“When You Pray to God, What do You Expect to Happen?”

Matthew 11:9-13
“So I say: Ask and it will will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

If you then, though you are evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

When you pray to God, do you really expect a positive response?  Do you expect a response at all? If you are unsure how to answer this question, like many of us may be, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the kind of relationship you have with the heavenly Father.

When is the last time you really talked to God?  When was the last time you really listened to God?  Maybe your prayer-style has not been a conversation where active-listening was used at all.  Here’s an example, a family member comes to talk to you,  the person immediately starts to apologize for not coming sooner or more often.  The person talks about how badly they now need your help with a list of favors, immediately. They further explain their desperation and their need for help as they urge you to get busy answering their requests.  Is this example close to your/family member prayer style?

This would be the time to guide this family member through prayer, because it’s God’s guidance, through you that’s needed. It does little good, I feel, to say to someone who’s wings of faith are in their infancy, “just pray about it!”

Blackaby and King tells us in their book, Experiencing God If you do not have clear instructions from God in a matter,

-Pray and wait

-Learn patience

-Depend on God’s timing

-His timing is right and best.(pg. 75)

Now, we are not God, nor do we understand the mind of God or His Ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God is however, availing Himself to us, each day through prayer.

“Prayer is a Relationship to a Person.”

“Prayer is a two-way fellowship and communication–you speak to God and He speaks to you.  Prayer is not a one-way conversation in which you merely list everything you want God to do.  Your personal prayer life may have been primarily one-way communication–you talking to God–but we now learn that prayer is much more than that.

” Prayer includes listening.  In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say. God already knows what you are going to say.  You, however, do not know what God is thinking.

Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity.  Its purpose is to adjust you to God, not align God to your thinking.  God doesn’t need your prayers. but He does want you to pray because of what He wants to do in and through your life as you pray.  God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” (1, pp 107-108)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing each of us the privilege of communicating with you through the gift of prayer.  We don’t take this gift for granted, but use it to stay on-task with you as we constantly receive your guidance for our lives.  Enrich our prayer life, we pray.  In your name. Amen.

 

1. Blackaby, Henry & Richard, King,Claude, Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing The Will of God.  Lifeway Press 1990. Revised 2007.

2. Scripture from: The New International Version Study Bible, Zondervan, 1973.

 

Originally in Homewords News,July 2011

 

 

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Jesus Prays for All Believers – John 17:20-26

 

 John’s gospel gives us an account of Jesus taking the time prior to His arrest, to pray for all Believers. He prayed for Himself (John 17:1-5), His disciples (John 17:6-19), and for all believers (John 17:20-26). Just think about that for a moment, Jesus, our Lord and Savior praying for us. The New International Version of the Bible in the footnote to John 17:20 states: “Jesus had just spoken of the mission and the sanctification of His followers (vv18-19). He was confident that they would spread the gospel, and He prayed for those who would believe as a result. All future believers were included in this prayer.”

Let’s continue to follow Jesus’ example by praying daily for all believers. Let’s especially ask God to lead us “not into temptation.” That we learn to recognize the triggers that can cause us to commit sin in thought, words, or deeds.

Let’s also pray that we understand that God does love us and that we put on that love each day and share it with all people by treating them to a “heaping helping” of God’s love.

Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for praying for us. We ask that you give us the courage to pray for others. In your name, Amen.

All Scripture from The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

 

(Reprint from Homewords Small Group Bible Study Ministry, Facebook, Sepetember 2010)

“Thank You God, for The Times You’ve Said “No”

When we ask God (through prayer) to meet our needs, we expect Him to answer “yes,” every time. We’ve already had the time to assess and examine our situation; therefore, we know that we do need God’s help. The help we want from Him (as our Father) is His endorsement, His permission, and His granting of our wish. God’s love for us and His moral attributes will not allow Him to give us His endorsement, His permission, or His wish fulfillment to all that his beloved children request of Him.

“God is just and righteous because He reacts to law—His Law. His love has a self-imparting quality that leads God to seek the highest good for His Creation (us) and to seek complete possession of us”. Psalm 145:9, 15-20a: – “The Lord is good to all he has made. You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him.” Romans 2:2-4 “You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience not realizing that God’s kindness leads toward repentance?” (Cook pg. 6) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no.”

“God’s love seeks to reclaim those who wander from Him”. Jeremiah 50:6 – “My people have been lost; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountains and hill and forgot their own resting place. Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, “We are not guilty, for they sinned against the Lord, their true pasture, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.” (Cook pg. 7) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said, “No” to us economically. You’ve changed our financial structure, financial contracts, resources, job security, positions, titles, and our tenure. This has caused a domino effect in the whole world’s finance system.

“He desires to seek and to save those who are lost because of His Love.”

2 Peter 3:3-9 – “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is the coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water by water. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (Cook Pg 6) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no” to our hanging out with the wrong crowd.

“God is all powerful. He can do any/all things consistent with His nature and purpose. He is able to do all that He wills to do. God does what is right.” Romans 1:16-17a – “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith.” (Cook pg 5) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no” by preventing us from moving forward, without your direction. We were packed up and ready to go to what we perceived as the next logical step, you, God were able to bring everything to a screeching halt.

We often respond negatively to God’s refusals to us, His answers of “no.” Some of us truly grieve at the loss of God’s endorsement, His permission, and His granting of our wishes. Others may resort to pouting, complaining, passive-aggressive behavior, or by shutting down to a life-long pity party. Still others may decide to try another god who is permissive, and caters to all of their whims until it’s time for the natural and logical consequences to occur. James 1:2-8 reminds us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If anyone likes wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

When we are faced with any situation, know that all things begin and end with God for the Believer. When answers are needed, be humble and courageous enough to go to the source (God) for all answers, for the Believer.

Prayer: Thank you God, for restraining us by saying, “No.” We humbly receive your corrections with gratitude to you, in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

Rev. Glenda Brunson

1.All scriptures from the NIV Study Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, 1995

2.Cook, James L., Introduction to Theology, A Summery Outline, St. Petersburg Theological Seminary

(Reprint from August 2010 Facebook)

EFFECTIVE PRAYER OUTLINE REMAINS ON WEBSITE THROUGHOUT 2014

This opportunity is still available.

Homewords Ministry

Homewords’ first Self-Study, a book review of The Secret of Effective Prayer by Helen Rice Shoemaker, will remain on the website at www.homewordsministry.com, throughout 2014. The Self-Study simply involves reading the book and following the Reading Guide to interesting points of the book. The Reading Guide was developed by Glenda and is very helpful in getting the most out of the study. Here is how the book review works.

  1. Request the Book: Get the book from Homewords Ministry by  requesting a copy. Give us a call at 727-542-4683 for Glenda or 727-742-4683 for Frank, to arrange receiving your book.  You can also request a copy by e-mail at Homewordsministry@gmail.com. Please include your postal mailing address with your e-mail request. There is no charge for materials from Homewords. The book is a gift to you from other members of the Bible Study group.
  2. Read the Assignments:  Follow the course…

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How often should we ask God for a specific request? Rev. Frank Brunson

This week I was in a Bible study where the question was asked; is it appropriate to continue praying for something or should we just pray once, know that God hears our prayers, and know that he will answer? After participating in the discussion and listening to others, I felt that the best way for me to answer this question is by sharing my though with you through Homewords Ministry.

First of all without elaboration, my working definition of prayer is as follows:
Prayer is the act of commutative relationship with God.
• Showing our love for Him
• Showing our affirmation of faith to Him
• Showing our dependence on Him
• Presenting our petitions for self and others
Different

Scriptures seem to take a number of different directions on answering this question, which makes an answer to the appropriate frequency of prayer request seem confusing. For instance, Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:10 and 1:12 continued to “pray to the Lord” for a son and was granted Samuel, who she dedicated and gave to the priesthood”. However, Paul who often advocated persistent and continual prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:3, Romans 1:9:10, Ephesians 6:18, 2 Timothy 1:3), prayed consistently for God to remove “a thorn in my flesh”, to which God answered “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (1 Corinthians 12:7-8).

My observation is that quite often the dilemma with our prayers is that we pray for things that are outside of the realm of what God will grant. When praying, I believe that no prayer will be answered that doesn’t glorify God, which is the purpose for God creating man. Scripture tells us, we were created to “rule” over the earth. Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our own likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and he birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Thus in this case, God’s glorification comes when we obey and rule over the earth in a manner which satisfies God.

We further learn from Scripture that, there are things on earth which are physical, and there are thing which are spiritual. In the spiritual realm, God represents the good side and the serpent (Genesis 3:1-7) represents evil. Man, living in the scope of good and evil, had to encounter not only God and the good side of the spiritual realm, but also the evil sides. God attempted to spare man from the complications of decisions regarding the spiritual worlds by simply telling him, not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Before man’s disobedience and fall, his total knowledge of the two realms, and the answers to dealing with it, relied totally on his relationship with God and following the one simple restriction, “do not eat”.

Man’s personal relationship with God was severed with one single act, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, banishing him from The Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). That relationship can be restored by one single act, accepting Jesus as our “personal savior”, which gives us the privilege of taking part in Jesus’ personal connection to the Father. In other words, through Jesus our relationship with God is restored. For Jesus in John 6:57 says “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

Now, what does this have to do with the answer on the frequency of a specific petition? Simply put, God loves His relationship with man. As defined, Prayer is the commutative relationship with God. God loves that communicative relationship. But the communicative relationship doesn’t mean God answers all prayers with a “yes”? Sometimes, God’s answer to a specific petition may be “no”, but God still loves you, and loves when we come to Him for the commutative relationship. Sometimes, the” yes” is not immediate because we are not ready for God’s answer. Sometimes, in the scope of what we are asking for, God’s glory comes from the use of our request in a much larger way than we can ever imagine. Sometimes, everything is not in place for God to move with your “yes “answer. Sometimes, before the answer is given, preparation must be made. Remember that God is a perfect God. A perfect God has to give us a perfect answer. However, no matter what the answer is, God loves the commutative relationship, because this is what God made man for, to commune with Him.

My suggestion is to follow the Scripture and pray often. Pray often, because God loves to hear from you. God loves the relationship with you and there is nothing better on earth than a relationship with God. When you make prayer petitions, God will grant request to your petition in a manner to His glory. When God answers “no”, it could mean that what you are partitioning for is not good for you, or what you are asking for is for your own satisfaction, and not for God’s glory. If God is slow to answer, it could mean that God is planning to get a lot more out of your request than you could ever imagine. But, regardless of the answer, keep the commutative relationship hot. God’s perfect answers are always best.

The Secret of Effective Prayer – Chapter 22 The Power of Prayer Groups – Chapter 23 The Power of United Worship

Helen Shoemaker

The Secret of Effective Prayer

Glenda Brunson developed the Reading Guide 11/27/2011

Week 5 Chapters 22-24

Reading Guide

1. What four (4) values does the author give to prayer groups and participation in united prayer?  Page 147

2. What does the author say about the power of a group of people, united in their intention, constant in their intercession? Page 148

3. Of the five (5) uses of prayer groups, which speaks clearest to you?  Page 149

4. Which danger should we be cautious of?  Page 150

5. What is the ideal number of people for a prayer group? Page 153

Why?

6. Why does the author state that a Prayer Group is more like a laboratory or spiritual refueling center? Page 153

7. What is the most important part of the hour together? Page 154

8. What are some of the results of belonging to a prayer group? Page 154

9. Discuss Mrs. Smith’s suggestions for a Prayer Group? Page 153

10. Design a Prayer Group outline (agenda) for your church. Use page 157 as a guide.

11. What has the Christian church contributed to civilization?  Find as many as you can.  Page 163-166

12. How can you participate with the whole church service? Page 167

The Secret of Effective Prayer-Week 4 -Chapters 18-21

Helen Shoemaker

The Secret of Effective Prayer

Glenda Brunson developed the reading Guide 11/15/2011

Page 114-146

Reading Guide

1. Discuss Alice’s experience with united prayer. Pg. 115-118.

2. What is the lesson being taught in Matthew 6:6? Pg. 118

3. Did Jesus believe in united prayer? Pg. 118. Read Matthew 18:19

4. How does God regard intercession? Pg. 118-119

5. What is the High Priestly Prayer of John 17? Pg. 119

6. Who is glorified in this prayer? Pg. 119

7. What is the Chabburah Fellowship? Pg. 119

8.How can we keep this Fellowship alive today?

9. What happened in Acts 1:14? Pg. 119-120.

10. What does the author say about group prayer? Pg. 120

11. What is the family? Pg. 121

12.  What blame is laid at the feet of world leaders? Pg. 122

13.  Why can’t we expect a healthy society? Pg. 122

14.  How does the author liken the family to an orchestra?  Pg. 122

15. Who should conduct the family?  Pg. 122

16.  What is God’s position at our homes? Pg. 129

17. Explain the author’s view of the importance of “obedience in small things? Pg. 133

18. What is prayer according to Page 134?

19.  How did the prayers change? Pg. 136