Teach me to Abide in You

Join the Spirit’s School of Abiding :: Abiding in Christ {Day 8}

Teach me to Abide in You

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Abide [remain, dwell] in Me”?

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
~John 15:4

It’s a legit question, and one I’d us to consider today, beyond the superficial answers, beyond the routine response, what does it mean to remain in Christ?

A Few Typical Answers… And Why They’re Wrong

  • It’s not saying a scripted prayer, since Jesus blasted the pharisees for not putting heart into their words.
  • It’s not reading the Bible, since the disciples Jesus was talking to were illiterate and didn’t  have their own personal copy of the Jewish scriptures.
  • It’s not going to church every week, since Jesus addresses masses of people following Him telling them that they’re most ly flakes.
  • It’s not doing good deeds, since Jesus says these bone-chilling words that He doesn’t know many of those who act on His behalf.

So if abiding in Christ doesn’t mean those things, what does it mean?

The Answer that Leads to More Questions

I’ve been asking myself that question for a few months, as this challenging season of mommyhood and career, writing and ministry, wifedom and relationship-building leaves me drained and lacking the will to get up before the crack of dawn. A failure which leads to heaps of guilt and a downward spiral of neglecting my close walk with Jesus.

The dictionary defines abide as “to remain in,” and remain as “to stay in the same place or with the same person,” and dwell as “to keep the attention directed toward.”

To abide in Christ, then, is to stay in Him and keep our gaze on Him.

But how? Wouldn’t it just be easier if someone could walk by our side every day and point us toward the ways we can abide in Jesus?

There is.

The Teacher Who Shares All the Answers

The night before Jesus was betrayed, at the beginning of the end of His earthly life, He spoke these words of comfort to His disciples:

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. […] But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
~John 14:25-26, 16:7

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to teach us “all things,” including how to abide in Him in this fast-paced 21st century life that we find ourselves living. We have the best instructor in the Holy Spirit–we need only to join Him in this pursuit of abiding in Christ. He is an eager Teacher and longs to show us the deeper joys of being in Jesus.

(That assumes that we’re already in Christ. For more on what this means, see this post.)

And in this new existence, the Spirit of God moves freely in us, through us, around us, and all over. He leads, teaches, directs, and inspires. To abide in Christ is to be in sync with the Spirit of God, to join Him every day.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
~John 3:8

The Spirit cannot be contained or manipulated, so joining Him means surrendering my own preconceptions and embracing His active role in my life.

The Best Way to Learn from The Spirit

If I’m preoccupied with my agenda–my meal plan, my workday, my errands, my workout routine–and do not join the Spirit in what He’s doing, how can I say that I am abiding in Christ? If I read a few verses in the morning and forget what I’ve read within minutes of shutting The Book, how can I presume to live any differently from those who are not in Christ?

This doesn’t mean that we sit around and wait for the skies to open and words to tell us exactly what to do. No, we plan, we act, we move, but we do so asking the Spirit to lead us. We ask that as we’re going and doing, He would direct us who to speak with and how to act.

The first time we do this, we may not hear or feel much. But in time, with practice, we will be led by the Spirit as wind fills the sails of a ship. He will take us where He wants us. We will hear His voice and be filled with His presence.

And as we join the Spirit in His work, we learn to abide in Jesus.

I’m learning to wake up each morning with an eager expectation of what that day will hold because the Holy Spirit is at work. Will you join me?

Day 8 Challenge: Today, speak directly to The Spirit of God and ask Him to teach you how to abide in Christ. Then listen and watch as He answers, inviting you to join Him in His work.

Holy Spirit, whatever You are going to do today, I want to be a part of it. Move me. Fill me. Give me words and open my eyes to see people as You see them. I want to join You in Your work today.

This is the 8th post in the series, “Abiding in Christ–when reading the Bible isn’t an option.” Check out all the posts here.

Photo credit

Источник: https://onethingalone.com/join-spirit-school-abiding/

6 Ways to Abide in God

Teach me to Abide in You

To abide in God, to take Him as our dwelling, is one of the highest truths in the Bible. Many know that it is revealed by Christ in John 17, but did you know that Moses spoke of it as well? Yes, in his last prayer in Deuteronomy 33:27, repeated in Psalm 90:1, he says “O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

Isn’t it amazing that an Old Testament saint could see this high truth? He even saw that it is a corporate matter, a matter for a body of saints, not just for one individual, as indicated by his use of the plural “our.” And it is a present perfect continuous tense, “You have been,” indicating an action in the past continuing up to now, such that during our entire life here on earth, we should be those continually living in God.

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus used the word “abide” (John 15:4-5)—“abide in Me.” Other words in the New Testament point to this truth: the preposition “in” (John 14:20 and many places), the word dwell (Gk. oikeo, taken from the noun for house) (1 Cor.

3:16), and to deeply dwell (Gk. katoikeo, with a prefix meaning to an excessive degree) (Eph. 3:17).

May we all progress from merely occasionally being in God, to more often abiding in God, to dwelling in God for longer periods, to deeply dwelling in God for our whole life!

How can we practice this? The following are six ways:

First, eat Christ as the hidden manna

The first way to abide in God is to eat Christ as the hidden manna. The hidden manna is first mentioned in Exodus 16:32-34, which according to Hebrews 9:4 was placed in a golden pot, which was placed in the ark, which was in the Holy of Holies within the tabernacle of God.

This special portion of manna, the children of Israel’s daily food, was kept aside as a memorial, and lasts forever. In Revelation 2:17 it is mentioned as the promise to the overcomers.

Only those who overcome have such a special, hidden enjoyment of God, not the common kind that all people enjoyed together.

How can we have such a hidden enjoyment of Christ as our food? By spending personal, intimate, private time with Him every day. Our enjoyment of God must be more than in the meetings of the church. It is the private prayer and fellowship with God that cements the word we have heard into an eternal memorial within our being, and even more as a treasure within the house of God.

Second, abide in His word

The second way to abide in God is to abide in His Word (John 8:31). We have His constant word in the Scriptures, and His present word from the Spirit in our spirit. We must not come to the Bible without also coming to Christ (John 5:39-40). The more we come to His word, the more the Word should become His instant speaking to us day by day, guiding us to live in Him.

The best way to learn to abide in His Word is to pray-read the Word of God, that is, to use the Bible as the inspiration and source of our prayer (Eph. 6:17-18). This practice helps us to use our spirit to touch the Spirit in the word. Don’t live a day without pray-reading the Word, even just two verses.

Third, speak in Him

If we allow His word to abide in us, we will have something to speak to others unto the building of His house (1 Cor. 14:4). The apostle Paul declared in 2 Cor. 2:17 that “we speak in Christ.”  In my experience, the more I speak for Him, in Him, the deeper I myself move into God.

Fourth, always rejoice, unceasingly pray, and in everything give thanks

This fourth practice to abide in God is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

“Always rejoice, Unceasingly pray, In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

It’s one thing for God to say His will for us is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks; it’s so much more for Him to say always rejoice,  unceasingly pray, and in everything give thanks. It’s easy to rejoice, pray, and give thanks once a week at a church meeting, but the modifiers in these verses refer to a practice that involves our entire human living, all day, every day.

[A good way to remember to do this is to sing these verses. You can find one tune at Hymnal.net and click the link: Tune (Midi)]

This is the most practical way, I’ve found, to remind me to abide in God.

It means even to rejoice when things seem bleak (for we always have God with us), to pray at all times, even while we are driving or studying a textbook, and to give thanks for everything, even when we are poor, hungry, or imprisoned (cf. Acts 16:23-25).

We should look at all circumstances, environments, and even all persons as set by God for us to learn to dwell in Him. This is the “good” that all things work for as mentioned in Romans 8:28.

Fifth, bear much fruit

This fifth way to abide in God is both a method and a result. The more we bear spiritual fruit (John 15:8), the deeper is our abiding in God; the more we abide in God, the more we bear fruit.

This fruit is both the virtues and characteristics of God expressed by us (see Gal  5:22 and note) and also those whom we bring to salvation and offer to God (see John 15:16 and note).

Helping those whom we bring to the Lord to remain is a long-lasting labor that requires that we abide in God.

Sixth, care for His presence

The last way to abide in God that I’ll present here is to care for His presence.

After the Lord’s death, when he appeared and disappeared to His disciples, He was training them to care for His invisible presence, the presence of His Spirit within them (John 20:26; Acts 1:3, 26 and notes).

Since He breathed the Spirit into us when we believed in Him (John 20:22), He is with us all the time. It’s just that we too often forget He is within us, and live as if God is far away.

Sometimes we want Him to go away; other times we just live by our habits and not by His guiding from within. What He wants is that we would not ignore Him, but rather, consult Him in everything, caring for the One who is inside of us. By doing so, we deepen our dwelling in Him, from just paying attention to Him during meetings to all the time, in everything.

You may have noticed that most of these practices on how to abide in God have to do with His abiding in us. That’s right, for the abiding is a mutual abiding: “Abide in Me and I in you” (John 15:4). We need to allow Christ’s abiding in us to move from a fact that we know to our practice of allowing Him to live us, which is our abiding in Him.

“Lord, teach me to abide in You. I want to progress from having You in me, to having me live in You. To do this, Lord, keep me contacting You. Don’t let me slip away from spending private time with You. Keep me in Your Word every day, even pray-reading it.

Lord, increase my speaking for You; may I say as Paul did, ‘I speak in Christ.’ Lord, I want to bear much fruit, and I want to care for Your presence, even for the smiling of Your face. Lastly Lord, remind me to call  on Your name, to always rejoice, to unceasingly pray, and to give thanks in everything.

May everything remind me to abide in You.”

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References and Recommended Reading:

Источник: https://holdingtotruth.com/2012/01/11/6-ways-to-abide-in-god/

Three Keys to Abide in Christ

Teach me to Abide in You

“Abide in me, and I in you.” (John 15:4)

Christianity is about far more than holding right beliefs or adopting right behaviors. At salvation, we enter into a union with God that changes our legal status. We have right standing with God now. We have a righteousness that comes by faith, and that faith justifies us (Philippians 3:7-9; Romans 3:21-26, 5:1).

But we have more. We also have communion with God. We have access to a life-giving, soul-thrilling, joy-producing communion with God through Christ (1 John 1:3; John 15:11). The Christian faith is about union and communion with Jesus.

Union with Christ without communion with Christ is joyless Christianity.

Our hearts should desire this intimate relationship. We should long for this fellowship with God.

David reflects this posture when he prays, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

David earnestly seeks God. His soul thirsts for God. There is desperation. There is urgency. Oh, to have a heart that echoes his!

Do we seek God this? Do we desire God in this manner? Is there any part of David’s cry that you recognize in your heart?

Jesus Invites You to Abide

In John’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples about this communion. He informs them that he has already made them clean (John 15:3), and has pronounced them clean during the upper room foot washing (John 13:10-11).

This ceremony wasn’t pointing to Jesus’ hyper-aversion to dirty feet; it was a symbolic display of his incarnation, atoning sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension.

This is why he declared them clean, with the exception of Judas (a clear indication dirty feet was not the idea).

Jesus says this hours before going to the cross to bear their sins and make them clean. So Jesus’ declaration in John 15:3 is a statement of legal status.

He follows this with the command “abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). To “abide” is a verb. It is active. Abiding in Christ is not a feeling or a belief, but something we do. It means to “remain” or “stay” and entails far more than the idea of continued belief in the Savior.

John 15:5 further illustrates this abiding relationship with a parallel relationship of a vine and a branch. We (the branches) are to be connected to him (the Vine) for our life and sustenance. Only in him can we bear fruit.

What the Saints Say

But how? What does it look to abide in Christ daily? A few descriptions from other godly saints help us get a picture:

John Piper

John Piper says, “Hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus means hour-by-hour trusting him to meet all your needs and be all our treasure.”[1]

J.C. Ryle

J.C.

Ryle explains, “To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him–to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.”[2]

John Owen

John Owen exhorts, “Would a soul continually eye His everlasting tenderness and compassion, His thoughts of kindness that have been from of old, His present gracious acceptance, it could not bear an hour’s absence from Him; whereas now, perhaps, it cannot watch with Him one hour.”[3]

Three Keys to Abiding

Abiding has a continual, hour-by-hour nature to it, a constant looking to Jesus through the Scriptures. If we could avoid gospel-amnesia and remember his grace, we could barely stand an hour’s absence from him. These saints give incredible definitions to help us grasp abiding in Christ. Here’s mine:

To abide in Christ daily requires dependence upon the Holy Spirit in which we do three things:

  • Walk by faith
  • Spend focused time
  • Engage in intentional actions

We daily preach the gospel to ourselves (walk by faith); plan to abide throughout our days (focused time); and read Scripture, pray, live in community with others, and fight sin (intentional actions). We do this as we live dependent upon the Holy Spirit to bring us closer to Christ.

To be “in Christ” means to have a new legal standing and a new relational orientation. We do not solely want to be made right with God—we want to be with God. We are new creations in Christ, freed from sin and worldly pursuits to abide in him. And he gives us what we need to pursue this by giving us himself.

Are you eager to say with David, “Earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you?” May the Holy Spirit spark in us a want for more of Christ. May we yearn with holy urgency to know the depths and riches of the love of Christ, grasped through abiding.

Источник: https://unlockingthebible.org/2017/04/three-keys-to-abide-in-christ/

Abide in Prayer

Teach me to Abide in You

Maybe people that we work with in spiritual direction/mentoring find it hard to be still with Jesus. When they get alone and quiet themselves for prayer they have trouble settling down. Their bodies are antsy. Their minds are restless and wander from one thought to another. Many distractions seize hold of their attention, sidetracking them from connecting meaningfully with Jesus.

I can relate! People are often surprised to hear this. I have always been an active, energetic, productive person.  And that’s putting it mildly! For years I was a workaholic, thriving on adrenaline and plagued with feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. (You can read my story of recovery: Hurry Up and Be Still!)

Learning to be quiet, still, unhurried, and focused on Christ in my midst hasn’t come easy for me. I’ve had to discipline myself to slooooow down and appreciate God’s Word to me. I’ve had learn to heed the advice of the writer to Hebrews: “Be careful!… Make every effort to enter God’s rest” (Hebrews 4:1, 11).

To Abide in Prayer is to Be Still with Jesus

Jesus said, “Abide in me and you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5, paraphrase). But what does it mean to abide in Christ? To abide is to remain. It’s to stay connected the branch to the vine. We remain connected to Christ in trust, dependence, and worship — in our thoughts as much as possible and in the deep attitude of our heart, most of which is unconscious to us at any given time.

Using short phrases from Scripture is a way to practice our abiding in prayer. It’s a way into contemplative prayer in which we seek to be still with Jesus and grow in his peace and power.

 Marinating in some beloved words of the Bible helps us to grow deeper in our understanding of God and his life that he invites us into.

It helps us to center ourselves in Christ, the Word of God made flesh.

As Jesus taught, we want to be the grapevine branch that yields clusters of juicy grapes! The way to bear fruit, Jesus says, is to “abide” in, or remain interconnected with him and his words. Jesus is our Vine, the Father is our Gardener, and the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ flowing into us and through us to others so that we bear fruit for his kingdom (John 15:1-7).

We all want to bear good fruit in our lives, to make a positive difference by loving and helping other people. But Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

We can’t bear fruit for God’s glory just by trying hard! But neither can we bear fruit by doing nothing! Jesus could have also said, “If you do nothing it will be apart from me.

” That’s the same thing as Jesus saying, “Abide in me.”

To Abide in Prayer is a way to work at resting in God’s grace. We start by praying Scripture in intensive “quiet times.” And this helps us to learn to interact with and rely on Christ with us (abiding) as we do whatever we’re doing.

While driving my car or listening to a friend or writing this article now I remind myself to appreciate God’s goodness, submit to his will, listen to the Spirit, and share the love of Christ.

You can appreciate Christ with you teaching and loving you right now as you read these words… Just shoot up a little “arrow prayer” with me:

Father, I long to live in communion with you… Jesus, teach me to pray… Holy Spirit I rely on you now…

Being in tune with Christ and walking with him as we do whatever we’re doing is what gives us the capacity to bless others naturally, joyfully, and for God’s glory (not our own).

Pray Scripture Deeply

“Abiding Prayers” are simple, and yet profound, Bible-based prayers that help us to trust and follow Christ as his disciples.

When we Abide in Prayer we pray Scripture deeply from our hearts by focusing on the words in quiet prayer, slowly repeating them to yourself over and over.

As you turn God’s Word over in your mind you “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).

With the Psalmist you open your heart to the Lord and you open yourself to hear his invitation: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

When you go into quiet, meditative prayer to still your body and calm your mind with God’s Word you will experience inevitable antsiness and distractions — don’t get troubled by this!  The reason to set aside time to Abide in Prayer is to practice re-centering your focus to the Bible phrase you’re meditating on and applying to your life.

By prayerfully reflecting upon and re-centering yourself on a short, beloved phrase of Scripture you can tune out the worries and distractions and tune into God’s peace.  Then you can pray for the inspired words of God to seep down from your mind into your heart (which is your will) so that you are formed more into the image of Christ.

In Abiding Prayer we’re doing “soul work” to submit our will more fully to God’s will and to follow Christ wholeheartedly in daily life.

Join the Selah of the Psalmist

Something Abiding Prayer goes back to the forming of the Hebrew Psalter, a thousand years before Christ.  In the Psalms we often see short prayers repeated over and over “His love endures forever” or “Lord, have mercy.”

Also, 71 times in the Psalms — often in the middle of a sentence! — we find the word, “Selah.”  This word was inserted into the Psalms by the prayer masters who taught the people of Israel to pray the Psalms of David.  “Selah” probably means something , “Pause to reflect and pray.”

Selah… Right in the middle of the Psalm — as it was being read or sung — a sacred space was made to be still and quiet before the Lord, to abide in God’s presence.

Selah…

Use Your Imagination

Many people find it helpful to imagine a Scripture as they’re praying. Imbedded in our language are symbols and metaphors. The Bible is full of wonderful pictorial images and illustrations.

Imaging the Scripture you’re praying helps you to keep your mind focused and appreciative of God’s wisdom and grace.

When your mind wanders you can use the Biblical image to help re-focus your mind on your prayer and take God’s Word deeper into your heart and soul.

For instance in meditating on Psalm 23 it’s easy to visualize the scenes. I visualize the Lord as my Shepherd and myself as his sheep and I follow along with the the imagery imbedded in this wonderful Psalm.

I pray, “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want” and I picture Jesus as my Shepherd and myself as his sheep… I’m happy to be near him in his green pasture… I drink from his still waters… I follow him on his path… (For an example of how to meditate on the imagery in the Shepherd Psalm see my popular article, “Psalm 23 Pictures to Pray.”)

Praying God’s Word to abide in Christ in this way gives us peace and power to love others effectively.

Practice God’s Presence

Try practicing Abiding Prayer in silence and solitude for five minutes or so at the beginning of your day to settle yourself in God’s presence.

It’s best to do this in a quiet corner of your home or in a beautiful nature setting, but you can even learn to do this while you’re getting ready in the morning, driving your car, or waiting somewhere.

By immersing our consciousness in Christ and submitting to his kingdom we come to rejoice in the Lord and find that his peace as a guards our mind and heart (Philippians 4:4-7). We are then in position to love others as Christ has first loved us (1 John 4:16,19).

When the word of God (words of Scripture that remind you of Jesus’ gospel that the kingdom of the heavens is open to you right where you are) dwells in you richly and deeply then you can carry it with you all day (Colossians 3:16-17).

During the day briefly come back to your Abiding Prayer as often as you can remember. In the midst of whatever you’re doing just shoot up a little “arrow prayer.” (That’s what Ray Ortlund called it when he discipled me.

) In this way you can learn little-by-little to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to “practice the presence of God.”

Learning to do whatever we’re doing with an appreciation of Christ loving us, guiding us, and empowering us is the secret to a fruitful life. Prayer must come before and encompass service. In other words, we must live with Christ in order to live for him.

Abide in Prayer for Others

When we intercede in prayer for others we normally describe their needs and make specific petitions to God on their behalf, often going into great detail. Of course, this is a good way to pray.

Another way to intercede for someone is to use a verse or phrase of Scripture to abide in prayer for them. Praying Scripture for others helps us to form effective prayers and to stay focused.

  And it’s a delightful, peaceful, and powerful way of participating in intercessory prayer.

Using the words of Scripture to help us interceded reminds us that prayer is always initiated by God; when we pray we are joining in with the prayers of Christ at the right hand of God and the prayers of the Holy Spirit from deep within us.

To abide in prayer for someone else is to hold him or her in God’s presence with you, praying for him or her to be as the branch abiding in the Christ-vine, tended by our loving Father, and bearing fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s Abide Now!

There are hundreds of Abiding Prayers that I’ve used to get settled and centered in Christ. They are all simple, compelling phrases (or paraphrases) from the Psalms and other places in the Bible.

Many people that consult with me in therapy, spiritual direction, seminars, and retreats have found that Abiding Prayers help them to rest in Abba’s love and to do the soul work that is needed for them to be formed more into the image of Christ.

Let’s try a few Abiding Prayers now! (You may want to print this article out and go to a quiet place so you can be undistracted and give at least a few minutes to praying.)

You might practice warming up yourself for prayer by focusing on your bodily posture before God. It greatly helps to engage your mind and heart on God when you’re intentional about putting your body into your prayer.

Sit comfortably…  Relax…

You may want to let your rhythm of breathing in and out become a prayer…

You may want to hold out your hands to open yourself to the Lord…

Breathe in God’s Peace

Hear the word of God to the Psalmist: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

You probably know this prayer. But did you know that it’s context in Psalm 46 is war and devastation? That’s the real test of our peace — can we rest in God’s care in the midst of distress and pain?

Let’s so some soul work and practice being still in Christ’s presence now. Consider something that scares you or makes you anxious… Name this to the Lord… Picture yourself in that situation…

Then sloooowly pray God’s Word to yourself as a “Simplifying Breath Prayer”:

Be still and know that I am God…

Be still and know that I AM…

Be still and know…

Be still…

Be…

Focus on Jesus

Here’s another favorite Abiding Prayer of mine: “Jesus, be the center.”

This little prayer of the heart is Matthew 17:6-8 (MSG), “The disciples saw Jesus, only Jesus,” and Matthew 21:9 (NLT), “Jesus was in the center.” It’s a simple little prayer that says it all! You might try gently repeating this prayer to yourself now: “Jesus, be the center…”

It’s helpful to use an Abiding Prayer to do some soul work in which we open ourselves to God in order to be formed more into the image of Christ. “Watch and pray,” Jesus taught us. We’re seeking for Jesus to be our focus and our desire in the activities of the day ahead. Consider your schedule and pray: “As I _________, Jesus, be the center.”

Submit to God

Jesus prayed on the cross: “Father… into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:46). This is another powerful, little prayer for our spiritual formation.

Try offering this prayer to submit the parts of yourself and your life to God: “Father… into your hands I commit my ________…” (e.g., thoughts… desires… health… relationships… dreams).

Remember we can also abide in prayer for others. Intercede for people the Lord brings to your mind: “Father… into your hands I commit __(name)__”

More Soul Shepherding

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man [or woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But some Scriptures seem to be especially anointed to minister God’s grace to us! Read Breath Prayers from the Bible for more some favorite Scripture based Abiding Prayers.

See “Retreat Resources” for a list of Soul Shepherding resources to help you connect with Jesus on retreat.

Источник: https://www.soulshepherding.org/abide-in-prayer/

Some of my favorite moments in ministry have been in prayer meetings. They have all but fallen practice in the modern American church. But we are experiencing a resurgence at Faith Bible Church.

They are not electric or packed and we don’t walk out with the sense that a revival has started. But, what prayer should do, it is doing. It is entrusting to God what only God can do.

It is crediting to God what only God should get credit for. We want to become a praying church.

I have always found it easier to do than to pray. Prayer often feels one of the greatest fights of faith. But as we see in Scripture, it is a worthwhile fight.

A praying church is a church where private prayer, gathered prayer, and spontaneous prayer are noticeable priorities.

For us, disciplined and strategic use of time in prayer fuels the spontaneous and continuous prayer of which Paul writes “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).

Saved to pray

Prayer is an essential aspect of abiding in Christ—it is both the proof and fruit Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with the Father made possible by the atoning work of the Son.

Jesus taught, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you” (John 15:16).

Milton Vincent writes of this verse “As a chosen one of God, I was saved to pray; and whenever I come into His presence to behold Him, worship Him, or make request of Him, I am arriving at the pinnacle of God’s saving purposes for me.”

Jesus has brought us near to God by His sacrifice and is our perfecting High Priest. Because of this, the writer of Hebrews says, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)

Praying shows you are abiding in Christ

Jesus taught, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

Prayer is an essential aspect of abiding in Christ—it is both the proof and fruit. Abiding is conscious dependence on Christ and continual meditation on His word. The overflow is prayer.

If you want to become a praying church, you will have to pray for it “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:7-8)

After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the disciples took His teachings on prayer to heart. Before Pentecost the small band of disciples gathered and devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14).

After Pentecost, the same was true of the first mega-church (Acts 2:42). When crises emerged, the church gathered to pray (Acts 4:23, Acts 12:5).

When the church wanted to send missionaries, the elders fasted and prayed (Acts 13:1-3).

Examples abound of private and gathered prayer in the New Testament. So, how do we become a praying church today?

Step one: pray for help praying

The disciples had never seen someone pray Jesus. It was so profoundly different that one day they asked him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).

If you want to become a praying church, you will have to pray for it. You will need Christ through his Word and Spirit to teach you. Make it a goal for this month to ask Jesus to teach you how to pray.

Step two: encourage the elders to pray

It is always appropriate to ask the elders to pray for something in the church. If you are an elder or pastor, you can ask for an extended prayer time to be incorporated into your meetings. And, it is always appropriate to interrupt a difficult discussion to confess, humble yourselves, and pray.

At our elders’ meetings, we decided to pray for our families by name over the year using the church directory. We e-mail them ahead of time and get prayer requests so that we can pray more specifically.

 We also implemented elder prayer meetings before Sunday services. We include our wives in this as well.

Not everyone can make it because of the early hour ( elders with young children), but we urge them to pray in the car with their families on the way to church.

Step three: teach about prayer

John Piper said that he has preached on prayer more than any other topic. Each year, his church has a “week of prayer” which begins and ends with a sermon about prayer. That’s over 60 sermons in 30 years!

At your church, this might look a sermon series or a season of special prayer meetings. Our church implemented these things and it inspired groups to meet throughout the city to pray. They were not big meetings, but it gave our leadership a chance to disciple people in prayer. It was such a special time for our church that people are now asking when we can do it again.

Step four: prioritize prayer

The most telling reality about the importance of prayer in Acts came in the way the Apostles viewed doing and praying in Acts 6:1-4.

  We want prayer to be a noticeable priority in our pastors’ day planners “Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.

So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.’”

Prayer was necessary for the success of the ministry of the word and essential to the growth of the saints. Feeding widows was indeed important, but not as important as communion with God.

The Apostles raised up new leaders to serve the widows. But, in terms of strategic use of time, it was more important to keep time to pray than to give time to do more.

We want prayer to be a noticeable priority in our pastors’ day planners.

Some other ways we try and prioritize prayer at our church are specific prayer teams for missions and our college ministry. Another example is a midweek prayer meeting which was started by one of our distance location’s seminary students. We also have a strategic group whose sole purpose is to meet monthly and pray for the pastors and elders as they plan and strategize for ministry.

None of these groups are big, but they are faithful. And every time we pray, we pray to the omnipotent God. We want this attitude towards prayer to spread throughout our church, so we are seeking to make prayer a more significant aspect of our Sunday services by giving time for the congregation to pray in their pews.

What will it look to be a praying church? We are not sure. Becoming, not arriving, is the goal. We simply want the gospel to produce its fruit—fruit of a dependent, humble relationship with God. God will be glorified.

Источник: https://www.tms.edu/blog/becoming-a-praying-church/

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