Prayers Grow In Patience And Grace
9 Ways to Grow in Your Faith
The Bible lists nine fruits of the Spirit. Each one can help us grow in our relationship with God.
This article is part 3 of a 6-week Summer Soul Refresher series from BGEA. Read part 1: 5 Ways to Replenish a Burned-Out Soul; and part 2: How to Dive Into Your Walk with God.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Bible says we receive supernatural help from the Holy Spirit. Because of that help, we can become more Jesus, showing nine key characteristics—the fruits of the Spirit—in our daily lives.
It’s no coincidence that love is the first fruit listed in Galatians chapter 5. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and love one another (Mark 12:30-31). When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves, we show the world we belong to Jesus.
- Until you know God loves you, it will be difficult to love God and love others. Whether you’ve never heard that God loves you or you just need a reminder, watch this short, powerful video about God’s amazing love for you.
- Our culture uses the word “love” so casually (“I love your dress!” “I love cheeseburgers!”), it can be hard to identify the kind of love Jesus spoke about in the Bible. What does it look to love God with all we have? any relationship, love means setting aside time. Take time to talk with God and get to know Him through the Bible.
- Once we love God, we can love others. But love isn’t just something to talk about; Jesus taught us to show our love through actions. Find ways to love people through acts of service. Even a simple phone call can make a difference. Then share God’s love with others. Know someone who’s hard to love? This Answer from Billy Graham may help.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). It’s easy to rejoice when things are going our way. It’s a different story when life is hard. But followers of Jesus are called to have joy all the time—not just when life is good.
- One of the keys to being joyful is knowing why we rejoice. We don’t rejoice in our money, jobs, vacations or even our relationships. We must rejoice in the Lord. Billy Graham’s audio message, The Secret of Joy in Tribulation, addresses how to have joy even in the toughest times.
- Billy Graham said, “Only the forward-looking Christian remains sincerely optimistic and joyful, knowing that Christ will win in the end.” Is your focus on the problems of this world, or the eternal joy that is to come? If you find yourself focusing on negatives, redirect your thoughts to Jesus and the promise of heaven. Watch the video, Heaven.
- If Christ followers are called to be joyful, why are some Christians so grumpy? Billy Graham’s Answer.
the word “love,” “peace” is a word that has become casual and hard to define. But true peace comes from God, and there’s nothing it.
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus spoke those words thousands of years ago, but they’re still meant for us today. Check yourself. Does your peace come from trusting Jesus, or does it come from your circumstances?
- It seems more people than ever suffer from anxiety. But you can have peace when you train yourself to focus on God instead of yourself or the world around you. Start with reading and memorizing Philippians 4:6-9, which explains how to replace anxiety with the peace of God.
- Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). In this Answer, Billy Graham talks about whether world peace is possible. We should pray for peace throughout the world, but we also can’t forget about our own backyard. Is there strife within your own family or workplace? Be a peacemaker there.
Living in this fast-paced world can give you a short fuse. Still, impatience isn’t something you want to brush off as a minor personality flaw. If you find yourself getting annoyed, worried or intolerant while waiting on people, imagine how much more those negative emotions can escalate while you’re waiting on the Lord.
- Don’t think you have what it takes to be a patient person? All the more reason to submit this tough area to God. See what the Bible says about patience and why you can’t develop this trait on your own.
- In some translations, the word “long-suffering” is used in place of “peace” in Galatians 5:22. Both patience and long-suffering deal with endurance—a necessary companion for your faith walk. In this Ruth Bell Graham writing, she uses the example of windsurfing to show the importance of patience, endurance and divine guidance.
- God exercises more patience than we ever could. No matter how many times you mess up, God won’t run patience with you. This answer from Billy Graham is a great reminder of God’s unfailing love.
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Philippians 2:3-4 says, “count others more significant than yourselves” and “look to the interests of others.” Kindness is about more than being cordial. It’s an intentional act that requires effort and genuine concern. These reminders can help you become a kinder person.
- Make room to be kind to others. Give compliments. Talk to strangers beyond saying, “Hello.” Make extra effort this week to recognize opportunities to demonstrate kindness, and then follow through. Take note of how it impacts you and others.
- “People take my kindness for weakness.” Sound familiar? There’s nothing weak about being kind to others. In fact, it takes a great degree of humility to consistently live this way. Read Billy Graham’s devotion on the strength of having compassion for others.
- When you totally give your life to Christ, your old ways no longer matter. With the help of God, you can embody the attributes of a kind person. Listen to this 1-minute audio message from Billy Graham that explains the new life you can live.
To practice goodness, you must first know what God considers “good.”
- God calls us to have true, right and pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Billy Graham once gave this answer on controlling bad thoughts.
- God calls us to love everyone, including our enemies. “The Bible declares that we who follow Jesus Christ should be just as much in love with each other as God was in love with us when He sent His Son to die on the cross.” —Billy Graham in a sermon on love
- God calls us to do the right thing for the right reasons. This battle starts with the heart. Listen to the Hour of Decision Online radio program, “Heart Disease.”
Do you have someone to turn to with the most important things in life? Someone who sticks close by through the ups and downs? A loyal friend isn’t to be taken for granted. You can be that kind of person, too.
- God is faithful. Are you faithful back? He wants us to be good stewards with what He’s given us—time, talents, money, relationships. Can He trust you to treat or use these things wisely?
- Being faithful to God also means not putting other things above Him. The Bible calls these idols—anything you worship or give “god-” status to. An idol isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself—it could be work, social position, entertainment, looks—but can be a distraction when God doesn’t come first. Is He at the center of all you do? Read more about idols.
- Our relationships are important to God. Are you loyal to those around you? Can people trust that you’ll do what you say you’ll do? James 5:12 says, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment.”
Harsh. Abrasive. Overly critical. Angry. That doesn’t exactly describe the kind of person you want to be around, does it? Here are some ways to approach your own relationships with gentleness.
- Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Build others up, don’t tear them down. Believe the best, don’t assume the worst. Distance yourself from harmful gossip.
- Anger may be justified, but how you deal with it can make or break relationships. It can also lead to bitterness, which gets you nowhere. Read short Q&As on coping with anger.
- Constructive criticism can be helpful, but be wary of criticizing others to the point of belittling them. Balance your feedback with compliments. Be mindful of your tone of voice and who’s around when you offer input. Have a hard time accepting criticism? Read more.
With so many day-to-day temptations and frustrations, it can be hard to maintain self-control. Whether you’re at home, at work or on the road, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- We’re all tempted, but we don’t have to give in. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from whatever is tempting us. Here’s how to stay strong when faced with temptation. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “…(God) will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
- Maybe you lack self-control when it comes to food. Maybe it’s hard to keep your cool when the kids are crying. Or maybe the issue is lust. Whatever it is, try taking a break. Count to 10 and refocus. Call a friend for encouragement. Read a Psalm to calm your heart and focus on God. Take a walk. Find tips on overcoming addiction.
- Willpower alone might not be enough. Ask God for His power to maintain discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Want more of our Summer Soul Refresher series?
Part 4: ‘A Time to Laugh’: 5 Ways to Add Laughter to Your Life
Part 5: 3 Keys to Sharing Your Faith
Part 6: How to Shine Your Light for Christ
8 Helpful Prayers that will Bless Your Parenting – Counting My Blessings
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ~ Anne Frank
We’ve learned a lot of wisdom from this young woman whose life was cut short at the tender age of 15.
This quote really hit me. When my children were young I firmly believed that great input in parenting would always bring about great results from their children.
I’ve grown up and so have my children
Today, as I look around at our peers and their grown children, and ponder our experience I can honestly say, “it ain’t necessarily so.”
I’ve known many great parents whose children decided to ignore their words and example to try a more challenging path.
I know. If you have young children that wasn’t very encouraging. But…
Don’t give up!
I still believe parents should give the important job of parenting all they’ve got.
Then…Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. You probably know that already!
Mom guilt is something that goes with the job and I believe dads suffer from it too.
Today I want to encourage you and give you a little advice.
And just to get you started, I have 8 prayers you can pray now.
1. Thank you for my child
Every child is a blessing, ask God to help you enjoy each day with gratitude.
Father, Thank you so much for my child. Help me to celebrate this awesome every day, even the hard days. Help me celebrate my child’s unique personality and abilities.
I believe You made her exactly the way You wanted and that You will use her for Your plans and purposes. Thank you. I am humbled that you would entrust this precious child to me.
Help me show them and You daily how thankful I truly am. Amen.
2. Please forgive me.
Every parent makes mistakes, ask God to forgive you and thank Him for His grace and mercy.
Father, please forgive me. I want to guide my child according to Your will but I fall short. I lose patience, I get angry, and I miss opportunities to show them Your love. Help me, Father, I want to honor this awesome responsibility You’ve given me. Help me to do better. Amen.
3. Help me embrace forgiveness.
Everyone needs forgiveness, receive God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself (no more guilt), forgive your child and be blessed by your child’s forgiveness.
Father, thank you for Your merciful forgiveness. You say you have removed our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) I praise you. Help me forgive as I have been forgiven.
My child and myself. Help me ask my child for forgiveness when I hurt him/her. We all sin. We all need forgiveness.
I believe that with Your help I can let go of past offenses and go into this day with hope and joy. Amen.
Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to respect the Lord. Psalm 34:11
4. Give me the courage I need each day.
Everyone parent has to make difficult decisions. Pray for the courage to obey God’s will under pressure.
Father, today was hard. It would so much easier if I could just pull the covers over my head and ignore this problem. But my child needs me to stand strong on Your truth.
He needs me to point them toward Your commands and remind them of the potential consequences of their choices. It’s even harder to let him live out the after effect of foolish choices already made. Help me Father.I need Your guidance and strength. Amen.
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Deuteronomy 6:6–7
5. Bless me with wisdom to parent well
Every child is unique, pray that God will give you the wisdom to meet your child’s personal needs.
Father, I need Your help. I need wisdom. Please by the power of Your Spirit help me parent my child. How I wish I had a personalized set of instructions. It seems some things work with one child and they don’t with another. Please give me wisdom. I want to parent this wonderfully made child You’ve given me well, not for me but for her good and Your glory. Amen.
A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them. Proverbs 13:24
6. Help me parent my child with patience.
Parents and children need patience, pray to be slow to get frustrated and angry.
Father, I need patience. Sometimes I’m reticent to ask for it because I don’t want anymore challenging opportunities to practice it. I just want You to magically give it to me.
Help me remember that You are always with me and that You want to give me all I need. Bless me with the patience I need to love my child well.
Make me slow to get angry and help me remember to laugh when possible. Amen.
7. Fill my home with respect and kindness.
We all want a peaceful home. Pray to make speaking with kindness and respect a priority in your home.
Father, forgive me for the times I’ve allowed snarkiness in my home. I’m guilty, too. Please help me measure my words and speak with respect to my spouse and my child. May we remember the importance of having a gentle spirit and using a kind tone of voice. By Your grace, help me model this for my child and carefully remind her when she forgets. Amen.
Fathers, do not be so hard on your children that they will give up trying to do what is right. Colossians 3:21
8. Fill my home with peace and love.
A happy family. Everyone wants one. Ask God to fill your home with joy as you celebrate His peace and love.
Father, I ask You to fill my home with joy. Help us celebrate your many blessings. Big and small. Thank you! You give us all we need and give us contentment. Keep our focus on You. Help us faithfully study Your Word, join together in prayer, and worship together. Grant us Your peace and fill us with Your love. Amen.
Oh, my dear friend, this comes as a word from someone who has been in the trenches of parenting. I prayed a lot for my children and the one thing I would do differently . . . I would pray more.
You just can’t possibly pray too much for those precious gifts God has entrusted to your care.
Now it’s time for…
Faith ‘n Friends Link Party
I’m so glad you’re here!
This is a place to share faith, make friends, and have fun.
I’d love to connect with you on social media![Tweet “I’m finding #Friendship and #Inspiration at #Faith ‘n Friends #LinkUp Come join the fun! “]
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I’m excited to share the following posts with you this week.
3 Goals You Should Never Give Up On
by Sue Chacko
@ Mama of Three Boys
What Do You REALLY Think of God?
by Dawn Klinge
@ Above the Waves
Thank you, Sue and Dawn, for partying with us!
No More Rules Link Party
Add 1-2 of your favorite faith/life posts.
Then just make friends and have fun.
I would really appreciate it if you would
Grab the Button or link back to CMB.
May your week be blessed with faith, love, and friendship!
Don’t forget to leave your prayer requests…
and pray over the list left by our friends.
I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts in the comments below.
And if this article blessed or helped you today — would you share it with someone? Maybe a friend, family member, coworker, or through the links below…
Growing in Grace
“But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”* (2 Peter 3:18) To grow in grace we must necessarily grow also in the knowledge of Jesus. We should get no stronger in the grace of God if we did not get to know Him better. This is a command, or an expression of God’s will to us.
Think of it! God wills you to grow in grace; and if you are not growing in grace, you are not accomplishing God’s will. This is a weighty matter. Growing in grace includes more than the pleasure and the benefit of your own improvement; God is grieved if you are not growing. A parent is grieved if his child does not grow.
On this subject there are a few points we wish to consider. They are:
- What is grace?
- What are not evidences of growing in grace?
- How to grow in grace.
- Some evidences of growth in grace.
1. What is grace?
The common brief definition of grace is favor, but this is too brief to be comprehensive. Grace is the favor of God to us. It is His good will. It is an impartation of strength from God. We are saved by grace.
This is the favor, or goodwill, of God and also the influence of the Spirit renewing the heart and imparting life to the soul. The apostle says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
”* (Philippians 4:13) By the strengthening grace of Christ he could do all things. His grace is sufficient to help bear trials and afflictions. God gives us grace to resist temptation, to endure afflictions, and to be conquerors over sin and Satan.
We are commanded to be strong in the grace which was in Christ Jesus. It is God’s grace that enables us to do, and it is His grace that makes us what we are.
2. What are not evidences of growth in grace
Growing in knowledge is not a sure proof that we are growing in grace. You cannot grow in grace without having a greater knowledge of God, but you can gain a knowledge of God and not grow in grace.
Some have concluded they were better Christians, were stronger in grace, and were more highly pleasing to God because they had learned more about the Bible and about what constitutes true Christian living.I am acquainted with people that know much about God, the Bible, and the plan of salvation, and yet have no grace at all. Be not deceived. That you know better how Christians should live is no sure evidence that you are growing in grace.
That you can pray longer and testify or preach better, or be more eloquent and forward and active in these duties and have less embarrassment in their performance, is not sure evidence of your growing in grace. By mere practice and human effort one can make improvement in all these ways.
3. How to grow in grace
This is of greatest interest to the Christian. The farmer wants to know all he can about how to grow the largest crop of grain; and the more valuable the crop, the more studious he is to know how to grow it.
The stockman desires to know how to promote the growth of his animals. To that end he studies books and experiments. The more valuable an animal is, the more careful he is that it should make good growth. The Christian desires to know how to grow in grace.
Someone may say, “I do know how.” I have met farmers who knew much about farming, but I have never met one such farmer that was not eager to know more.
A farmer that thinks he knows all about farming and needs not to know any more does not know anything as he ought to know it. All true, wide-awake Christians are eager to know how to grow in grace.
To grow in grace, the conditions for growth must be complied with. The sincere milk of the word must be desired. There can be no growth without this. The word of God produces growth in grace as naturally as food promotes physical development. You must eat God’s word.
This is the only food that contains all the elements necessary for symmetrical Christian growth. We read, “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.”* (Acts 20:32) It is the word of grace that will build you up into a strong pillar in the kingdom of God.
You must feed on the word of His grace, upon the sincere milk of His word.
The Christian can no more grow in grace; he can no more get to be Jesus or have a closer walk with Him, without feeding frequently and bountifully upon God’s word, than the child can grow as He should without eating the foods so necessary to growth.But it seems I hear someone saying, “I have not time.” Then you cannot grow. Oh! why will people make such an excuse to themselves? Is growth in grace worth nothing to your soul? Do you not regard God’s will or pleasure? I pray God to awaken you your indifference and fire your heart with desire to be built up in the grace of God.
Read the Bible daily, thoughtfully, prayerfully, devouringly. Read it believingly. If you believe it fully, then it becomes a truth in your heart. Suppose we open the Bible to the forty-sixth Psalm and read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”* (Psalm 46:1) Believing this fully, makes you strong; you can face any danger; you can conquer any foe.
When we implicitly believe the first verse, then the second one becomes our own experience—“Therefore will not we fear.”* (Psalm 46:2) Though all things around us are crumbling, we sweetly rest in God. Remember, you must daily feast upon the word of God if you would grow in grace. This will require time. You cannot get food for your soul from the word of God by hurriedly reading a chapter.
You must meditate upon it and get it down into your heart by believing it fully. It seems I am so unable to say what I feel is needful to be said that many of my dear readers might be made to understand the need of taking plenty of time to feast upon the Scriptures.
In the early morning take time to be alone with God, and in the twilight hour, oh! do take time to commune with Him who loves you and is all to you.
Another condition of growth in grace is perfect obedience to all the word and will of God. Be careful not to grieve or quench the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the medium through which life from God flows into and through the soul.
Close up those little channels in the young oak through which flows the life-giving sap, and what will be the result? You will meet with the same result in your spiritual being if you grieve the Spirit of God. If you refuse to do what the Holy Spirit is calling on you to do, you lose grace.
If the Spirit of God is speaking to your heart and mind to visit that poor sick man, to give of your means for the cause of Christ, or to fast for the needy and the work of God, you will degenerate if you do not obey.If you have a desire to grow in grace, see to it that you are active in every Christian duty. But you are not to be active in Christian duty for the mere purpose of growth. The child is not active in its play for the mere purpose of growing, but is simply following out the law of life, and growth is the result.
In being active in Christian duties, you are merely obeying the law of spiritual life in your inner being, and the result is growth. We do not, as I have said in a previous chapter, gain heaven merely by good works, and yet we must work as if we did thereby gain heaven. Many today are deceived.
They think they are Christians and growing in grace because they are active in church work, etc. It is not our works that makes us Christians; we must have life in the soul—the life of God. As well take up the dead body of a child and walk it about to bring it into life as to think of becoming a Christian by good works.
All the performances of a jumping-jack will not bring it into life, for it is a dead body. All the activity in church-work of a dead sinner will never bring him into life. But when a child is born into life, then in obedience to a law of that life it exercises, and the result is growth.
The dead professor or the sinner must be born of the Spirit into spiritual life; then in obedience to a law of that life he is active in every Christian duty, and growth is the result.
Let us open your Bible to Galatians and read, “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have herefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
”* (Galatians 6:9-10) To refuse to do good to all men or to any man as we have opportunity is to grieve the Holy Spirit and to lose grace the soul.
Another requisite for growth is intense earnestness. The only effectual way to increase in the grace of God is to be deeply interested in the things of God. It is folly to expect to grow in grace if you are unconcerned about the cause of God.If you are not intently interested in the salvation of souls and are not doing all you can to save them, you can make no progress in spiritual life. There is a great lack of interest in the salvation of souls. I have been in homes where were many ornamental and expensive things which told me of an awful blindness to God’s will.
Oh! how can men love souls and be interested in them as Jesus was and spend money for unnecessary things?
Of how to grow in grace this is the sum.
- Read the word of God daily, prayerfully, devouringly.
- Be deeply interested in the cause of God and the salvation of souls.
- Be prompt to obey the commandments of the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Be active in every possible Christian duty.
- “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”* (Ephesians 6:18)
4. Some evidences of growth in grace
Experiencing greater joy in acts of self-denial for the good and benefit of others is an evidence of growing in the grace of God. Look closely for a moment into your own heart. As sure as you are growing in grace, so sure do you find greater joy in denying self for the welfare and the happiness of others and for the cause of God.
You cannot have this fact too thoroughly impressed upon your mind and heart. Some are so full of grace that it is a joy to them to give to the poor or to the cause of God the last cent they have. They deprive themselves of luxuries and sometimes even of the necessities of life, that they may do something for Jesus and perishing souls.
Another evidence of growing in grace is getting farther from the world. To comprehend what is meant by being dead to the world is very difficult for many.
It may sound hard and harsh to some, but nevertheless I am sure that many do not know what a complete death to the world implies.
They have too much mind and thought about the world and too much communing with it. Only God can help people to see.
Another evidence of growing in grace is having more implicit faith in God and a stepping out on His promises with a feeling of security. You have less fear of any earthly evil. You do not fear “for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”* (Psalm 91:5-6)
Each person has an individual self-life though he be sanctified wholly. In this self-life lies a sensibility. By this sensibility I meant affections, desires, feelings, emotions, etc. These desires and feelings, it may be, overcome the will, and the purpose of God is not accomplished.For instance, your good judgment may decide that you should give a certain sum of money to the poor, but your feelings rebel. Your feelings, or emotions, may cause you to do some things sometimes to attract attention or to appear a little better than you may really be, but you do not will it so.
Now, growing in grace is for the will to gain more power and these feelings to be lessened in power. Some persons, though sanctified, yet because of a peculiarity of their constitution easily give way to lightness, some to impatience. Some are much hurt when spoken ill of, and others have feelings of pleasure when they are well spoken of.
To grow in grace is to gain power in the soul and to overcome and still the voice of these feelings.
Still another evidence of growth in grace is becoming more consciously impressed with the mercies of God. You have a deeper sense of gratitude in your heart to God for His goodness. If you are growing in grace and are flourishing as the palm tree, you will become more deeply affected in your heart by the goodness and the mercy of God, and are gaining a closer walk with God.