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Spiritual Discipline-Part 2

Spiritual Discipline-Part II

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 (NKJV)

We are looking at a 6-part devotional series titled, "Spiritual discipline."  We've learned that we will have a propensity to repeat our mistakes within our Christian walk until we implement "Spiritual disciplines" into our life - disciplines that will help us to stay focused on God and his Word.  In addition to these disciplines, we must purpose in our heart to be filled daily with the Spirit of God (See Eph 5:18).  Once we have learned these principles, we can implement them to ensure an effective Christian life that brings honor to God and edifies those around us.

Every one of us has probably experienced areas in our life where we have failed to do what we knew to be right.  The reason for making these choices inevitably came down to a lack of "Self-discipline."  This series has been written to help us in developing Christ-like characteristics that are brought about by practicing, "Spiritual discipline."

In Part II of this series we will begin to look at our 1st "Spiritual discipline," which is:

1.    Prayer

The first thing we need to know about "Prayer," is that it is the way in which we communicate with God.  It is equivalent to an astronaut's space suit - it is the method that God chose to
communicate with us, and it sustains us in our "Spiritual life."
We should be praying about everything, all the time.  We're actually told in the Book of 1Thessolonians, to "Pray without ceasing" (5:17).

The second essential thing for us to remember when seeking to have a healthy "Prayer" life, is for us to understand how prayer should work.  When we pray, we are not trying to get God to move in our direction - It is us that should be moving towards what His will is for the situation that we are seeking Him in prayer over.

The third thing we should realize about "Prayer" is that it can be done anywhere, anytime in any situation.  We can do it while sitting, standing, or lying down.  We can pray with our eyes open, or closed; we can do it out loud, or quietly - it doesn't matter.  I would caution you from making prayer something that is done as a last resort, or out of legalism - let it be Spirit led, and from your heart

We need to be "Spiritually disciplined" in our prayer life in that we should be using prayer as a first line of action.  We should start every day in prayer as we come into the presence of God to seek His will for our day.  It's how we gain access to God's power to enable us to accomplish what He has asked of us.  It doesn't matter if we have great words to articulate our needs before the Lord, because He already knows what we need, long before asking Him.  He is more concerned with our reasons for asking.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8 (NKJV)

Okay, now that we understand the essence of praying, let's put together an outline for going to God in prayer.  If followed, we will be much more disciplined in our prayer life.  I like to use the Acronym of A.C.T.S. to outline my prayers unto the Lord.  It's for "Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication."  Below is an outline to better help you this discipline.  

A  - Adoration

  • Spend time at the beginning of your prayer to praise God for who he is (Matt. 6:9).
  • Praise Him for the times of mercy, and the times of trials and tribulation - knowing that these times are shaping & strengthening us.
  • Thank Him for being faithful when we are faithless (2Tim 2:13).
  • Be still before Him and enjoy His presence (see Ps. 46:10).
  • Give yourself some time at the end of your time of prayer to allow God to speak to you.  This can be done through His Word and Spirit (see Ps. 40:1-3; 90:12-17).
  • Praise the Lord by praying using the promises of God as contained in His Word. (See Ps. 84; Rev. 4:8; 5:9-10, 12-13 Example  "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You").

C  - Confession

  • Confession should be a continual process.  It simply means that you have come in agreement with God that what you did was not His will (see Matt. 6:9-13; 1 John 1:9).  Repentance should accompany our confession, which means turning from our sin.
  • Take some time each day when praying to ask the Lord to search your heart for areas that displease Him (see Ps. 139:23-24).
  • Allow God to cleanse your heart of any unconfessed sin (see Ps. 51:10-13).
  • Accept His forgiveness and cleansing (see Jer. 31:34). Failure to do so is akin to saying that Jesus' payment was somehow insufficient.

T  -  Thanksgiving

  • Giving thanks for all things should be a part of every prayer for God's people (See Phil. 4:6-7).
  • Give thanks for things such as your health, provision, His Grace, the challenge you're going through, and even for His perfect plan for the situation.
  • We can be thanking God for specific things such as answered prayers, opportunities which would include open & closed doors of opportunity, His guidance, etc.
  • Also give thanks for His free gift of salvation and the abilities and privilege to serve others and to bring honor and glory to His name.
  • Thank Him for his goodness, loving-kindness, and faithfulness (see Ps. 100:4-6).

S  -  Supplication

  • As Christian believers, God has called us to intercede for others in prayer (see Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 18:1; Col. 4:2; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Heb. 10:19-25; Rev. 1:4-6).
  • Make a list of People that you are committed to pray for.  Now commit to spending time praying for specific things for these people.  These prayers can be for family, events, political leaders, our nation, missionaries, etc. (see Acts 12:5; Rom. 10:1).
  • Once we have prayed for others, we should spend time praying for personal needs (see Matt. 6:11-13).
  • We should make a prayer journal and record all answers to prayer as this will remind us of God's faithfulness and it will give us items for praise and thanksgiving and for strengthening your faith.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn with regard to Prayer according to the Scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you praying continuously about everything?  Are you spending time praising the Lord for what He is doing in your life?

APPLICATION: Seek God in prayer continuously.  As you start your day; as you read your Bible; as you are making your decisions; in everything.

Father, I would like to praise You for being who You are.  Father, I confess that I cannot make the proper choices without your guidance and power.  Thank Your for helping me to choose correctly.  I seek You this day and ask for Your hedge of protection upon my life.  Guide me in wisdom and discernment so that I can choose wisely.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000