Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Power of Praying God's Word
When my heart reconnected with God in a renewing, enduring way following my trip to Israel in 2000, I started focusing more on God’s thoughts as revealed through the Bible, his love letter to us. Day by day as I read his Word, I was amazed at the truth and grace it contained. I believe the truth in the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The Bible began to shape my prayers, and I discovered that it was the best prayer manual of all, showing us how to pray and what to pray, and most of all through the Holy Spirit, providing constant inspiration for our prayers.
As I began to pray God’s Word, I was filled with confidence and faith in God’s ability to answer and to act because I wasn’t praying out of my own understanding or imagination, but out of the Lord’s heart and his intentions and desires for us, his people. As I prayed God’s Word, fear, doubt, and discouragement left, and his peace renewed my heart and mind. I began to learn the power of recognizing when I have been held captive by controlling thoughts. I began to stand in agreement with God, saying the same thing God says about my specific thoughts. I began to see the lies I had believed as wallpaper in my mind. I learned how to tear down the lies wallpapering my mind and re-wallpaper my mind with the Truth of God’s Word.
Praying God’s Word became the technique that reinforced my believing, speaking, and applying Truth as a lifestyle. I learned to starve the flesh and feed the Spirit. I prayed for God to give me a heightened awareness of the way I was thinking. I became alert to the times I was thinking according to the flesh. I thought about the feeling it was sowing in my heart. I learned that if we change the way we think, it will change the way we feel. The Spirit of Christ speaks life and peace into our hearts. If we want to think according to the Spirit, we have to learn to feed the Spirit and starve the flesh. I began to pray God’s Word, saying, “May the Spirit of Christ Who dwells in the innermost part of me, take authority over my soul (the seat of my emotions) and my body (my fleshly desires and appetites)” from these scriptures: I Thessalonians 5:23-24—May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. I Corinthians 6:17—But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. I Corinthians 3:16—Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you.
This scripture teaches us that humans are made up of three components: spirit, soul, and body. The more we allow the Spirit of Truth dwelling in us to take authority over our bodies and souls, the more the wholeness of Christ will take authority over every part of us—we will live from the inside-out. I began to celebrate the glorious fact that God Himself is the One at work in and through me. God is thoroughly interested and involved in every single part of us: body, soul, and spirit. Also, this verse identifies God specifically as the God of peace. We will experience God’s peace when every part of the life—body, soul, and spirit—is surrendered to His wise, loving, and liberating authority. Peace is the fruit of authority—God’s authority. As Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince. That’s what the title “Prince of Peace” represents. This scripture tells us that this glorious God of peace wants to sanctify us “through and through.”
God desires that we grant Him total access to set apart every part of our lives—body, soul, and spirit—to His glorious work. I began to think of myself like a triangle. Imagine each point of the triangle being labeled as body, soul, or spirit. If the triangle is sitting on its base, only one point is “up.” Imagine that point being the one in present control of us. If the “soul” is in the upward, authoritative position in our lives, then we are ruled by our feelings and our personality types. Our feelings and personalities are given to us by God, but they are not meant to control us. Now picture that the “body” is in the upward position and momentarily ruling over our triangular selves. Our “appetites” become our masters. One area exerts tremendous influence over the others. The “point” we need in the upward position to live in victory is the Spirit. All of us were born with a “spirit.” When distinguished from the soul, it represents the part of us created in the image of God to know Him and enjoy His fellowship. Glory to God, when we receive Christ, His Spirit takes residency in ours! The key to victory as we occupy this triangular temple is to bow daily, several times daily, to the control of the Holy Spirit over our lives.
The question of authority is one we are challenged to answer every day. A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we’ll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every single day is a new day—a new chance to follow Christ. Victorious living is not an instant arrival. It is the pursuit of one victorious day at a time until the sun sets on enough to begin forming victorious habits. Give yourself up to God, to the authority of His Holy Spirit. God is the only One who can sanctify and make every part of us whole…“and He will do it.” All He wants is our trust, our belief…For without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5) and with Him, we can do anything (Phil. 4:13).