Category Archives: Food For Thought

Words And Prayer

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Words And Prayer

Our words are important in our everyday life and in our prayer life.

I. WORDS

A. Word
The definition of word is:
*a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.
* speech or talk: to express one’s emotion in words
* the text or lyrics of a song

 

Words are powerful. They communicate thoughts, transform, deliver information, teach, and express feelings. Positive words inspire others in a positive way. Words were essential in creation and redemption. Our words display the work of God in our lives, our relationship with God, and what’s in our heart. God looks at our heart, but he listens to our lips.

Our words are like seeds. We speak them and they will bear fruit – yield a harvest.

Words tell what is really in the heart.

Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of the his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Words At Creation

Genesis 1:3-32 NKJV
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Psalm 33:6-9 NKJV
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together s a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

In the beginning everything was created by a word. God spoke words in the spiritual realm to make things happen or come about in the physical world. God formed us in His image and therefore, just like Him, our words have power.

Words That Ushered In Our Redemption

John 19:29-30 NKJV
“Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

The words “It is finished” are important words in the redemption story. When Jesus said those words, He was declaring the debt for our sins was wiped away completely and forever.

B. Words Are Words
Words are words no matter if they are spoken, written or sung.

The Mezuzah
Written words are just as important as spoken words.

Deuteronomy 6:9 NKJV
“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

God commanded the Israelites to write His Word (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) on a small scroll and attach it to the door post of their homes.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

C. Words Have Power
Research shows that words have emotional, physical and spiritual impact. Words effect everything – animals, plants, people, situations….

Your words are negative or positive. The words you speak have the power to wound or heal, discourage or encourage, tear down or build up, bless or curse. Words are binding.

Your words effect you, your home, your church, your country…Our words will either bless a situation or curse it.

James 3:10 NKJV
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.”

With words, Jesus cursed the fig tree and it died. Jesus spoke commanding words and those words caused the tree to die.

Mark 11:12-25 NKJV
“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.
And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
When evening had come, He went out of the city.
Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

Words Can Steal
Speaking negative words can steal things from you. The story of Moses sending the twelve men out to spy out the land is a good example of how you can allow words to steal something from you.

Joshua and Caleb gave a good report, but the other ten men gave a bad report.

Numbers 13:25-33 NKJV
“And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Don’t talk yourself out of God’s promises and victory by your words.

Negative words can cause you to miss out on the promises of God.

Words Can Keep You In A Desert Place
Negative words can keep you in a dry, place, wandering around instead of entering into the promises of God.

In Exodus and Numbers we read where the people complained and it kept them out of the promised land. God has given us promises by His Word. We must be careful not to mess things up by our words. Sometimes we just need to be quiet.

Number 16:26-35 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’”

Words Can Build Up – Edify
The story of Gideon is an example of how the right words can build a person up and help them to see themselves as God does.

Judges 6:12 NKJV
“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

The children of Israel had done evil in God’s sight, so God allowed the Midianites to oppress them for seven years. Afraid of their enemies, the Israelites hid. The Midianites continually stole animals and ruined the crops, leaving the Israelites to starve. Impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. As fearful Gideon hid from the Minianites threshing wheat in a winepress, the Angel of the Lord appeared and said, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon was fearful when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him.

Words Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death

Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

The Shunammite woman is an example of being careful with our words. Sometimes when we experience a devastating event we can be prone to speak negatively. No matter what we see with our eyes or what people say to us concerning our situation, we must be careful to guard our words.

2 Kings 4:18-33 NKJV
“And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers, And he said to his father, ‘My head, my head!’ So he said to a servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ When he had taken him and brought him
to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, ‘Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.’ So he said, ‘Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath?’ And she said, ‘It is well.’ When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord.”

The son that the woman was promised now lay dead in her arms. If she had looked at things through her natural eyes she would have accepted the death of her child. But she knew that God had promised her a son. The woman was careful with the words that she spoke over her son. There is life and death in our words. Every word that comes out of our mouth either brings life or it bring death.

Proverbs 13:3 NKJV
“He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

By guarding our lips (our words) we actually guard our lives.

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D. The Words You Sing
Some people wouldn’t be caught dead saying certain words or talking in a certain way but they have no problem singing a song with the same words or phrases in it.

Listening to songs with negative words and phrases are just as bad as singing them.

Knowing that words have power, we must be just as careful with what we sing (and listen to) as we are with what we say.

God hears us singing. Are the words that we are singing positive, do they encourage, build up, or bless?

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Words Are Important In Our Worship
Worship ushers in the presence of God – wither it is spoken or sung. Worship songs can help welcome the Holy Spirit into your presence. The Holy Spirit can use songs as one means of preparing our hearts to hear from God.

God is enthroned in our praises. Praise leads to worship and worship leads to the manifest presence of God. Wherever and whenever God’s people come together to worship Him in spirit and truth, they become a habitation for His manifest presence.

Everyone and anyone can praise God however, not everyone can truly worship God. Worship is ascribing value to something or someone. You cannot worship what you don’t honestly value or see as precious.

Praise to God and worship unto Him are both important.
But there is a difference between praise and worship.

Praise centers around acts (things done or given you) and worship centers around the person (their character, who they are, your love and reverence for them…)

Example 1:
In a husband and wife relationship, during times of intimacy (as they are entwined in each other‘s arms), which do you think the husband would rather hear from his wife: In a regular voice, “Thank-you for being a good provider to me.” or in a sweet whisper, “I love you so much.” ?

Which do you think a wife would rather hear from her husband: in a regular voice, “Thank-you for keeping the house clean.” or in a hushed whisper, “You mean everything to me.”?

Jesus is our bridegroom and He longs for us to draw close to us in worship.

Example 2:
In a parent child relationship (when they were small) which do you think the parent would rather heard from them, “Thanks for the new ball,” as they ran out the door or “I love you,” as they curled up in their lap?

God is our Father and He longs for us to seek His face and not just His hand.

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Words Can Change Your Praise Into Worship
Sometimes in a service the congregation may be singing a praise song about God, but in your spirit you may feel a longing to draw closer to God in worship. You can change your praise into worship. Make the song personal to God just by changing a few words – remember words have power. When you do, you will be ministered to ( blessed, encouraged, refreshed…) even if no one else is.

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Do They Truly Edify?
Not all Christian songs and hymns edify. There are some songs we would be better off not singing. How do songs that declare that you are weary, lonely and so forth edify?

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E. Words Last Forever
Words are so important that we will be held accountable for them. Once spoken words cannot be retracted. Our words have long term effects. and one day our words will be judged.

Matthew 12:36-37 NKJV
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

An example of the lasting effect of words is found in Joshua 6:26.After the Lord God gave the city of Jericho into the hands of Joshua and the people of Israel, Joshua pronounced a curse on the city.

Joshua 6:20-27 NKJV
“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.”
And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.”

Joshua’s curse did come true many centuries later, during the time of King Ahab, when Hiel of Bethel laid its foundation and rebuilt its gates at the expense of his two sons.

1 Kings 16:34 NKJV
“In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.”

Joshua did not promise Jericho would never be rebuilt. He said the person who rebuilt it would be judged by the loss of his firstborn son and youngest son. At the laying of the foundation Heil’s first son died. At the hanging of the gates, the youngest son died.

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F. God’s Word Is Powerful
Great things can be accomplished when we quote (speak) the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The Word of God is powerful and effective.

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Isaiah 55:11 NKJV
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Ezekiel 12:25 NKJV
“For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord GOD.’”

Hebrews 4:12:13 NKJV
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

 

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II. PRAYER

A. What Is Prayer
Prayer is talking and listening to God. In 1 Peter we read that God hears the prayers of the righteous. God sees the righteous and He hears their prayers. Righteous can be described as right standing with God. When we are in right standing with God we know that God will hear and answer our prayers.

1 Peter 3:12 NKJV
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against
those who do evil”

Psalm 66:18 NKJV
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Proverbs 15:29 NKJV
“The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

Proverbs 15:8 NKJV
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

Prayer can be described as communicating with God. Communication is the exchange of information between people, a spoken or written message, and the communicating of information.

Communication is essential in every part of our lives. Without it we would not achieve much. Relationships between people who do not communicate with each other fall apart. The same is true with our relationship with God. We must talk and listen to God. The dictionary defines prayer as a spoken or unspoken address to God.

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There are many types of prayer. Prayer may express praise, thanksgiving, confession, or a request for something such as help or somebody’s well-being.

1. Praise – Praising God for who He is. Praise is an expression of admiration, worship and thanks to God.

2. Thanksgiving- Thanking God for what He has done and for what He is going to do. It is also a public acknowledgment of God’s goodness.

3. Confession – Confessing (telling) God your sins, faults or failures. Confession mean admission of wrongdoing, an open acknowledgment of feelings, an admission of having done something wrong, admission of guilt, and a declaration of sins to God.

4. Requests – Asking God for something. A request is an appeal made to someone who has the power to grant it.

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B. Follow Jesus’ Example

Jesus would go off alone to seek God’s direction and to draw closer to God. Should we not do the same? There are times that the Spirit will draw us away from everyone in order to give us strength for what lies ahead.

Spiritual victories are often followed by times where we have been alone seeking the face of God. Also, after a spiritual victory, we need to get alone with God for fresh strength and fresh vision.

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A Time Of Prayer
We need to have a time of prayer.

Mark 1:35 NKJV
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”

If you want to grow wither in your personal spiritual life or your church you must have a time of prayer.

In our busy world we must make time to pray. If we do not make time our enemy, will keep us so busy that we don’t have time to.

Jesus (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:25) , Abraham (Genesis 19:27, 21:14, 22:3), Jacob (Genesis 28:28, Exodus 24:24), Joshua (Joshua 3:1) and David (Psalm 57:8, 63:1, 78:34, 90:14) all rose up early to pray.

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A Place Of Prayer
Jesus had a place of prayer. We need a place of prayer

Burdens become a victory in the place of prayer.

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Pray Out Loud

Matthew 26:39 NKJV
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

God hears our silent, whispered, murmured and loud prayers, however there are many good reasons to pray out loud. A few are:

1. When we pray out loud it zeros in on our thoughts. At any given time we have many thoughts going through our mind so when we pray out loud it helps to single out what we are praying for.

2. Praying out loud together is the pattern set for us by the early church

Acts 1:14 NKJV
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Acts 2:42 NKJV
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Acts 12:12 NKJV
“So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.”

 

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3. Praying out loud declares your faith.
According to Romans 10:9-10, confession is made with the mouth.

Romans 10:9-10 NKJV
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

By praying out loud, you are declaring, or confessing, your faith.

4. Praying out loud is an encouragement.
When we pray out loud those that hear can be encouraged by our words.

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When Jesus prayed for other people He prayed out loud so that those who heard Him could be strengthened in their faith and encouraged.

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5. Praying out loud can help stir up faith and prayer in others.

Hebrews 10:24-25.NKJV
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

.6. Praying out loud help others to pray.
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. By listening to Jesus pray they gained greater understanding on prayer and how to pray.

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7. Praying out loud can speak things into existence.
Our words contain power and they have the ability to speak things into existence.

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8. Praying our loud (in a group setting) is a way of sharing our struggles and weaknesses.

It can also be comforting for others to pray out loud for us.

James 5:13-16 NKJV
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

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9. Praying out loud helps build your faith.

Your mind thinks it, your mouth says it, your ears hear it and your mind believes it.

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Lord’s Prayer
Jesus gave us an example of prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. We call it the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

1. Address God.
(Examples: Dear Father, Our Father, Heavenly Father, Abba Father, Father, Lord, Dear Lord)

2. Exalt God for who He is and thank Him for what He has already done.
(Examples: Thank-you for this day, Thank-you for Your love, Thank-you for Your mercy)

3. Pray for others – present their needs to God.
(Examples: heal Your people, save my family, provide for the hungry, thy kingdom come)

4. Pray for yourself.
(Examples: Give me strength to do what is right, Help me to obey You, Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Forgive me of my sin, Cause me to listen to my parents and teachers, Help me to overcome temptation)

5. Words of praise to God.
(Examples: I praise and worship You, Bless Your name, I praise You, I exalt Your name)

6. End in Jesus’ name. When we end a prayer in Jesus’ name it means “in the authority of Jesus“.

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C. Pray Specifically
Praying specifically…
clears your mind.
emphasizes your dependence on God.
helps you define your needs.
increases your faith.
makes you more alert to answers.

Praying specifically may mean the difference between receiving the good and the best.

Pray for people by name.

Pray for situations and circumstances by name..

When Jesus was going to do something for someone He would ask them, “What did they want?’

Example: Blind Bartimaeus

Mark 10:46-52 NKJV
“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”

Example: Two Blind Men

Matthew 20:29-33 NKJV
“Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.”

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Pray In The Spirit
Sometimes we don’t know the specifics of a situation or need so we don’t know how to pray effectively for the request. It is during these time that we must allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us.

Romans 8:26-27 NKJV
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

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D. Pray From God’s Perspective

We are called to bear one another’s burdens but we must remember that in many cases we can’t change anything, but we know the One who can. Seeking God’s will is important. In our own flesh we may try to fix things for others but, we only make them worse because God may be trying to speak to the other person through their problem.

The same can be true in our prayers. Sometimes what we assume we should pray for isn’t always what God wants us to pray. At times with our natural eye we might pray for one thing, such as deliverance when we should be praying for strength or endurance.

We need the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can align our prayers up to God’s will. Praying according to the will of God includes asking for wisdom (to know the will of God) and asking in faith (to trust the will of God).

Matthew 6:10 NKJV
“…Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to … it is releasing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

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E. Our Part, God’s Part
God knows what we need before we ask, and He wants to meet our needs. However, He wants us to take an active part in His plans. Our part is to pray. We must leave the results up to God. When praying we must expect God to answer.
God will always answer, however it is not always answered in the way we desire. God says yes, not, and wait. No is an answer that we do not like to hear, however when God tells us no He has a reason for it.

Romans 8:28 NKJV
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

God desires for us to be concerned about others. It is important for us to pray for them, both the saved and the unsaved. Do not take it personally when you pray for someone and your prayer is not answered in the way you thought it would be. Remember when praying for others, our job is to pray and leave the results up to God.

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Sometimes a yes answer is not given, not because of your faith or God’s ability, but because the person you prayed with spoke in a negative way about their need.

Example: Praying for a person to get well and then the person says something to the effect of. “I am so sick“, or “I’m never going to get well.”

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.You can see examples of this almost every day social media. People claiming a sickness by saying phrases like: my asthma, my heart problem, my diabetes, my depression, my arthritis….

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Standing In The Gap
God not only wants to talk to Him about our needs, but He also wants us to take part in His meeting the needs of others.

God is always looking for people to stand in the gap for others through prayer. If we stand in the gap for others, God will hear and answer our prayers.

God wants us to…
be part of His plan.
be involved in what He is doing..
stand in the gap, to go before Him on behalf of those who do not know Him.
be concerned about the welfare of others.
pray for those around us.

Ezekiel
In Ezekiel 22 God wanted Ezekiel to stand in the gap for the people in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

God told Ezekiel that He is getting ready to pour out His judgment on Jerusalem because of all the wickedness in the city
however, He was looking for someone to pled their case.

Abaraham
Before the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Abraham was visited by three messengers of God. The Lord told Abraham what would happen to the cities. Abraham interceded for his family and the righteous people that might live there.

Genesis 18:22- 33 NKJV
“Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”

Abraham went to God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah – he didn’t just sit back with a negative attitude about the cities.

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F. Your Prayers Are Prophetic
Prophesy is speaking for God, not about God.

If you pray according to God’s will you are prophesying to your future or the future of others.

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G. Praying God’s Word

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”

The Bible is full of the promises of God. We have been given a promise for every situation , problem and circumstance that we face. God already has the answer even before we know that we have a need.

Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

When you seek something you search for it. You make an honest attempt to look for it.

Psalm 34:10 NKJV
“But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

When you have something that you need to pray about you should find the promise or a similar need in the Bible. It is up to each one of us to search out the promises that God has given us.

1. Find the promise in the Bible
2. Pray the promise back to God out loud.

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H. Examples Of Praying God’s Word
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Example 1:

Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dear Father,
Thank-you for Your report – Your Word tell me that Jesus was wounded for _____________’s transgressions, Jesus was bruised for _____________’s iniquities, the chastisement for ___________’s peace was upon Jesus, and by Jesus’ stripes ____________’s is healed. Victory is given to _______through our Lord Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit may I not look to the right or to the left. Help me to only look into Your face, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am. You are Abba Father. You are the Great Physician. You are the Holy One. You are the Mighty One. You are our Strong Tower. You are the Rock on which I stand. Thank You Father that all Your promises are yes and amen. I will believe in Your report – Your report says ____________ is healed. Your report says victory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Example 2:

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

Dear Father,
May You bless and keep my spouse, our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren. May You make Your face shine upon them, and be gracious to each one – smile upon them. May You lift up Your countenance upon my spouse, our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren, and give them peace – show each one Your favor.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 3:

Psalm 91 NKJV
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Dear Father,
As I abide in You, I abide in the secret place of the Most High and under Your shadow. You are my refuge and my fortress. In You I will trust. You deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from perilous pestilence. Under Your wings I take refuge. Your truth is my shield and buckler. I will not be afraid of the terror by night or of the arrow that flies by day. The pestilence that walks in darkness and of the destruction that lays waste at noonday does not have power over me. A thousand may fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand, but it shall not come near me. No evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling. Thank-you that You give Your angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways. In their hands they will bear me up. When I call upon Your name, You hear me and answer my cry. You satisfy me, and show me Your salvation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to appreciate each day You give me. May I rejoice and be glad all my days. And may the beauty of the Lord be upon me. No matter what is happening around me help me to always make You my dwelling place.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 4:

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Dear Father,
You are my shepherd. In You I lack nothing. You supply my every need, and You refresh and restore me. I will not fear when things are dark and uncertain, for You are there with me. You provide relief in my distress and You show me the way. You lead me in the right direction. You have set me apart for a particular purpose, even in the presence of my enemies. Thank-you for all the goodness and mercy that You shower upon me. By the power of the Holy Spirit keep me on Your path. And may I bring glory to You. It is my heart’s desire that I dwell in Your house forever.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Example 5:

Psalm 92:12-15 NKJV
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Dear Father,
We come before You on behalf of the elderly. We ask that you give them rest and encouragement. May You ease, relieve and refresh their souls, spirits and bodies. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may they cast all their cares, burdens and anxieties upon You. Put a new song in their hearts and on their lips. By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause them to remember and hold on to the promise that You will not permit the righteous to be moved – that You will sustain them in every area and season of their lives. We thank-you that the righteous shall flourish and shall still bear fruit in old age. They shall be fresh and flourishing. You are their Rock and they will declare Your glory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Example 6:

Isaiah 59:19 NKJV
“So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

Psalm 18:39 NKJV
“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

1 Samuel 17:47 NKJV
“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands”

Zechariah 4:6b NKJV
“ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.”

Philippians 4:13 NKJV
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Dear Father,
Thank-you for all that You do for us. You truly are the Lord Our Strength. When the enemy comes in like a flood against us, You, O Lord, lift up a standard against him. You will wage war against our enemy and You subdued those who rise up against us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help us stand firm in the face of the enemy and arm us with strength for the battle. May we always remember that the battles that we go through do not belong to us. They belong to You, O Lord.
Cause us to keep our eyes on You and not on our enemy and may we never try to fight the battle for You. Fill us full of vigor, strength, force and power for Your glory. Thank-you that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Sanctification

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Sanctification

Sanctification means to be separate or to be set apart. It also means to be set apart for holy use, to make holy or to purify. For a thing to be sanctified it means it is set apart for a special use. Things that are sanctified are reserved for God’s purposes or use. To sanctify someone is to set that person apart for the use intended God. We are sanctified when we are used for the purpose God intends. A person is sanctified when they live according to God’s design and purpose.

* The Temple
The vessels used by the priest were to be used for holy purposes and to be pure and to glorify God. Each time that the temple or temple vessels ceased to be used for holy purposes there had to be a process of sanctification and purification.

Exodus 29:35-38 NKJV
“And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it. Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy. “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.”

During Ahaz’s reign the priests and Levities had been stripped of their temple duties and the temple was not sanctified unto God. When Hezekiah took control he commanded the priest to sanctify themselves and the temple.

2 Chronicles 29:1-7 NKJV
“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.”

Jesus was very interested in the sanctification and purity of the temple. The temple was the house of God (the dwelling place of God) and it was suppose to be set apart for prayer and communication with God. Jesus was very concerned about the temple being sanctified (set apart for God). Jesus cleared, cleansed, the temple two different times – at the beginning of His earthly ministry and at the end of it.

At the beginning of His ministry.

John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

At the end of His ministry.

Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”

* Jesus
Jesus is our example – He was sanctified.
He is holy and set apart from sin.
Jesus was set apart to do the will of God.

John 17:17-19 NKJV
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”

* Believers
Sanctification is expected after you are freed from bondage (sin). After God frees you from bondage you are to walk in sanctification. After the Israelites left Egypt (bondage) God instructed them to sanctify themselves.

Exodus 19:10 NKJV
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.”

Believer, followers of Jesus, are to follow Jesus‘ example in sanctification. They are to be holy and set apart from sin. Believers are to be reserved for God’s use – they are set apart to do the will of God.

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit must be active in the believer’s life. Sanctification is an ongoing or continuing process – it takes a lifetime. However, there should be tangible evidences of growth in the believer’s life. There should be ongoing noticeable differences (changes) in a person’s life. It is a progressive holiness and growing in purity that will never be completely perfected until the day Jesus returns for His bride.

Hebrews 9:22-28 NKJV
“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Just as the temple of old was sanctified for God’s use, our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, should be also.

1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NKJV
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

* The Bible And Sanctification
God’s Word has an effect on a person that is undergoing sanctification. They allow the Word of God to cleanse them and make them holy.

John 17:17 NKJV
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry He asks God to sanctify the believers, which means set them apart. The only way a believer can be truly set apart from the world is by the truth found in the Word of God.

Psalm 119:11 NKJV
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.”

Believers must hear God’s Word and do what it says. They must act upon the truths found in God’s Word.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

* The Holy Spirit And Sanctification
Believers have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and their bodies are the temple of God. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer therefore, their bodies are vessels to be used for a holy or pure purpose and for the glory of God. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit enables a believer to live a holy life.

Enable means to provide with the means or opportunity or to make possible, practical, or easier. Enable can also mean to allow something to be done.

The Holy Spirit guides, empowers, directs, and leads the believer, as well as convicts us of sin and bad habits. The Holy Spirit will speak to us and He will correct us in order for us to avoid sinning against God. When we listen and obey the Holy Spirit it makes the process of sanctification possible and easier.

John 16:13 NKJV
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

* Sanctification leads to victory.
After forty years in the wilderness, the children of Israel were about to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They were then given a command and a promise – God promised them that He would give them the victory, but first they must sanctify themselves.

Joshua 3:5 NKJV
“And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

* Sanctification leads to provisions.
After leaving Egypt the people began to cry out for something to eat, other than the manna that they were give. God promised to provide flesh for them, but first they must sanctify themselves.

Numbers 11:18 NKJV
“Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.”

We Have Been Anointed

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We Have Been Anointed

Jesus was called and anointed to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to those who were bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn.

Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

As the body of Christ we have been called and anointed to continue the ministry of Jesus. We are the physical body that He has chosen to work through. As Jesus in this world we are to do the things that Jesus did and even do greater things.

John 14:12 NKJV

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

I. TO PREACH GOOD TIDINGS TO THE POOR

Preach means to speak publicly on a religious subject, to give earnest advice, and to recommend strongly. Christians are to speak publicly about Jesus Christ and the Good News (good tidings). They are to be informative concerning spiritual things. The light that God has given us should not be hidden.

Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and

it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Believers are to give earnest advice based on the Word of God and strongly recommend that it is followed. They must know what they believe and why they believe it. We must know why we have hope in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:15a NKJV

“…and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”

 

II. TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED

During His ministry, when Jesus healed someone, He made them whole, sound, or well. He removed from them everything bad. In Isaiah we are told that it is by the stripes that Jesus took that we are healed today.

Isaiah 53:5 NKJV

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.”

Jesus has already paid the price for our healing. It is up to us to take the authority over evil. Heal means to make whole, sound, or well; to be free from anything bad; to get rid of anything bad.

Believers are to take authority over evil on behalf of others. We are to be used by God to bring healing to those that are crushed by sorrow or grief (brokenhearted).

III. TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES

To make known (declare) publicly and officially is to proclaim.

Liberty is a condition of being free; freedom from captivity, imprisonment, or slavery.

A captive is someone who is held against their will, prisoner, or someone owned and controlled by another.

Christians are to publicly declare to those who are being held against their will and controlled by sin and Satan that they have been made free by Jesus Christ. Jesus’ sacrifice paid from their freedom in full. When a person is held in spiritual bondage (slavery) they can not break away from it on their own. They must be set free by someone else. Jesus gave His very own blood as a payment for our freedom.

John 8:36 NKJV

“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abides in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’ ”

Galatians 5:1 NKJV

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

IV. TO OPEN THE PRISON TO THOSE WHO ARE BOUND

Open means letting anyone in or out; not shut; not closed; not having its gate, window or door closed; not closed or confined; not taken; unfilled; free; exposed; exposed to general view, knowledge, etc.; not hidden or secret; not obstructed; not prejudiced.

A prison is a place where criminals are confined; jail; any place where a person is held against their will; captivity or confinement; imprisonment.

Bound means under obligation; tied down by circumstance; tied fast; fastened.

By sharing the gospel with those that are bound by sin we are providing a door for their escape. The gospel will reveal their condition and provide them with knowledge. God’s Word will bring light into their life and expose the plans of Satan. It will also reveal to them the wonderful plan that God has for them. By turning to Jesus they will find freedom. What was hidden from them can be clearly seen.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV

“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

 

V. TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD

We are to make known that today is the day of salvation. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV

“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:

‘In an acceptable time together I have heard you,

And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

We never know when those around us will breath their last breath. They may never have another tomorrow or another chance to hear the gospel. It is up to us to let them know that today, this day, is the day of salvation.

VI. TO PROCLAIM THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD

Vengeance is punishment in return for a wrong. God is a God of mercy and grace, however one day He will be a God of judgment also. As Christians we must proclaim the whole gospel, and that includes the fact that one day God will judge man for his sins.

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judges, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

After the judgment of sin the sentence (penalty) for those found guilty will be eternal damnation. The guilty will spend eternity in the lake of fire, a place of great torment and pain.

VII. TO COMFORT THOSE WHO MOURN

Everywhere we go we are to give comfort to those who need it. The church has been called to ease the grief and sorrow of those around us. We are to help and give support. In their times of trouble or sorrow we are to help ease their burden or hardship.

A. We are to give those who mourn beauty for ashes. Every situation can be used to bring glory to God. God can take a “bad” situation and make something beautiful and good out of it. We are to help those around us see the “good” in whatever they are going through.

B. We are to give those who mourn the oil of joy for mourning. Joy does not come from what is going on around us. True joy only comes from God. We can have joy even in the midst of everything around us falling apart.

C. We are to give those who mourn the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. When man begins to praise God something wonderful happens. No matter how down or discouraged a person is, when they praise God they begin to feel the heaviness leave their life. The situation that caused them to be down may still be there, but they have a renewed assurance from God that He will be with them through it.

CONCLUSION:

We need the Holy Spirit to help us finish His work. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do what Jesus has called us to do. We need His power, His strength, His knowledge, His wisdom, His counsel, and His direction.

Our attitude should be the same as Jesus’.

John 4:34 NKJV

“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

Dear Father,

Help me by the power of Your Holy Spirit to do what You have called me to do. Help me to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to those who were bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, and to comfort all who mourn. Let me continue the ministry of Jesus. Thank You that You have chosen me to work through. When people encounter me, let them encounter Jesus Christ. Cause my life to be a reflection of You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Grace Has Responsibilities

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Grace Has Responsibilities

Grace is God’s infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to us. It is also the condition of being free of sin through the repentance of our sins. With grace come responsibilities, obedience, and accountability. Because grace is a gift of God to man there are some that misinterpret it. The teaching of grace can be dangerous when it is perverted by people whom are not walking in the Spirit. These people believe that because a person is saved by grace they can do and live as they please.

Romans 6:1-2 NKJV
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

Believers are not to pervert grace by deviating from what is proper.  There is a correct course that we are to follow. We must not turn from the path that is outlined to us in the Bible. The words of our mouth, our actions, thoughts and attitudes must fully display Christ. We must not deviate from what is appropriate behavior for a child of God. Just like every loving parent has expectations and standards for their child, God has expectations and standards for His children.

Ephesians 5:1- 16 NKJV

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Therefore do not be partakers with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

     Once a person comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ their position is changed from one of darkness (slave to sin) to light (child of God). Their walk should reflect their new position in Christ. We are instructed to walk circumspectly (to think carefully about possible risks before doing or saying things) and be wise in our ways.

Proverbs 3:1-8 NKJV

“My son, do not forget my law,

But let your heart keep my commands;

For length of days and long life

And peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart,

And so find favor and high esteem

In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

It will be health to your flesh,

And strength to your bones.”

Believers are not to pervert grace by practicing activities unbecoming of a follower of Christ. The activities that they pursue and are involved with should be acceptable to God and reflect our position in Christ. Acceptable means considered to be satisfactory, approved of, likely to gain somebody’s approval, or likely to please someone. If everyone that considers themselves to be a Christian would align their pursuits and activities up with what is acceptable and pleasing to God just maybe the gospel that we proclaim might not fall on so many deaf ears. As we look at the world today, in so many cases, you can’t tell the people that profess to be a Christian from the world. Even many churches look more like the world than the bride of Christ.

Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

     We are to be a living, breathing sacrifice for God. We are to be holy (set apart for God) and acceptable to God. A person cannot truly be set apart for God while pursuing and being involved in things that are contrary to His Word. Believers are to be molded and transformed by God’s standards, not by the values, morals or traditions of the era in which they live. Remember, what is right (what is acceptable in God’s sight) is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right (what is acceptable in God’s sight) .

2 Timothy 2:20-22 NKJV

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Believers are not to pervert grace by distorting it. No matter where you go or what you do there is always someone watching your life. For this reason we should not distort grace in our lives. We must not bend or stretch the truth of grace and it‘s responsibilities. Grace can be distorted by describing it in an inaccurate or misleading way. Grace comes by one way only – Jesus Christ. There can be no grace without the cross. We must not distort grace by leading people to believe that you can receive grace, salvation, any other way except through Christ. Everyone has sinned and grace is available to everyone. 

Romans 5:12-20 NKJV

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

     We can give an give inaccurate report of grace by making it unclear or unrecognizable. Believers are not to water down the gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace is not working for your salvation, nor is it a free ticket to do as you please.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

     Once you have received the wonderful gift of grace you have the responsibility to glorify the name of Jesus Christ. At salvation a person becomes part of the bride of Christ.

Jude 1:3-4 NKJV

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

     In every marriage each person has responsibilities. They fulfill these responsibilities not out of duty or obligation, but out of love for each other. So it is with the true believer – because of their great love for Christ they seek to glorify Him with their entire being. And they never pervert God’s infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to them.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NKJV

“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Prayer, Praise & Worship As Seen Through The Tabernacle

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Prayer, Praise & Worship As Seen Through The Tabernacle

The tabernacle was the center of worship to God by the people of Israel while wandering through the desert. It was a tent-like structure that stood within a court enclosed by linen curtains. The tabernacle consisted of three parts: the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies.

The first part of the tabernacle was the outer court.

The outer court was a place of sacrifice and a place of cleansing. The priest ministered to the people, and prepared themselves to minister to the Lord in the outer court.

Self-examination is critical to our relationship with God. If we are allowing sin to stay in our lives God will not hear our cries.

When we come before God and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us.

When we ask Him to give us clean hands and a pure heart He will.

When we come to Him with a broken heart He is near.

When we bring to Him the sacrifice of a broken spirit and contrite heart, He will accept it.

Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

Job 22:30 NKJV

“He will even deliver one who is not innocent;

Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

Ephesians 1:7 NKJV

“In Him we have redemption through His blood,

the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

Psalm 51:17 NKJV

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart –

These, O God, You will not despise.”

Psalm 34:18 NKJV

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

 

God desires that all people delivered from captivity (sin) would be priests unto Him.

Exodus 19:3-6 NKJV

“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountains, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles‘ wings and brought you to Myself.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Because of disobedience and sin, not all of the people were allowed to become priests that ministered unto Him. God chose the tribe of Levi to minister unto Him. That is why it is so important for you to examine yourself on a continual basis and especially if you want to minister to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 10:8 NKJV

“At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him, and to bless in His name, to this day.”

The second part of the tabernacle was the holy place.

The Holy Place was the first part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. In the holy place the priests ministered unto the Lord by burning a sweet smelling incense. The incense that was burned in the holy place represents praise, worship and prayer rising up to God as a sweet smelling incense.

 

Psalm 141:2 NKJV

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense,

the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

As Zacharias was burning incense before God, and receiving the elements on the table of showbread, he was having an intimate relationship with God.

It was during this time that God performed a miracle in his life – God meet Zacharias’ need during his ministry unto God. God can and will do the same thing today. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias in the Holy Place. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him.

Hebrews 13:15 NKJV

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

We were chosen by God to be a priest. We were chosen to be His own special people. As a priest we are to proclaim His praises. We are to offer up sacrifices of praise.

1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come before Him.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

Psalm 134:2 NKJV

“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary

And bless the Lord.”

Psalm 103:2 NKJV

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits.”

1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV

“Give thanks to the Lord, the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

The third part of the tabernacle was the holy of holies.

The Holy of Holies was the second part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. It was there the very presence of God came to dwell. Once a year the high priest went into this part of the tabernacle on behalf of the people and God communicated with him.

Ezekiel 44:17-18 NKJV

“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they put on linen garments, no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

When the priest went in to minister to God, it had to be the way that God had instructed them. The priest could not enter any way he liked. There was a certain way to enter then and now.

Today, God does not communicate with us only one time a year. He communicates with us all the time in our spirit.

At the moment of the death of Jesus, the veil between the holy place and the most holy place was torn into. From that moment on we all have access to the Father through the Son. Each believer became a priest at Calvary.

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

As a priest we can go before God in prayer on behalf of our needs and the needs of others. When we join with others in prayer our prayers become even stronger.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

 

Who Do You Say I Am?

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Matthew 16:13-15 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whodo men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, someElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?”

To truly worship Jesus, we must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father, the sacrifice He paid and who He is.

One definition of worship is to ascribe value to someone or something. You only value what you acknowledge as valuable. How can a person worship, ascribe value to, Jesus if you do not know who He is? Or what agony He suffered for them?

We must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father:

Jesus is the Son of God and He is the only way to the Father.

John 3:16 NKJV

““For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:9-11 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the work. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

John 17:21 NKJV

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

We must acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice:

Jesus’ entire life centers around sacrifice and pleasing the Father. Jesus’ attention was not on the pain and agonies of the Cross, but on the joy that it would bring the Father. Jesus focused on the reward instead of the suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We must acknowledge Jesus for who He is:

To truly reverence Jesus you must know who He is. Reverence is a feeling of deep respect mixed with wonder, awe, and love. When you reverence someone you will have great respect for them. We must worship Jesus for who He is.

Matthew 16:13-19 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Dear Father,

By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause me to always remember, and be thankful for, the sacrifice that Jesus, Your Son, paid for me. All the agony He suffered was for me personally. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I have access to You and my relationship with You has been restored. I have been given a new and everlasting life. May I follow Jesus’ example and focus on the reward instead of the suffering in all situations and circumstances. May I grow in reverence for You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.