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Tag Archives: prayer life

Directing Your Thoughts

 

cross 2I’ve been posting about how our minds are renewed by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. This was also evident in the life of Christ.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Luke 24:45

The word understand in this verse literally means to put together. The Lord opened up the minds of these disciples to put together all that was happening. This included the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the Scripture that foretold it. They had to walk in a supernatural understanding in order to grasp what was happening.

We need this ability of the Holy Spirit in us to put together – understand and apply – all that’s in the Scripture. If I don’t cultivate my spiritual prayer life, then where will all of this understanding come from? We can receive these blessing nowhere else but from the spirit.

Paul understood this and tried to make it clear to his readers. In the following verse, the apostle is taking an Old Testament verse and revamping it for a spiritual people.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16

What this verse actually says in the Greek is, “Who has known the mind of the Lord well enough to be knit together with Him.” But we hold, possess the mind of Christ.

What an incredible truth! In the spirit we have access to the mind of the eternal God. The big question is; will we lay claim to this gift by the spirit?

It’s clear that the Holy Spirit is needed in order to renew our minds. But this renewal is more than just accessing God’s knowledge. It’s much deeper than that.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…
Philippians 2:5

This means that the direction of our minds should be the same as Christ. This is evident in our current church experience. So many of our prayers seem to go unanswered. We think we’re praying “in the will of God.” But we don’t see anything happening.

Many times we don’t receive when we pray because we’re headed in a different direction than Christ. We want the blessings of God. We just want them for a different reason than He does.

We need to direct our mind like Christ. When the Lord walked the earth, His mind was directed by the Spirit. That’s what renewal is all about. It’s not just changing what we think about, but how we think.

This is a difficult thing to do in the natural. Actually it’s pretty close to impossible. Trying to get the mind to renew itself is a losing proposition. Instead, the best way is to activate our spirit in order to keep our mind Christ-centered.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2

This would be quite a challenge for us to do in our own power. I know I can accomplish this temporarily. I wanted to see how long during the day I could make myself think about the things of God. I found it to be a lost cause. The littlest things would distract me and refocus my attention on the things of earth.

Prayer in the spirit, however, allows you to zero in on things above for an increasingly longer time. Your mind will begin to follow the lead of your spirit. You will begin to understand the things of the spirit like never before.

In this way your mind will start to become reset and refreshed. When this is taking place it goes a long way to changing how the outward man reacts to life. If we’re going to win the battle of the mind, then we must pray in the spirit regularly.

Question: How have you noticed your prayer life affecting your thought life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Shut the Door and Hear from God #prayer

DoorAs a pastor, I’ve been asked from time to time; how do you hear from God?  Is that a question in your life?  Is it something you’re struggling with?  This post may help you overcome in that area.

Cell phones have changed the way our society works.  We no longer have to wait until we’re home to place a call or check our messages.  In one way it makes things a little easier for people to connect.

But there are some downsides as well.  Have you ever gotten a call from someone who’s standing on a busy street corner?  They’re trying to have an intelligent conversation with you, but all you can hear are traffic, sirens, and the roar of people in the background.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to tell them, “Wait until you’re inside with the door shut, then try calling me back.”

What does this have to do with hearing from God?  Everything!!!

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:6

This was how Jesus operated.  On many occasions in the Gospels, we see Him going to a secluded location and spending time in prayer.  He’s our example.  There’s no question that the Lord heard and obeyed the voice of the Father.

That brings to mind an interesting question.  The Son of God had to close the door on distractions in order to hear from the Father.  What makes us think that the distractions all around us will have no effect on our prayer life?

Jesus had no cell phone, internet, TV, or IPad to distract Him.  With all these things, screaming for our attention, we have to find a quiet place.

You’re inability to hear from God might not be so much about spiritual deafness as much as it’s “listening overload.”  There might be so many things coming at you all the time that you can’t recognize which is the voice of God.

You need to close the door on distractions if you want your prayer time to be productive.  Learn to spend quality time in the presence of the Lord.  Then, just be quiet for a while and hear what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.

Questions: Where do you go to spend time with the Lord?  How do you close the door on distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Prayer

 

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How to have a More Satisfying Prayer Life

Pray1Have you ever thought, “If my prayer time was more satisfying, I would pray more.”?  What does it take to have a prayer time that you can feel good about?  I think the answer may surprise you.  It surprised me.

I was reading an chart sent to pastor’s about their prayer lives.  It was based on some research done through a survey.  They asked a number of probing questions.  I want to comment about their findings, which I think can apply to all believers, not just those in full-time ministry.

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

The researchers broke down their findings into 4 categories – those who were very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, and very dissatisfied with their prayer lives.  They found that the average pastor spends 39 minutes a day in prayer.

That might not sound like much to you.  But, the last survey I heard before this one placed it at 20 minutes a day.  So, I’m glad to see that the prayer time of most pastors is on the rise.

What I found very interesting, was the breakdown of averages.  Those who were least satisfied in their prayer lives averaged 21 minutes a day.  Somewhat dissatisfied – 29 minutes.  Somewhat satisfied – 43 minutes.  Very satisfied – 56 minutes.

I find that absolutely wonderful!  The more time spent in prayer, the better you feel about it.  That seems right to me.

The study also looked into what pastors include in their prayers.  It was found that the average pastor spends 5 minutes in confession, 7 minutes in thanking God, and another 7 minutes in praise.  They also averaged 8 minutes quietly listening and 12 minutes giving their requests to God.

How does the average stack up against those who were most satisfied with their prayers?  It turns out that the pastors who were very satisfied with their prayer lives didn’t follow the crowd.  On average, they spend more time listening to God and less time on their requests.

I think that this survey speaks volumes to us.  My blog title was how to have a more satisfying prayer life.  The answer is clear.  The more time you spend in prayer – specifically listening for God’s voice – the more satisfied and fulfilled you’ll be in the place of prayer.

(The above was based upon an Ellison Research Survey for Facts & Trends 05/06/05)

Question: How does your prayer life compare to the research above?  How satisfied are you with your present prayer habits?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Prayer

 

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The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father

Matthew 6:9-13
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’”

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, His disciples came to Him with a question.  They understood the power of Christ was based upon His prayer life.  They wanted to learn how to walk in that kind of intimacy with God.  So, they came to Jesus for His word on the matter.

Of course, the Lord was more than willing to show the disciples the starting point for a rich relationship with God.  Yes, I said starting point.  The so called Lord’s Prayer is not the ultimate prayer we can offer.  It is the first baby step that Christ gave to His followers so that they might walk the path of prayer.

This short glimpse into the realm of prayer is the foundation for all of the things we converse with God about.  It is so rich in truth that I will have many future posts dedicated to this teaching of Christ.  But for now, I want to talk about the focus of this prayer – the One to whom it is addressed.

OUR FATHER!  Some of the most amazing words in Scripture.  Jesus didn’t say, “My Father.”  He called God “Our Father.”  This is something that the people of God need a fresh revelation of.  The God of Heaven, Creator of the universe, Savior of all mankind, allows me to call Him “Father.”

There is a lot of blessing tied up in that name.  He is not a god far off and unconcerned with our needs.  Our Father cares about us, no matter how great or small the matter we bring before Him.  He is not a god looking for a reason to destroy us for any little fault.  Our Father loves us and wants the best for us – leading us with His hand of mercy and grace.

Spend some quality time getting to know our Father today.  Meditate upon this all encompassing truth.  Let it reshape your prayer life so that it is something you look forward to each day.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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