Bible, don’t pray, don’t really worship even when we go to church?
    • Do we have a lukewarm heart toward the things of God?
      • We are indifferent – things of God doesn’t matter – if I have time, if I think about, if “something better doesn’t come along”, then we’ll give God some time, maybe.
    • God would rather us be hot or cold – lukewarm makes Him sick.
Proverbs 4:23 says out of the heart comes the issues of life.
What we are experiencing inside shows on the outside – Like a boiling teapot – jiggles, sputters, etc.
How do I develop a hot heart for God?
There are 144 verses in the HCSB version, 146 NASB, 233 CEV, 142 NIV that have the word pray or prayer in them. This doesn’t include the words petition or intercede.
Think about your typical day; usual routine: What things make it difficult for you to spend time in prayer?
God’s Word challenges & inspires us to make prayer very much a part of our everyday life.
Let’s look at Jesus a minute!
Mar 1:35-38 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Simon and his companions went searching for Him. They found Him and said, "Everyone's looking for You!" And He said to them, "Let's go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come."(hcsb)
3 steps that will help your in your daily devotional time with God
  1. Get a notebook, prayer journal
    1. Write down your prayer concerns & answer
    2. We have a planner, calendar, PDA, TO DO LIST or something to keep up with the important things of the day – KEEP up with the important things in your spiritual life as well. – When you write it, it becomes more real.
  2. Set aside a specific time
    1. Consider it an appointment - Let nothing keep you from this appointment
  3. Pray at a specific place
    1. Place where you can minimize interruptions & distractions
Psa 88:13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You. (nasb)
Psa 55:17 Morning, noon, and night you hear my concerns and my complaints. (cev)
Psa 119:164 I praise you seven times a day because your laws are fair. (cev)
Mar 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.
1Th 5:17 pray without ceasing; (nasb)
  • God Rewards Those Who Earnestly & Wholeheartedly Seek Him And Gives Us Instruction Whenever We Desire To Seek Him
    • Deu 4:29 But from there, you will search for the LORD your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul. (hcsb)
    • 1Ch 28:9 "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. (nasb)
    • Psa 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. (nasb)
    • Jer 33:3 'Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' (nasb)
    • Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (nasb)
  • Strength To Resist The Devil
    • 1Pe 5:8-9 Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world. (hcsb)
  • Greater Purity – Confess Our Sins
Seek God’s forgiveness & Seek other’s forgiveness WHY?
    • Psa 24:3-4 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. (hcsb)
    • Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (nasb)
    • Pro 28:13 The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. (hcsb) OR compassion. (nasb)
    • Jam 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (nasb) OR The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. (hcsb)
    • 1Jo 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (nasb)
    • Psa 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. (hcsb)
Our relationship with God and others influences the effectiveness of our prayers.
If Jesus prayed often, how much more should we pray.
OUR MODEL PRAYER is from Jesus:
Mat 6:5-15 "Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They've got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don't babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they'll be heard for their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him. "Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our 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. Amen.] "For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don't forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing. (hcsb)
John Wesley spent at least two hours each day in prayer.
Samuel Rutherford rose at 3 am daily to wait upon God.
Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today, that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”