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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Adoration and Assurance

An important key to walking faithfully with God in the midst of difficulties, disappointments, and struggles we face is to be able to sense the Holy Spirit within us reminding us that we belong to him. This past Sunday at Bethany Place, I promised I would write what God has taught me over the years regarding how to place myself in a position where I was able to sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me in this way, thus feeding my assurance that I belonged to Him.

You can see the guide that has served as my daily blueprint for prayer for more than twenty years here. After many years prior often wondering if I really belonged to God, taking up these practices consistently enabled me to sense that I belonged to God.  The power of the guide is in the scriptures it lists that can provoke adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication and intercession. Over the next few days I plan to write about each of these elements of prayer and how to use the guide.

Concerning Adoration
Jesus said that true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). God’s word feeds the truth side of that equation. In time, praying scriptures that reveal God generates real affection for God.

Each day I choose one passage from the adoration section. Then I use that to guide my worship and adoration of God. For instance Psalm 111 begins like this:

Psalm 111:1–3 (ESV)
111  Praise the Lord!
       I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
   Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
   Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.

Prompted by these lines I would pray something like this: “I praise you O Lord. I give thanks to you with my whole heart. I will give thanks to you in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Your works are great, O Lord. They are studied and meditated on by all who delight in them. Your work is full of splendor and majesty and your righteousness endures forever.”

Mostly what I have done here is to turn the language to first person so I am expressing it directly to God. I may write that out in my computer, say it out aloud, pray it quietly, or write it in a notebook. Usually I would move through the whole Psalm allowing it to provoke my prayer of adoration. In this way, I’m directed to actual truth about who God is, rather than just praying out of what is in my head. There will be plenty of opportunity to pray when I can’t look at scripture. When I can use scripture though, I want to take advantage of that so because I want my mind continually transformed by scripture. Since God is infinite, that means our knowledge of him is always incomplete. There are many nuances to getting to know a human being who is finite, getting to know God, and learning to delight in that knowledge of him will never cease to fascinate us throughout all eternity. Praying the scriptures ensures that we are worshipping God in accordance with the truth.

As I have practiced this over the years I recognized that over time, real affection for God began to be generated in my soul. In my earlier years I remember being troubled that it didn’t seem that I had much real affection for God. It’s hard to love someone you don’t know well. Through the years as I’ve prayed daily over the character of God as revealed in scripture, my heart began to awaken to the glory of God. It is clear to me that I have only begun to scratch the surface, but what I have begun to see of God is transforming me in a way no other experience has. This particular part of prayer, along with the actual study of scripture has generated the greatest overall change in my soul, at least from what I can tell. Over the next days, I will reflect on each aspect of this prayer experience and post them on my blog.

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