Prayer emphasis of the month: THANKSGIVING

Giving Thanks to God – Through Prayer

Why should we give God thanks?
Because giving thanks is the will of God for our lives. Thanksgiving is God’s will for you in all circumstances, therefore you should be obedient and give Him thanks.

Give thanks is all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

What are some ways that we can show God Thanks?
1- Remember God – we can’t give God thanks if we don’t think or speak of Him. We should keep scriptures in mind and stay in an attitude of thanksgiving.
2- Recognize God – We remember His hand in our lives and be mindful of His blessings.
3- Give thanks through prayer – We pray to God and thank Him for who He is and for His unchanging character. Even if you have not prayed, you can start now with a simple prayer of thanks.
4- Keep a gratitude journal – record what God has done for you.
5- Obey His commandments – Honor His will for us in our lives.
6- Serve others – Jesus was the ultimate servant. We should all aim to be more like Him as we put others before ourselves.
7- Thank others – When other people help or serve us, they are acting in a Godly way. When we thank them, we are also thanking God.
8- Be humble – We can choose to be humble and thankful, or we can become angry, self-serving, and bitter.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18: 14

A Simple outline of a thanksgiving prayer (add to it your own personal thanks to God):
“Dear God, Father in Heaven, Thank you for who you are and how your promises and character don’t change. Thank you that you sent your son, Jesus to earth to pay not just for the sins of the world, but for me personally. Thank you God that you sent the Holy Spirit to live in, and with us to be our Guide, our Comforter, and our Strength. Thank you that you convict us of our wrongs, and help us to grow into the person you created us to be while never turning your back on us when we fall short. Thank You God for who you are as the giver of love and all good things, in Jesus name, Amen!”.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
Psalms 100:4


C.S. Lewis – Quote on Praise

“I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least…Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible… I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what we indeed can’t help doing, about everything else we value.”

From C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms


Prayer emphasis of the month: ADORATION

You are invited to participate in a monthly focus on a specific aspect of prayer .  We are starting the themes with Adoration of God.  What a marvelous first prayer emphasis!  It seems that our adoration of God can capture our whole relationship with Him.  Here are some starter thoughts that might help you adore God this month:

Some words the dictionary uses to describe adoration are: Deep love, respect, devotion, care, fondness, affection, admiration, worship, veneration, praise, reverence, exaltation, esteem, magnify.

So, some of the aspects of adoring God can be:

  • Worshiping Him for the magnificence of who He is
  • Humbling ourselves before Him in absolute awe
  • Expressing our total gratitude for what He has done for us—and for what He will continue to do for us
  • Loving Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength
  • Surrendering ourselves wholly to Him
  • Telling the world about Him

Psalm 27:4  “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?”

Some suggested components of a prayer of adoration

“Dear Lord, we exalt you as the divine Creator and Ruler of the whole universe—now and forever.  We see everywhere in Your Word, in Your rule of the universe, and in Your care for us—that You are all-mighty, all-loving and all-good.  We bow before You in absolute awe and humility—there is none like You.  You are worthy of all praise.  We give You all our gratitude for Your love for us, Your provision for us, Your protection of us—and especially for sending Your Son to be our Savior and King.  All our hope is in You.  Please help us to love You with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength, and to die to self and live for You alone.  Please remove all other distractions in our lives.  We adore You!  Help us to adore You more and more each day.  Compel us to share our affection for You with everyone You bring into our lives—so they can adore You too.  We pray these things in Jesus’ holy and precious name.  Amen.”

 


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Five hindrances to answered prayers

Bob Owen, January 4, 2021

Have you ever wondered why God has not answered some of your prayers? We have His promises, like 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us,” but He also gives us reasons why our prayers sometimes are not answered. Here are some:

Asking with wrong motives. James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” If we pray simply for the gratification of self and for the satisfaction of our own pleasures, the Bible says we ask amiss.

Lack of faith. Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Believing that God exists is only the beginning. Even the demons believe that much {James 2:19,20). God will not settle for mere acknowledgment of His existence. He desires a personal, dynamic relationship with us that will transform our lives. Those who seek God earnestly and intimately will be rewarded.

Unforgiving spirit toward others. Matthew 6:14, 15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” We are to completely forgive others. We are to forgive from the heart {that is without limit) because God has so graciously forgiven us.

Discord in the home. 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” In 1 Peter 3:1, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over with words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” Contention and unresolved disputes in the home become a hindrance to an effective prayer life. Big Tip: Do not go to bed while still angry, Ephesians. 5:26.

Unconfessed sin. Psalm 66:18, 19, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened, but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” It must be pointed out that any unconfessed sin can block the answers to our prayers. No Christian can ever be successful in prayer if he practices sin in his life.

 


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Why Should I Pray?

Angela Simler, November 11, 2020

We might ask: if God already knows all my needs, why should I tell Him? Prayer is an act of obedience. Throughout the Bible there are Scriptures telling us to pray. Jesus clearly stated this in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18. In His goodness, God gives us all His commands for our own good and for His glory. Prayer develops our faith and dependence on God as we learn to identify His voice giving us direction, guidance, wisdom, strength, comfort, peace, grace and much more. Our eyes are open to see Him active in our lives. A transformation happens from God being a concept to becoming a reality. 

More reasons to pray daily:

  • Because He is near. Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
  • Because He promises to hear us. 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
  • Because we can reach promises. 2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
  • Because He cleanses us. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Because He heals us. 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
  • Because He gives us wisdom. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
  • Because we love others. 1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.
  • Because we would receive. Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
  • Because He gives revelation. Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
  • Because He gives us His peace. Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Because our prayer has power. James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
  • Because prayer increases faith. Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.