Archive for the 'Becoming a Man of Prayer' Category

24
Jun
08

Becoming a man of prayer – developing spiritual protection (ch. 9)

“We are to be conscious of the reality of spiritual warfare.  We are to be prepared and equipped to wage this war.  To this end, Jesus taught the disciples … to pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one'” (Mt 6:13).

Beltz notes that there are two great enemies that we face in spiritual warfare.  Our human nature, with its bent toward self-centredness and sin, is particularly susceptible to temptation and represents our first enemy.  However, God has provided ways for us to overcome temptation.  Memorizing scripture (Ps 119:11),  resisting temptation (1Pe 5:9), and fleeing temptation (2Ti 2:22) are biblical strategies.  The author suggests that in this component of our prayer time we should ask God to guide us such that our exposure to temptation is minimized.  We pray that God would help us live obedient lives; we dress ourselves to overcome temptation (Eph 6:13-17).

The second enemy is Satan, referenced here in the Lord’s prayer as the evil one.  Prayer offers us the opportunity to request a God-powered spiritual barrier around our lives and our families against the schemes of the evil one.  In Beltz experience this is best a daily request.  The author also regularly prays that God would dispatch those angels he has appointed to minister and protect.

With this Beltz has expanded on each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer.  His book contains some additional comments but we will conclude our blog series here.

Previous post in the series.

16
Jun
08

Becoming a man of prayer – experiencing forgiveness (ch. 8)

“Many people handle guilt by repressing or internalizing it…others attempt reeducation…some seek to atone for their guilt by becoming religious…some men and women deal with guilt by punishing themselves…The problem with all of these solutions is the same, they don’t work! There is only one effective solution for true moral guilt. That solution is now accessible through prayer.”

In this chapter the author deals with the phrase ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (Mt 6:12). He suggests four stages in order to receive and to offer forgiveness.

First, we need to get honest with God and ask the Holy Spirit to show us concrete sins that we need to confess. Beltz in his prayer notebook has also made a list of character flaws so that he is regularly prompted to pray about these as well. Stage two is agreeing with what the Holy Spirit has shown us and confessing that before God in prayer, giving thanks for the forgiveness that is available to us because of Jesus’ atoning work. Sometimes there is benefit is confessing our sin before another believer (see James 5:16). Thirdly, we seek the power of God to change the defects of our character and the behaviour patterns that are not pleasing to God. Finally we check our attitudes. We need to willfully decide to extend forgiveness to those that have wronged us. This needs to be an ongoing choice so that negative emotions do not embitter us. When we have wronged others we need to attempt to make things right through asking for forgiveness from the one we have wronged and seeking to restore what our sin has damaged.

I have experienced challenges in each of these phases. Sometimes I just want to accept my flaws. Other times I mistakenly try to earn my forgiveness. For sure, it was good to be reminded to persist in choosing to forgive another so that the emotional fall-out has time to heal.

Click here for this week’s assignment.

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06
Jun
08

Becoming a man of prayer – praying for provision (ch. 7)

“Even in coming to the Father for our own needs, we need to focus on God and His agenda.”

There are some principles according to Beltz regarding God’s provision that men need to understand. First, to be assured of God’s provision we need to be in proper relationship with him; authentic prayer and scripture reading fuel that relationship. The author states that if we are not in daily fellowship with the Lord, then God might withhold His provision to encourage us to restore our relationship with him. God’s provision is also linked to our obedience in the area of financial stewardship. If we rob God of what is his due then we rob ourselves of God’s blessing and provision. On the other hand, if we are faithful in our stewardship then we will know God’s blessing.

When praying for God’s provision the author focuses on two general areas. The first is his real needs of the moment which include physical and financial needs, as well as needs that arise out of what is on his agenda. The second area is his anxieties and his desires. Here Beltz prays cautiously, praying for what he wants but asking God not to give it to him if it would not be a blessing.

It seems very natural to me that as we seek God’s provision that we reflect on the blessings that we have in hand and ask for our “daily bread” from the context of gratefulness. Many of us are blessed by safety, security, freedom, shelter, clothes, food, and health. Thanking God for these puts our other needs in better perspective.

Click here for this week’s assignment.

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30
May
08

Becoming a man of God Experiencing Divine Intervention part two (ch. 6)

“Prayer is one vehicle through which we participate in what God is doing and wants to do in our world…God has sovereignly willed to be influenced by the prayers of his people.”

In this chapter the author continues the topic of praying that God’s will be done and applies it to three more significant categories.

The first is prayer for one’s church. He cautions his readers that God is not usually in the business of maintaining the status quo. Praying for God’s will to be done in our church may lead to change and may lead us out of our present comfort zone. In particular, he encourages his readers to pray for empowerment and protection for leadership and spiritual renewal for the congregation.

Next Beltz applies this prayer principle to prayer for one’s nation. He shares that it is his practice to prayer for God’s influence and intervention in the lives of national leaders. He also prays that God would heal the nation and bring spiritual renewal. Specific national issues that God brings to his attention are also matters of prayer.

Praying for the world is the last significant category about which the author prays for God’s will to be done. Anticipating that his readers might easily become overwhelmed with the breadth of things that could be prayed about, he urges that one select a series of global issues and peoples upon which to focus prayer.

From my perspective Beltz is right on to anticipate the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the issues one could pray about. Focusing on those church, national and global issues that are top of mind is more likely to lead to growith in our prayer life then trying to cover all the bases we could possibly think of.

Click here for this week’s assignment.

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23
May
08

Becoming a man of God – Experiencing Divine Intervention part one (ch. 5)

“Authentic prayer brings heavenly realities to bear on earthly situations.” For the next two chapters, Beltz is going to unpack that for us.

In chapter five, he explains that the Kingdom of God is best understood as God’s reign and rule. Although the fullness of that rule lies in the future, the first coming of Jesus prepared the way for God’s Kingdom to be experienced in the present. Prayer is asking God to intervene into our lives and into our situations now. We are not seeking to force our wills upon God, but rather to affirm God’s will and ask that it become a reality in our lives. The author suggests five key areas to be praying that God’s will be done. This week we will cover the first two.

The first area is our personal lives; we seek God’s blessing and favour by praying for it. The author shares a lengthy list of spiritual needs that he prays for regularly. That list includes:

  • To submit to the will of God
  • To receive empowerment from the Spirit
  • To abide in Christ
  • To develop character
  • To be humble
  • To be useful

The second area is our family; we seek God’s blessing and provision for our spouse and for our children.

Beltz underscores both the responsibility and privilege a father has to exercise spiritual authority by praying for his family.

This week’s assignment is to carry on implementing what we have already covered so far.

For me one of the battles is trying to figure out how to pray for my kids with them there. Their combined schedules seem to make chaos a routine.

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19
May
08

Becoming a man of prayer – getting focused (ch. 4)

Have you ever had the experience of trying to pray, but your mind is full of inner distracting thoughts? The author in chapter 4 talks about the “white noise” that needs to be controlled and quieted, while our head and hearts become focused on God and his agenda.

To assist in “Getting Focused” the author suggests that one ponder the character of God by reflecting on the names of God. Beltz recounts that God revealed to Moses his name, transliterated by the four Hebrew consonants as YHWH. This is a form of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’ and can be translated as: “I am”, “I cause to be”, and “I will be, who I will be.” These meanings help us to focus on God’s sovereign power in the universe as well as in one’s life. The author adds to this seven other compound names built on the fundamental name YHWH (download the assignment below).

As we focus on God and his character and respond with praise and thanksgiving, our awareness of God is heightened; we enter his presence, or as the Psalmist writes we enter into his courts (see Ps 100). This brings vitality to our prayers and spiritually prepares us for the next component of prayer.

Click here to download this week’s assignment.

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12
May
08

Becoming a man of prayer – Getting Started (ch.3)

//farm3.static.flickr.com/2184/2130975956_0422b287eb_o.jpgFor many men, including Beltz, their relationship with their earthly father is far from perfect, yet it is the father-child relationship that Jesus envisions in the Lord’s Prayer. Entering into this mindset for prayer is a challenge, that is why the author suggests that first we acknowledge our inability to pray and ask that the Holy Spirit would empower us to pray and to keep from being distracted.

Addressing God as ‘father’ or with ‘Abba’ (which means daddy, see Ro 8:12-17) underscores the close relationship we have with God. By doing so we consciously enter into God’s presence as the ‘Daddy in heaven who is perfect, loving, interested, involve, gentle, present, available, concerned, kind, wise, caring and good [Beltz, 31]. This spiritual positioning sets us up for sensing God’s loving touch in our lives and gets us ready to focus on God’s agenda in prayer.

How do you presently relate to the Fatherhood of God?

This week’s prayer strategy deals with growing in entering the presence of God the Father. Click here to download the assignment.

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