Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chapter Ten- Accepting God's Invitation

 Becoming A Woman Of Prayer
-Online Study

Chapter Ten-
Accepting God's Invitation
(Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005.  Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved.

"Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, 
And be gracious to me and answer me. 
When Thou didst say, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to thee, 
'Thy face, O LORD, I shall seek.'" 
PSALM  27:7-8 NIV

God designed us for relationship, primarily relationship with Himself, but also relationship with each other. He designed the first marriage and the first family. He watched as we broke fellowship with Him in our first sin, He watched a family divide in the first murder and yet since the beginning He was working to reconcile it all. 

Though Christ has made the way for reconciliation with Him, life is still wrought with pain and broken relationships here in this life. Have you ever been in an intimate relationship, friendship or romantic, that ended badly? It'd be a impossibility for anyone to claim this truth and if they did, perhaps they aren't being honest with themselves because we, are still broken here. 

There may be some people in your life, or not but I hope so, who you feel utterly at home with. With this person(s), some of your favorite moments in your life (to date) have included them. They, who see all of you and still love you. God knows our desire for emotional intimacy and ultimately, our deepest relationship lies in Him. The hole we so desperately fill with people is meant for Him. It is with Him where we are loved, cherished and pursued without false motive or selfish intent. We are made whole with/to/in/by Him. 

In this chapter we will learn how to accept God's invitation to us in prayer and, as always, the chapter is divided into two sections. 

Prayer in Solitude (1)

Even Jesus took time alone to pray as shared in Mark 1:35, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Alone time with God is crucial for our growth and crucial for our sustenance. 

The secret conversations, alone and in the presence of our God is where the intimacy happens, where we show Him our heart and He shows us His. It's where we can sit emotionally and spiritually naked and His feet. It is there, He provides the warmth of His love, the grace for our shame and the love/acceptance we need. There is no faking it here. There are no pretenses. It's not even about where or how we do it, He just wants us to want Him. 

We've learned so much about how God meets us and provides for us in prayer. Cynthia reminds us in scripture that we should "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thess 5:16-18). 

"Prayer will be fatiguing to both flesh and blood if uttered aloud and sustained long. Oral prayer and prayer mentally ordered in words though not spoken cannot be engaged in without ceasing. Instead there is an undercurrent of prayer that may run continually under the stream of our thoughts and never weary us. Such prayer is the silent breathing of the Spirit of God who dwells in our hearts." 
-David M'Intyre (2)

Our Lord wants a sincere heart of prayer. Who of us wants a public declaration of love and praise without genuine adoration in private? Who of us wants to be "loved" only when others are watching? It's much like the wedding without the marriage. 

Prayer in Community (3)

"When two or more believers come together to pray, they often come with different ideas about what to ask and a different understanding about what the will of God is in the matter. One may think that God wants to heal the sick. Another may think that He is bringing a trial of illness to teach the afflicted. But as they seek agreement and unity of request, they begin to hear the voice of God gradually conforming their differing thoughts...into the will of God. And their prayer is answered." -Kent R Wilson (4)

I fear sometimes community prayer takes the place of my prayer in solitude. It should not, it should add to it. 

This chapter discusses fasting and it's purposes. This is this weeks challenge: that you find one meal, to opt out of the meal and spend that time being filled with Him. Being sure to make it a private moment and focusing your prayer on deeper intimacy. 

Lord, thank you again for truth and for the scripture that richly declares of your glory and pursuit of us. I confess my failing to meet you alone regularly. I confess that I need you and the comfort of your Spirit to feel at home and complete. God, I ask that you continue to teach me to pray in solitude, in community and all day long. I want to accept you invitation to deeper relationship through prayer. Help me through the power of you Spirit to do this. 

**See the this post for a schedule and a preview of 2013. 

(1-4) Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005.  Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved. 

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