"Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. " Jeremiah 33:3

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"God said to Solomon, Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern My people. I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame..." 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 NLT

When I read the account from today's Title Scripture it makes me wonder what I would ask for if God appeared to me and said, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" Over the years of my life that answer would change frequently.  What would you ask for from God? 
In my quiet time over the past seven years I have added a devotional journal to time spent in the Word and in prayer. I have journaled; My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, three times,  Streams in the Desert, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Knowing God by Packer, and The Daily Light by Anne Graham Lotz. And over all these years a very dear friend of mine is journaling the same studies and we share with one another what we have written as a way of holding ourselves accountable. 
I  highly recommend journaling, there is something about writing down what you see that the Lord has shown you in His Word or in the devotionals that gets the words down deep inside of you.  I am a strong proponent of rephrasing  a scripture to gain insight into the meaning. And journaling  does that for me .
This year we are using the devotional journal,  Alone in God's Presence.  Today's devotional was all about prayer. I journaled about the Bible study group that I have been involved with nine and a half years. Prayer is a big part of our group, it is who we are. When you join it is with the understanding that you will lift up the group everyday in prayer.  Each week we write down our prayer requests and every person gets their own copy before they leave. I have noticed many changes in myself and others over the years as a direct result of the prayers and the praises. We open each week with giving praises to God for the answers to prayers we have received.

We have noticed four major things as a direct result of prayer and praises. 
(1) Our faith is increasing and how could it not, when week after week, month after month, and year after year you pray and see and hear and talk about all the great answers to pray we have experienced! We are praying with expectation now and that changes everything!  Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." 
 (2) In the beginning there were requests that were not so much prayers as they were demands, at least that is what some of them sounded like, ask God for this and then dictate to Him how you want it done!  I'm happy to say that didn't last long.
(3) The prayers were less and less about me and mine and more and more they have evolved into intercessory prayers. At times we will agree to pray scripture over the group for a set period of time. One of the sections of Scripture that we have used over and over is Colossians 1:9-11; "We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience." Once you begin to incorporate Scripture into your prayers, you pray with all boldness!

(4) The number one change in the prayer requests is the number one request that is written, namely prayer for salvation with a first name. I only wish that I had kept track of how many times God took names off of our lists for salvation by saving their souls! 
It's funny the closer that you get to Him the things that you once thought you wanted don't even interest you any more.  If God appeared to me and said He would do whatever I asked, I wouldn't hesitate, I would ask for the souls of my children, their spouses, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, my brother, his wife and all their extended family. I would ask that they each would know Jesus Christ personally, that they would walk in sweet fellowship with Him and  they would fulfill God's purpose for their lives, bearing much fruit for His glory and have eternal life with Christ. That is my prayer and it will not change.

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