Tuesday, February 5, 2019

4. Growing in Prayer – (c)The Learning Tree - Prayer

32And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT).  John 8:32

We began a Spiritual journey that would take us a life time to travel.  We began to confess how we had fallen short.  We began to see vividly our faults.  In spending more time in the Word and with our Lord, our atmosphere changed; we saw our beginning point; we realized progress in our growth, and we grew in confidence that we would reach the desire of our hearts.  As we grew in knowing (in our inward parts) our behavior began its transformation, and as we experienced God, we began to understand in our hearts a closeness and intimacy we had never experienced before. Not only the closeness and intimacy with our Lord, but with each other.  As one grows in sanctification, understanding reaches the heart.  Confession is a golden nugget to the transforming of self. 

It had become clear we had fallen into a comfortable state where we knew scripture and we knew what we believed.  We prayed . . . to ourselves; not with each other.  We even prayed in church, but we did not voice prayer; we could not pray aloud; we didn’t know how.  We had read God’s Word for years; we had parents and grandparents that mentioned from time to time, “God said . . .”  We were Christians and we had no sin.  Suddenly we understood I John 1:8!!!!

One day as we studied, there was a revelation moment when we read Isaiah 58.  It affected us and we share this with you.  Isaiah’s words penetrated the core of our being (our inward parts). Slowly we began to realize as we prayed together and studied God’s Word one will, physically and spiritually experience God and His truth more deeply than ever before.  In the power of the Holy Spirit, we feel we made a leap in our growth.  Verses 9-11 drew our attention. The knowledge of these Words had reached our heart’s understanding.

Isaiah 58:9-11, Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.  11 The Lord will guide you continually [to extend forever], and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones [core of your system]; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (NKJ)

We studied this scripture thoroughly because verse 11 held such promise.  This verse captured our heart.  All the years of pain, tragedy, loss of family and difficulties melted away in God’s promise.  Dr. David Darnell did a sermon on Isaiah 58.[1]  After his sermon it all came together, and we understood the revelation that the Holy Spirit had revealed.  This is what it means to us. 

The Greek word in verse 9 for “call” is Qara’ (kah-rah); which means to call out; to address someone; to shout, or speak out, to proclaim. 

When we call out (pray, intercede, petition, cry out) to the Lord, he hears us and He says, ‘Here I am.’  Then He tells us “IF” we remove the binding wrong in our life and the pointing finger in judgment and speaking in an unkind and hurtful manner; if we extend our very life, being; self, personality; inner desires and feelings to those who are hungry and the afflicted, the widows, orphans, hurting; our light shall dawn in darkness; the light will take away the gloom.  Our God will protect our weakest area.  The Lord will guide us continually and satisfy our “inward parts” in drought.  Drought is all the events in life that have harden your heart. 

Effective prayer is the relationship with our God and Father. Through effective prayer, we can experience God, the Son and Holy Spirit.  IF, we do the things God asks us, then we will be like a watered garden and a spring of water whose waters never fail.  Those words were like music to our ears!  Through all of life’s situations we can become a well-watered garden and a spring that does not fail.  We can rest in God’s love, His Grace and know His joy as we relinquish self in prayer.

[1] Dr. David Darnell, Greek and Hebrew Scholar;  Dr. Darnell has a BA degree from Florida Christian College, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Texas Christian University and a PhD in Biblical Studies from Duke University. He served churches in Canada, Texas, North Carolina and Florida and worked interracially with Afro-Americans in NC and Hispanics and Haitians in Florida. His travels have included trips to Africa, Russia and Israel for various religious expeditions and charities. 

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