Making Prayer a Priority

ECCLESIASTES3:1-8

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Overcoming Your Past By Understanding These 3 Key Truths

We believe who we once were is who we are and who we will always be. We are often at effect from our upbringing, never pausing to examine if our beliefs and habits are our own or handed down from our families or the culture we were raised in.

Your past does not define you. Overcoming your past does.

Isaiah 43:18 declares: Do not dwell on the past.

We all can be free from our past. God is in the business of making the darkness of your past into the Gold of your future. Freedom from your past, and overcoming it, is found in understanding 3 key truths.

Overcoming Your Past

1) The Power of God is stronger than your past.

By His Grace and Wisdom, you can learn from your past. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and placed Him at the right Hand of God far above all rule and authority and every name that is named in this age and the one to come is alive and at work in your life? Ephesians 1:19-21. That means that no matter what you have done in your past, if you are a follower of Jesus, there is nothing that the power at work within you cannot overcome.

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2) You have the power to decide to declare your future.

We all face struggles and temptations every day. Our past can exert a strong influence on us. We believe our very identity comes from it. If we are to be free from it, we must find our identity from somewhere else: In Luke 4:18, Jesus has returned to his hometown. The people He grew up with have a view of Him that is not in line with the identity of Messiah that God has just spoken over him. Likewise, you were one way in your past but because of your salvation, God has spoken a new destiny over you, and the people who knew you before will still simply see you as the way you were. If you look to you peers for your identity, you will never have anything solid to stand on. To where will we turn for our identity?

We must turn to same place Jesus himself did the Word of God. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for He has anointed to preach good news to the poor.” Jesus knew exactly who He was, where he was going and what He was called to do. His identity came from the Word of God. Can you say the same? Do you know who you are? Where do you find your identity? You must settle these things in your soul before you can truly be free.

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3) Live it out.

I have heard it said that we do not raise above the level of our own beliefs. I have also heard it said that we are at the mercy of how we think things really are. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” We always try to change our behavior, without changing our core beliefs. Inevitably we revert to the level of our beliefs. But by transforming our beliefs in line with the truth of God, we are EMPOWERED from the inside out to live out the life He is calling us to live.

Once the foundation is laid, you will have the power to live from that solid place. Once you stand on the truth that Jesus truly is Lord and authority over everything you have ever faced or will ever face, those things lose their power over you. Think of this as “removing the bad.” We then own who we are in God as declared in His Word. Think of that as “adding the good” from that healed and whole place, our lives can change, freed from our past, and move forward in power.

Pastor Billy Sigudla

Seeking God through Prayer

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.

Matthew 6:6

The fact that God listens to us as his children changes the landscape of prayer from empty phrases uttered into the abyss to direct communication with the Creator and Sustainer of all. When you pray you are heard by your heavenly Father. And it’s because he listens to us that prayer is one of the most wonderful and powerful avenues to pursue him. May we learn to dialogue in greater ways with our heavenly Father as we open our hearts to all he would show us today about prayer.

Matthew 6:7-8 says, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Jesus inaugurated an entirely new perspective on prayer. Prior to Jesus, God’s people would pray out of obligation or ritual, begging a seemingly distant God to move on their behalf. Jesus taught that God knows our needs before we even ask. He taught that God is a good Father who longs to respond to the needs of his children. And in John 15:7 he taught, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” God’s desire is to respond favorably to our prayers. He always has our absolute best in mind and longs to satisfy the desires of our hearts.

The key to effective communication with God is first to trust that he is a good Father who listens and longs to answer the prayers of his children. After gaining proper perspective, we need to spend significant time allowing God to fill us with his desires for us, fashioning our hearts into a reflection of his. God will not give you what he knows is less than his best. Rather, he longs to fill you with a desire for what is best for you, then come along and satisfy that desire in magnificent and miraculous ways as you pray.

Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” When you call out to your heavenly Father, trust that he will answer you. He longs to fill you with the knowledge and desire for his will. He longs to speak with you. You can have his heart and know how he feels. The Holy Spirit who dwells within you longs to reveal to you the perfect plans of your heavenly Father.

Spend time in prayer listening for the heartbeat of God and allowing him to fill you with the knowledge of his will.

 

1. Meditate on God’s purposes for prayer. Allow Scripture to fill you with trust and faith in your God’s ability to both listen and speak to you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7-8

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

2. Ask the Spirit to fill you with a knowledge of God’s desires for you. Where do you need God’s wisdom? What part of your life doesn’t seem to be marked by the work of God? Where do you need peace, joy, and purpose?

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.” Psalm 85:8

3. Pray in accordance with God’s will. Pray with boldness after you discover God’s heart for your need, knowing that he hears you and will respond to your prayer perfectly.

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