Sunday, July 14, 2013

Explore Your Options

     We're creatures of habit.  Chances are, most of you reading this blog sit in the same general section, if not the exact seats, every time you attend church.  Am I right?  Granted, some people fly by the seat of their pants more than others, but we all have certain ways of doing things without thinking much about them.  Like personal hygiene or getting ready for bed or eating and exercise habits (or a lack thereof).
     This holds true for our relationship with God and what transpires during the time we spend with Him.  Depending on the church culture that is responsible for shaping your perspective of God and your communication with Him, we all have varying spiritual habits that comprise our time with God.  Some people are more disciplined to abide by these habits than others, but we all have the tendency to gravitate towards certain values that were presented to us early in our Christian walk. 
     What I am about to list are options that I would encourage you to explore in God.  Allow me to explain.  Certain groups in the body of Christ instill the importance of Bible reading above all else to the people within their reach, whereas other groups stress the necessity of spending quality time in daily prayer.  And yet others emphasize private worship and the confession of the Word, and the list goes on and on.  Point is there are varying priorities that are laid out in different churches that motivate people to communicate with God in a specific way.  Maybe it's time to explore some additional options. 
     I think we'd all agree that prayer and Bible reading are both important for believers to engage in consistently.  What we wouldn't agree with is the amount of time we should pray and the amount of Bible verses we should read every day.  Truthfully, there is no clear-cut formula laid out in the Word for us to follow, so there is room for private interpretation and application here.  What we do know is that the Word encourages us to welcome the ministry of the Spirit to assist us in communicating with God on multiple levels.

     John 14:26 - "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
     Ephesians 6:17,18 - "And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints."
     Romans 8:26 - "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
     I Timothy 2:1 - "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men."
     James 5:16 - "...the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

     After reading these Scriptures, you can easily conclude that there are a variety of types of prayer/communication with God and that the Spirit wants to help us function effectively in them.  I'm going to break our communication with God into 3 categories (prayer, word & worship) and then proceed to list a number of subcategories that pertain to these areas.  I will also give a brief description of each area that presents an opportunity to commune with God. 
     It's up to you to explore these avenues of communication with God.  And allow me to highly recommend the Holy Spirit as your personal navigator!  Take God out of the box of your religious upbringing.  Not that it is bad, just possibly incomplete.  There's more to God than any of us know at this very moment, so let's explore our options in Him!


1.  Petitions - asking God to do something for you or in you, or to give something to you
2.  Intercessions - praying for the needs of others or situations outside your control
3.  Questions - asking God questions from your heart
4.  Sharing Burdens - expressing your feelings, thoughts and desires to the Lord
5.  Silence - waiting in the presence of the Lord, listening for His voice in your heart
6.  Submission - surrendering your desires to God so He can reshape them according to His will
7.  Tongues/Interpretations - edifying yourself by speaking in unknown languages the Spirit enables you to speak in and interpreting mysteries that are spoken by the Spirit through the person with this spiritual gift
8.  Warfare - putting a stop to the work of demons and liberating the ministry of angels


1.  Reading the Word - verse by verse, chapter by chapter reading of various books of the Bible
2.  Studying the Word - a much slower pace than reading, paying attention to details and investigating original languages, culture and history behind Scripture
   a. Topical Study - focusing on a particular theme throughout the Bible
   b. Book Study - focusing on a particular book of the Bible
   c.  Character Study - focusing on a particular person in the Bible
   d.  Word Study - focusing on a particular word or phrase that is repeated in the Bible
3.  Meditating on the Word - thinking deeply about words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and sections of Scripture to gain a deeper meaning than what is on the surface
4.  Memorizing the Word - committing various verses to memory
5.  Confessing the Word - speaking the Word out loud to activate your faith and to renew your mind with God's thoughts
6.  Prophesying the Word - speaking God's promises over your life and others


1.  Thanksgiving - thanking God for what He has done and for what He has given you
2.  Praise - giving God credit for His good deeds, speaking well of Him
3.  Worship - telling God how much He is worth to you, loving Him because of Who He is

     As you can see from the list of options above, there are many different directions your time with God can go. That's why it's important to ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and to teach you how to pray, just like Jesus' disciples asked Him.  Believe it or not, whether your prayer life is effective or not depends on you allowing the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be active in your heart and life.  Personal devotions aren't just about asking God for stuff and reading a really cool Book.  They are the pursuit of man after the heart of God while depending on the Spirit to help us communicate with God in  such a way that we know Him more, become more like Him and see Him involved in our daily lives.
     For those of you who have read the Bible but have never studied it, get ready for a spirit of revelation and wisdom to hit you, bringing the Word alive in your heart and generating a faith for God to make an impact in your life with what you have discovered.  For those who have always talked in prayer but haven't listened for His voice, get ready to discover that prayer is a two-way street.  God is going to train you to discern the difference between His thoughts and yours.  You get the picture.  When you step out of your comfort zone and explore your options in your time with Him, there's no limit to what God can do for you, in you and through you!


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