PRAYER 101

I tell you the truth, anyone, who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 14:12-14 (NLT)

On November 1, 2017, I emailed my Focus on the Family Mentor Coach and asked this question:

I volunteer on the Online Care Team for Elevation Church and we get many prayer requests and for some reason, I have the hardest time answering them. It’s like I’ve got a block. Is there such thing as a prayer class or a study? I feel so helpless in this volunteer position– ineffective for God. I sat at the computer this afternoon and my responses all sounded like I was 2!! I felt like crying!! Any ideas would be most helpful.

Her response:

What a great opportunity with Elevation Church. I can’t think of any specific prayer classes or studies at the moment. I guess just remember to empathize and pray, but not take it on personally. Is there any support through the leadership of the volunteer team? Maybe they’ve encountered this before. I believe you’ve got it in you!!!

On January 8th, 2018 I sent a text message to a friend:

Was just looking at the Care Classes at Seacoast. Just wondering if you’ve taken Prayer 101?

Her response to me:

I will have to check it out online tonight. Would love to meet up with you for that!

On January 25th, 2018 we had our first class!

There are about twenty-three of us (all ages) in the class. My friend and I sat in the back row, in the corner. We are both quiet, shy people. Our leader is a mature gentleman, soft spoken, but extremely prepared, comfortable in his conversation, and kind. As he was going through our first lesson, he questioned us periodically:

Do you have confidence in what God says?
Do you have confidence in what He did?
Do you believe God or do you just believe in Him?
Do you believe you will do greater things than Jesus?

I felt doubt!

I have little faith when it comes to asking for things in prayer. I will put a request before God but I’m not one hundred percent sure it will happen. I mostly pray for a deeper relationship with Him and for blessings on all my friends and family. I listen to the prayer requests of others and I do pray for them, but I leave the answers up to God, not really sure what happens to them. I have a hard time believing that I could actually put my hand on somebody, look them in the face, pray for their requests and get the result. When I read passages in the Bible of Jesus raising the dead, healing the sick and the blind and performing all sorts of other miracles, I don’t understand and I begin to doubt. I want to believe and be effective in my faith but how can I do this if I don’t believe? I often turn to another page in the Bible that I can actually apply to my life. I avoid the mighty works of Jesus because the concepts are too huge for me to grasp.

The interpretation of John 6:28,29 (NLT) says this:

We must believe on Him whom God has sent. Satisfying God does not come from the work we do, but from whom we believe. The first step involves accepting that Jesus is who He claims to be. All spiritual development is built on this affirmation. Declare to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” and embark on a life of belief that is satisfying to your Creator.

I left the class feeling frustrated and unworthy! I am not looking forward to next Thursday’s class, only because of the practical exercises at the end of the lesson. I don’t do well in group activities especially if I’m unfamiliar with the people. Thankfully, the first class I was able to be in a prayer group with my friend which made the exercise easier to tolerate. In all honesty, I do not feel that I have the courage to return at all.

January 28, 2018

Today is my day off from work. I woke feeling odd, out of sorts and with scripture from 1 John 14:20 (This scripture does not exist but keep reading). The dog wanted out and I had no strength to get out of my bed at 6:30 AM to feed and walk him. I’m tired, without energy and need rest. I managed to pull myself out of bed, brush my teeth, dress, and get him outside. I came in and ate my breakfast and made a cup of coffee. I grabbed my Kindle to read my favorite author and reclined in my husband’s big brown chair.

I was comfy and intently reading when the scripture I woke with nudged me:

Look it up!

I was too lazy to grab my Bible so I pulled it up on Bible Gateway. I typed in 1 John 14:20 (again, this verse doesn’t exist) and the scripture that came up was the same scripture I doubted in my Prayer 101 class. I got up from my spot and sat down at my desk. I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something. I asked for His help:

Lord….I have little energy, faith, motivation, strength, hope, desire, joy, expectations, direction, thoughts, and health. I ask for all of this to be multiplied and abundant so that I can bring glory to your Name and I ask this in your Name, Jesus Christ, Amen!

I put on Charles Stanley and he spoke of “Life’s Most Important Activity,” which is personal and private meditation with God to include thinking, focusing, absorbing, concentrating and listening. Lately, my meditation has declined! As I continued to listen to the wise words of Dr. Stanley, my desire to read God’s word slowly returned.

It was after I listened to Charles Stanley that I realized that there is not a 1 John 14:20 in the Bible. Bible Gateway pointed me instead to John 14:12-14 which again, is the verse that I doubt. Now, I’m most certain that Jesus did not give me the wrong scripture in my dream. It is my mistake but in His faithfulness He still brought up the scripture in question!

January 30th, 2018:

Reflecting back on what I’ve written thus far in this post:

Yes, I did come away from the prayer class feeling frustrated and unworthy and I’m beginning to understand that the only reason for these feelings is because I was looking at the class through my own human understanding. I didn’t realize at the time that this class is just the foundation to prayer. This isn’t a class to give me instant prayer effectiveness. That comes from God. It takes time to learn this and the only way to gain this time is to meet with God each day and ask Him to help me understand and to teach me to become effective. I want to hear Him speak as I’m praying. I want to make a difference with prayer. I want results but this doesn’t just happen as if I’m waving a magic wand over someone. I am a vessel for the Holy Spirit.  

I don’t want to go back to prayer class because I am fearful of the practical exercises at the end of the lecture. I don’t want to get in groups of three and pray because I’m fearful of praying out loud with and for others. I am afraid that I will not say the right words or I won’t sound as “holy” as I should. Again, I’m looking at this opportunity through my own eyes. I need to view this through God’s perspective because isn’t this the reason I’m attending in the first place? To make a difference for God and people!

In my Prayer 101 book it states that we hear God in the quiet so I covered my eyes and shut my mouth and stilled my thoughts and this is what the Holy Spirit put before me:

What is my greatest challenge?
My voice.

How can I move forward into God’s purpose for me?
Trust God is with me–focus on God and not on naysayers and know and believe that I’m fighting for Him.

Satan is challenging God by using fear, food, lack of confidence, social anxiety, intelligence to win! I am a “pawn” in this spiritual battle. He is trying to prevent me from fulfilling my God-given purpose.

How do you fight back?
In the Name of Jesus and in the honor and the glory of Jesus.

Satan wants us doubtful and fearful because this stops our progress. This takes God’s glory.

How does this make you feel?
It makes me want to try harder. It makes me want to learn more. It makes me turn in faith to God for help. I want to be equipped so that I can win and fulfill his purposes for me.

How can you approach this prayer class on Thursday?
Look at it from God’s perspective and not through fear. Look at the purpose on the other side. Look at spiritual growth and strength. Bigger faith-deeper relationship-intimate love.

I want what’s on the other side of this class because I believe it will add to my spiritual growth. I also believe I will be effective for God and people. I believe He is giving me a voice for his glory and purposes and if I don’t take advantage of this class and the leader’s wisdom and experience, I’m losing out.

And in regards to those questions:

Do you have confidence in what God says?
Do you have confidence in what He did?
Do you believe God or do you just believe in Him?
Do you believe you will do greater things than Jesus?

I choose to believe in Him and I choose to believe Him! I can choose this because that is what’s written in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word! It’s not for me to understand or to figure out. Some of the things that God does are not meant to be figured out. It just is! The Bible is not a lie. Choose to believe. Isn’t it easier to believe? Isn’t belief a lot more beautiful and peaceful. I choose to believe and that is that!

John 8:32 (NLT)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of Heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Interpretation 3:1-2 (NLT)

Setting our sights on the realities of Heaven means striving to put Heaven’s priorities into daily practice. Letting Heaven fill our thoughts means concentrating on the eternal rather than temporal.

I look forward to Day 2 of Prayer 101!

Blessings to all!!

5 thoughts on “PRAYER 101

  1. Joyce J (ASouthernWriter) January 31, 2018 / 3:54 pm

    Another great and timely post!

    I can relate somewhat to what you are going through. I’ve never experienced feelings of doubt and unfaithfulness before, and now that I want to be serious about my walk with God, everything is being thrown at me. I’ve never had a hard time praying, I guess it’s just more or less questioning, and I’ve never questioned things in this manner before either. I’m trying not to lean on my own understanding, but its difficult for me at times to focus and meditate. Even when I read the Bible, I have questions pop in my head: “Do you really believe that?” “Do you truly want to do for God or are you just afraid?” “Do you truly want God, or do you just want things?” questions like that. I also beat myself up for even doing the right things (like throwing away things/objects that are not of God that friends have given me, slowly back away from people and things that may not be good for me). Charles Stanley states many times that even if we feel doubt, have negative thoughts, we should keep pressing forward. I try to, but parts of me feel as I am “being fake” if that makes sense. But only God knows our true hearts. I want to do my best as a Christian and I know that Jesus died for me, God has a purpose for me, we won’t get into Heaven by just doing good works alone, etc. but I still have those thoughts, and they make me feel confused and isolated.

    I attended a 4-week class at my local church on “Sharing Your Faith”. I thought it was a discussion/class talking with one another about our faith, our struggles, etc. but it was a literal sharing your faith class where you shared your faith with strangers and others. I had no problem doing this as in many cases I kind of share my faith with people anyway (I have online discussions as well as sometimes weed it in conversations). It wasn’t a bad class overall. It taught the basics, like your Prayer 101 course. We also had to use the suggestions in the book when speaking to someone, reading scriptures, etc. I’ve never had to do that, it just came naturally in discussion, so it was difficult for me to “follow a script”. However, I sat in this class wondering, how as a “reformed Christian” was I going to go out and share the gospel with others when I am struggling with my own set of faith issues? I wasn’t like other Christians around me (and I know we shouldn’t compare ourselves either because God made us each individually and special, but that’s me lol). I wasn’t so eager to share the gospel with others. I’m still at the stage where I can talk for hours about my favorite TV show, travel destination, book, etc. more so than I can talk about the Bible. I don’t like admitting these things, but it’s the truth. And that’s something I beat myself up about.

    I also wondered about others that have taken the class. Did they feel this way? They even asked if we “had a chance to share the gospel this week?”, each week (I didn’t know we had to keep tabs…) A few people said they have, while myself and others didn’t say anything. I do share the gospel, but not in the copycat way they want me to do it. That’s one of my issues that I have with church. I want an experience and relationship with God, but I don’t want it to be mold of a-b-c-x-y-z, a check off list if you will.

    I started to realize that it’s all about progress! It’s not going to happen all at once (as they make it seem when you accept Christ, join a church, etc.) and sometimes when God is dealing with us and we are dealing with ourselves, we want those miracles and experiences to take place – right then! I have to remind myself that even the disciples had to wait on the Holy Spirit. It didn’t come onto them all at once, but they kept progressing until He showed up. I think when I am dealing with things like this, I have to pull away from church and try to shut all of that out and focus on God. I think sometimes I deal with God on a “religious/ritualistic” basis than I do on a personal one and I need to pray & work on that…

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    • Racinda Chave January 31, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      I believe the Lord surrounds us with godly resources/encouragers and for this I’m so thankful. This blog is not easy because I’m such a private individual and the writing I do has always been just for my eyes only! It feels good to write for God and for people and I prayed (before starting Our Heavenly Prize) that if I could just touch one person, I would be so grateful. I appreciate your openness Joyce! You are definitely a godly encourager and I’m so thankful our paths crossed. You keep me writing! I cannot wait to follow your blog! God bless you!!

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      • Mia February 1, 2018 / 3:08 pm

        I needed to read this today because I am struggling. Last week, I could barely hear the instructor and felt so doubtful and ineffective in my ability to pray! You prayed for me and I had such peace that evening!! Prayer is powerful. Today I am struggling with a headache and really am afraid to attend due to me being completely unprepared, not feeling my best and fearful of praying in a different group. I am hoping the Holy spirit will give me a double dose of energy and confidence this evening! Your blog is so encouraging! Thank you for posting. God Bless You!

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      • Racinda Chave February 1, 2018 / 3:21 pm

        Thank you Mia! I believe that fear comes in to distract us from what God has for us. The bigger the fear the greater the blessing on the other side. The Lord is stretching us for His purposes and in His strength we will get through this. Let’s look at this class not through our own eyes but through the eyes of God! Each one of us in that class feels some sort of apprehension. Not one of us goes through new experiences filled with confidence and victory. Each of us has a god-given reason/purpose for being in that class and it will be made known as each class passes. I am believing in good things because that is who God is! I will pray for your migraine and I will pray for the strength and the power of the Holy Spirit (for the both of us) as we encounter this day and our class this evening. This is a leap of faith–so let’s grab each other’s hand, shout Praise be to God, and jump in!! I love you friend!!

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      • Racinda Chave February 1, 2018 / 3:38 pm

        Mia…I just said a prayer for the both of us. I expect your migraine to be decreasing in strength as well as your fear! As I was praying, our instructor and his words came to mind (thank you Jesus)– In his prayer at the end of our class he rebuked the devil from us and said that he was to leave us alone, In Jesus’ Name. There has been several moments (since our class) where Satan has come in and tried to scatter my thoughts into negative directions and I have calmly said, (I always thought I had to get mad and yell) “I rebuke you devil in the Name of Jesus. You have no power here.” When our instructor said this, he followed it up with “he has no choice but to leave. I thought to myself, is this all it takes to be free of the devil. And you know what…I said those words and he went. You have to say it out loud because the Devil cannot read our thoughts! Whisper it at your desk. He has no choice but to go!! Praise God!!

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