Category: Prayer and Meditation
Leaders are the key to have a peaceful and dignified society. As the leaders are, so are the rest of the people.
In every society, leaders are criticized and stereotyped as corrupt and power-hungry. In 1 Timothy 2:1-7, we are encouraged to pray for the leaders of our society.
Everyone desires a peaceful and dignified life. Paul says the way to get there is through prayer. When we pray for our leaders, God is pleased with our prayers.
But the ultimate key to that prayer is that our leaders may come to know Jesus. This is because Jesus is the one mediator between the true God and people.
When leaders have a genuine relationship with Jesus, the society can enjoy peace and live a dignified life. These qualities come as a result of having leaders who are committed to Christ and committed to governing with biblical values.
So, what about our complaints regarding the nation? Yes, they may be valid and accurate, but the instruction for us is to pray. Our prayers will transform them, and transformed leaders will transform our society.
Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?
Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.
* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.
** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.
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Do you find yourself bored reading the Bible? With so many books, chapters, and verses, nothing seems to make sense. Sometimes (or often), you are lost wondering what these verses mean, and how everything fits together.
The Bible has intrigued many generations of readers. It has impacted the lives of many people. In fact, the Bible says that it is God’s personal message to people.
Here is a simple three step method to read, study, and meditate on the Bible.
When you sit down to read, pray and ask God to come and fill you with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you throughout this process of meditation. Select one paragraph or section. Use the subheadings within the chapters as a guideline for reading. Focus on just one of those sections.
1. Observation: Discover what the text says
As you read, ask the basic five W’s: Who?, What?, When?, Where? and Why?
- Who is speaking? Who is the writer? Who is this text initially meant for? Who are the main characters in this story?
- What is the main subject? What is at stake here?
- When was this written? When did this story take place?
- Where did the events of this story occur?
- Why was this text written, or why were these words spoken?
Questions such as these are important for understanding the background of the text. At this point, you may not feel competent to answer all these questions in a complete manner. But that’s fine. Just wrestling with these questions will move you to a deeper understanding of the text.
For further study, you can use Bible Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Commentaries. These are good tools that will help you to answer some of the above questions.
2. Interpretation: Discover what the text meant
As you work on answering the questions for observation, you will improve in understanding the situation of the people.
Now, consider the context. What is the situation in which the story takes place, or the situation in which the teaching is given?
When you understand their situation, you’ll be able to understand what it meant to the people at that time.
What it meant depends on the needs and concerns of the people of that time.
3. Application: Discover what the text means for you
Once you find what it meant to the people of that time, you are ready for the final step, to discover what the text means for you today.
- Find the general principle. A principle is the basic truth that is applicable in all societies and all times.
- Take that general principle and apply it to your life and your current situation.
- Make the application personal, and measurable.
- Personal – Rather than a great theological statement, make it something that connects with your life.
- Measurable – Identify what you can do this week to begin to apply that truth to your life.
This week, try using this system for your personal Bible study. Then, come back to this post and leave a comment and let us know how this works for you.
*This system of studying the Bible has been called Inductive Bible Study.
Ever sat down to pray, and in two minutes, you are done. It felt lifeless. You were just doing your duty.
You know that prayer is essential for life. So you try to develop a habit of prayer that is meaningful. But it just doesn’t seem to come together.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. That prayer can be used as a model to give us a simple guideline. For one week, try using this model for your personal prayer.
Don’t allow it to be a routine. Invite the Holy Spirit into your prayer time. Use the outline and change the contents regularly.
Worship (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.)
*Acknowledge your relationship with your Father.
*Thank him that you can call him “Father”
*Praise him for who He is.
*Thank him for what He has done.
Presence (Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.)
*Invite his kingdom and presence into every area of your life.
*Allow God to take the lead in every decision.
*Invite Him into every area of difficulty.
Providence (Give us this day our daily bread)
*See God as your complete provider.
*Your daily sustenance is from God
*Express every need to Him
Forgiveness (and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.)
*Wilfully forgive those who have offended you.
*Ask forgiveness for your sins.
*Confess every known sin to God.
Deliverance (And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.)
*The “evil one” is constantly trying to trap you.
*Pray for God’s hedge of protection around your family.
*Since God has the ultimate authority, he can deliver
*God’s kingdom, power, and glory surpasses everything.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, it was obvious that they saw something special in Jesus’ prayer life. Here are some things we can learn from Jesus’ prayer time at Gethsemane (Mark 14).
1. Separate yourself from distractions (32-34)
Although it is important to pray with family, friends, and the entire church, its also important to find time alone with God. Just think of it as a meeting with just you and God. He desires to meet with you alone. Jesus’ disciples were important to Him, but he had to get away from everyone and be alone with His Father.
2. Open your heart to God (35-36)
Think of this time as an opportunity for a heart to heart conversation with God. Share with Him your deepest thoughts that you would share with no one else. Allow God access to every area of your heart. Jesus shared something with the Father that he could tell no one — not even his disciples. How could he tell them that he would like to back off from this entire plan? They left everything to follow Him. But since this was in his heart, he had to share it with his Father.
3. Such prayer will keep you free from temptation (37-38)
When you are fully open to God about your weaknesses, you allow God access to that area of weakness. Once you give access to God, He will begin His work in your particularly in those areas. Those weak areas are the ones that trap you in times of temptation. Jesus saw this prayer time as a strong defense against temptation. His temptation was to go against the Father’s will. But aren’t all temptations we face just like that?
4. After prayer, even if your situation does not change, you will change (39-42)
We surely want our problem situations to change. But God seems more interested in changing us. After that intense time of prayer with His Father, Jesus had to walk into his greatest time of trial and torture.
So go ahead and pray like Jesus. Take everything to the Father. Even your deepest desires — even those that go against His will. He will strengthen you and get you ready to face every challenge.
Leave your response in the comments section of this blog post by clicking here.
Recently my phone’s battery would get empty by 3pm. It’s a fairly new phone, and such a situation was really unwelcome. Thinking that some apps that I recently downloaded may be the culprit, I deleted most of the apps.
After all my attempts failed, I was joking with my friends that the best option is to just shut off the phone in the morning after charging it, then the battery won’t drain out too quickly. (Later, I was able to get the phone repaired under warranty, and it works just fine now.)
Of course, the phone is doing its job of constantly staying connected to the cell phone tower. When in an area where the connection is too weak, the phone repeatedly makes attempts to make that connection. Of course, this drains the battery even faster. Nevertheless, the phone continues its constant quest to stay connected to the tower.
Jesus had a similar quest to stay connected to the Father. He was completely dependent on his heavenly Father. Several times Jesus expressed his complete dependence when he said “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19).
The dependence of Jesus was so comprehensive that he felt completely incapable without the Father. He depended on the father for direction, judgement, honor, life, words, authority, and for everything necessary to live and work while on this earth.
Later, the Jews were surprised at the teachings of Jesus who did not have formal advanced education. “So Jesus answered them, ‘my teaching is not mine, but his who sent me'” (John 7:16). His dependence was not just an internal matter, but something that was clearly evident to others.
Jesus instructed his disciples to be connected to him in a similar way. Without that connection they would be able to do nothing. He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5). The branches are the life source for the vine. It’s connection is the only way of survival for the vine.
Jesus wants such a life giving and life sustaining relationship with his followers. For without him, we can do nothing. Jesus demonstrated such a relationship with the Father in his life and ministry. Now, he wants us to have such a relationship with him.
Leave your response in the comments section of this blog post by clicking here.
“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
Day by day, we face numerous issues that deter us from our focus. The events of the day seem to control us. Emotions vacillate from one extreme to another. Tension gradually builds as control slips out of our hands.
By hearing God’s voice and direction each day, we can reduce the chances of being controlled by circumstances. His words can be a guiding light that leads us through the day and throughout our journey of life. I wish to present to you a simple three step process of meditating on God’s Word and for hearing His voice each day.
The instructions given below are derived from the concept of Lectio Divina (Latin word for Divine Reading). The roots of this practice of meditation go back to the 3rd century. You can read further about its background at this link. Some have called it Time Alone With God to emphasize the relational aspect of our meditation.
Three R’s For Meditation
1. Read and reflect
Get ready. Find a suitable place.
Invite the Holy Spirit to come.
Read one chapter, section or paragraph from the Bible.
Listen for God’s still small voice as you read.
Select one verse and read it several times.
Focus on one word or phrase out of that verse.
Listen to God’s voice about that word or phrase as it applies to your life.
2. Respond and pray
Prayer is a conversation with God. Pause and listen to him.
From the verse you are meditating on, God will speak to you about the following matters:
S – sins to confess
P – promises to accept
A – attitudes to change
C – commands to obey
E – examples to follow
Silence and stillness of the soul are important aspects of prayer.
Alternate between silence, words, and contemplative reading as you return to the text.
3. Record and Revisit
In a notebook, write the date and text you read.
Write down what God spoke to you.
Record your response.
Throughout the day, revisit your conversation with God by reviewing what God spoke.
Allow God to integrate his words into your life as you face life and all its difficulties.
I hope this simple three step process (or something similar) can become a daily process for you. After you do this today, please post your response in the comments about what God spoke to you.