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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Sept. 19, 2007

  • 2007 Sep 19
  • COMMENTS
 

Have the Greatest Power By Word-filled Prayer

Part 3 continued from September 18th

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servants of God: Live for Spiritual Assets

 

A servant of God has their heart set on spiritual treasures and measures life by the acquisition of spiritual assets rather than merely physical assets. Do you keep track of your Spiritual Assets? Often we know our house value, our retirement investment value, the worth of our collections and treasures—but do you keep an inventory of spiritual assets? What are some of our spiritual assets?

 

These are things like:

 

Knowing where your kid’s are reading in God's Word so they remember when they grow up and leave home that you always cared how they were doing spiritually.

 

Asking your husband or wife each week what they are finding in God's Word that is helping them to make it through the day. And, actually remembering what they said the last time because you care. This is a spiritual treasure because it forges a strong bond in your hearts of a shared spiritual walk.

 

Finding and learning scripture memory verses that you share in common with your loved ones are a spiritual treasure. Not hundreds or even dozens, but a handful that you all have learned and share in common. What a treasure to quote them around the living room when the power goes out, or an ice storm cancels church, or when you are traveling, to have this body of Scripture that you together as a couple and a family learned is a true spiritual treasure. Some of the more valuable passages are Psalm 23, the love chapter--I Corinthians 13, the fruit of the

Spirit in Galatians 5, and key verses on the tongue and faith in James.

 

Collecting testimonies of salvation is a record of each person’s greatest treasure, isn’t it? The only thing that lasts forever from this world will be people and whatever we send up to Heaven before we leave. So, who are you taking to Heaven with you? Have you heard, understood, and savored the testimonies of your family? Can you tell your husband’s or wife’s testimony? How about your children? What an incredible treasure is our salvation. Take a spiritual inventory of the status of each soul around you in those you love.

 

Recording and remembering those spiritual milestones, have you started on this spiritual asset yet? Do you record your loved ones salvation date, baptism date, when they started the habit of personal devotional quiet times, what they are doing in that QT? Have you started yet to celebrate each other’s spiritual birthdays? Do you keep a record of, share and celebrate any souls led to Christ by you or by loved ones, and then uphold them by prayer? Who can your family say that you as a family are “taking to Heaven”?

 

Finally, one of the great spiritual treasures is a lifelong prayer journal. Even if you’ve never started, it is never too late to start watching God at work through prayer. Any type of list will do, just date it, hold onto it, and be specific enough in your requests—and there you have it—an actual record of the God of Heaven moving in and through your life by prayer. A list of family needs, specific challenges, hurdles, obstacles, great goals, and so on are all prayed over. As well the verses for Christ's formation in the lives of those you love are always such a tool. Just a sheet of paper, dated, written out and prayed over faithfully until it wears out and then a new one started will harvest great spiritual gains and treasures.

 

What did those who spent the most time with Jesus on earth remember about Him?

 

When He had returned to heaven, and His disciples were left to get the message out, they all confessed to the method they had learned, and had made the focus of their lives.

 

Please open there with me to their confession in Acts 6:4

 

“We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”

 

Don’t miss the point Christ’s disciples were making. There is a simple starting point when you face the greatest task imaginable. (For the disciples, it was evangelizing the whole world; for us it is raising a godly family.) That starting point is to let the Word fill your heart, mind—and prayers!

 

There it is: the simplest and most powerful truth of ministry, of marriage and of parenting—Word-filled husbands and wives, Word-filled mothers and fathers, Word-filled men and women of prayer.

 

After over two decades as a couple and as parents, our philosophy of a great marriage and family can be summed up in just one sentence: you encourage a godly marriage and family “one prayer at a time.” Faithful prayer, in step with God’s plan in His Word, is God’s most powerful key to unlock our partner’s and our children’s hearts as we disciple them for Christ.

 

The Word-filled home is built upon the foundation of a Word-filled life, or personal spiritual life in daily touch with the Lord.

 

Then we can have a Word-filled marriage where we share the ultimate partnership possible in this world with the one He chose to complete our life. From those two streams flow the Word-filled prayers of godly husbands and wives, moms and dads. There is no greater power on earth that can ever be unleashed than the prayers of two hearts united with a holy passion for God, and the family that He has given to them.

 

What we pray about reflects what fills our hearts. When God fills us, His Word spills out in our prayers. The more we reflect on what His Word says we are to believe and do, the more we meditate upon it, and the more it becomes our constant prayerful ministry. Then parenting isn’t a struggle to force God into their lives—it is a joyous relationship with the Lord in our lives that overflows onto them.

 

I hope you will pause and affirm to the Lord that you will also be starting anew today by giving yourself continually to prayer.

 

Back in Acts 6:4, the Greek word used for “give ourselves continually” literally means “to adhere, persevere, and be in constant readiness” and actually is a form of the Greek word kratos, which is a New Testament word for “power.” It is a verb in the future indicative tense, so it means—

 

“from now on we will constantly be going to the real source of power which is prayer and the serving of God’s Word” (author’s translation).

 

That is what the Fathers of the church, the apostles, concluded was the only way to “raise” the family of God. As the fathers and mothers God has raised up for our families, we need to commit to that also.

 

I keep a prayer card—with key verses from the next four chapters— in my car over the visor, in my Bible, in my DayTimer, and in my wallet. No matter where I find myself with a few moments—as I drive, wait for an appointment, sit on an airplane, or just wait in the car for my wife or family—I pull this card out and make a progression in prayer through each point and the verses.

 

My goal in Word-filled praying is to pray through this card once a day for my family.

 

I would commend this simple habit to any and all of you who desire to see Christ reflected in your family, your marriage, and through your children. These areas are what we will learn to pray about. (They are the content of the final 5 chapters of the book).

 

To encourage you to the greatest power of all, let’s review what God's Word guides us to pray for in the lives of those we love and serve in our homes, marriages, families, and ministries.

 

1. Praying they experience reality in their spiritual lives:

 

By Saving Faith—“Open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

 

By Loving God’s Word—“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).

By Living Victoriously—“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. … Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36).

 

By Thinking of Heaven—“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

 

By Hating Sin—“I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin” (Psalm 38:18).

By Staying Tender Toward God—“The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

 

2. Praying for integrity in their personal lives:

 

By Maintaining a Clear Conscience—“The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, [from] a good conscience, and [from] sincere faith” (1Timothy 1:5).

 

By Learning to Stand Alone—“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

 

By Seeking to Stay Pure in Mind and Body—“Beloved, I beg [you] as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul …” (1 Peter 2:11).

 

By Evidencing a Servant’s Heart—“Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45).

 

By Not Being Bitter in Trials—“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).

 

3. Praying they reflect Christ’s love in their relationships:

 

By Cultivating Love for Others—“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).

 

By Trusting God When Troubles Come—“Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23a).

 

By Loving God’s Plan for Their Lives—“I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14).

 

By Waiting for God’s Chosen Partner—“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

 

4. Praying they are living for heaven:

 

By Choosing a Life of Contentment—“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:11-13).

 

By Choosing a Life of Consecration—“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).

 

By Choosing a Life of Commitment—“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

By Giving Their Life Back to God—“Know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

 

This sermon will conclude tomorrow September 20th when we look at “What can Prayers Accomplish”.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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