23.2.11

Blog Bible Study #3

Welcome to Chapter 3- A Heart Committed to Prayer

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I’ve got to admit that when I grabbed my book this week and saw that this chapter was about prayer my heart sank. Why? Well, because like Elizabeth George I know that my prayer life is a real area of struggle {and failure}.


I think I find prayer hard for three main reasons:
- I’m lazy, and prayer takes time and effort – much more so than bible reading I would say.
- I’m a quiet person who prefers to listen than to talk, so the idea of pouring all my thoughts and feelings out doesn’t come naturally in what sometimes feels like a monologue
- I know that God does want to hear my praise, concerns and petitions but sometimes they just seem inadequate.


*Of course, Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a Person of prayer.  Read Mark 1:35 for a glimpse at Jesus in prayer.  What can you learn about His prayer life?
Jesus escaped the busyness of healing, driving out evil spirits and large crowds following his every move by retreating to a solitary place, alone, where he wouldn’t be disturbed to pray.
It’s a good example to follow that daily, solitary, set aside time for prayer is important. Not just praying as you go through your day and as situations arise, which is what I often do.


*Let's review the 7 blessings of prayer listed in this chapter.


Blessing #1: A Deeper Relationship with God--As you consider that prayer increases faith, provides a place  to unload burdens, teaches us that God is always near, trains us not to panic, and changes lives, which one of these benefits would be the greatest reason for developing a heart committed to prayer at this stage in your life?  Why?
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith recently. Last week I prepared a talk on Psalm 6 in which we looked at David’s prayer to God. He appealed to God’s loving nature to save him from his sin and from his enemies, and then later in the Psalm he had a reassurance that God had heard his prayer. We also considered about how God answers prayer. It might not always be in the way that we deem ‘perfect’ for our lives, but it will be perfect in God’s plan and so will be the best for us in the long run.
If we don’t believe that God will answer our prayer in his way then what is the point of praying in the first place? And if I do honestly believe that God has heard my prayer shouldn’t I have immense peace and joy about the fact that God has things all under control?
Things are quite up in the air for us at the moment, and I feel ill-equipped for what our future will bring, so I’m trying to remind myself of what God is teaching me at the moment and have more peace that he will lead and equip us.


Blessing #2: Greater Purity--I shared with you my problem with gossip in this area of purity.  Now won't you identify your particular problem area and share briefly what you plan to do about it?
I wish that I could be more patient and I long to be able to hold my tongue in certain situations! I liked the way that Elizabeth George talked about confessing her sin of gossip and getting very serious about it, not just glossing over it but flagging it up every time it happened.


Blessing #3: Confidence in Making Decisions-- What difference did prayer make in the direction for Jesus’ new day?  And what difference might prayer make in the direction for your new days?
As I’ve already said, I was really challenged by this chapter. However, I genuinely want to be changed by God through this bible study so I grabbed my diary and wrote down some prayer points in the notes section for this week. I found that really helped me to keep my focus. I might not be praying for long, but having a list made it easier to keep my focus on what I’m worried or concerned about (without it my mind tends to wander!).
Jesus started his day with his father and then went onto have a busy, profitable day with the people of that area. In the same way I have found pouring out my concerns and recording them really helpful. I know that I have given my day to God and that he will work them out in his way. It gives me more peace.


 


Blessing #4: Improved Relationships-- What relationship do you need to improve through prayer, and how can you begin immediately to commit to pray about that relationship? I guess my constant prayer is that I’ll be a better wife. Josh is such an amazing husband to me, and I want to be the best wife I can be, whether that means nagging less or being less selfish. I know it will take a lifetime of work and that I can only do it through God so I’ll keep on praying!


Blessing #5: Contentment--Identify an area in your life where you struggle with finding contentment.  Now look at Philippians 4:10-13.  What can you learn about contentment from these words from the apostle Paul?  How can you apply Paul's lessons to your own situation? 
God knows what we need, and he will provide for us. I heard a phrase the other day which made me smile – “If God doesn’t provide it, we don’t need it!”
For the last few years I have been struggling with contentment over our future. My friends from Uni seemed to be moving on and getting jobs and we still seemed to be in Aber not quite knowing what the future held. I was happy in my job, but there was always a nagging feeling that we weren’t quite good enough. Now of course, we know what God has in store for us and we can see why we have been in Aberystwyth for so long. It’s been a good lesson in patience and trust.


Blessing #6: God-Confidence--How do these scriptures increase your trust in God?
Psalm 34:9—He will provide for those who follow him.
Psalm 84:11—He will bestow favour and good things. Not just the things we need but blessings beyond what we need too.


Blessing #7: The Ministry of Prayer--Edith Schaeffer stated, "Interceding for other people makes a difference in the history of other people's lives."  Who are the people you can minister to through prayer, and when do you plan to begin this "ministry"?
I’ve always had 4 or 5 key people that I have prayed for throughout the years, but I’ve been seeing that as I’ve gone back to recording my thoughts in my diary that it helps my prayers to be more structured and reminds me that I need to pray for them DAILY and not just when I remember!


Although I started out reading this chapter with a sinking heart, I have been so encouraged this week! God has answered lots of the prayers that I have recorded in my diary already and it has encouraged me to keep plugging away at getting up early to do my quiet times before work.

3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading through your honest answers. And honestly... I think A LOT of people struggle with things like prayer and reading the Bible but a lot of them just don't want to admit it. It's nice to see that other people will admit that it's not what it should be but that they are also going to work on it. I wish we were all where we wanted to be... but it's also nice to know that I am not alone when I admit I'm not there yet.

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  2. Great Post! God never thinks our thoughts/prayers are inadequate! Keep on praying BBS friend!

    Thanks so much for linking up!

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  3. I'm so glad you're feeling encouraged now! As soon as I started reading, I felt so challenged to make my prayer life better. I constantly get distracted and I'm working on the quality of my prayer life!

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