sanctification (2)

Fervently Praying for Perfection

...always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12

 
woman+praying+-+fotolia_6073211_xs.jpg
As I pray for myself and for others each day, I desire with all of my heart that my prayers to God will be within His will and not my own, so that His purposes and my prayers will not be separate from one another. I think for that reason, the verse above from Colossians caught my eye this morning as I was reading and I realized that when I pray the end product in what I am really asking God to do in all that I bring before His throne is that He perfects and completes each person and each situation I have had laid at His feet.
 
Yet, in a fallen world filled with sinful people, how is it that God can bring about perfection and completion? On our own we can only try our hardest to do what is right, to follow all the rules, and to flounder through the many mistakes we make hoping each mistake will teach us a lesson to make us wiser the next time around. But, God has another way for those who come to Him and who realize that seeking a perfected life will always come up empty apart from Him. Listen to what 1 Corinthians 1:30 has to say about where all righteousness, sanctification (that is the process of making us holy), and redemption come from:
 
...you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...” 1 Corinthians 1:30
 
It is only through Jesus that we people with our sin nature can be perfected and complete. It is not in copying Jesus, it is “in” Christ Jesus that this happens and truly what we should be praying to happen within us and within those we pray for each day. Below is a quote from Oswald Chambers on how he relates sanctification to the perfected holiness of God within us:
 
Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation.” Oswald Chambers
 
i+no+longer+live.jpg
If we desire to be more merciful we do not pray that God shows us ways to be more merciful. No instead we ask Him to be mercy within us so that we can then share His mercy with others. Likewise if we want to our son to be wise in his actions we do not pray that he finds ways to overcome foolishness with wise choices but rather we pray that Jesus becomes wisdom in him so all of his choices are guided by Jesus and are wise beyond human understanding.
 
In every way that Jesus works in us as we pray and then allow Him to be, will, and do as He pleases within our lives we discover more fully who He is and who He can be in us and through us. The focus comes off of us and goes to Him. We learn that sanctification is not about us getting better in His sight but rather it is about us becoming less and Him becoming more.
 
He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
 
I love what Psalm 18 has to say about how God works to show Himself to us as we allow Him to work in us:
 
when+you+are+down+to+nothing.jpg
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure...” Psalm 18:25-26
 
Today, as you are praying for yourself or others, I would encourage you to pray that Jesus fills every person and situation with Himself and remove anything that is not of Him. Look to Him to supply, to work, and to heal each situation from the inside out. Do not become distracted with the sin you see when you pray, but rather purpose your heart to see all that Jesus can be and wants to be through your prayers and petitions in bringing about perfection and completion to what He is working out in this fallen world.
 
To see this blog and others I have written, visit me at Shedding Light On the Path
Read more…

8 Actions of Preparation to Pray with Power

Over the past two decades, God has been working in many different groups to call for more prayer. We’ve had concerts of prayer, solemn assemblies, prayer and fasting gatherings, days of prayer for various purposes or praying for people groups, prayer teams to pray for specific leaders, prayer ministries, prayer chains, and prayer conferences. Books on prayer fill bookstore shelves. We’ve prayed for revival and spiritual awakening. Perhaps never in history has more prayer been offered to God for a transformation in our churches, society, our nation, and the world. Why then do we find ourselves in a time when our nation seems to be growing farther and farther from God? What we need is not more prayer alone; we need more power when we pray. We need a people who are right with God when we pray so that God will answer the prayers of His people. God’s Word is true:


“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NIV)


Do you want to be a person who has power with God in prayer? Do you want your prayer group and church to have power to work with God in prayer to transform a life, a family, a community, or a nation? Then ask God to guide you to come clean before Him so you can pray with power. Here are 8 ways you can come clean before God so you can pray with power.1


1. Examine yourself. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Joining a church or claiming the name “Christian” doesn’t make you one. A saving relationship with Jesus Christ does. Does His Spirit live in you in such a way that your life is a new creation that looks and acts like Jesus? That’s the starting point for being a powerful prayer relationship.


2. Judge yourself. “If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). Do you know of any sin or impurity in your life that is unlike Christ? Those need to go.


3. Remove idols of the heart. An idol of the heart is anything that captures my love in such a way that I’m distracted from my first love for God. Things, money, pleasures, hobbies, sports, careers, positions of power, or other people can all become idols. If you are loving anything too much, put it away and return to your first love.


4. Consecrate yourself and your home. Have you allowed anything into your life or your home that is impure, unholy, ungodly, or unbecoming of a Christ follower? Get rid of it. Whether others know or not, keep your life and your home pure and clean before God.


5. Reconcile broken relationships. Have you offended anyone and not gone to ask forgiveness or make restitution if needed? Get things right with him, her, or them. Has anyone offended you and you are holding on to unforgiveness and bitterness? Forgive. Let no broken relationships remain outstanding.


6. Humble yourself. Do arrogance and pride show up in the way you relate to others? Are you bearing the fruit of pride through such things as a judgmental spirit, critical attitude, prejudice, controlling behavior, condescending attitude, and so forth? “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).


7. Love God and one another. Return to your first love for God and allow His love to flow through you to others in tangible ways. Demonstrate your love by meeting needs.


8. Watch and pray. Draw near to God in prayer and receive His power to resist the temptations that are sure to come your way.


________


1. For more on prayer and revival see my video blog at www.lifeway.com/growingdisciples.


Read more…