Practicing Basic Spiritual Disciplines
Focus on the Foundational Principals of Christian Living
Charles F. Stanley
Getting to Know the Lord
It’s not hard to get to know someone you work with. We usually spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year with our coworkers. Over time, even with no effort, we know a good bit about these people…just because we spend so much time in their presence. With no effort at all, we know about their spouse, their kids / grand kids, what they had for dinner last night…you know, all the superficial general stuff. For the most part, we don’t share our lives with our co-workers. With the exception of a choice few, they are not our friends. Even though we spend a lot of time with them, most are not part of our lives outside work.
- Spending time together
Friends are people that we spend time with, share mutual experiences with, and share ideas, hopes, dreams, and beliefs with. We trust our friends more than anyone else in our lives because we have shared our life with them and we know they are trustworthy.
These same basic principles- spending time together, sharing experiences, and talking things over- are also the ingredients for developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with God.
Last week we talked about Scripture study and learned that a person must know God’s word if he/she is to develop the mind of Christ, move into obedience to God’s commandments, and become more conformed to Christ. We learn about God when we read His Word and go to church. While these are absolutely necessary to know God and grow as a Christian, there is a danger of treating God like a “co-worker” if we leave God at Church....to know a lot about Him, without Him actually being a part of our life.
We deepen our relationship with our Creator (move from “co-worker” to “friend”) when we share our life with Him. We learn about God...What He likes and does not like, wheat He wants from His people, what He has done for His people in the past, and what He promises us as his children, from Scripture and Lessons taught at church. The way we share our life with God is through prayer. Prayer is not just a good idea, it is a command.
What does Matthew 26:41 say?
Prayer is a requirement if we are to become and remain strong in the Lord and develop an intimate relationship with Him.
Seven Aspects of an Effective Prayer Life:
- Continual Prayer 1 Thess. 5:17
We pray at all times, without ceasing, by living in an attitude of prayer.
- Petitioning Our Needs
- Praise and Thanksgiving 1 Thess. 5:16-18
“Bookend” your prayers with praise and thanksgiving, remembering Who is in control and what He has already done in your life.
- An Attitude of Forgiveness Matthew 6:14-15
It is imperative that we forgive others. Our unforgiving attitude acts as a barrier, keeping us from receiving the fullness of what God desires to give us.
- Praying Without Doubt James 1:6-8
At ALL times, our prayers are to be steeped in faith to be effective.
- Praying For Our Leaders 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Christianity prospers when government allows religious freedom and freedom to share the gospel.
- Intercession For Others Acts 4:24, 29-30
If Peter and John needed the prayer of others, how much more so does each of us need the prayers of fellow believers in Christ?
Colossians 1:9-12 gives a beautiful example of what to pray for another Christian:
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Today: Prayer is a vital part of growing in Christ-prayer for myself and for others.
Tomorrow: I will add regular prayer to my daily schedule of Bible Reading this week.
Help me to develop a deeper relationship with You through my prayer life. I don't want to have a superficial relationship with you. I want to share every part of my life and every part of each day with You. Thank you for loving me and for desiring to have a relationship with me. Guide me and direct me in the way I should go. Help me to always seek You in all things.
Hope you have a great week!