Does Gideon’s Fleece System Still Work?
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Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com

In my personal devotions this morning, I read,

Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” Judges 6:36-37 NLT

Image © Erik [...]

03: Discipleship and Prayer – Thought Starters
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

[Thought questions for Discipleship and Prayer January 15, 2014]

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

INTRODUCTION. What would you do if by some gigantic supernatural power you were denied the gift of prayer? Of course that can’t happen, but doesn’t the very thought of existing without prayer send a chill down your back? In this week’s lesson we consider the value of prayer in our role as God’s witnesses to others on earth.

1. The prayer of compassion. Is there even one [...]

Thursday: Timeless Compassion Replicated
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

The sincerest offering of praise is imitation. Christ’s earliest disciples imitated their Master’s prayer life. Naturally they prayed for personal safety, for their daily necessities, and for individual spiritual guidance. Nevertheless, intercessory prayer became an important component of their discipleship.

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Read Acts 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:16; Jude 20-22; 1 Peter 4:7. What role did prayer assume in the early church? What were some of the specific situations for which they [...]

Wednesday: Timeless Compassion
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Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Christ was the embodiment of perfection; that is, all of God’s perfections were revealed in Him. Thus, was anyone ever more compassionate than Christ? Who possessed a stronger desire than Jesus to alleviate human distress?

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

We, therefore, ask: what relationship did Christ’s compassion and intercession have with discipleship?

Read Luke 22:31-32 and John 17:6-26 (see also Heb. 2:17). How did Jesus’ identification with humanity influence His intercessory prayers? What are the ultimate objectives of Christ’s intercessory [...]

The Arrow of Prayer
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It was a simple question: “What are you doing here?” Standing in a cave after fleeing for his life, Elijah recounts the lament of his soul. His recent conquests for God appear to have taken a turn for the worse. Feeling alone and confused, this man of great experience, has all but given up and resigned himself to defeat. Elijah is in a crisis and he needs a word from the Lord.

Instructed to stand on the mount to hear from [...]

03: Discipleship and Prayer – Teaching Plan
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gless03

Key Thought : There is power in prayer. Through prayer we develop like minds and learn to live and do according to His will.

[Teaching plan for Discipleship and Prayer January 13, 2014]

1. Have a volunteer read Matthew 14:22-23.

a. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
b. Why is it important to have a quiet separate place to pray?
c. Personal Application: What aspects of your prayer life are affected by [...]

Tuesday: Timeless Teaching
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Prayer miraculously bonds finite souls with their infinite Creator. Prayer is spiritual adhesive. Bonded with the heavenly Father, believers transcend their earthly natures and sinful tendencies. This transformation separates them from the world. Should Satan successfully recast prayer into a self-centered mold, thus robbing prayer of its potential for our transformation, we could be powerfully compromised and our witness stymied.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Read Matthew 6:7-8; Matt 7:7-11; Matt 18:19-20. What do these verses teach us about prayer? [...]

Prayer: Give Me or Take Me?
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God needs our hand to use for service

I have had the opportunity to observe Buddhist culture a couple of occasions when I have taught college courses in Thailand. The overtness of Buddhist devotion was something new to me. It was not uncommon to encounter a shrine to Buddha where people were praying, chanting, and offering incense, or rubbing gold leaf onto an image.

Buddhist temples are colourful and interesting cultural icons, standing out in the landscape. My Thai friends would [...]

Monday: Time for Prayer
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Think through what prayer really is: fallen sinful beings, worthy of death, are able, instantly, to have direct communication with the Creator of the universe-our Holy God.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Also, when God in Christ clothed Himself in human flesh, accepting humanity’s limitations, He, too, sensed the necessity of prayer. Though not standing before the Father in the same position that we as fallen sinners are, Jesus as a human still saw the necessity for prayer.

Read Matthew 14:22-23; [...]

Discipleship and Prayer – Hit the Mark
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Praying

She seems an unlikely character for this week’s discussion on discipleship and prayer. Throughout her story as recorded in the Gospel of John, prayer is not once mentioned. She is not one of the many who came seeking Jesus for miraculous healing from some incurable illness. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even initially recognize Jesus as they conversed together. Yet, her brief interaction with Him speaks volumes about our experience with God as it relates to prayer.

Sunday: Time-tested Compassion
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Frequently, prayer assumes a self-centered posture. Believers present their wish lists before God, hoping to get that which they ask for. Though, of course, we are told to set our petitions before God, sometimes our motives are not pure. After all, are not our hearts corrupt, wicked, and deceitful? Might not our prayers, at times, simply reflect the sinfulness that lies within?

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Intercessory prayer, however, focuses on another person’s needs, thus removing the likelihood of [...]