Read an Excerpt
By Patsy Clairmont
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2003 Thomas Nelson, Inc
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCall to Me
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV
Clearing the Cobwebs
Who is the first person you turn to when you have a piece of wonderful news to share? Your mother? Your sister? Your best friend?
John says the only reason we love God is because He first loved us. In the same way, we could not pray to our Heavenly Father if He had not first asked us to do so. "Call to me," invites our Heavenly Father. It is an invitation to pray. He has made Himself available to us 24/7/365. He has put out the welcome mat. He has given us the green light. We have a direct line to His throne room. We have a permission slip, a backstage pass, an engraved invitation. He has an open door policy for all of His children. And when we do call out His name, He gives us His undivided attention.
1. Prayer doesn't just happen. We must take a little initiative. But we can pray because God has invited our prayers. What does Psalm 50:15 declare?
2. Believe it or not, the Bible does share just one definite rule regarding prayer. You can find it inExodus 23:13. What is God's command in this verse?
3. David understood the importance of this. What are his words of promise to God in Psalm 5:2?
4. In the beginning, prayer wasn't needed, for Adam walked through the garden paths with God, in the cool of the evening. This gave him a chance to talk things over with his Maker face to face. But when sin entered the world, and the population began to explode, things changed. What does Genesis 4:26 say began to happen about the time Adam's grandkids were being born?
5. In Psalm 116:10, David says, "I believed in you, so I prayed" (NLT). Belief-faith-is at the foundation of prayer. Christians believe God has invited them to call upon Him. They trust Him to listen to their prayers and to answer. What does this say about the believer who does not pray?
What's the purpose of prayer? Why is it so important? Why do we do it? There are plenty of reasons. Prayer reacquaints us with our Savior, solidifies our relationship with Him. Prayer reaffirms His Lordship in our lives, welcomes His input, familiarizes us with His voice, calms our frazzled emotions, lifts our eyes beyond our daily struggles. Prayer underscores God's omnipotence, highlights His patient care, acknowledges God's wisdom, recognizes His sovereignty, appeals to His mercy, magnifies His name. Why do you pray?
6. There are many reasons why we pray. What was David's? It can be found in Psalm 17:6.
7. God's love inspires our devotion and calls our hearts into prayer. How does Psalm 42:8 describe the give and take of David's prayer life? What has God done? How does David respond?
8. God's ears are always tuned to our hearts. He is faithful to hear and answer our prayers. What is the psalmist's resolution in Psalm 116:2?
Every Psalm is a prayer of sorts, whether David is pleading with God or singing His praises. Many of these Psalms give us a glimpse of God's invitation to prayer. Others are requests by David for God to hear him out and to answer his call. Let's look at a few of these verses in the Psalms, to remind ourselves God is near.
Psalm 65:2 Psalm 86:7 Psalm 91:15 Psalm 143:1
Ponder & Pray
Paul was a communicator. He kept in touch with fellow believers, many of whom he had fathered in faith. He wrote letters, filled with words of wisdom, advice, correction, and praise. He spoke God's truth, answered troublesome questions, greeted dear friends, and encouraged Christians everywhere. But if you take a careful look through Paul's epistles, you will also find his prayers. Each week as we delve into our own prayer lives, we will sneak a peek at Paul's. In this "Ponder and Pray" section, one of Paul's prayers will be printed, and you are invited to pray his prayer after him by rewriting it in your own words. Change it. Personalize it. Make it your own.
We pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy. -Colossians 1:11, NLT
By way of example, here is my prayer. Add your own below.
Dear Father, I am asking You for a boost. Your power is so vast and glorious, and I need some of it today. The only way I can face my day's work cheerfully, enduring the routine, is by Your power. The only way I can find the patience to show kindness to my family today is if You lend me Your own strength. And in whatever I may face today, help me to see the humor, give me a glimpse of glory, and settle my soul in contentment-for then I shall surely have joy. Amen.
Trinkets to Treasure
At the close of every Women of Faith(r) conference, women are asked to play a little game of pretend. Each conference guest is asked to imagine that a gift has been placed in their hands-one from each of the speakers. These gifts serve as reminders of the different lessons shared by the Women of Faith. This study guide will carry on this tradition! At the close of each lesson, you will be presented with a small gift. Though imaginary, it will serve to remind you of the things you have learned. Think of it as a souvenir! Souvenirs are little trinkets we pick up on our journeys to remind us of where we have been. They keep us from forgetting the path we have traveled. Hide these little treasures in your heart, for as you ponder on them, they will draw you closer to God!
Trinkets to Treasure
Your trinket for this week is a reminder that God wants you to call upon Him. It's an invitation. He has invited you to come to Him in prayer. God has made Himself available to you, and awaits your call. Your invitation is the key to His undivided attention. So set your mind on Him, let Him know how much you love Him, and pour out your heart. He wants to hear it all.
Chapter TwoBoldly Go
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16, NKJV
Clearing the Cobwebs
How can you show both boldness and respect at the same time?
Nothing is more disagreeable than a bold child-the kind who will march right up to you and call you by your first name. It's just too shocking for words. Of course, I was raised in Minnesota, and in the northern reaches, it's considered most respectful to refer to adults as "Mr. Johnson" or "Mrs. Peterson." I was only on a first-name basis with my little sister. And so, my children were likewise trained. It didn't matter if their Sunday school teacher's last name was a mouthful. With a little coaching, they can manage "Mrs. Kamyszek."
Then, we moved south, and suddenly the world of politeness took a turn. In this warm and hospitable place, respect has taken on the soft drawls of "Mister Lee" and "Miss Teri." Even when I tried to stick to the way I was raised, folks would quietly correct me. Nobody wants to be Mr.'d or Mrs.'d in Tennessee. So I am resigned to my children, with a mixture of boldness and respect, calling our friends by their first names-with the appropriate "Miss" and "Mister" tagged on.
To think, they could have called Mrs. Kamyszek "Miss Cathy" down here. It would have been so much easier!
1. The Jews were so fearful of offending God and showing Him the utmost respect, they would not even say His name. On the other hand, Jesus, showing sinless respect at all times, called God Abba, or "Daddy." How do you tend to think of God? Is there a measure of fear blended with familiarity?
2. Though we are welcomed to call Him our Father and our Friend, God is still to be feared. What does Psalm 33:8 say about God?
3. Let's look at another description of our loving Heavenly Father. What does James, the brother of Jesus, point out about God in James 2:19?
4. Solomon, in all his great wisdom, boiled down the purpose of the human race in Ecclesiastes: "Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is man's all" (Eccl. 12:13, NKJV). God specifically required fear from His people. What did He ask of them in Deuteronomy 10:12-13?
5. Boldness is not the same as arrogance. God waits for the prayers of a humble heart. How does Ezra refer to himself when he speaks to God? His prayer is found in Ezra 9:6.
6. Isaiah pleads for mercy: "Oh, don't be so angry with us, Lord. Please don't remember our sins forever" (Is. 64:9, NLT). According to Acts 8:22, what must a Christian do in order to restore a right relationship with the Lord?
7. First Kings 8:30 and 2 Chronicles 7:14 are two very good examples of the fact God has been showing mercy to sinners for centuries now. What does God ask of the confessor? What does God promise to do if these conditions are met?
Remember when Crayola(tm) markers started coming out in special color combinations? You could still buy the classic colors of the rainbow, but there was also the option of purchasing a package of all pastel colors, or a package designated "bold." Are you a pastel package kind of gal? Or do you like to let loose with the bold set of markers? I've known both kinds of people. One sweet lady I know looks like a watercolor painting-soft blue eyes, porcelain skin, blonde hair that's almost white. Everything she loves would have to have the word "light," "pale," "soft," or "icy" put in front of its color. She drives a powder blue car. Her bedroom walls could be described as "whisper of lilac." Her world is quiet, and she collects Precious Moments figurines. Then, there's this guy I went to college with. He wore such vividly colored shirts that they easily earned the adjective loud. Before they were ever stylish, he was wearing colors which made people squint. One shirt had comic strips on it, another had sunglasses scattered over it. I think I remember a shirt with planets and stars on it. He had the most outrageous taste. But his style suited his outgoing personality and quirky sense of humor. He played the saxophone, and gathered a wide circle of friends. Whatever your color preference might be, Jesus has invited you to come into the hush of His Father's throne room with all the boldness of a loud shirt. He won't be startled. You are there at His Son's invitation. And whether you're wearing icy pink or tangerine, He sees you robed in righteousness.
8. Having been forgiven, we are welcomed into the very courts of heaven. What does the writer of Hebrews 4:16 say we will obtain there?
9. We may tremble in the face of God's greatness, but we can also have confidence in our welcome. David had confidence in God's faithfulness in keeping His word. And his trust affected his prayers: "O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, I have been bold enough to pray this prayer because You have revealed that you will build a house for me-an eternal dynasty!" (2 Sam. 7:27, NLT). Do you have boldness when you pray? What kinds of assurances has God made to you? Let's take a look:
Psalm 32:1 _______________________________________
Psalm 103:12 _____________________________________
Psalm 15:15 ______________________________________
John 15:15 _______________________________________
Romans 8:15 ______________________________________
Romans 8:26 ______________________________________
Hebrews 7:25 _____________________________________
In the presence of God's holiness, men fell to the ground, hid their faces, and cried out in fear. Why? Here are some verses which shed light on their holy terror. As you consider these verses, realize that the very God who makes the earth tremble with dread is the God who loves you completely, provided for your salvation, and calls you His own.
Psalm 99:1 Psalm 114:7 Isaiah 8:13 Jeremiah 10:10 Daniel 6:26 Hebrews 10:31 Hebrews 12:28
Ponder & Pray
Pray this prayer after Paul. Rewrite it in your own words, applying it to your own heart.
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised to those He called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance He has given to His people.-Ephesians 1:18, NLT
Trinkets to Treasure
Whenever I think of boldness, I think of the old saying "bold as brass." So your trinket for the week is a little brass button. God deserves your respect, to be sure. But the Father has assured you your welcome is secure. There is no fear for God's own child to come before His throne. So, trust God to be true to His word, and find yourself ushered into the very throne room of heaven when you pray.
Chapter ThreeTeach Us to Pray
"Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray.'" Luke 11:1, NKJV
Clearing the Cobwebs
Do you have a favorite dish you cook so often that you don't even have to look at the recipe anymore? What is it?
In many ways, I take after my father-both in looks and mindset. But I am my mother's daughter in the kitchen. We are by no means gourmet chefs, but when it comes to putting on a good old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes kind of meal, we're pros. My Mom can put on a meal for twenty-odd people without blinking an eye, and I have the dubious distinction of being called "Queen of Gravy." But, neither of us uses recipes. We're of the old school-a little of this and a little of that until it feels just right and then it's done.
I married into a family of equally good cooks. Wonderful meals, and good home cooking-but recipe-users the whole lot of them. These folks had carefully perfected all their secret recipes (one-half cup, plus two teaspoons sugar). They would experiment by making recipes two different ways, or in two different pans, then taste-test them to see which was better. Nothing was left to chance. The eggs must be medium-not large. The milk must be whole milk, at room temperature. The whipping process must go on for twenty-five minutes, not one minute less or the consistency would be off.
With the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, Jesus gives us a recipe for prayer. Most of us have it memorized. But He didn't mean for us to stick to the recipe as given every time we pray. Even I use the recipe the first time I make a dish. Then, once I've got the gist of it, I just throw it together the next time. Jesus' prayer is a guideline, a lesson about prayer. But God welcomes our own creative touches when we come to Him to share our hearts.
1. How long have you known the Lord's Prayer? Who taught you?
2. We have God's attention, and we are invited to pray. So what do we say to God? The Lord's Prayer is Jesus' example of how we should pray. Did you know He also gives us some negative examples, of how we should not pray? Look at one in Luke 18:11-14. What is the difference between the prayer of the Pharisee and the prayer of the tax collector?
3. Look up Matthew 6:7. What is the other definite don't that Jesus shares with His disciples.
4. There are so many things we can pray about, they cannot be numbered. Here are a few of the things the Bible mentions through its pages-the prayers of others often inspire and encourage our own prayer life. Match the text in the first column with the matter of prayer in the second column which is mentioned in its passage.
___ 1 Samuel 1:27 a. strength for the work before you ___ 2 Kings 6:17 b. those in authority over us ___ Ezra 8:21 c. protection from evil people ___ Nehemiah 6:9 d. safety in travel ___ Jeremiah 42:2-3 e. a chance to see dear friends again ___ Matthew 19:13 f. direction ___ Romans 1:10 g. to have a baby ___ Romans 12:14 h. blessings for our children ___ 2 Thessalonians 3:2 i. good health ___ 1 Timothy 2:2 j. wisdom ___ James 1:5 k. ability to see things as they are ___ 3 John 1:2 l. blessings for our persecutors
5. The Scriptures encourage us to pray for one another-for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul's heart was especially dedicated to prayer for his fellow Christians. What does he write in Romans 1:9?
Excerpted from Adventurous Prayer by Patsy Clairmont Copyright © 2003 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Excerpted by permission.
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