29 Jun The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Five
The Magnificent Obsession – Chapter Five
Lift Everything Up
“Sometimes I feel that I have all the correct information, yet I’m not communicating with God. As a result, I have become more determined to learn how to really pray. I’m not interested in fancy rhetoric, or eloquent oratory, or endless monologues or mystical languages… I just want to talk to God.”
The Magnificent Obsession, p. 134
Do you? That’s the question. Do you really just want to talk to God?
Prayer. Talking to God. This is probably one of the most challenging aspects of the Christian walk. And your enemy absolutely does not want you talking to your Creator because he knows that in developing that kind of relationship there is power. He’s a schemer, sisters, and we’ve got to be on to his schemes. So if we are going to have an effective and powerful prayer-life, then we’ve got to guard against the biggest culprits working against us: Busy-ness, Noise, and Unbelief. Here’s my take on the Big Three:
Busy-ness: The world will always present you with a million reasons why you don’t have time to pray. “I’m just too busy. I’ve to get up and go here and there and… I’ve got too much going on and there’s just no time!” We use that excuse with respect to other aspects of our spiritual life as well (Bible reading, study, church attendance, serving, etc). But as Martin Luther said, “I am too busy not to pray.” He knew that the busier he was, the more he had to do, the more difficult it would be, so all the more he needed the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So the more he had to do, the more he prayed. He made the time to pray and he made it a priority. Have you made the time to talk to God a priority in your life?
Noise: I mean seriously- we simply cannot maintain a habit of tuning into everything around us and expect that God will speak above all that other noise. This past Sunday I heard a great sermon and an exhortation that made me want to stand and applaud as Pastor Steve said, “Leave your cell phone at home on Sunday! There is only One person you need to be hearing from on Sunday morning; only One that should be ringing in.” Amen! Amen! Amen!! And this came from a young pastor who is a big user of technology. Simply put, noise is distracting; it fragments you, slows you down, and gets you off track. You cannot spend focused time in the presence of the Almighty while your phone is vibrating and signaling you that you have a message, an email, a text, or a tweet from one of the thousand other voices calling out to you like the Sirens! Who are we kidding? OK, so give it a try. I’m not talking about silencing your cell phone, but leaving it at home or locked in your car. Observe a fast from technology. Turn it off, put it away… do without it. Just do it!
Unbelief: Sister, this is the biggie. Nothing offends God more than unbelief; just ask Moses about the stiff-necked Israelites he was assigned to and the 2-week trip that turned into a 40-year-wheel-spinning-desert-stay-cation. Believing God is essential… critical to the life of a “believer” (duh). From experience I can tell you that those who really don’t believe God simply have not taken the time to get to know Him by spending time with Him in His Word. To know Him is to believe Him, and you simply cannot know God apart from His Word. As Paul prayed so passionately for us, “… to have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better” (Ephesians 1:17) we should be praying that for ourselves. Pray it out loud, pray it often, read His Word and believe Him.
Bottom line is this: Satan does not want you to talk to God. So are you gonna play his game? Or are you gonna JEALOUSLY GUARD YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD? OK, let’s dig into Miss Anne’s lesson for this week… and lift it all up, girls; lift every single thing up to Him!
xo – P
THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT:
Scripture Reading: Genesis 18 & 19
Read Chapter 5 – Magnificent Obsession
Questions for Small Group Discussion and Blog:
1. How is your prayer life? What is keeping it from being meaningful…intentional?
2. What kinds of things keep you from walking with God in His direction, at His pace. Perhaps you struggle with busy-ness and maybe you need to “just say no” to some things. Or perhaps you’ve gotten used to the constant clamoring and noise all around you- all the other voices that drown out the voice of God. Maybe you really don’t believe God because you’ve not taken the time to really get to know Him by spending time with Him in His Word. So… what is it for you?
3. What are some practical things that you can do right now to RESTART, REFRESH and REFOCUS your prayer life? OK, make your list and share it with your group or on the blog comments! Let’s hold one another accountable!
4. What are the burdens of your heart? Have you shared them with God? And do you know God’s heart? Do you know what kinds of things burden His heart? Is the focus of your prayer devoted to the things that break the heart of God or the things that you want?
5. Abraham prayed fervently for God to save Sodom and deliver Lot and his family from that pending doom. As a result of Abraham’s prayers, Lot and most of his family were saved. Every person who has come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and understands so great a salvation should have a list of people who she is fervently praying for to be saved. List those people in your life who are in danger of coming under God’s judgment that you will start praying for today.
For Personal Prayer & Reflection:
Lift Everything Up~
Think specifically about the burdens and people you want to lift up to God in prayer. Write them down in your journal and then spend time talking to God about them. Go back to your choices from the previous chapters. Is there anything you want to add or delete from these lists? Is there any other insight you’ve received since making those lists? Write it down.
Remember- this is not about just getting through your assignment and recording the answers. This is about developing your relationship with Jesus. Growing in intimacy and friendship with Him; knowing Him better and believing Him more… day by day.
Going Deeper Still~
This week I want to challenge you a bit more to cultivate some meaningful relationship-building time with Jesus. Set aside time to take your Bible and enter into God’s presence through prayer. Talk to Him, and let Him respond to you through His Word (either through the passages we’ve been studying, or maybe the Psalms or another portion of Scripture He’s led you to). He is waiting to speak to you! As He does, He will bring to your mind the things or the people He wants you to pray about. As Anne says, “Prayer strengthens your relationship with God which is essential if you are to take the next step and cast everything out.”