MakeOver of the Heart Bible Study

Hello, ladies! I am so sorry- I am posting the study late today. I hope you are still able to join us either tonight or tomorrow.
This is the last week of the study..and Holy Week. This week's study focuses on PRAYER and my prayer for you is that it helps you prepare your heart for the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

WEEK FIVE
A Prayerful Heart

Prayer
Father God, we indeed give you our hearts today and everyday. Lord, we will love you with all of our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds, and all of our strength. We give you all praise, all glory, all honor! Lord, I again pray for this woman reading this book. Let her know that you are “a God that cares, a God that answers prayers.” Let her know that you are listening and caring for every need she has. Your word says, “If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord … For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you…” And Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “ Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Lord, you do desire for us to have prayerful hearts. And, I pray that we would have prayerful hearts, “seeking you in the morning, night, and noonday.” I pray for this woman, Father, that you will “give her a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that she would know you better.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


I am so excited to talk about prayerful hearts! I have to admit, I LOVE to pray! I love to talk (can you tell?) to God! I love to tell him everything! I love to pray for my family and friends. I love to pray for complete strangers that I walk by on the street. It’s so fun! They don’t even know I’ve said a prayer for them. It’s like a little secret God and I have together. As I grow closer to God, I have learned that what it is important is not just how to pray, but how to be quiet and still before the Lord, listening to Him.

Our key verse is Psalm 37:7, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
Boy is that hard for ME!!!! I tend to be a bit impulsive, a bit impatient, and a bit controlling when it comes to my life’s decisions. I want to be in control of my life and in control of its timetable! But, listen to this verse again- “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” We are to be quiet, to be still before the Lord and wait. We must take away any distractions and wait. We need to get rid of any preconceived notions of how things should turn out and how quickly God should be working and wait.

This is an “instant gratification” world we live in. Not only do we have drive through windows, but now restaurants have double lines to speed us through. We don’t want our food fast, we want it faster! We don’t like to wait, do we? But, we especially do not like to wait for answers to life’s questions.


“Is this the right person for me?”
“Is this the right job, the right house, the right move, the right time to start a family?”
“Should I go back to work?”
“Do we need to put mom in a nursing home?”


Wait patiently for these answers? It seems impossible. So, where do we begin?

We begin with prayer.

For some of you, you may have never prayed before, so this whole concept seems
strange. You have never thought about going to God with your questions, let alone waiting for His answers.

But God’s word tells us to pray! Ephesians 6:18 says to “pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.Colossians 4:2 says “DEVOTE yourselves to prayer, being WATCHFUL and thankful.” 1Thessolonians 5:16-17 says, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition present your requests to God.” And James 5:13-16 says, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? He should pray. Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him.” And most importantly, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Notice Jesus said WHEN you pray, not IF you pray.

So, the Bible tells us to pray, but does God REALLY answer our prayers? Should we actually ASK God for “things” or help? I have an acquaintance that told me, “I don’t believe that God works in that way. I don’t believe God answers prayers. We’re wasting our time when we pray.” But the Bible says, “BEFORE they call, I will answer; while they are speaking I will hear.”

Another friend of mine only believes in praying for big things. She says God is too busy, and can’t be bothered with the little things, like finding lost car keys or a convenient parking space. But, think about this for a moment. Should we, as parents only expect our children to come to us for the big things? They can only ask us to help them with the “biggees”- like paying for college. We don’t want hear from them until then. Should we scoff at them when they ask us to find a lost toy, play a game with them, spell a word, or color a picture? Of course not! We are delighted to help our children with requests- little and big.

Our Abba Father, our loving, caring, wonderful Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him for EVERYTHING! Again, Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This verse doesn’t say in big things, “important” things, life or death things, but in everything present your requests to God. The Amplified Bible says, “In every circumstance.”

This is how we get to know our Father- through prayers, both big and small. I have prayed for big things- my husband’s job change, moving, having babies, financial concerns and sick parents. But, I also pray for little things. My children often remind me to pray at times when it wouldn’t even cross my mind. Their simple, childlike faith points me to the example God wants. Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Every day, God answers some kind of prayer, sometimes big and sometimes little, and I get to know my Father a little more. We are building relationships and I am developing trust for my Father. Over the past 5 years, I have had so many examples of God answering my “little” prayers. He has opened my eyes to lost keys and money. He’s been the best alarm clock, waking me up early. I have prayed that God would get me up at 5:30 AM, and my eyes have opened at that exact time.

WE are the children of the Most High God! He is delighted when we include him in every SECOND of our lives through prayer. 1Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” What does that mean? Does that mean we quit our jobs and join a monastery, not DOING any other activities all day except pray? Of course not! It does mean that we include God in everything, every moment of our day. Prayer is not just a before-bed activity or a ritual before I eat. I talk to God all day long about everything. He is the ever-present best friend that is always listening. I can ask Him His advice about which shoes look better. I ask for wisdom about disciplining a child. When I make my “to-do” list, I pray about it, asking God to prioritize my day. I sing love songs with the radio to Him throughout the day. I thank Him when He clears traffic from my path. I bask in His presence.

I’d like to share another example of answered prayer with you. I’ve already told you about my answered prayer with the birthday party dresses. This example centers around the birth of our 4th child, Aaron.

I tend to have very short deliveries with my babies. Our 2nd child, Ashley was born 50 minutes after we walked in the ER door. Aly, our 3rd baby, took a little longer- she was born 90 minutes after pulling into the hospital parking lot. Well, when I was close to Aaron’s due date- about 2 weeks away- my doctor and I started talking about my being induced early. You see, not only do I have quick labor and deliveries, but I also dilate early. So, I was dilated to 41/2cm, pregnant with my fourth child, had a history of quick deliveries, and this baby was already measuring about 8 lbs. The baby would continue to grow each day in the womb. My husband and I were worried about having a 10 lb baby on the bathroom floor at home.

I was feeling huge, suffering from varicose veins in places you do NOT want to have them, and was not sleeping at night. I thought being induced early sounded like a great idea! Our doctor scheduled to have the baby induced a few days later, 10 days before the due date. I felt relief and my husband was thankful to have it planned around his work schedule!

Then, I was overtaken by a spirit of fear. A very close, caring friend asked if I was sure I wanted to be induced. After all, the baby was 10 days early. Her simple question planted seeds of doubt. I started to question our decision. Were we “playing God?” Was I trying to take control of the situation? Was I only thinking of myself and my own discomfort, and not about the baby? What if the baby needed those extra days?

I became gripped with fear. I also strongly wanted to be walking in obedience to God’s will. By the 2nd night, the night before the scheduled induction, I could not sleep. I tossed and turned. I worried. I kept playing out several scenarios in my mind. Finally I got up. It was a little before 5:00 am, and it was just getting light outside. We were having very unseasonably warm weather. I felt like walking. Mornings are the time I love to walk and pray.

Before I went out, I cried out to the Lord for some reassurance and guidance of what I should do. I went to my Bible and asked God to speak to me, to help me. I opened my Bible, and this is what God gave to me, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
Peace flooded my body and my spirit for I knew God was speaking to me. The morning, after such a terrible, restless night, was bringing me word of us unfailing love for me. I prayed, “God, I have put my trust in you. Please, Lord, show me the way I should go. What should I do this morning? Should I be induced, or should I wait for labor to happen ‘naturally’? I need a sign from you. I pray Lord that you will pour out your wisdom on to our doctor. I pray, Lord, that you will tell her what to do. I will voice my concerns to her, and I will let her ‘make the call.’ I trust you Lord and I love You and release this all to You.”

I felt so much better! Even though I didn’t have a clear yes/no answer about the scheduled induction, I knew God was directing my path. I knew He was working everything out “for the good.”

On the way to the hospital, I talked everything over with Brian, and he agreed we should let the doctor decide if the induction was the right choice. We were going to defer to her “expertise” as the professional. So, at 8:00 AM, I was at Mercy Hospital lying on the bed in the birth suite. I started to tell the doctor my fears as we were beginning the procedure of breaking my water. I wasn’t explaining what I was feeling very well. My doctor was examining me as we talked. I was nervous and my words sounded like I was just anxious about the procedure and the long, needle-like instrument. Before I knew it, she had broken my water. It happened so fast.

Well, I kept repeating the verse God had given to me that morning, and I reminded myself that I had released it to God, and had said I would put it in the doctor’s hands. God was in control.

By noon, regular contractions had started. By 1:00, Aaron Scott was born, weighing 9 POUNDS, 7 OUNCES! He was healthy and beautiful. Again, peace flooded my body. Immediately, my husband, Brian and I knew this had been God’s plan! Because my deliveries happen so quickly, there is not time for epiderals or pain killers. God knew that I could have not delivered a baby ON MY OWN, NATURALLY any bigger than 9 lbs., 7 oz. This was confirmed by the doctor the next morning when she came to examine me. We were able to talk about the delivery and how thankful we were that she had induced me early. She shared that she, too, had prayed, especially about inducing early, and that she had put it in God’s hands. She shared that she, too, doesn’t like to induce early unless necessary because she doesn’t want to “play God.”

God did answer my prayer! Not only did He answer my question about when Aaron should be born, but He controlled the circumstances. And, He reminded me of my prayer for wisdom for our doctor. The morning I walked, I had prayed for our doctor. What a blessing to know that my doctor went to the Lord in prayer and, that He answered her prayers. God gave me His word to help me through, His peace and His strength. God is so good!

I know lots of people would say that these are just nice little stories or coincidences. They would say God isn’t really working like this in my life. But I know that He is. I know that God leads me and guides me and gives me direction. I know He fills me with supernatural peace and patience. I know my faith is growing through prayer. I know that every time I surrender my will and my control and my “wisdom” to His, He honors it by drawing nearer to me. His Word says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” God loves it when we give it all up to Him! The God who parted the Red Sea, who healed the sick, who fed the hungry, and calmed the storm, is the same God who wants to lavish His awesomeness and power upon us. He loves to show up and show off!


Questions


1. How have you approached prayer before now? Have you gone to God in prayer? What has the Holy Spirit spoken to your heart concerning prayer?





2. Take a few moments and write down a list of prayer concerns. Present them to God, asking Him for His help. Keep this list and update it as God answers your prayers.




4 thoughts shared....:

Denise said...

Bless you my friend.

Peggy said...

Blessings Tracy,

I'm HERE! Because I can answer the questions...I read the pdf before.
I should take the time to prayerfully consider & read this wonderful part of the heart once more...and I will be back & do just that, but for now...my answers!!!

#1 PRAYER is my LIFE. My life is PRAYER! A continual talk with my Lord...it became that way in the late 80s and has grown the MORE I read HIS WORD & learn scripture to pray! Everything goes to Him in prayer...sometimes even what I should wear or do.

My intimacy with the Father bloomed back then and I thankfully can say it is what truly sustains me. I wish my prayer were as beautiful as yours or Beth's, but I guess I am what I am...I pray as I pray ...which is probably how I talk. I think I pray better in prayer groups!

YES! I have gone to GOD in prayer
each time I need His input...or to truly allow the teaching, or whatever to penetrate...to worship, to adore, to praise, to be in His Presence some times without words,
soak...let Him soak into me, let His Holy Spirit speak through me when I am unable or to know Him more intimately.

Holy Spirit has spoken Truth & love to my heart and fills me overflowingly just when I need to flow in His Spirit or utterances.
His Spirit says "Come" and I say Holy Spirit You are so welcome in this place, fill me, use me, empty me and create in me a clean heart as I draw near!

#2 Prayer concerns ...I really should do this and keep a journal.
I would have volumes but not answered ones. My biggest are for SALVATION of OTHERS.

Constant protection & provision for me.

Many times healing.

Lighthouse of Prayer has many that come forth and as I venture through the blogs and see something I lay hands and pray right then, right there. Sometimes my comments become prayers instead of just saying, I'm praying...I do! Or now, I bring them to the Lighthouse. It is a true ministry.

Back in the early 90s, I became a crisis phone line prayer counselor and also teacher in the Twin Cities, MN...I learned much on my prayer shifts and I continue to learn more. Intercession, prayer warrior, spiritual warfare is the area that I read & desire to increase & stand with others arm & arm to Our Lord. He is after all, interceding on our behalf and I want to be right there, listening & learning as I worship the King of
Kings, and praising Him for ALL HE is to me and clearly ALL HE has DONE!!!

Thank you Tracy for sharing so many
personal stories that drive this home. Psalm 37 was already taught to me today with Lisa, The Preacher's Wife at the conference.
I so delight in the Makeover of my heart & seeing God consistently reflected in your heart! Bless you.
And may HE continue to speak through you & be glorified by your Words & ministry!

Angela said...

Just finished putting up a post..thanks precious one for spurring us into a deeper level of prayer to our Father

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I am living proof prayer works and "come as you are." When I first started going to church as an adult everyone got so caught up telling me what Bible version to use, how to pray with all the acronyms and you know what....Jesus is your friend. I talk to Him as I do my friend---except a whole lot more often and in odd places that include the shower!

Between Beth Moore's Believing God, reading the Word, and just stepping out in faith through prayer, my life is changed. My husband thinks I have this direct connection to God. Everyone does, I tell people I just choose to use it and He truly answers simple faith because it does not get more simple than me!

I tell people if you aren't sure, try God, He can handle it. Take 30 days to read the book of John and ask Him to help you see Him through prayer. I've seen people try this and have strangers hand them exact money the newly praying person needed that same day. I've seen people healed with a simple, "Lord help them." He longs for that relationship with us, and I encourage you to go for it, there is no wrong way.

You can go to Him angry---after a miscarriage my prayer partner invited me to her house and let me just say everything on my heart, everything. When I was done she said now we're going to give this to Him, seal it in prayer, and thank Him for healing He's going to give. My heart changed immediately because I was allowed to grieve, be angry, and say less than holier than thou words, because that was how I was feeling, and I was at first too shy to admit how angry I was to Him (even though i knew He knew anyway).

Well this is a novel but please, if you're not sure how to approach prayer, just chat away. And know He's listening.