Monday, April 25, 2016

A Praying Life: Chapters 17-18

(A few friends and I are reading this book together.  Each week we will read two chapters and on Friday I will post my comments from the reading.  Others may add their thoughts in the comments section.  If you are interested in reading this book as well, here is the link for the Kindle version of the book.)

Chapters 17-18

- "Seldom do we pray seriously and thoughtfully for those we love as they deal with their besetting sins."  (Pg. 149, Loc. 1891)  He helped me see the need of "pointed" prayers- specifically those that are addressing concrete battles in others' lives.

- "We can't do battle with evil without letting God destroy the evil in us as well."  (Pg. 151, Loc. 1918)  Probably the biggest takeaway in these two chapters was for me to examine myself when I see others' sins or when others open up to me about their sins.  He talked about this further in the next chapter: "Instead of using your insights into other people's issues as a spiritual hammer, Jesus wants you to take these insights and deepen your own repentance."  (Pg. 159, Loc. 2034)  I want those circumstances to be catalysts for my repentance.

- I think he captured this well: "Repentance usually starts with a question, a slight uneasiness."  (Pg. 155, Loc. 1980)  If I would just learn to recognize that the uneasiness is coming from the Holy Spirit and deal with it as soon as possible!

- Years ago I was helped by something my brother-in-law would say: "Sin always complicates things."  I was reminded of that when reading this short paragraph: "Sin is complicated.  We are never a passive observer, dispensing wisdom and justice.  We are part of the mess.  My solution to the problem made it more complex.  That's why we can't afford to do anything on our own."  (Pg. 156, Loc. 1989)

- "Because I acted on my own, independent of my heavenly Father, my words by themselves had to do all the work."  (Pg. 156, Loc. 1989)  I think we are all problem solvers, to some degree.  We want change to happen and we want to help in the process.  I thought his possible scenario with the software disc was really good- he was not so dependent upon God that he didn't say anything to his son.  Instead, he made sure that he looked to God first, and spoke later in a controlled manner.  Sometimes they way people talk, I get the impression they think being dependent on God means doing absolutely nothing.  The author's scenario (in my opinion) had a good balance of dependence yet acceptance of responsibility (role as a father).

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapters 19-20

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes pray, “Your Kingdom Come” but I'm referencing the actual millennial kingdom of Christ, which I know is certainly not wrong. The first chapter helped me focus and see that this phrase can also apply to specific changes in people. King Jesus needs to be enthroned in every area of our lives and this certainly is also an advancement of His Kingdom!

    “You can't separate prayer from love” (pg.152). Just a good reminder that love is selfless and continually giving to others, and specifically (in this book) giving to others through praying for them. I feel my prayers for others would be a good indicator of how much I'm loving them.

    Although I pray for our country everyday (the USA for those in other parts of the world!:), I can still find myself “whining about things in our culture”, as he mentions on pg.154. I guess my thought was, if I'm praying for my country yet still negative about the way things are, am I really expecting God to change things & send an awakening? Am I praying just out of routine, or in faith that prayer really does make a difference and can have a positive impact upon America? Though I wouldn't say this verbally, am I falling into the trap of thinking that there may be something “too impossible” for God?

    I also thought the illustration with his son and the modem disc was good – made me think of how often I respond to my kids in the flesh. Usually I find myself praying AFTER a difficult situation, confessing how wrong I was for getting frustrated & impatient. I appreciated the author's “what-if” scenario of praying each step through handling something with his son. I will try working on praying in situations and not just after them.