Sunday, June 10, 2012

Conviction

     Have you ever sat down to listen to the sermon and known immediately that the Lord directed the pastor to speak it just for you?  Let me just be honest for a minute…that happens to me almost every single Sunday.  The past few weeks we have been in an incredible series on prayer, and it has been really convicting. 
     I’ve always been a pray-er, so the concept itself has not convicted me, but the in-depth look into how we should be praying and where our hearts should be has just struck a real chord with me.  This week our pastor spoke on “Praying With Confidence and Compassion” (1 John 5:14 – 16).  I have always been amazed at how pastors are able to take such a seemingly small number of verses and extract such incredible wisdom and practicality. 
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
1 John 5:14 – 16 NIV
     I left the sanctuary so refreshed and really committed to Biblically-driven prayer.  Because this has really been on my heart lately (as has sharing my faith on my blog), I felt compelled to share this sermon with y’all. 

     1.  God hears you every time you pray.
               There have been so many times I have struggled with sadness or anxiety or even anger because I felt that God was ignoring my prayers – to put it simply, this is pure foolishness with a Biblical counterpoint.
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
Daniel 10:12
               Whether there is an immediate answer or not, the Lord promises us that He is listening and working do His will.  We can always have confidence in the Lord, provided that we are asking within His will.

     2.  Be open to the fact that what you want may not be within His will.
               We should be asking for His will to be our will, not for our will to happen to be His will for us.  The reason He’s “not” answering could be that our prayers are outside His will or far smaller than what He really desires for us. 

     3.  Pray with compassion.
               When we pray for other people, it is because we have been called to intercede on their behalf.  This is a call from God and should be treated carefully and respectfully.  Talking (even with other believers) or gossip about another’s struggle does not help.  Prayer does.
               Furthermore, we should be seeking the Heart Changer’s (I love this name for the Lord) will and work and not our own.
               When Paul instructed us to pray that “God will give them life,” he was telling us to go to battle in prayer for these people.  When we see our brothers and sisters pulling away from God and making dangerous decisions, we are supposed to pray the back from the ledge.

     Wow…I love experiencing a sermon that really touches my heart.  I have such a renewed commitment to my prayer life, and I’m so glad that I’m learning how to pray in accordance with the will of God.  I hope that there is some part of this that connects with each of you.  If you would like to hear more of this series, you can find it here.  If you have any questions or just want to know a little more about what all of this means, please feel free to shoot me an email.  I am definitely not a theologian, but I will do the best I can (even if it’s just pointing you to someone smarter than I am). 
      I am so excited about what God is doing in my life and in the life of my church, and I love sharing my heart with all of you this way.  I am praying that God touches each of your lives in a powerful way and that your prayer lives will be renewed.  

Cade's Cove

1 comment:

jennifer. said...

awesome awesome post! i definitely have a conviction of not praying enough - that is one area i really long to grow in spiritually :) so fun that both our church's are teaching on prayer right now! thankful that we can learn from each other too!!