Prayer: Lifestyle Discipline
I am no expert on the mater of prayer, but my understanding of it is that it should be a lifestyle, and a discipline. Once I was challenged with this question; “When someone shares a burden with you do you say, ‘I’ll pray for you.’ and later forget to pray for that specific request?” Since we, as Christians have instant access to the throne of God through the one mediator Jesus Christ, why not say, “Can I pray with you about that now?” We can, and should come to our Creator with all kinds of prayer at any and all times. The Bible says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6) However, to have a quiet disciplined time alone with God to read His Word and to pray is of much value too.
Notice Daniel’s discipline, "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." (Dan. 6: 10)
One may say, “Wasn’t Daniel the chap who was thrown into the lions den for praying?” Yes, but remember man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. This is a true proverb, as you may know, weather one prays or not. Daniel was in a situation that, putting it mildly, was inconvenient, uncomfortable, unusual, and potentially dangerous. Armed, as he was, with the attitude of prayer, he prayed and God gave the hungry beasts sleep.
God communicates to us through His Word the Bible, therefore let us read it as often as we can. Prayer is talking to God. Pray often (any time, any place, and in a specific time at a specific place). Ask God to show you what He wants you to know about Himself, through His Word. If your complete trust is in the resurrected Christ of the Bible alone, you are a child of God, and He delights in listening to you!
How God Communicates.
God communicates to us in two ways. One way is called general revelation, or nature. That is, through what can be seen and understood. All around us there is visible evidence of the invisible God. The beauty of the earth, sky, and sea and everything that is in them shows forth God’s creative work. One can look and see that there is a God who communicates through nature. (see Rom. 1)
Secondly, God communicates through special revelation that is God speaks to us directly. When we open the Bible or hear it read we are hearing God’s Word. The Bible makes this claim, and as far as I know, no other religious book comes close to this claim. Read for yourself, what the Bible essentially says of itself:
A. I am the words of God (Jer. 1: 1-9
B. I am the commands of God (1 Cor. 14:37)
C. I have been revealed by God (Gal. 1:11,12)
D. I am the Word of God (1Thess. 2:13)
E. I am inspired by God (2Tim. 3:16)
F. I am the product of the Holy Spirit (2Pet. 1:21)
With all of this going for the Bible, why wouldn’t we want to take in some of God's Word every day? I am reminded of the evangelist D.L. Moody who said, “This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book.” I hope you can take time to read or hear God’s Word today.
What is Saving Faith?
There are two words the Bible uses to communicate saving faith, the words “believe” which is a verb, and “faith” which is a noun. In relationship to salvation Jesus Christ is the object of saving faith. He is the center of the gospel (see What is the Gospel?).
There are three aspects to saving faith, they are: knowledge, mental assent, and trust. My children are fascinated by the Titanic. Therefore, I have often used it to illustrate this point (any sea faring vessel would do). In order to be saved from a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean, one must know that lifeboats are available. One must have knowledge that lifeboats are there. In order to be saved from a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean, one must not only know that lifeboats are there, but understand that they can save one’s life. One must have mental assent of the importance of the lifeboats. One can know, and say they believe in the lifeboats ability to save people, logically one can argue that they know all about the lifeboats. That one can tell others how sturdy the lifeboats are, where they are located, even how to operate them, yet without the trust to get in to the boat that one will perish. One must exercise trust, saving faith, and get into the lifeboat in order to be saved.
Larry Moyer Executive Director of Evan Tell, Inc. Evan Tell, Inc., has provided an excellent outline of this concept from a biblical perspective that should help to clarify what saving faith is. Minor changes have been made to personalize it to this publisher.
I. Faith involves knowledge.
A. The proof
1. The Bible sometimes puts hearing before believing.
a. John 5:24 – “…He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me…”
b. Romans 10:14 – “…how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?”
c. Acts 18:8 – “…many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.”
d. Ephesians 1:13-“In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth…”
2. It is axiomatic (or self evident) that to believe in someone (in this case God) one must know about him.
B. The Person
1. His deity- John 1:1&14; 1In the beginning was the Word and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God. 14And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
2. His humanity- 1Joh4:2; Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3. His death- 1Corinthians 15:3; For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
4. His resurrection- 1Corinthians 15:4; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures...
II. Faith involves mental assent.
A. The proof
The most basic meanings of the Greek words translated “believe” and “faith” is “to accept something as being true” or “to be convinced of something.”
B. The reason
A person can understand something yet not accept it as being true. For example: If I tell someone that “I live in Sylvania, Ohio”, that one may know where Sylvania is, how to get there, and many wonderful facts about Sylvania. However, that doesn’t mean that one believes me. In a similar manner, one can understand many facts about Christ and yet not accept them as being true.
III. Faith involves trust.
A. The proof
1. The two Greek words translated “believe” and “faith” includes the idea of “trust.” This means “reliance on” or “dependence on.”
2. The New Testament emphasizes this many times by putting a preposition after “believe.”
a. John 3:16; “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish…”
b. John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life…”
B. The point
One can understand the Good News of Christ and accept it as being true, and yet not be trusting in Christ alone to save him.
Conclusion: Saving faith involves knowledge, mental assent, and trust.
The gospel is made clear by Paul. The good news is that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Will you receive it, embrace it and make it your own?
What is the Gospel?
1 Corinthians 151Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
We raed in Colossians 4:4
Paul’s heartthrob was to make the gospel clear. In 1Corinthians 15:1-8
we read how he did this. A well known preacher said, “Just tell them what Jesus did for you!”
That is what Paul is doing here; Paul preached
) what he received
The word “brothers”
) means Paul is addressing those who are united in the same spiritual family, those who are born again by the same Holy Spirit. He is reminding them of that which they: received
) or embraced as being true, taken a stand on
) professed it to someone else, and believed
Paul used four verbs in defining the gospel (good news): died, buried, was raised, and appeared. We can see clearly that Christ died for our sins (v.3
) according to the Scriptures; He was buried (v.4a
) He was raised (v.4b
) the third day according to the Scriptures; He was seen (v.5
)The gospel is made clear by Paul. The good news is that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.
Will you receive it, embrace it and make it your own? When you do, or if you have, “Just tell them what Jesus did for you!”