Mirrors are helpful. They assist us in inspecting our outward appearance. They keep us safe and others safe when driving. There are even specialized mirrors to reveal blind spots around corners. In the last chapter we focused on facing life with the Scriptures, but life does not consist of viewing ourselves only. We can’t remain in front of the mirror all day. Our gaze must extend upward and outward to fulfill our calling to love God and love people.
Imagine if tomorrow you were placed on the witness stand to prove you truly love God and others. With the courtroom cameras fixed upon you and all the world watching, what evidence could you submit that would withstand the scrutiny of an adversarial courtroom cross-examination?…
At the intersection of life and prayer is loving God and loving people. If we neglect to intercede on behalf of others, then we fail to truly love. The Bible uses a unique word for this kind of love, it is agapao. It is a love that is noble and sacrificial, rooted in the will rather than mere emotions. The Bible describes this kind of love in so many amazing ways. There is one particular passage about love in the Scripture that is often quoted at weddings.
Facing life with the Scriptures is not a “one and done.” Rather it is a daily pattern and practice of true believers….
Facing life with the Scriptures requires that you turn to the Lord with all your heart, soul, might, and mind. So how do we cultivate the kind of prayer, passion, and courage of Hannah, Daniel, and Josiah?
It begins with the right thoughts followed by the right actions. Let me express this as a formula:
information + application = sanctification
Bible + obedience = godliness
Real change through prayer happens when godly thoughts join godly actions. Consider memorizing the following passages to help you face life with the Scriptures.
After focusing on the person and work of God, we now travel from the throne room of God to the innermost part of our being, our heart and mind. When it comes to praying to God, remembering He knows all and sees all is both a comfort and a warning.
…God hates the ways of pride and hypocrisy. Interestingly, He also dislikes prayers that repeat the same words over and over. God wants an honest conversation in prayer, not “vain repetition.” These are solemn reminders regarding our mindset before we enter the prayer closet. What is the right kind of spirit for prayer? Psalm 34:18 affirms that the Lord appreciates a broken heart and contrite spirit in prayer.
Question: When you pray, are you captivated by God or something else? How do you keep yourself focused on God in prayer?
When my children were around the ages of 6, 4 and 2, I would find them clutching their favorite stuffed animal when we were praying to God. As lovingly as possible, I would remind them to give their full attention to the Lord and to put away their toys. As adults we too must guard our mind and heart against clutching anything that would distract us in prayer.
Therefore we must examine our motives and manner in prayer.
Do you know who God is? What He loves? What He hates? What He has done in the past? What He will do in the future? Can you recall from the Scriptures His attributes, His names, and His commandments?
Are your prayers limited by a lack of knowledge about God? How do you praise God? Do you thank God, and if so, for what?
Have you considered that the heights of intimate worship through prayer are linked to a deep understanding of God and His Word? Later, we will consider the prayers of Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, and Paul who knew God and His Word intimately.
Question: So how does one remember the glories of God in prayer? How should our prayers begin?
I am convinced that as you study the Bible to know God more deeply, your prayer life will be transformed. Do you want to grow closer to God? Then begin by asking God to give you a greater passion for prayer and curiosity to know and think rightly about Him.
We’ll take a break from the Hour of Prayer for a bit as we explore the topic of Family Prayers. As an expectant father, I’ve been a bit more aware of the challenge for family devotions. How important is it to have this practice as a family?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Prayer is a pattern that parents can communicate to their children!
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
This is reiterated in Deuteronomy 4:9
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
There’s a Biblical mandate to instruct your children! And for our dispensationalists, let’s look at the New Testament!
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
We can bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord by teaching them how pray – and by demonstrating how to pray!
David had the utmost assurance when he prayed – because he simply asked God to do what He already said He would do!
And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.
2 Samuel 7:25
What promises do you need to claim? Do you have financial issues? Trust the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills!
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Today let’s look at the promises we can claim in our prayers.
Are you interceding for someone? Ask God to help you ask, and that He would line up your desires with His!
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
We can have if we ask – but the motive for asking must be aligned to His desires.
Some people may use Matthew 18:19-20, but in context that’s talking about church discipline.
A better passage is Luke 11:9-10:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
How’s this for a closing thought – our Father wants to give us gifts!
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Today we’re looking at claiming authority from Scripture in our prayers. How is it that we are able to come before the Creator of the Universe?
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We can enter the Sovereign’s throne room boldly! Remember how Queen Esther was fearful to approach her husband’s throne?
All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
Our monarch is no less fearful –
Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence?….
Yet invites us in!
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
One pastor has an interesting warning against not praying Scripture:
If we don’t form the habit of praying the Scriptures, our prayers will almost certainly degenerate into vain repetitions that eventually revolve entirely around our immediate private concerns, rather than God’s larger purposes.
So what can we learn from the Scripture that can help our prayer life?
The Scriptures either tell us something about God and Christ when we are reading so that we can praise him. Or, they tell us something about what God and Christ and the Holy Spirit have done so that we can thank him and express faith in it. Or, they tell us what God expects from us so that we can cry out for his help. Or, they tell us about something we failed to do so that we can confess our sins. So, it seems to me that virtually all the Bible is doing one or more of those four things: something about God, something about what he has done, something about what he expects, something about how we have failed, so that they naturally lead into praise to God, thanks to God, crying for help to God, and confession of sin to God.
Today let’s look at using Scripture in our prayer!
Read or quote a psalm of praise to the Lord. Pray through a psalm. Ask God to give you understanding as you read His Word. Let the Scriptures fill your mind and impact your heart. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16–17).
Today perhaps take a section of the longest Psalm – Psalm 119. Let’s start with the Aleph section:
 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.  They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.  Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.  O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!  Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.  I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.  I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
Meditate on these verses and ask God for this blessing that He offers, for the ability to keep His testimonies, for the power to seek Him. Seek protection from iniquity, and to stay in His ways. And did you notice the last verse? It isn’t until the New Testament that we find the words never and forsake in proximity!