Hearts, Heads, and Hands- Module 2

Hearts, Heads, and Hands- Module 2

by M. David Sills

Paperback

$9.99

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433646928
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2017
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author


M. David Sills (DMiss, PhD; Reformed Theological Seminary) is A. P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the founder and president of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries, which serves people around the world through evangelism, discipleship, pastoral preparation, leadership training and theological education.
 
Sills previously served long-term as a missionary in Ecuador. While with the International Mission Board, he served as a church planter and general evangelist among the Highland Quichua people in the Andes and as a seminary professor at the Ecuadorian Baptist Theological Seminary. He also served as rector and professor of the Baptist seminary as a missionary with Global Outreach International. He has planted and pastored churches in both the United States and Ecuador. Sills has written several books and articles in both English and Spanish, including The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God's Plan for the World, which has been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Indonesian, Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience, and Reaching and Teaching the Highland Quichuas.
 
His Spanish books include Capacitación Cultural en la Cultura Quichua and Quichuas de la Sierra. In addition, he has coauthored or contributed to several books such as Introduction to Global Missions and Introducción a la Misiología. A frequent speaker at conferences internationally, Sills has spoken for the Desiring God National Conference, Urbana Missions Conference, To Every Tribe, Master's College, and the Cross Conference. He and his wife Mary have been married for over thirty years and have two grown children and four grandchildren. 

Read an Excerpt

Hearts, Heads, and Hands- Module 2

Prayer Overview of the New Testament The Pastor's Character


By M. David Sills

B&H Publishing Group

Copyright © 2017 M. David Sills
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4336-4701-7



CHAPTER 1

Prayer, Joy, Honorable Overview of the New Testament The Pastor's Character

The Heart

The Christian minister must develop an intimate relationship with God, must gain knowledge of what He has revealed about Himself, and must constantly grow in his character so as to reflect the character of God in all that he is, says, and does. Aside from Jesus Christ, no human being has ever attained this, either before or since the time that He walked among us; yet, this goal should define the profound desire and growing edge of deep discipleship in a minister's life. The hearts, heads, and hands components of this module of study very naturally interweave with each other in what we are seeking to develop in our lives as students who are pursuing pastoral preparation. A growing prayer life is essential to a profound understanding of the New Testament and true joy that should be true in a pastor. That biblical knowledge and joy will guide him in focusing his thought life on honorable things, which in turn will shape his character to be a godly leader whom others will delight to follow.

John Bunyan's classic allegory The Pilgrim's Progress describes the journey of Christian on his way to the Celestial City. Bunyan portrays the path that we all must walk and warns us of dangers we will face along the way. One goal of each of these student modules is to help you grow in sanctification and discipleship as you walk your own journey Home. Not surprisingly, there is an applicable passage for each aspect of the heart formation as you grow. It is my prayer that these short excerpts from The Pilgrim's Progress will spark your interest and spur you on to read it in its entirety. In the following passage, Christian had survived doing battle with Apollyon where the spiritual armor he had been given served him well, and was passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The path-way here was also exceedingly narrow, and therefore good Christian was the more pushed; for when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tip over into the mire on the other; also when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would be ready to fall into the ditch.

Thus he went on, and I heard him here sigh bitterly; for, besides the dangers mentioned above, the path-way here was so dark, so that often, when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where, or on what he should set it next.

Poor man! where are you now? Your Day is Night. Good man be not cast down, you yet are right: Your way to Heaven lies by the gates of Hell; Cheer up, hold out, with you it shall go well.

About the middle of this Valley, I saw the mouth of Hell, and as well it stood near the wayside. "Now," thought Christian, "what shall I do?" And all the time the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises (things that Christian's Sword made no impression on, as it did before with Apollyon) so that he was forced to put up his Sword, and make use of another weapon, called All-prayer. So he cried in my hearing, "O Lord I plead with you to deliver my Soul."


Personal Spiritual Discipline: Prayer

Pastors must be men of prayer, striving after holiness so that God can use them powerfully in His service. A skilled surgeon cannot and will not use a dull and dirty scalpel. Charles Spurgeon said, "Whatever 'call' a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry." To strive after ordered godliness in a chaotic world, the minister must seek to walk with God daily and learn to recognize His voice. The still, small voice of God that guides the minister in both his daily walk and the big decisions he must make is as subtle as a gentle breeze, unnoticed by the rest of the world but speaking clearly in the opened ear of a disciple. To learn to hear that voice, you must get as close to Jesus as you possibly can and stay there. This is the heart of discipleship. Dallas Willard has been quoted as saying, "Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you."

Prayer was a major part of Jesus' earthly life and teachings. He spent concentrated time in prayer, sometimes the entire night. At other times He rose early, before it was light, to spend time in prayer. He prayed to seek direction, before choosing His disciples, and when facing a time of testing. He expects us to pray also, beginning some of His teachings on prayer with, "And when you pray ..." He also taught us how to pray through His story about the persistent widow, telling us to keep on knocking, keep on seeking, and keep on asking (Luke 18).

Prayer is not optional. John Owen wrote, "He that is more frequent in his pulpit to his people than he is in his closet for his people is but a sorry watchman." The only way to know God is to know what He has revealed about Himself in the Bible and to soak in its teachings. Yet to truly understand biblical truths, you must pray and ask the One who inspired those words to illumine your mind to understand them. David prayed, "Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from Your instruction" (Ps. 119:18). Paul explains more about this truth in 1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God's power to us who are being saved." He continues in 2:14, "But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually." Paul is teaching here that although any literate person may be able to read the words on the page, only someone with the Spirit, who is walking in step with the Spirit, may truly understand what they mean. Therefore, we must pray as we walk daily with God, asking that we might learn from His Word and discern His will.

Prayer is essential for developing a close walk with God and maintaining constant communion with Him. The enemy knows this very well and is fighting to keep you off your knees. Some of us struggle to find the time required for fervent prayer or to maintain concentration to keep our minds from wandering when praying. The effort to overcome these challenges is vitally important. Consider what some spiritual giants who went before us maintained about the need for prayer in the life of a pastor. They knew the difficulty too, but they also stressed the importance of overcoming it. Pastor Martin Lloyd-Jones said, "Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer." Oswald Sanders said, "If you want to humble a man, ask him about his prayer life." Robert Murray M'Cheyne said, "A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more." Put those kinds of statements together, and you see that these godly heroes of the past understood both the hard work that prayer is, and the close connection between fervent, sustained prayer and the fuel needed for spiritual growth and ministry power. The devil knows how crucial a fervent prayer life is for you and will fight hard against your success in this endeavor. He also knows that if he can keep you distracted, too busy, or too weary for fervent prayer, the battle will go his way. It is crucial that we continue growing closer to God through prayer.

The Bible tells us how to pray, models prayer for us, and even tells us when to pray. Jesus taught us how to pray through the Model Prayer, what some refer to as the Lord's Prayer. The Holy Spirit also allows us to overhear other prayers of Jesus by inspiring Gospel writers to record them in Scripture. We may also read prayers of others in the Bible. The Bible even tells us when to pray in verses such as Colossians 4:2 (emphasis added), "Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving" and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (emphasis added), "Pray constantly." These verses make it plain that praying should not be sporadic or only in times of panic or need; it should be as much a part of our life as breathing.


What Is Prayer?

Prayer is simply talking to God. When you think about it, as we read His Word, He speaks to us, and as we pray, we speak to Him, enjoying a sweet conversation with Him as we do so. But the truth is that we regularly pray even as we read His Word, and He speaks to us even when we pray. Our prayer time and Bible reading brings us into fellowship and communion with God every day. Prayer does not have to follow some precise liturgical formula to be "biblical" or pleasing to God. Although prayers can be as poetic and developed as one of David's psalms, God also hears prayers that are as simple as Peter's shout, "Lord, save me!" as he sank in the Sea of Galilee.

When Christ taught His disciples the Model Prayer, what some refer to as the Lord's Prayer, it was not so much to teach us what words to say in prayer as to show the heart and kinds of concerns we should bring to the Father when we do. Prayer demonstrates our dependence on God, claims His promises, and shows our belief that He is there to hear and answer those who come to Him in faith.

Prayer is not a manipulative way to name it and claim it, and we shouldn't expect God to grant everything we pray, even though God always answers every prayer of His children. Sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait. He knows best, and if we knew all that He knows, we would want all that He wants. God may be delaying an answer to prayer because of sin in our lives, or the prayer may not be in accordance with His will, or maybe there is a lack of faith. When answers to our prayers seem delayed, we should examine our lives to see whether one of these reasons might be the cause. After having exhausted all possibilities, we should simply trust that His way and timing are best. Don Whitney wrote about the importance of trusting as we wait: "Faith would never grow if all prayers were answered immediately." Perhaps God is allowing a time of silence for testing, and teachers are always silent at test time.

As you grow in your awareness of what the Bible teaches about prayer, notice its importance, the key role prayer played in the life of Jesus Himself, and the necessity of it to grow closer to God and become the man He desires to use. Some of us would prefer "three easy steps to a powerful prayer life" or an "essentials components list" for the ways we should pray, but of course it is impossible to create a perfect system for prayer that applies to each and every person and situation.

Prayer is to be as natural and ever present as your breathing or your heartbeat, and the matters for prayer, emotions you feel in prayer, and the amount of time spent in prayer will vary throughout the day, every day. A legalistic, rules-driven orientation to prayer is often the mind-set of new believers who want to learn the "Christian do's and don't's" from missionaries who brought them to Christ and now disciple them, and this carries over into their prayer life. Rote prayers are not the best pattern to establish. Nonetheless, some models for prayer can be instructive in the beginning since they demonstrate common kinds of prayer and can serve as a skeletal structure of the our own prayers.

A model that I have found to be effective among believers of all stages of their walk with the Lord as well as across cultures is the ACTS model. The ACTS model is an acronym that represents the components of the prayer model: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In this model, we see the importance of personal worship, acknowledging God's greatness, attributes, and perfection, and spending time admiring, adoring, and revering Him before we make our requests. Confession of sins is also modeled. A. W. Tozer wrote, "Every man is as holy as he wants to be." Spending time recognizing sins we commit daily, renouncing them, expressing heartfelt repentance for them, and pleading the promise of 1 John 1:9, enables us to remember the gospel message and its application to our lives. Knowing that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin gives us confidence to draw near to God.

This naturally leads to thanksgiving for the gospel and all the blessings we receive. Then finally, with our hearts thus prepared, we cry out to Him regarding our needs, burdens, sicknesses, challenges, and fears that we face, and make intercession for others. Of course, He knows all that we need before we ask Him anything, but He tells us to pray and promises that He hears and works through our prayers.

The ACTS model is not a formal structure for every prayer we pray. As already noted, when Peter began to sink, he rightly cried out, "Save me!" and Jesus heard and acted even though Peter did not spend time on each aspect of this ACTS model. Still, it can serve as a helpful basic outline for daily prayers and petitions. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, and few of us would actually spend time in the sustained, "fervent prayer that avails much" if we did not have faith that God hears and answers prayer.

Remember that worship should not be something that only happens at the church building and that our religious affections should not materialize only on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to noon. In the same way, prayer is not a ritualistic activity that earns merit, nor a duty to check off one's religious to-do list. Rather, as disciples, we should maintain an ongoing spirit of prayer. Prayer is about all of life, not simply the four components of ACTS. We should daily go to our heavenly Father, as any child would go to his or her earthly father. The things that concern, frighten, or burden us are legitimate matters for prayer, along with every detail of our lives. What earthly father would not be concerned about something that greatly concerned his child? God's Word commands us to cast all of our burdens on Him, large or small.

Sometimes we believe that the God of the universe is surely too busy to concern Himself with our fears, desires, anxieties, needs, and questions. We reason that only very big problems should be mentioned in prayer. But God is not limited like us; He knows every hair on every head, and not even a sparrow falls to the earth without His knowledge. He could hear every prayer prayed even if every person on the earth were praying at the same time. Take to God not merely your needs but also your joys, hopes, plans, and heartfelt responses to victories. In Ephesians 6:10–18, Paul wrote that we are to put on the whole armor of God as we pray and to pray in the Spirit. Notice how Paul says we are to pray as warriors!

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God's word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. (emphasis added) Pray the Bible itself, claiming His promises as you read it, praying through as you read, and reading as you pray. As the Bible mentions God's promises, attributes, faithfulness, or anything relative to your fervent prayer of the moment, you can remember that this same God who acted so powerfully on behalf of His people in the Bible is your God too. Using these pertinent and powerful passages in their prayers, you can remind Him — and yourself — what He has said. You need not fear being disrespectful by reminding Him of His promises if you are doing so reverently. He loves to hear His children remembering His promises, just as we would love to hear that from our own children.

The Bible tells us that we are to pray at all times and in every kind of situation. Reading through the psalms in a spirit of prayer will greatly facilitate this kind of prayer life. The disciple's goal is to develop a heart that beats in tune with the Father's. To be like David, who had a heart after God's heart, we must learn to love what God loves and desire what He desires. Bob Pierce, a friend of Billy Graham and the founder of the Korean Children Orphanage, used to pray, "O God, break my heart with the things that break the heart of God." We do not seek to bend God to our will but to pray until His will is also ours. C. S. Lewis said, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time — waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God — it changes me." We want to develop our walk with God through prayer to the degree that this becomes our heartbeat as well.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hearts, Heads, and Hands- Module 2 by M. David Sills. Copyright © 2017 M. David Sills. Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction,
Module 2 Learning Objectives,
Prayer, Joy, Honorable Overview of the New Testament The Pastor's Character,

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