August 12, 2010

Scripture Study and Prayer (Excerpt from the upcoming 12:2 by A.M. LaMouria)

Scripture Study and Prayer

            James said in His epistle to the young Christian Church, "show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."[1]  In other words, if you try to show me your faith without works, there will be very little of substance to evidence your faith; but true faith will be evidenced by the way a life is lived practically. 
            Likewise, I would suggest, show me a prayer life without the knowledge of the Word, and I will show you my knowledge of the Word by how I pray.  I think the first would be of very little beneficial substance to the pray-er.  Remember, the redeemed soul is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind - so that we may discern the good, perfect, and pleasing will of God.  It is a shame that so many people pray for the will of God, but invest so little in the gift He has given us so that we may discern it when He does reveal it. 
            If we are to commune with the One whom we have surrendered our lives to, then we should commune with Him first and foremost in response to the words He has been speaking to us for the past several thousand years - because they are His good, perfect, and pleasing will revealed to us.  And we should, if anything, be praying for His good, perfect, and pleasing will to be realized in our lives.  The two cannot be separated.  Think about even the most basic prayer of salvation.  Is it not a response to the truth of God's Word?
            Consider you own prayer life for a moment.  Are you in a conversation with your Savior based on the Words He has already spoken to us, or are you in a conversation with God based on something else.  I have created a list below of several things that we replace the Word of God with as a basis for our conversations with Him.

Emotional experiences. (We pray based on how we feel or how we want to feel.)
Christian clichés. (Cliché’s are watered down truths that replace God's word for the sake of comfort or appearances.  If these are not supplemented with the whole truth of God's Word, these become the premise of an immature relationship with God. )
Christian music lyrics (without knowing whether or not they are scriptural - and if they are - what they actually refer to).
Family relationships. ("God is just like my family.  All He really cares about is my character and respect when I talk to Him.")
Social relationships. ("God is just like one of my friends.  All He really cares about is my authenticity and loyalty when I talk to Him.")
Other pray-ers. (We adopt the style, tone, colloquialisms, and agenda of prayer from other influential people in our life simply because we think it is the right way to do it.)           
            Many people make a circus out of prayer.  They pray, claiming promises that are not found in Scripture (wealth and prosperity).   They pray for realizations that are outside of the clearly communicated will of God in Scripture (such as the failure or destruction of a political leader they do not like).  Many people use prayer as a platform to do battle with demons directly, speaking more with the enemy than to the Father.  Scripture speaks to the inappropriateness of these issues very plainly.  But for those who don't know the word because of neglect, not only are they unaware, but their prayers are actually hindering them from experiencing the delight of the Lord.[2]
            Where does your prayer life line up?  If we want to experience the will of God, we must develop a prayer life grounded in and responsive to the revealed will of God.  That means studying the Word of God so that not only our lives are a proper reflection of God's will, but so that our prayers are appropriate responses to God's will.  A good place to start is to pray while reading the Psalms and letting them guide your personal prayer.[3]  Aligning our hearts and minds with God by attention to His Word is the first step to experiencing true peace and profound delight in being a disciple.

[1] James 2:18
[2] Proverbs 28:9; Psalm 119 (All of Psalm 119 is a petition whose right to ask for God's intercesion is based on his intimacy with God's Word.  Praticularly vv. 129-136, 153-160 (Pe and Resh )

With you for His glory

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