Hey there! I hope your week is off to a good start! Let’s get our lesson on prayer in before we call it a day.
Dr. Bisagno’s book has more than we can cover so I had to take a look at all the information I have compiled and decide what to narrow it down to since this is our last week together. I feel that we need to take a look at praise, thanksgiving, and confession before we end our time together. Tonight we will start with praise!
Before we dive in, let’s talk about some of the “how to’s” of prayer time:
- Do whatever it takes to get alone with God! Make an appointment if you need to. We do this for all the other responsibilities in our lives so we should most definitely make an appointment with God.
- Three things that will help us make the most of our appointment with God are:
a.Physical Solitude—no people, no things, no TV, no phone, no computer……you need to isolate yourself so you are not easily distracted.
b. Same place to pray—fix a spot in your home. We decorate everything else in our homes, so why not decorate a place for you and your Father? Be comfortable. Be consistent. Set not only the place but the time. This can vary daily because of your schedule so it is a good idea to set the time the night before.
c. Relax—Don’t just begin by blurting out things to God. Psalm 46:10 says, “be still and know that I am God.” So be still for a moment, take a deep breath and think about the Holy God you are approaching. He wants to hear from you so share your heart, just remember who you are sharing it with.
Now, we are ready to begin our prayer time with praise!
Praise should be our starting point. DO NOT begin your prayer time with confession. This is probably shocking to some of you but there good reasons as to why we should not begin with confession.
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” We tend to think this means we cannot pray without confessing first, but that is not what this means.
If we refuse to confess, that is why God can’t hear us. The key question is are you “cherishing” sin in your heart? Are you planning on doing it again? Do you brag about your sins? Are you unwilling to abandon all sin and be Holy? This is what cherishing iniquity in your heart means.
In preparing for this lesson another point occurred to me as to why praise must be first. Confession is not the Tabernacle way. The very lay out of the Tabernacle and later the Temple clearly tells us that confession was not to be first.
Romans 12:1 let’s us know that sacrifice came first. Paul tells us to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. At the Tabernacle and later the Temple, sacrifice was first. It took place at the Bronze Altar. We don’t have time to go into an in depth study on the sacrificial system but for the purpose of this study it is important to see why sacrifice is first.
When we wake up to a new day, we need to be willing to not only be the living sacrifice, but also to bring a sacrifice of praise. What, you may ask, is a sacrifice of praise? Well, I may not be Biblically correct on this but I have to share what the Spirit laid on my heart.
We choose to bring a sacrifice of praise whether we want to or not, especially in those times where we just don’t think we can. That is why it is a sacrifice. We praise Him when times are good and when times are bad. We praise Him in the midst of our pain and struggles. We praise Him even when we doubt Him. We praise Him when our faith is weak. We praise Him when we have prayed about something over and over and yet there is still no answer. We praise Him even when the enemy comes against us and sends fiery darts our way. We praise Him when we lose our job. We praise Him when we are sick. We praise Him when a loved one dies. We. Praise. Him.
So, how do we praise?
- In your own words. Praising God means we are boasting or bragging on Him. Luke 1:46 says, “My soul does magnify the Lord.” God is good and His nature is good. There are often times we don’t understand Him but HE is good and His nature demands praise. When we think of all that God has done for us, the very idea of WHO He is and that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins, we see we have plenty to brag about!
- We can praise Him with the Psalms. This is one time when the plop, drop and open your Bible rule can apply. You can simply go through the Psalms and you will find hundreds if not thousands of verses to praise God with. It is HIS WORD and if you are lifting it up to Him in praise then you can’t go wrong. Read the Psalms aloud, make up a tune to them, David did. Personalize the Psalm by putting your name or your loved ones name in it. Using the Psalms primes the pump for our praise.
- We can praise God with music. It is so important as a part of our praise. When we come into His house with others to corporately worship that is good, but there is so much more to music than that. When you meet with God in the morning do you ever sing? Many of us don’t think we can but it’s what in your heart that counts. Just sing quietly to Him or even in your heart. Personally I have a marvelous time in my car. I belt it out. I don’t care if someone sees me!
So ladies, it is time to get your praise on! Pick an old song or a new song and lift up your voice to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Get a pen and paper and make a list of God’s attributes. He is good and faithful, kind and true. He is long suffering and steadfast. He is the Alpha and Omega. He knows all and sees all. Once you get started you will not be able to stop. A good tip is to use the alphabet as a starting point. Take each letter and name all the things you can before moving to the next letter.
You know what I love? The fact that our God would let us praise Him knowing that as we praise Him we come away feeling better. That is the God that we serve. He is great and greatly to be praised!
Living Free and Praising!
For more on prayer and fasting visit my personal blog, www.renecollins66.wordpress.com