Factors of Effective Prayer
In this video I talk about the importance of truth and expectations in relation to prayer.
Proverbs 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.
In this video I talk about the importance of truth and expectations in relation to prayer.
Proverbs 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.
My dear children,
I love you with an everlasting love. It will never fail as My will and My ways will never fail. How I’ve longed to have you close in my bosom, but you’ve rebelled. You wanted someone between us ruling over you just as your Fathers did. I wasn’t enough. Though you’ve rebelled following the traditions and commandments of men and have neglected to seek Me as I’ve commanded, my love remains still. You’ve settled for far less. You’ve been happy to dwell in the pit ruled by one who wars against your soul. I’ve come. I’ve made a way out of the darkness. Come into my marvelous light. Stop putting copycats of My love and truth as head in your life. I’m the head. Put all aside and seek and follow Me. I’ve given you all you need to know Me and My ways, My Spirit.
Stop looking to this world and your own strength. Look to Me to show you truth and to fill you with all the strength you’ll ever need.
I have only desired good for you. My wrath kindles against wickedness and its dominion over you, but not you. Know the difference.
How I long to be the perfect Father, Husband and Friend. Come to Me and learn from Me and this is who you’ll find. Put all other traditions and works that keep you from Me aside and seek Me and live.
My presence is here. The Kingdom has come. Look and you’ll see I am very close to you.
Forsake all other philosophies that lead to emptiness and bondage and seek truth from My lips. Be still and listen, and My words will fill your mind and heart to renew your broken and damaged souls. I am the Healer, the Deliverer. I am your God. There is no other and no other who loves your soul as I do. I am here. Open your eyes to see Me and you’ll find heaven has come to earth.
Your Heavenly Father
The Message of Christ
What did Jesus Christ preach while on earth? What is the gospel of Christ? He didn’t preach His death and resurrection … so what was it?
Luke 4:43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
He preached about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. It’s this reality we are to seek first and above all else because it is the way to eternal and abundant life now.
Matthew 6:33 But SEEK FIRSTthe kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
What is the kingdom of heaven?
Luke 17:21 For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
It’s God’s spirit powering our souls and no longer our spirit of death. It’s God’s spirit dwelling in us. It’s being a part of the divine nature. It’s being a part of God’s living temple where His spirit dwells. When God is in us, we have eternal life as He is eternal. We abide with Him in unity, truth, and love for we are a part of Him as His children for we intimately know Him. John 17:3
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory
Those who are a part of the kingdom of heaven have: 1. Repented; fully turning from their ways to God’s ways and truth (we have to know His ways to turn to them which comes from diligently abiding in the Word of Truth), 2. Become God’s workmanship being crafted and remade in their souls by God’s truth and are being filled with God’s spirit.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repentance (dying to self, crucifying self) comes when at our deepest core we fully turn from following our self-will and seek to walk in unity with God’s will in all areas. We no longer play jugde; we seek God’s counsel. We no longer are in control of our lives; we surrender our creative self-will to God’s sovereignty. We can’t follow our will and God’s will at the same time unless they are the same. Repentance is a crucial step toward the kingdom of heaven, because it’s leaving our ways behind to embrace God’s. 2 Corin 5:17
Repentance is giving up all of our self-will to gain God’s. When you learn through the Word of Truth and your life lessons that God’s will is truly far better and much more desireous, then you want His will in ALL areas.
Matthew 13: 44 the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matt 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Remade in Truth and Filled with God’s Spirit
Next, the kingdom reigns in our souls when God’s truth, The Word of God (Christ), abides in us. Being a part of God means our truth is God’s truth. If we are walking in our own truths and ways, we aren’t in unity but opposition. The path to gaining His truth is one of diligently seeking truth and learning from God Himself. In unity, we enter a complete rest as God works through us always and in all things. Hebrews 4:10-11.
The souls fashioned by God in the truths of the prophets, apostles, and Christ become a part of His living temple made without hands. Ephesians 2:19-22 Being molded in truth by the Holy Spirit, not by ourselves or another, prepares our spirits to be in unity with God’s thus filled with His Spirit. 1 John 2:27, Hebrews 8:10
As we seek and abide in the truth of God being taught by Him, His Spirit begins to fill every aspect of our souls. The spirit of God starts small and as we diligently seek it spreads to take over every area of our lives in tremendous power, truth and love. When powered by God’s spirit there is no limit to what God can do in and through us. John 14:12, Eph 3:20
Matthew 13:31 The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Matt 13:33 The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Like a new day dawning, the spirit of God dawns in our souls transforming us glory unto glory. 2 Corin 3:18 It continues until like Christ, we hold the fullness of God, Eph 4:13, 3:19. This filling of God’s spirit in us is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Peter 1:19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
For those who repent, diligently seek God’s ways to be remade in truth, and are transformed by the power of His spirit within them, they become the temple of God, the kingdom of heaven. Yet in this life many won’t partake in this glorious kingdom. Many are called but few are chosen Matthew 22:14, because narrow is the path Matthew 7:14 and few find it. The depth of repentance and diligent seeking of truth are done by few as many are consumed with the cares of this world and not of God. Matthew 13:3-9
Matthew 13:47 the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.
Fervently seek God in truth and spirit that you may partake in the glorious eternal kingdom of heaven with Christ now.
Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Living with purpose and meaning is something we all desire; it’s a desire implanted us by God. In the video below, I talk about three different perspectives to consider in relation to fulfilling our purpose as God desires. I hope it’s an encouragement to you.
For more information on this topic, check out my podcast, Finding Our Purpose in Unity with God.
God will not reward foolishness.
No good father does.
We’ve all seen the scenario of a child acting up in the store and to assuage him the parent lets him have some M&Ms from the check out stand. What does that teach the child? Act up and get rewarded! Thus, the cycle begins. Can you imagine if God did that with us?
A more knowledgeable parent or perhaps a more patient one doesn’t encourage bad behavior and neither does God. God won’t reward us for our foolishness, but for our obedience. Our foolishness hurts us and others so God won’t reinforce it. Instead, we experience the discomforts of our actions instead of reward. Yet, because of His mercy, God keeps us from the full onslaught of the consequences we’ve manifested. He allows as much discomfort as we need to get our attention for the areas He wants to address in our lives. Psalm 107:17, Psalm 119:71
The discomforts (like physical aliments, trying situations or relationships, physical hardships) are to get us to seek. When all is good, we don’t ask. It’s when things go wrong that we start looking for answers. Our discomforts are often a sign we are somehow out of line with God and His will for us.
We chose to be either rebellious children living in a world of affliction because we are not heeding His Word and instruction in our lives. Or to be children who seek to walk in accordance with God’s will because it’s a path of truth, freedom, and love. Obedience is our wills coming in line with God’s so that we start living in the fullness of abundant life He desires for us. As our wills align, we gain unity with God. We live as one with Him in truth, love and purpose. Proverbs 13
Obedience isn’t about forgiveness. We are already forgiven now and always in Christ.
Obedience isn’t about being “good”. No one is good but God. Obeying God’s commands is about walking in God’s will. The moment we focus on trying to be a good person, we act according to our expectations and assumptions about what good means. Because we think we know what good is, we cease to seek God’s will in all things. Instead, we are following our definition of good thus our will, which is limited and often different than God’s. The essence of religion is people trying to be good, according their definitions. It’s easier to follow a set of rules verses seeking and listening to know God’s will day to day, but following rules doesn’t bring abundant life – drawing near to God does. True Christianity is about being in unity with God’s will. Big difference. Obedience is about the heart. If you are in line with God’s will in your heart, the right actions will follow.
Obedience isn’t about US taking control and making things right. It’s about God working in us. For Him to work, we have to submit. For a doctor to do surgery we have to submit to his work. We can’t be running around the hospital. Once we know God’s will for us in a situation, then our focus changes from moving forward our way to His. Part of our submission comes through prayer. Our prayers start to align to His will, and that is when our prayers become powerful. John 15:7
When I have a discomfort like an affliction in my spirit or a physical aliment, I seek. I seek God’s instruction and He opens my eyes to see my error. God doesn’t want us in affliction. He rewards a seeking heart with enlightenment and truth. Usually, it’s something I’ve justified to such an extent that I don’t see it as going against God’s will. But as I seek because of the rising discomfort, the Spirit points it out so clearly that I can’t deny my error. As a child of God, I desire to walk in God’s way. So upon knowing my error, my heart is moved to walk in His truth.
Though I desire to walk in God’s will, it can be hard to obey. We do what we do for a reason; approval, fear, self-protection, or lack of trust. So God also has to deal with this aspect of our rebellion as well. He has to go the source of why we do what we do, not just the outward actions. If you don’t fix the source nothing is fixed. Thus, obedience is a process. It’s a deep work of the heart and that takes time.
Because it’s about the heart, and it’s God who changes our heart, our part is to seek God’s work in us. Our role is to be willing to submit our will to God. To lay down on the surgeons table; to take the small steps of obedience as He leads us; and to pray in line with His will. Because a changed heart isn’t easy, we will never be more dependent upon Him, His strength and mercy. We have to depend on God to carry us through. We have to depend because it’s His work, not ours.
One area for many of us is a change in heart toward another. Can we just change our heart? Have you tried? I find I can’t in my own strength, but I’m not meant to either. My duty is to come to God and desire to submit and pray. I pray before each encounter with that person. I pray for a new perspective about them. I pray for God’s love to abound in me. And above all I trust in His work in me and His grace to carry me through.
Obedience is a process – an affliction or discomfort happens, we seek to understand, the Spirit reveals our error, we submit to God’s will, we pray according to that will, God works through our issues that cause such actions, and we start walking in His will. It’s a journey, but it’s the path to life. I’ve walked through this process in enough areas in my life to know it truly does lead to a more fulfilling, freeing, and loving existence.
Don’t ignore the discomforts or explain them away or think that is just life – seek. Deeply seek and listen as you spend time in God’s Word and prayer. Let God peel back the layers of your soul to expose the truth of your heart and actions because only then can your will start to align with His. As your will aligns with God it begins a sequence of events to bring on a change that will move you out of the discomfort and into the reward. Hebrews 11:6
If you’ve been following my posts, Wilderness Tests – God’s Care, Perspective Adjustments, then you know I’ve been going through what I call wilderness tests. (Wilderness because I feel like I’m out there in the wide open with nothing to cling to but God – and yet He is everything what I’m I worried about? And tests because I feel my trust is being tested at very deep levels within me.)
God often uses my dreams to reveal the depths of my heart, and I’m getting some deep insight during this trial. My dreams cause me to face what I’m really feeling, because my rational brain knows better. They have been exposing the depth of what I really think and feel so that it can be addressed with the Truth. They can be like an interpretive drama of what is happening in my emotions.
Here is another one . . .
A friend was putting together a Bible class for children. I asked if she could use my help. She asked me to prepare some pages (on graph paper) with certain phrases written on them. The phrases were to be written in different colored markers. Some of the phrases were to be taken out of certain books. Sounds easy enough. There were other women helping out with the same task. As I started out I had all my supplies but not the markers. Once I got the markers, then all the sudden the graph paper was missing. Once I got the graph paper, then the books were missing. I couldn’t get it all together to get the task done. The other women seemed to have no problem getting it all together. They kept handing my friend completed pages, when I hadn’t written one phrase. Why was I having such a problem? I couldn’t figure it out. What’s wrong with me? Time started to run out and the children started showing up as the class was about to begin, and I hadn’t prepared anything! My friend didn’t seem too worried about it, but I felt horrible that I hadn’t made any progress with such a simple task. Then I woke up.
As I asked about this dream the next morning, I felt it was related to my calling. My passion is to help others to cultivate a relationship with God that is deep, meaningful, passionate, and real. I felt God had given me the next steps for moving forward. All the elements seemed to be in place. I felt I knew what I needed to do, but yet it seemed to go nowhere. What seemed to be an easy task ended up not really ever taking off as I expected it to. Yet, others around me seem to be carrying on their callings with no problem. This dream showed me how deep down I feel about my circumstances. The elements seem to be there but there isn’t much movement forward from my point of view. Why? What is going on? In my rational brain I know that God is in control that He is preparing me and I need to relax and trust, but deep down I was feeling a bit “concern” about the whole thing as my dream revealed.
This is what God told me about this “concern” I was having. It isn’t about you “efforting” your way through. I know your heart, willingness, and passion, I put them in you to drive and focus you in your life. BUT I’m the One to lead, guide, prepare and equip you for what I call you to do. You question your ability and sometimes your path to accomplish what seems straight forward because you don’t see the “successes”. But you are right where I want you to be. Don’t give up on your passion because it isn’t happening in the way you thought. My ways are not your ways. The preparation of the person/leader is one of the most important parts to my callings. Too often people want to jump ahead. Resist that urge and trust me that I will guide you and lead you perfectly. The vision may be planted in your heart (however fuzzy), but it’s I who determine each step. You want to be there now, but I’m taking you along the perfect path at the perfect pace. Trust me. You are my workmanship. It’s not your work but mine. I will finish what I started. Trust me. Don’t you trust that I can guide you? Prepare you? Look at your past. My grace abounds toward you. You need to let go of your expectations of how it should be working out and trust me in this area. Just keep your eyes on Me – seeking my kingdom and my righteousness. This is all I ask of you.
As I was telling a friend, she said God has me “under construction” – I thought that was well said. We want to jump ahead to the doing, because that’s what we often put our identity in, though we shouldn’t. We need to be patient as God prepares our heart, mind and spirit.
We want to be at the finish line now. But the truth of the matter is we will always be a work in progress in this life. We will always need to be dependent upon God. Therefore, we need to learn to trust and let go of our expectations of how things should be happening and trust His perfect counsel. We don’t see the big picture as He does. He moves His children along at the perfect way at the perfect pace. God spoke to me about this area of my life a week ago as I wrote in Perspective Adjustments. I got it on one level, but this truth needs to go deeper until it’s truly mine and that is a process.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Without God’s incessant guidance mankind creates destruction because of its own wicked and selfish heart. We see man’s insufficiency in government oppression, mismanagement leading to poverty, abundant financial debt, hideous animal and child abuse, and the widespread lies leading to spiritual death. When self is in control – mankind suffers.
As believers with the power of God on our side and the ability to call upon Him, we can be an influential force in the world for God’s purposes. In the stillness of prayer, we galvanize the strength of God. If we trust our own strength we are fighting a losing battle. Good will only come if we call upon and trust in God’s power and not man’s. Ezra 9:12
Many pray then go off and fight the battle in their own strength in the name of God. We are never to fight in our own strength. The act of prayer, which we are to do unceasingly, means we are acknowledging God’s strength, surrendering to His power, and letting Him direct our steps and guide our actions – not us.
God wants us to call upon Him for this forsaken world and He wants to show the world His power and might through His people – that is you and me. God wants our faith to drive us with conviction to His feet and in response He will restore, mend, and heal according to His will.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Where we need to start in our fervent prayers is for our own people, the true Church. To be effective outwardly we have to be healthy inwardly. We have been beaten up and weakened by a religious mindset, mega churches, works mentality, deception, shortage of truth, lack of abiding in God’s Word, being taught by man instead of the Spirit, and neglecting the ubiquitous call to be one with Him. We have become too complacent with spiritual and physical decrepit lives for ourselves and our brethren, when those lives are supposed to be abundant and glorifying to God.
Understanding the impact of interceding on each other’s behalf is exemplified in Moses. God, completely frustrated with Israel, planned to destroy them, but Moses interceded and God saved them. Psalm 106:23 Moses’ prayer turn the tides for a nation headed for destruction.
But what made Moses’ prayer so successful, and what will make ours?
1. Intimacy with God – Moses’ effectiveness resulted from the intimacy he cultivated with God. Like our earthly relationships, we develop intimacy with God by spending time with Him one-on-one, listening to and abiding in His words and not man’s interpretations, growing in knowledge, and cultivating trust. Moses knew God face to face. For our prayers to have power we have to pray in spirit and truth and that means we intimately know our Lord and our spirits in Him are healthy and thriving. Praying without abiding in the Word is a self-center focus and a one-way relationship. To get our focus on Him and to develop true intimacy, we need to abide in His personal revelation to us, Jesus Christ, the Word. John 1:14
2. Understanding God’s will – Moses knew God’s will to be glorified through Israel. Exodus 32:10-14. God’s will is not the same for all people. Some people He wanted to completely destroy like the pagan nations as the Israelites moved into the promise land Deuteronomy 31:3. Some He wanted to save like Nineveh Jonah 3:10. We have to seek God’s will in every area of our lives and the lives of others because He is sovereign and all knowing and not follow our wills which are limited and deceived. Walking daily with God, Moses understood His heart. We come to understand His will by daily abiding in His truth. When we pray His will we honor Him, not us. If we don’t seek His will, we aren’t listening to Him but advocating our own agenda, however good we think it may be. In being taught by the Spirit, we find that these stories about destroying the pagan nations is about letting the truth of God destroy our internal enemies; pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-rigteousness, etc. As for others, we are called to love all and treat others as we want to be treated. Love is what heals and renews and what is needed.
3. Trust in God’s mercy. From their experiences together, Moses developed a steadfast faith in the mercy of God. He knew what God was capable of, what they deserved, but knew He was a God of mercy. He didn’t rely on his own goodness to save these people. His hope was in God’s compassion alone.
Moses made a profound difference from his conversation with God so can we when our prayers are based on a similar relationship with our Father. We have access to the power of God so we can be victorious as a nation of His people. As we continue to seek after God’s heart so we can pray in spirit and truth, His power will heal us and be manifested in us infusing His goodness into the world.
Proverbs 15:8b But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much
Lately, free will has been brought up in several conversations carrying the assumption that we have free will and it got me to thinking . . . how much free will do we really have?
Let’s look at what we didn’t choose in our physical life; to be born, where, when and to whom we were born, where we grew up, who we grew up around, our family, our genetic make up, our IQ, our body type, our race, our gender, our personality, generational weaknesses and strengths.
Given all these restrictions, how much free will do you think we have? Our will is constricted to certain things, whether we like it or not.
Those things pertain to our physical life, what about the spiritual life?
I believe it is very similar, because throughout the Word, this earth, our lives, the physical parallels the spiritual. First, I believe we don’t chose salvation. We didn’t choose our physical birth and we didn’t choose our spiritual birth. How can a dead life choose life? It is dead. It can’t comprehend the things of God. It can’t understand the spirit life to choose the spirit. It is in rebellion against God, not wanting to draw near. Isaiah 53:6
God saves, God calls, God chooses. We don’t think that is fair? What about the ones who didn’t have a choice where they were born and were given horrible circumstances, in slums, in drug addictions, in a place where human life isn’t valued, and no love? Is that fair? How much choice did they have?
Romans 9:11-23, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, Matthew 22:14, 1 Peter 2:9
Second, like our physical life, we live within defined limits in our spiritual life. God saves us and gives us new life. He determines the grace we have, the spiritual gifts we possess, and our spiritual growth. Romans 12:3 1 Corinthians 12:11 Ephesians 2:10 Philippians 2:13 Our will comes into play in seeking Him, drawing near and abiding in His truth. Matthew 7:33, Hebrews 11:6 If we seek Him, then He has promised to do all sorts of wonderful, powerful and amazing things in our lives. Our will, what we say happens or doesn’t happen and the choices we have, is limited.
Acts 17:26-28 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
There are two faulty beliefs that cause us to think that God being in control of our salvation isn’t fair and therefore couldn’t be.
1. The beliefs about hell.
2. The beliefs about God’s complete plan of salvation.
I don’t profess to completely understand either though I am seeking, but from what I read I am not convinced of an eternal torment as most churches teach or that we fully understand God’s plan of salvation and the roles we each play. Romans 9:22 We don’t know His thoughts, and I believe there is more to this life than we know. God is not like us, He is much bigger and we tend to forget that truth. We each try to fit Him and His ways into what we can understand right now.
To try to make God’s Word fit our ideas of justice and fairness is not seeking The Truth but trying to establish our own. We need to be okay with what we read, keep questioning, asking, learning, admitting we don’t know, and acknowledging there is more to learn. The entire Word fits together like a puzzle if certain pieces don’t fit we don’t have all the pieces yet. Only with all the pieces can we understand His Truth. We need to remove our church filters telling us what to believe and read His Truth to know and not to convince ourselves of what we currently believe. Only then do we have teachable hearts. God doesn’t want us to assume we know all or throw up our hands and say how can we know? He wants us each one of us to seek, grope, and ask for truth because that creates intimacy with Him.
Our will only comes into play in certain things. God holds the reigns. After all, He is God we are men. Psalm 9:20 We need to stop trying to make His truth fit ours and seek His.