12.29.2016

Excited to pray BETTER!


We finished our book study! 
It has been a great time of learning, growth through conviction, and fellowship as the four of us studied together these past months. Thank you for doing this with me, ladies! Accountability makes a difference!
I highly recommend this treasure for your personal library. We could hardly read one page without underlining half of the sentences and then declaring to one another that each chapter was the BEST chapter. Spurgeon had a gift for creating vivid word pictures and hitting the targets of human hearts dead center with biblical truth. 
This was my second time through the pages and I still feel like I need to read the book once a month for the rest of my life!

These were my favorite quotes from the final chapter.

"When we approach nearest to the throne of grace, we still fall very short of being where and what we ought to be. We often come before God in prayer unfit to pray and spoil the action in the very outset by unpreparedness of heart. At other times, we are assailed with suspicions as to the faithfulness of God, doubts as to the success of our pleas, or else some other hallowed thought pollutes the sacrifice. How hard it is to begin, continue, and end a prayer in the Spirit! 
Our consolation lies in this, that our beloved intercessor who stands before God for us, even Christ Jesus, possesses such an abundance of precious merit that He puts fragrance into our supplications and imparts a delicious odor to our prayers. He makes our intercessions to be through His merit what they could not have been without it - acceptable before the Majesty of heaven."

"In the matter of intercession, one of the most important things is the character of the person. If I live in constant sin and then say, "Our Father, which art in heaven," surely I might feel His hand closing my mouth and hear Him say, "How can you hallow My name when you constantly defile it? How can you say, 'Thy kingdom come,' when you will not submit to My rule? How dare you mutter out before me the words, 'Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,' when you rebel against My will?" Such prayers are an insult to heaven instead of sweet perfume offered before the Most High.
It is certain there is nothing that so weakens prayer as sin, and that to be a man like Elijah, who can prevail with God upon Carmel, you must walk in the Lord's ways - for if you walk contrary to Him, He will walk contrary to you."

Both of these quotes convict me deeply for I do not prepare my heart often or thoroughly enough before approaching a holy God. My thoughts stray, my focus wanes, and intentions for praise and worship fail. How thankful I am that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words. I need Him!

"The prayer that God accepts is offered to Him alone. He who presents it cares not one atom who likes it or who does not like it. He is talking with His God, pleading with the Majesty unseen. He is very careless of the criticism of others. His only desire is to please the Lord."

I LOVE this! The enemy thrives on fear and insecurity and pride in public prayer to KEEP people from praying together. When we focus on what everyone else "might" be thinking, we completely lose our focus on the Savior and the purpose of our conversation with Him. My favorite line, "His only desire is to please the Lord." Yes! Approval of men? Nope. Just GOD!

"What if I were to say that prayer is in itself essentially a doxology? It is an utterance of glory to God in His attributes. Do I ask Him to bless me? Then I adore His power, for I believe He can. Do I ask Him to bless me because of such and such a promise? Then I adore His faithfulness, for I evidently believe that He is truthful and will do as He has said.  Do I ask Him to bless me not according to my request but according to His own wisdom? The I adore His wisdom; I am evidently believing in His prudence and judgment. When I say to Him, "Not my will but Thine be done," I am adoring His sovereignty. When I confess that I deserve to suffer beneath His hand, I reverence His justice. When I acknowledge that He always does right, I adore His holiness. When I humbly say, "Nevertheless, deal graciously with me and blot out my transgressions," I am reverencing His grace. We do not wonder, therefore, that through Jesus Christ the prayers of the saints should be precious to God since they are an eminently practical homage to the Supreme."

Amen!

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