SPIRITUAL GROWTH, & PRAYER, 23.04.19

SPIRITUAL GROWTH, & PRAYER, 23.04.19

What are you doing with your prayer time? Do you spend most of your time complaining, begging, demanding, whining? Or do you spend time just getting to know Him, just hanging out with Him?

So much of our prayer time is spent on our physical, mental, emotional needs, we often neglect other important components. And there are many.

Today’s Study Corner will focus on spiritual growth time, learning from two of our greatest models in Scripture, besides Yeshua Himself.

Why should we focus on spiritual growth? Interestingly enough, Paul tells us that we must “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil.2:12), so evidently, we do not grow by osmosis, or by automatic download, like your computer updates. It’s not like that. We actually have to take responsibility for our own growth. Paul spends considerable time, not only lecturing, but teaching his people how to pray into spiritual growth.

Let us look at Ephesians chapter one, for starters:

Eph.1:15-20:

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,

16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Notice, first and foremost, that this is a prayer for those who are already under Paul’s discipleship. These are believers/followers of Yeshua. Notice, too, that he is praying it as a prayer of intercession for his people whom he is training up in following Yeshua. But that does not mean that one cannot pray this prayer for oneself, as well as for others.

He is thanking God for them. He is praying for spiritual growth for them; so he is interceding for them.

Notice how he acknowledges the Father and ties in the validation of Who Yeshua is, and His power. Through all of this, there is not a single word prayed for himself.

The Psalmist prays with passion, being expressive, and assertive when he says:

“Teach me Your statutes. Help me discern the way of Your precepts, so I may meditate on Your wonders” (Ps.119:26,27). He uses active verbs, indicating the degree to which he desires that which he seeks: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Ps.119:33,34). The words he uses are also an indication of total surrender of his life to doing things the Master’s Way. There is not one occasion of half-heartedness in the Psalmist’s prayers. Notice that each request is also followed by a vow to follow through – i.e., “Teach me . . . . I will follow . . .  Give me . . . . that I may keep . . . with all my heart.”   There is nothing half-hearted, or lukewarm about this; this is all-sold-out talk. “O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You. My soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You in a dry and weary land, where there is no water” (Ps.63:1,2). We grow up spiritually when we hunger for Him, to know Him, to know and understand His Ways. When we really love Him, we want to honour Him. When we want to honour Him, we need to know what pleases Him, what will bring Him delight, and communicate our reverence to Him.

Paul expressed his ultimate heart cry when he said “My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death” (Phil.3:10). What is he saying here? He is saying that nothing is more important to him than knowing the Father/Yeshua, experiencing His resurrection power working in him, ultimately by sharing in His sufferings, to become like Him. Do you long to know Him, to serve Him, to grow spiritually to the level at which you can say this?

If you do, let’s take these Scriptures quoted here to the Prayer Corner and make them our prayer.

© 2018, revised 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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