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Your Spiritual Life Determines the Rest of Your Life

By Dr. Ronnie Floyd

The growth of our spiritual lives will never outpace our intentional commitment to prioritize it every day. Our spiritual development impacts every other area of our lives—and we cannot delegate that growth to anyone else.

During my college years, over Christmas break, my brother asked me to build a barn for him. He is a much more gifted carpenter than I, but he was trying to help me out. I needed the money. But building barns was neither my passion nor within my skill set.

I accomplished the task, but in a few years the barn began to lean and eventually became unsafe. My brother would have been better off building the barn himself than delegating something to me I could not properly do.

Just as my brother should not have expected me to build a barn, you and I cannot expect someone else to build our spiritual lives for us. No one else can construct our daily walk with God. It has to be intentional, purposeful, and personal. Each one of us is accountable to do it ourselves.

The wisest decision we can make each day is this: I will walk with God today. What the Bible says about Enoch has always challenged me. This statement is simple yet profound: “Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:24, esv). Could God write this about your life and mine today? If not, why not? What stands in our way? Who is standing in our way?

In reality, no one and no thing stands in our way. The decision is ours. Remember these truths:

  1. God wants to walk with us! Getting our lives in order spiritually and practically begins with the decision to make it our number-one priority.
  2. God wants to have a meaningful relationship with us daily. He never puts us on hold, and we never have to stand in line.
  3. He does not delegate our spiritual growth to one of the angels who serves Him. He is always waiting on each of us to come to Him.
  4. Bringing our lives into spiritual order requires a strategy.

Let me highlight a few ways to be intentional in our commitment to prioritize our spiritual lives:

Reading the Bible Daily

The Bible is God’s Word. It’s what God says to you and me, and to all people. Thus, we need to read the Bible every day.

When the Bible speaks, God speaks. His voice through His Word cannot be minimized. But we can maximize its impact in our lives if we truly understand that what He says lives forever—and put His Word into practice! Through the years, I have witnessed thousands of Christians who live out their faith. Almost without exception, those who read the Bible daily are set apart from the others.

Former trucking magnate J.B. Hunt told me that the Bible was his road map for life. It showed him how to live the way he wanted to live—for God. Hunt drove trucks all over America even before he and his wife Johnelle began their Fortune 500 transportation company (one of the largest in the country). While he lived on the road, the map of our country became important to him. It led him to his desired destination.

But Hunt began his day reading the Bible. It would take him at least 18 months to read through the Bible once, but he read through the entire Bible several times in his life. It was his road map leading him to his desired spiritual growth. If an extraordinarily busy and wealthy man like J.B. Hunt knew he needed to read the Bible and make it a priority each day of his life, surely his example can inspire us to do the same.

This imperative daily discipline helps us become spiritually fit. We cannot be all God wants us to be if we do not read the Bible. It is impossible.

Praying Our Life into Order

Think of it this way: We can go to God anytime, anywhere, about anything. Through Jesus Christ, we have direct access to God.

Since we can go to God anytime, anywhere, and about anything that’s going on in our lives, why not choose to talk to God daily—and often? Create your own system of prayer or adopt someone else’s. If nothing else, make a list of things you are concerned about in your own life, your family, your church, your career and business, your future, your finances, your country, and concerns you have for other people. Pray for them each day and look for God to walk into those situations personally and powerfully. God answers prayer! God steps into the life of the person who prays. He can do more in a moment than you can in a lifetime. Each of us needs divine intervention.

Living an orderly life requires praying our lives into order. This is why I keep my prayer list in the Notes app on my iPad. My list changes continually as I watch God respond to my prayers. And I can easily change my list because of the technology’s simplicity. Find what works best for you, and just do it.

Praying with Fasting

Consider adding periodic times of fasting to your prayer life. Fasting is abstaining from something with a spiritual goal in mind.

For the rest of the post…

prayer
Maintaining a persistent prayer life seems more and more difficult in the hustle and bustle of a busy world.

FROM 

Christians often use a simple acrostic as a guide to prayer: A.C.T.S. Each of the letters in this acrostic stands for one of the key elements of prayer:

(A) Adoration

(C) Confession

(T) Thanksgiving

(S) Supplication

But not only does this acrostic remind us of the elements of prayer, it shows us the priority we ought to give to each.

The first element of prayer should be adoration, or praise. The Psalms, which are inspired samples of godly prayer, are heavily weighted on the side of adoration. I’ve noticed over many years that as we grow in the discipline and in the delight of prayer, it seems that we naturally spend more and more of our time on this first element.

Second, prayer should include confession of our sin; as we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of His holiness and have need of His forgiveness.

Third, when we pray, we should always give thanks, remembering the grace and mercy God has shown toward us.

Fourth, prayer rightly includes supplication or petition, bringing our requests for the needs of others and ourselves to God.

I think this is a helpful acrostic for remembering both the elements and the priorities of prayer. Unfortunately, we often spell our prayer life something like S.C.A.T., because we start with supplication and spend very little time, if any, on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

The Lord’s Prayer

When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see adoration at least implied in the petition “Hallowed be Your name.”

For the rest of the post…

“You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed”

John Bunyan

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.'”

~ Billy Graham

“Prayer is the way you defeat the devil, reach the lost, restore a backslider, strengthen the saints, send missionaries out, cure the sick, accomplish the impossible, and know the will of God.”

~ David Jeremiah

| by Ben Marshall

Leaders strive for productivity. It is an essential part of our DNA. This drive for productivity is the reason so many successful books have been written on it. Productivity drives us to use checklists and notebooks and calendars to keep ourselves on track and moving forward.

As leaders, productivity is (or should be) a given. We all have so much to do and so much more to do, can we afford to be unproductive?

One thing I wrestle with regarding this productivity mindset is when it shows up in my spiritual life.

Prayer is one of those spiritual habits that can feel unproductive at face value. It can feel like the passive tool in our spiritual growth or the last thing that happens if there is enough time leftover. However, prayer is actually the most effective tool for our life and leadership, and I am working on putting this into practice. This is the most effective tool to grow spiritually, to lead and to minister to others.

Here are three things prayer does for your life and leadership:

Prayer provides the foundation for your life and leadership

A life that is founded on anything other than a personal, growing relationship with God will fail. Prayer must be the foundation of leadership and ministry, from your professional to your personal life.

Prayer unites our heart and our affections with God. It is through this prayer relationship with God that He reveals His plan and purpose for our lives. Prayer provides the foundation for decisions moving forward in career and family life. A life absent of prayer will be a life absent of the power of God. Don’t miss it.

Prayer keeps your focus firm in the storm and the calm

At times life can feel overwhelming and unmanageable, both at home and at work. Prayer helps us refocus on the Lord. Prayer puts your mind in the proper place and helps you remember God is the one in control. Prayer is a reminder that God is bigger than your storm.

Prayer provides fuel for your day

Quality time spent in prayer can energize and drive your day forward.

For the rest of the post…

“The coming revival must begin with a great revival of prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will first be heard. An increase of secret prayer with ministers will be the sure harbinger of blessing.”

 

“The coming revival must begin with a great revival of prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will first be heard. An increase of secret prayer with ministers will be the sure harbinger of blessing.”

~ Andrew Murray

 

by Brian Jones

pray before meals

That’s how many days I estimate our family prayed together at the dinner table when I was a kid.

Calculating that number was surprisingly easy.

I took out Friday nights because that was pizza night. Everyone was responsible for praying his or her own prayer on the way to sacking dad as he walked through the door with the warm Massey’s Pizza box under his arm.

Then I removed Saturdays and Sundays from the tally. Weekends were survival of the fittest. We ate between games, trips to the grandparents, etc. We prayed for sure, but it wasn’t routine. So no prayers counted for those days.

That left Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. On those days we prayed before dinner every night, without fail. Except for the time when I was 14 and tried to back the car down the driveway to shoot basketball and accidentally ran over the mailbox. We didn’t pray that night. But that was it.

Usually dad prayed, but we’d all take turns.

That means that all together we prayed:

4 days a week
x 52 weeks a year
x 18 years
= 3744 days
– the day I killed the mailbox
= 3743 total times we prayed as a family before dinner

Some Christians don’t place a high value on praying before a meal. That’s a mistake. I believe that praying before dinnertime ranks second only behind going to church as the most important thing parents can do to impact their children spiritually.

5 Things That Happen When You Pray Before Meals As A Family

1. Praying Before Meals Gives Parents The Chance To Model That God Is Important.

In his book Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller wrote, “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself.” I agree. For 3,743 days I had the privilege of watching my parents close their eyes, bow their heads, and say, “Let’s pray.”

2. Praying Before Meals Marks Your Meal Together As A Sacred Pause In Your Family’s Day.

Flip through the gospels and it becomes apparent rather quickly that sharing a meal together entailed more than the consumption of food. Stories were shared. The day was recounted. Prayer simply invites God to be a part of the conversation that follows.

3. Praying Before Meals Prompts Lively Discussions About God And The Bible.

After praying I remember my sisters and I asking questions like, “How do you know God can even hear us? How do we know there is a God? If God answers prayer, what about the people who _______ (insert tragic accident that happened that day)?” No question was out of bounds.

For the rest of the post…

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