Wednesday, January 30, 2019

3. Growing in Prayer – (b)The Learning Tree - Prayer

17 “……. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love];” --Ephesians 3:17-18

We love Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. Paul prayed Christ would make His home in our hearts and our roots would go down deep into His marvelous love and keep us strong.  The love God proves in answered prayer we often find beyond comprehension.  Paul prays that we would understand the love of Christ and He would make His home in our hearts.

Where does one start “prayer study”?  We began our study many years ago with a study guide in our Bible[1] written by Larry Lea, B.A., M Div., D.D., and followed all cross-references (Never study scripture out of context). Little did we realize where it would lead us.  We begin this session with a quote from Larry Lea, “Study seeks to help people to practical, applicable-to-life patterns of prayer, as well as unveiling prayer secrets that help for habits by igniting understanding which prompts believers into dynamic prayer-patterns, rather than merely issuing rules.  The result is prayer that builds blessing and fruitfulness in your life.”[2]  We get our word “dynamic” from the Greek word, dunamis, which means energy, power, might, great force, great ability, strength.

Our heart is ignited with “understanding.”  In Hebrew, heart is Leb (lehv) and it means intellect, awareness, mind (inward parts), inner-person, inner-feelings, deepest thoughts, inner-self.  When we study verses in the Living Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the knowledge of the mind into understanding in the heart. We then become fully aware of the spiritual knowledge of God’s magnificent Word.  In the Book of Job, God reveals His Omnipotence, Job 38:36.  36 Who has put wisdom in the mind (the inward parts)?  Or who has given understanding to the heart (NKJ)?  God gives wisdom and understanding in the Living Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. Or, in down to earth speaking . . .  the “light bulb comes on”!

I quote Jerry Bridges[3], Prayer is not to serve our own purposes.  It’s true that our purposes are often served by prayer, but the primary purpose of prayer is to further the Kingdom of God.  A prayer not only must be prayed in the name of Jesus Christ—our first principle, but prayer must also be according to the will of God (1John 5:14-15).

Prayer is study that seeks with eyes focused on the meaning of prayer in scripture.  We cannot do this alone.  The power of the Holy Spirit unveils the truth (I John 2:27) of God’s Word, and our hearts ignite with understanding.  We began delving into the scriptures in a study that would take years.  The more we studied and discussed God’s Word the more the Holy Spirit gave a hunger and thirst that fed our passion.

No matter what age you are, one can grow to greater depths in God’s Word and continue to learn throughout a life time.  One thing we began to realize, if one reaches satisfaction in the reading or study of God’s Word; the more one thinks one knows, when you are content and think you are “there,” one is probably further away from God’s truths than he or she realizes.  To know God is eternal life as Jesus said in John 17:3. We have a lifetime to grow in the knowledge of God (Habakkuk 2:14).  There is no end to the study of God’s Word this side of eternity.

Growing in prayer is a process, there are principles -- spiritual dimensions, a theology and as you grow in prayer one grows in sanctification.  Your atmosphere changes, transformation takes place; our hearts change!

Join us next week as we continue to share our journey.

[1] Spirit Filled Life Bible; Jack W. Hayford, General Editor; Thomas Nelson Publishers
[2] Larry Lea, B.A., M Div., D.D.; Prayer and Spiritual Development
[3] Jerry Bridges was an evangelical Christian author, speaker, and staff member of The Navigators. Born in Tyler, Texas

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