Bible Order: Psalms 84–88
Chronological Order: 2 Chronicles 18, 1 Kings 22
New Testament Only: Acts 4:32–5:16
Today we read again about Asa, the grandson of Solomon. Asa “sought God”; at least at the start of his reign. What happened when he sought and relied on God?
2 Chronicles 14:7b ESV
“The land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.”
Later in life, for some inexplicable reason, Asa ceased to seek God. Things didn’t go as well then. God keeps teaching us this lesson. Jesus taught the lesson as well.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I guess the question is, how do you “seek” God? There are two things that must be done. It is not an either or, you must do both; read God’s Word and pray. If you are reading this blog it is my hope that you are reading God’s Word on a regular basis, but what about prayer. God laid on my heart today that I need to go deeper in prayer. I’ve been seeking Him in His Word but I have not delved as deeply in prayer as I should.
What makes a good prayer? Here is how I do it:
Praise – I always start by praising God by reciting the many wonderful qualities and names of God. Now God knows who He is and of what He is capable. Praising God helps me because it brings me closer to Him as I remind myself of who He is.
Thanksgiving – I follow praise with thanking God for all his wonderful and amazing blessings. He has created me, guided me, saved me, and given me every material, physical, and spiritual thing. From my existence to my family to my job, everything comes from God. Of course I always finish my thanksgiving by thanking Him for the greatest blessing of all, the sacrifice of His Son for my sins so that I may live with Him in eternity.
Confession – The first two steps in my prayers are crucial as they put my mind in the right attitude. As I think about the greatest gift, however, I can’t help but be reminded of my sin. I continue to mature as a Christian which means I continue to stumble. With a broken heart, I confess my sins at this point in my prayers and ask that He forgive me. I then ask God to open my eyes to any additional sins to which I might be blind that I might confess them and be forgiven. This step cleanses me and pushes my heart even further into a proper attitude as I kneel before my King.
Intercession – Now, with my heart in the right place, I bring before God the hurts and cares of others. We must pray specifically. I name specific names and hurts. I ask that God’s will be done and that He be glorified in each situation. This step of praying for others is crucial to my growth as the man God created me to be. In John 15 Jesus told us to remain attached to the vine – Him. He also told us that whatever we asked for in His name would be given to us. What He meant by asking in His name is that we should ask as He did; we should ask in His character. Remember His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane? “Not my will but your will be done.” When we ask in the mind and heart of Christ, God answers prayer. God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son. By praying for others we are learning to love others as He loves others. We are praying in the mind of Christ.
By the way, have you ever thought about the fact that the beginning and the end of God’s story both contain a similar location? Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, did not act in the will of the Father. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and stated that not His will but God’s will be done. If Adam and Eve had maintained the mind of Christ, and desired to do the will of the Father instead of their own, there would have been no need for Gethsemane and the cross that followed.
Requests – Once I have praised and thanked God, and confessed my sin to Him, and prayed for others my mind should be pretty close to where it is supposed to be. From that place, what will I pray for myself? Will I pray to win the lottery? Will I pray that nothing “bad” ever happens to me? I pray for a heart and mind completely surrendered to Him. I pray that His will is done in my life. I pray that He will be glorified in me and through me. I try to pray in the mind of Christ.
I know this sounds like I already go fairly deep in prayer but the truth is I am guilty of letting what I’ve just shared with you become a checklist. Life seems to fly by and I can turn what is supposed to be a time of growing in Christ into a chore that I want to check off my list. How can I be transformed by the renewing of my mind in prayer if I am rushing through it to check it off my list? How can I develop the mind of Christ and true compassion for the hurts of others when I’m just going through the motions?
If I want to seek God and to grow into the man He wants me to be then I must spend significant time in prayer; not as just one more thing to check off the list but as a joyful priority. Are you like me? Do you desire to be the man God created you to be? If so then add to your daily Bible reading daily “quality” time in prayer. When you seek God He will bless you; when you don’t life will hurt.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 5/17/10)