Kraft on types of prayer

I have been reading Charles Krafts excellent book, I Give You Authority. In chapter two he describes six types of prayer. Most Christians will be familiar with, and probably exercise, the first four which are described below.

When we are speaking to God, we usually call what we are doing  prayer. Jesus believed in prayer and practiced it frequently. But prayer, at least in the usual sense of the word, was not His central activity when He washealing people or delivering them from demons.

There are at least six kinds of activity we may call prayer. The mostcommon of these, the one we usually think of first, is what I will call asking  prayer. In this kind of prayer, we ask for what we would like or need, as Jesus has invited us to do. As He said in John 16:24: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete.”

Another familiar kind of praying is confession praying. We are told that “if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will for- give us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (1John 1:9). So we pray to confess and receive forgiveness.

A third kind of prayer that may be performed as either prayer or worship is thanksgiving prayer, in which we express our gratitude to God without requesting any- thing from Him.

Then there is intercession, an intense kind of praying in which we lay hold of God concerning something we feel especially troubled about. Some with the gift of intercession agonize over a given situation, much like a woman going through labor to bring a child into the world.

For years I have taught students to pray along these lines using the ACTS acrostic:

A – adoration

C – confession

T – thanksgiving

S – supplication (intercession)

I think these are fundamental to any disciples life, love of God, and worship in prayer. If you don’t already try to discipline your prayer life so that it includes some time spent in each activity. Using a journal of some kind can help in this discipline as it keeps track of who you pray for, what you ask, your own prayers of adoration and confession of sin and failings.

Tomorrow I shall post more from Krafts book looking at two further areas of prayer.

Do not forget

It is easy to forget that in India Christians suffer much persecution for their faith.  Whilst I rejoice that I can worship openly here I cannot, and should not, forget that my brothers and sisters are being treated harshly in other parts of this nation (which is 31st on the list). Added to that my heart aches at the thought of so many who love Jesus suffering amazing hardship for his name in other nations around the world. Do not forget to pray for them!

Below is the Open Doors list of countries where Christians are most likely to suffer persecution followed by a video explaining how the list is compiled – for the original and more information go here.

Screen shot 2013-02-23 at 11.02.35 AM

The way opens

My former mentor Bob Gordon used to regularly quote this poem by John Oxenham (who is pictured here).

“To every man there openeth

A Way, and Ways, and a Way,

And the High Soul climbs the High Way,

And the Low Soul gropes the Low,

And in between on the misty flats,

The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth

A High Way and a Low,

And every man decideth

The Way his soul shall go.”

 

Such truth is simple and yet profound full of healthy biblical realism.

“Choose this day whom you will serve…”

God in the toilet

One of my pet subjects at the moment is the idea of being aware of the presence of God in the whole of our lives, in all our daily living. God, who lives in us, goes with us sees and experiences every thing we do or say or think – even in the toilet / bathroom.

You don’t have to live in the peaks and valleys – both of which have much to commend them not least for the awareness of God they bring in very different way – but you do have to live in the conscious presence of God each moment of every day.

You choose – do you invite the presence and Lordship of God into every area of your life, such an invitation might result in some sinful habits being at least challenged or at best changed? Or do you like the mediocrity of not needing to be aware of Jesus, you want to be like everyone else – just one of the gang – with nothing in your coffee drinking or casual conversation or workplace habits to show the glory of the Living God?

Are you alive or just living?

Giving conviction its due

Following on from yesterdays post Oswald Chambers offers some insight into why we fail the morality test – we don’t give conviction its due place in our lives.

Never discard a conviction. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to have brought it to your mind, it is that thing He is detecting. You were looking for a great thing to give up. God is telling you of some tiny thing. At the back of it, there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: I will not give up my right to myself–the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus.” 

 

Christians love sex

OK I have no empirical information for the title – but I do know from years of reading that evangelical Christians usually have strong view on sex outside of marriage. If you doubt that read the report below (originally sourced here).

My simple question: If we believe so strongly why do we seem to give into temptation so easily?

We might follow up that question by asking it about many other areas where it seems we Christians fail the morality test of obedience to the Gospel (Christ?).

Press Release: Evangelical Millennials Say Sex Outside Marriage is Wrong

But Behavior Does Not Always Match Attitudes

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2012
Contact: Sarah Kropp, 202-789-1011

The majority (77 percent) of evangelical Millennials disagree with the statement “Having sex outside of marriage is morally acceptable for an unmarried person,” with 61 percent disagreeing strongly. Yet 44 percent of unmarried evangelicals ages 18-29 have had sex, including 25 percent who have had sex in the last three months, according to a new report by the National Association of Evangelicals.

The report, “Sex and Unexpected Pregnancies: What Evangelical Millennials Think and Practice,”* found that a majority (55 percent) who were unmarried but have been sexually active in the past three months still believed that sex outside marriage is not morally acceptable, including 29 percent who felt strongly about this. Just 19 percent felt strongly that their behavior was morally acceptable.

Sixty-seven percent of all evangelical Millennials consider abstinence to be a realistic option. Only 11 percent agreed strongly with the statement “Abstinence is just not realistic in today’s world.” Twenty-two percent agreed somewhat. Of those who were unmarried and recently sexually active, only a slight majority (55 percent) believed that abstinence was unrealistic.

Additional findings include:

  • Respondents said that the sexualized society is the top reason why some young, unmarried Christian adults have sex even though they believe it is morally wrong. Lacking a strong foundation in the Bible and “living for the moment” closely followed.
  • Three in four unmarried evangelical Millennials said they are committed to not having sex until they are married. This was true for 63 percent of those who had been sexually active, but who had been abstinent for at least the last three months.
  • For unmarried evangelical Millennials who have been sexually active, 42 percent expressed strong regret about that activity. Another 28 percent somewhat regretted their activity, while 15 percent somewhat did not regret it, and 15 percent strongly did not regret it.
  • One out of 10 unmarried evangelical Millennials agreed strongly that “I would like to remain abstinent, but I just can’t seem to do it.” Fifty-three percent of those who had been sexually active in the last three months agreed with the statement.
  • Most respondents (87 percent) agreed strongly that the church they attend teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and most of the rest (10 percent) agreed somewhat.

Mediocrity

I read the quote below here,

We all know churches that celebrate when people show up four out of five Sundays, give 10 percent of their income (although actually the typical member gives closer to 2 percent), and get involved in a mission project once or twice a year. Many seem to be content with that level of contribution. If they can give this much, even with a little sacrifice, they feel justified in using the rest of their time and money to satisfy personal desires. They live with the belief that I give God a portion (of my life, my time, my talents, my money), and the rest is mine to do with as I please.

Maybe we just described the majority of people in your church. If so, your church is like most. Unfortunately, often this is the best we can hope for because it’s where we as the church have set the bar on discipleship.

“Maybe we just described the majority of people in your church”

True words are often “horrible” words. Words that are designed to challenge and change us – and they should. It is all too easy to live at such a level of mediocrity as described above. One dictionary I looked at defined mediocre as,

Moderate to inferior in quality; ordinary.

Jesus never came to offer you mediocrity.

Jesus came and gave you life, real life, God infused life. Mediocre is not good enough even if the world thinks it is exceptional or if it is a higher level than most people in your church. Extraordinary people believe in an extraordinary God, who does extraordinary things when ordinary people step out in trust.

Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

Graham Cooke asks great leadership questions

For an excellent evaluation of your current leadership you should watch this video.

The questions Cooke asks are powerful, challenging and encouraging – take time to apply them to your own life.

At the bottom of the page I have added some of the notes I made whilst viewing.

Notes on: cultivating a leadership style – Graham Cooke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nDajNNpFpwc#!

critical questions for leaders

  1. If someone hung out with you 24×7 would they want to be like you?
  2. As a leader are your best fights ahead of you or behind you? are there meaningful battles ahead – battles to take the ground and win – have you spent all your energy and passion getting to where you are now, has your sacrifice been paid and there is nothing left to give? If your energy is gone then you will try to talk people out of the next fight that is coming, you will talk them out of the future.
  3. Can you describe your last dynamic encounter with God in the form of a testimony? What is it you are hoping to pass on to people? You cannot lead if you are encounterless, you are leading from memory and running out of anointing.
  4. Can you define the words fulness and abundance in terms of your present experience in God? God wants to give us more – getting your needs met is the baby end of life in Christ – did you become what God most wanted you to become – have you let God give you your inheritance – do you pray like a widow not a bride, like a baby not a son? Stop praying about your needs and ask what is it Lord you want to give me to fulfil the word you have given me? there are resources attached to the word God has given you – receive the word and the resources. Are you living in your identity or are you praying your needs – expectancy comes from knowing your identity?