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Process of Prayer (Request): Refreshment for the Soul

November 22, 2010

Process of Prayer – Refreshment for the Soul

Not long ago a group of very diverse women gathered at my home for a Morning of Prayer. In spite of their many uniquenesses, these women share one very important common desire:  pursuing deeper communication and communion with God. This is the second of four posts to share what we talked about as we prepared to step into His presence. Perhaps this Process of Prayer: Refreshment for the Soul will be of help to you and a group of your friends, too.

 

PROCESS OF PRAYER

 STEP 2. Requesting

The next step we take into the Presence of God is to use time to Request three things of God:

a. “Give me a repenting heart.”

As we request a repenting heart we need to realize what it is not

… saying, “I’m sorry.”

… feeling SO bad.

… wishing and regretting.

A repenting heart moves; it makes a 180 degree turn.

 

We must acknowledge that we cannot turn our own hearts in a radically new, God-ward direction; only the Spirit of God can do that.

 

Ezekiel 37:23 describes such a changed people who ” … no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses.”  When God does His work to bring repentance, there is transformation – dramatic, radical, undeniable. 

 

Repenting hearts are found in transformed people who no longer pollute themselves by displacing God as King in order to seek fulfillment in something else. Repentant people are identifiable as God’s people; they are marked by a way of life that reflects God’s character and His presence. Where the Lord reigns in a repentant life, the environment is transformed so that it is characterized by heavenly influences and values. Things are turned right side out. 

 

Inherent to repentance is change. How often do we ask God to bring us to repentance?

 

b. “Give me grace to appropriate Your forgiveness.”

As we remember God, and remember ourselves in comparison to His holiness, our need for forgiveness is clearly evident. Our requests for forgiveness should be frequent, specific, authentic, and without excuse.

 

How frequently should we request this? Every day we need to review the Gospel, the Good News that God is reaching down to draw us into relationship with Him because we can never reach up to Him. Every day we need to remember that He has initiated a loving process (sanctification) to make all things new. As we confess who He is and repent of who we are apart from Him, the forgiveness He gives is a fresh start, a new beginning, a renewed fellowship.

 

Scripture gives us examples of such specific, authentic cries for forgiveness, those presented without excuse or rationalizing.

 

Suggested Scripture:

            Psalm 51:2-4 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned.

 

c. “Give me Your analysis of my life patterns.”

This takes us beyond our usual routine of asking forgiveness for what we think is out of kilter. It would be wise of us to ask for God’s perspective and base our requests on His standards of righteousness. 

 

From very ancient times in Biblical history, people have set aside time to “Inquire of the Lord.”  This makes for a deep conversation with the Most High: He speaks through His Word and we respond – with questions to make sure that we’ve got it.

 

For example, we read I Timothy 1:16 “I received mercy for this reason … [to] display His perfect patience as an example.” Then, we ask God, ” Am I such an example? What is Your judgment regarding how well I am fulfilling this purpose?  How am I falling short?”

 

Or, we read Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  And that prompts us to ask, “Am I doing what is required?”

 

When we Inquire of the Lord it means that we Request that God will give us His perspective as He continues His transforming work in us:

Align my thinking with Your purposes.

Attract my heart to Your plan.

Arrange my life habits to represent You well.

 

When we Inquire of the Lord it means that we request that God will reveal “… if I had cherished sin in my heart.”  (Psalm 66:18) Or, as John Owen put it, “accepting indwelling sin and making peace with it.”[i]

 

Do we often open ourselves to hear from the Lord regarding places where we becoming familiar with things that do not please Him?

Do we ask the Spirit of God to convict us as often as we ask Him to comfort us?

 

This is not an easy spiritual exercise. It’s no wonder that we often skim through it – or skip it altogether.  We lose something precious when that is the case, for that which follows our requests for a repenting heart, for forgiveness, for His analysis is …  

 

 

JOY!

 

 

The next step into His presence will find us dancing in the fountain as we REJOICE!  Stand by for the next Process of Prayer post!

 

[i]He who does not kill sin and does not set himself against it in every area of his life, is at peace with it but not at peace with God. Sin remains and works in the best of believers as long as they live in this world. The constant daily mortification of it is incumbent upon them.

If we do not undertake this work with persistence and diligence, we are in danger of accepting indwelling sin and making peace with it. When you can live with it, without bitterness, and swallow its daily sins, you are at the very brink of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. http://www.baxterministry.com/mycustompage0011.htm  retrieved 11/16/10


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