Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: 8 Ways to Beat Temptation

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We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don’t have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.

1.  Pray before you are tempted

Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” And as he told us to pray, “Give us THIS DAY” our daily bread,” it’s good to ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil THIS DAY.

2. Flee. A good run is better than a bad fall.

Stay as far away sin as you can. Don’t think you won’t fall. If you hired someone to transport your most valuable possessions, you wouldn’t tell them to see how close to the edge of a cliff they could drive. In Proverbs 7 a “young man lacking sense” wanders near the house of an woman at twilight, and just “happens” to run into her. She’s dressed sensually. She says her husband’s gone and describes her perfumed bed. Eventually he follows her like an ox going to slaughter. Eve got into trouble by engaging with Satan and looking at how delicious the fruit looked. Flee temptation. Stay out of the car in the park in the dark.

3. Quote Scripture

That’s how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to “rejoice always.” When tempted to give a harsh reply think, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When rankling against correction remind yourself, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Of course, to quote Scripture when tempted means we must know it first, which means we must regularly take it in.

4. Pray in the midst of temptation.

Draw near to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Your sympathetic high priest, who was tempted as you are yet without sin, will help you (Heb 4).

5. Get a brother or sister to pray with you.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

6. Ask someone to hold you accountable.

A friend once said to me, “Mark, when I get back from my business trip this week, can you ask me if I watched TV in the hotel room? When I’m alone on trips I can be tempted to watch bad stuff. Knowing you are going to ask me will help me fight temptation.”

7. Remember God’s faithfulness.

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 CO 10:13). God will never let us be tempted beyond the strength he gives, and if we ask he’ll “provide the way of escape” to get us through it.

8. Remind yourself that sin has consequences.

Remember Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband’s death, God forgave him, but told him the sword would never depart from his house, that his own family members would do him great harm and the child he conceived with Bathsheba would die. (2 Sa 12:10–14).

So here’s a quick summary:

Pray before you are tempted
Flee
Quote Scripture
Pray in the midst of temptation
Get a brother or sister to pray with you
Ask someone to hold you accountable
Remember God’s faithfulness
Remind yourself that sin has consequences

Keep fighting the good fight!

Be blessed,

signature_mjlluo9e3ke93x45ml

 (Source: Bible Study Tools )

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Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: Praise God No Matter What

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“That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:19 NLT).

Most of us don’t really know what to do when we’re confronted by an impossible situation. Did you know that a teenage boy from thousands of years ago can help?

Over the past few devotionals, we’ve learned some incredible principles from how Daniel dealt with an impossible request by the most powerful king of his time period. So far we’ve seen Daniel model these five actions.

  1. Don’t panic, and then ask why.
  2. Ask for more time.
  3. Gather prayer partners.
  4. Pray to God for help.
  5. Ask God for supernatural help.

The next thing we learn from Daniel in Daniel 2 is to worship God.

It is important to understand that worship is much more than just music. There are thousands of ways to worship. Anytime I turn my attention to God, that’s worship. When I express my love to God, that’s worship. You don’t have to be in church to worship.

When you worship God, you move your focus off of your problem and onto God.

The Bible says of Daniel, “That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven” (Daniel 2:19 NLT).

The passage shows you how to worship God in the midst of a crisis. Specifically, Daniel did three things.

  • He praised God for who he is. (v. 20)
  • He honored God for what he does. (v. 21-22)
  • He thanked God for his help. (v. 23)

That’s worship. Do that and you’ll move the focus off of you and your problems, and put it on God.

And he’s always where our focus should be.

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Talk It Over

  • Why is worship sometimes tough when you’re facing a particularly difficult situation?
  • How have you seen worship impact your stress level during struggles in your life?
  • Which of the three parts of worship mentioned in the devotional do you struggle with the most during a crisis: praising God for who he is, honoring God what he does, or thanking God for his help? Why?

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

signature_mjlluo9e3ke93x45ml

 (Source: Rick Warren)

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: Let God Breathe New Life into Your Healthy Efforts

MotivateMe5

“We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” (Psalm 80:18 The Message) 

The Bible says, “We will never turn our back on you; breathe life into our lungs so we can shout your name!” (Psalm 80:18 The Message)

Breathing is one of the few functions of your body that you do automatically — but it can also be done mindfully. When you remember to breathe deeply, you can actually clear your body and mind. By slowing your breathing, you can lower your heart rate and your stress level! Breathing is a powerful way to strengthen your body.

Mindful breathing is a reminder that your need for intimacy with God is like your need to breathe in air. King David sang, “I live and breathe God” (Psalm 34:2).

God can breathe new life into you and your efforts to become healthier. He says, “I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:6b TEV).

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Talk It Over

  • What does it mean to “live and breathe God”? Why is this significant to your success in getting healthy?
  • What does the truth that God can breathe new life into you mean to your efforts to become healthy and strong?
  • Taking five slow, deep breaths before you eat can help you eat less and enjoy the food more. Try this during your next meal. How does it affect the way you eat and the way you feel during and after the meal?

 

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: Prayer with an Attitude

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The Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever. Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

 We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer. The following article, entitled “Focus on the Father” by Rusty Rustenbach (excerpted from Discipleship Journal, Issue 6), explores how our attitude can make prayer an adventure rather than a burden.  As you read through the article, underline any portions that stand out to you. Then respond to the questions and exercises.

 Privilege of Prayer

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer. According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day. This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled. Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

 1. What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

 _Too busy or tired

_ Can’t concentrate

_ Don’t know what to pray about

_ Don’t feel like it

_ Feel guilty

_ Not convinced it makes a difference

_ Other:

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God. We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). God seems more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

 If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master. I once regarded prayer as “gutting it out” before God. It meant trying to bring reams and reams of petitions before the Lord. The more requests I could bring, the more spiritual I was.

2. What similarities do you see between the author’s approach (bringing “reams and reams of petitions before the Lord”) and Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7?

3. How would you compare the focus of prayer in Matthew 6:7 with the focus in Matthew 6:9-13? Which of these is most like your approach to prayer?

Communion or Wrestling Match?

I also misinterpreted statements from godly men about the importance of prayer. Martin Luther’s statement that “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” implied to me that prayer was a guaranteed formula for success.

Rather than being a dynamic communion with the sovereign Lord of the universe, to me prayer was an exercise meant to wrestle effects into the lives of people and to manipulate God’s hand. Prayer became lifeless and tedious. It was like castor oil: terrible tasting, but good for me.

4. Which of the following statements describe your general attitude toward prayer? Check all that apply.

_ Prayer is like a marriage—it is hard work but can be very rewarding.

_ I want to like prayer, but I really don’t.

_ Prayer is like writing “thank you” notes—it is an obligation I need to fulfill.

_ I look forward to prayer.

_ I enjoy the time I spend in prayer, but I would like to go deeper.

_ Other:

 Yet God reminded me of the truth I was neglecting: He wanted to commune with me. What does this mean? Communion is defined as the intimate sharing of thoughts and emotions, and an intimate fellowship, rapport, or communication. This is the kind of relationship God wants with me.

5. How is God’s desire for communion (intimate relationship) with us expressed in the following verses?

Isaiah 65:1-2

Jeremiah 33:3

Matthew 23:37

Romans 5:8-10

1 John 4:9-10

Isaiah 30:18

6. Summarize in your own words the most significant or meaningful insight you gained from the verses above.

What Is Your Picture of God?

I saw I had become hardened to the excitement of walking in continual awareness of God’s presence. I realized afresh that He desires open communion with me. He has little interest in the petition gymnastics I was trying to perfect in prayer. He wants me to be preoccupied with Himself. Seeing God this way enables us to stand in awe of Him. It stimulates our heart to vital communion and conversation with Him. Seeing God as He is requires faith on our part, but whoever is enamored and thrilled with God is then rightly motivated to pray. Discipline will still be necessary, but prayer won’t be drudgery. I believe that is hat John 4:24 is hinting at: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (emphasis added).

7. Read John 4:4-30, the context of the story of the woman at the well.

  1. How did the Samaritan woman’s inaccurate picture of God affect her ability to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  2. What aspects of God’s character are hardest for you to grasp (for example, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, faithful, and so on)? How might this affect your prayer life?

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Bible Study Tools )

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: God Is Real, No Matter How You Feel

Motivate Me

“The Lord has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him” (Isaiah 8:17 GNT).

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life — when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant.

Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won’t always feel close to him.

Philip Yancey has wisely noted, “Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other.”

That’s when worship gets difficult.

To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of seeming separation — times when it seems as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. God feels a million miles away. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness, doubt, and estrangement from God as “the dark night of the soul.” Henri Nouwen called them “the ministry of absence.” A. W. Tozer called them “the ministry of the night.” Others refer to “the winter of the heart.”

Besides Jesus, David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him “a man after my own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22).

Yet David frequently complained of God’s apparent absence:

  • “Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”(Psalm 10:1 TLB).
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”(Psalm 22:1 NLT, second edition).
  • “Why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 43:2a GNT; see also Psalm 44:23; 74:11; 88:14; 89:49).

Of course, God hadn’t really left David, and he doesn’t leave you. He has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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Talk It Over

  • What practical steps can you take to help you worship God even when you’re in pain or in a trial?
  • What do you think God wants you to learn during these times?
  • What are some of God’s promises that can give you hope and encouragement?

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Bible Study · Rick Warren

BIBLE STUDY: Start Unlocking Scripture with This Study Method

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Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (Colossians 3:16a NLT).

Studying the Bible in a way that changes your life doesn’t take a bunch of expensive tools. You don’t need commentaries or Bible study software. In fact, if you were stuck on a desert island with just a Bible, you could simply use the method you’ll learn about in this devotional.

God says that if we meditate on his Word, we’ll be successful. Here’s a method you can use to meditate on God’s Word in a way that’ll please God.

The “pronounce it” method of biblical meditation is an easy method for meditating on Scripture — and getting every ounce of spiritual nutrition you can out of it.

You start with a verse and read it over and over again. Each time you read the verse, you emphasize a different word. It’s the simplest way to start unlocking Scripture. You can do it even if it’s the first time you’ve ever opened up a Bible. It’s simple but amazingly powerful. Each time you emphasize a different word, you get a different perspective.

Take the first part of Colossians 3:16 for example. The verse says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (NLT).

The first time you read the verse, emphasize the word “let.”Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” What does it mean to let? It means “give permission.” You open the door; it’s your choice. You have to choose to let the Word of God dwell in you richly.

Then read the verse again and emphasize “message.” “Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly.” That means you need to get God’s Word in your mind.

Then emphasize the word “Christ.” You’re not dwelling on what some philosopher, guru, or talk show host has to say. You’re dwelling on the words of Christ! You may not want to let the word of the world dwell in you, but that’s what happens when you spend your time watching TV instead of reading God’s Word.

Then you focus on the word “richness.” What does that mean? It means the opposite of poorly. In other words, richness means lusciously, extravagantly, and profoundly. God doesn’t want his Word to be a poor substitute in your life. He wants it to create beauty in your life.

Then emphasize the word “fill.” Don’t rush through God’s Word so you can get on with the rest of your day. To let the Word of Christ fill you is to let it live within you.

Finally, focus on the words “your lives.” The Bible isn’t just God’s Word for your pastor, a seminary professor, or your small group leader; it’s God’s Word for you! The Bible is instruction for every single believer.

See all the great jewels you discovered in this passage just by focusing on one word at a time? You didn’t need a seminary degree or a great library of reference tools. You can do this!

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

signature_mjlluo9e3ke93x45ml

 (Source:Rick Warren)

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: God’s Word Will Unlock Your Potential

MotivateMe5

“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-32 NLT).

Truth be told, you can’t even fathom your full potential. Only your Creator can. Only God, the one who made you, knows all you are capable of being. Your parents, your spouse, your friends, your boss — they only get a glimpse of your potential.

Only God knows what you’re truly capable of doing and who you’re capable of becoming.

You use such a small fraction of your brain. You don’t need more intelligence. You need to use more of the intelligence you already have!

Most people live for the approval of others. They spend all of their time worrying about what others think of them. Your life has been limited by replaying tapes in your head of people who lied to you. They may not even mean to lie to you, but they still do. They’ve told you that you can’t do something or that you shouldn’t even bother because you’re not worth much anyway.

You’ve played these tapes over and over in your mind. But they’re lies! The people who made those statements about you have no idea about your potential. You have to talk to your Creator for that.

Only he knows what he can do through your life. And only he can unlock that potential. How does he do it?

The Lord frees us through his Word. Jesus said this in John 8:31-32: “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT). God’s Word will unlock all you’ve been made to do and be. Through it, you’ll be able to do things you never thought possible.

How do you do that?

  1. Learn God’s Word. God won’t unlock your potential until you actually open the Bible and learn it. You won’t unlock potential by osmosis. You’ll start to do it by learning what the Bible says.
  2. Accept God’s Word. The Bible has to be the authority in your life. You may not like what you’re reading, but — if you want God’s best for your life — you need to accept what it says as the final authority for how you live.
  3. Obey God’s Word. You can’t just learn God’s Word and accept God’s Word. You have to do what the Bible teaches. You don’t get blessed for the parts of the Bible you know. You get blessed for the parts of the Bible you do.

You were made for much more than you ever imagined. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!” (CEV).

So open up God’s Word, and get ready to do what only God can imagine.

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Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Motivate Me · Motivation · Rick Warren

MOTIVATE ME: The Truth Will Set You Free

Motivate Me

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body” (Ephesians 4:21-25 NLT, second edition).

The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself, your relationships, and your own nature if you want to change anything in your life.

Why is it necessary to learn the truth before anything can change in your life? Because behind every self-defeating habit in your life is a lie that you believe. If you get in debt, it’s because you believed some lies like, “I can spend and get away with it” or “I can always pay it back.” You might have overestimated how much you were going to make, or you believed the lie that you needed a much bigger house.

But do you? Are you sure it’s the truth? Can you prove it’s the truth? Are you absolutely certain that what you believe you’ve said about your finances is true? What about your relationships? What about the things you say to yourself about yourself? Is the way you think about your past or about some event the truth, or is the truth what God says about it?

The Bible teaches that personal change starts with truth. It is the truth that sets you free! The Apostle Paul says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him . . .” (Ephesians 4:21 NLT, second edition). Who is the truth? Jesus, and because Jesus is the truth, he will always tell you the truth. His Word is the truth. The Bible is his Word, and that means the Bible is truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

What you hear on television or read in books isn’t always going to help you, because it’s not always the truth. Have you learned that? But what God tells you is always going to be the truth. God’s Word shows you how to get back to the life you were created to live, and then it shows you how to stay on God’s path.

This is why it is so important for you to have a daily quiet time in the Word of God: Change requires learning the truth. As long as you build your life on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, deceptions, or half-truths, you will never change. But when you face the truth and respond to the truth, you will begin to see change in your life.

Bless you,

3l8vgf8e2pga9jxok0br

(Source: Rick Warren)

 

Bible Study

BIBLE STUDY: The Book of Hosea

bible study

Image result for hosea

When Moses asked Pharaoh to “Let my people go,” Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” If Pharaoh could have read the book of Hosea, he would have known that the Lord was a sovereign God (Chapters 1-3); a holy God (Chapters 4-7); a just God (Chapters 8-10); and a loving God (Chapters 11-14).

Pharaoh, of course, never had the benefit of the depth of knowledge that Israel was given through the mouth and pen of the prophet Hosea, and yet the people were as stony-hearted toward God as Pharaoh was those many centuries before.

Hosea is one of the most remarkable books of the Old Testament. No other messenger gives so complete an outline of the ways of God with His earthly people as does Hosea:

1)God suffers when His people are unfaithful to Him;
2)God cannot condone sin;
3)God will never cease to love His own; and, consequently
4)He seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him.

Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah (for most of his ministry) and Amos (in his earlier years); he was the “Jeremiah” of the Northern Kingdom. His main target was the Northern Kingdom, yet his message encompassed the entire people of God.

“Not My People”?

One of the pivotal insights occurs in the setting aside of his adulterous wife, and in the remarkable naming of his children: Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah (“not loved”), and Lo-ammi (“not my people”). The blood of Jezreel figures prominently throughout Israel’s history and climaxes at Armageddon. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit confirms the application of these prophetic names to the State of Israel since they have been cast out of their land.1 Their restoration is one of the key pronouncements in Hosea. Dr. Charles Feinberg, an outstanding Jewish believer and scholar, says of Chapter 3:

“It rightfully takes its place among the greatest prophetic pronouncements in the whole revelation of God.”

Hosea is frequently quoted in the New Testament and each time reveals some surprises.2

The Fatherhood of God

Among the provocative hermeneutical insights is the strange application of Hosea 11:1 by Matthew (2:15), which links the Fatherhood of God toward Israel and His calling His Son out of Egypt.3 He didn’t just adopt them; He cared for them. How tenderly and compassionately the Lord taught and cared for His son, Israel. These words seem to parallel Moses’ description of Israel’s being carried through the wilderness as a father carries his son.4

In response to the love of God as seen in their redemption from Egypt, Israel, like a prodigal son, turned a deaf ear to God’s prophets, choosing Baal and other idols instead.5

“The Best of Times and the Worst of Times”

Their material prosperity was unequaled since Solomon (2 Kgs 14:25-28; 2 Chr 26:2, 6-15). Jeroboam had recovered all the territory lost to Israel, even the possession of Damascus. Yet material prosperity is not a guarantee of safety to a people whose stability rests not on the moral basis of the fear of God and obedience to His laws. Hosea’s warning was that God would use their enemies as His means of judgment. (We have explored the apparent parallels with America in our briefing pack, “Hosea, Can You See?”)

An Incredible Book

The Lord’s self-disclosure in Chapter 11 is so intense that many rank it as one of the greatest in the Bible. Perhaps among the most surprising of the prophetic insights in Hosea is the discovery of the prerequisites for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.6

It is truly an amazing book and, like all of the books of the Bible, the Holy Spirit always rewards the diligent student. And Hosea is among the most rewarding.

Image result for hosea

* * *

This article was originally published in the
December 1999 Personal Update News Journal.

Chuck Missler

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

signature_mjlluo9e3ke93x45ml

Bible Study · Lent

BIBLE STUDY: What is the significance of using different postures in prayer?

bible study

What is the significance of using different postures in prayer?

Understanding Postures of Prayer
let your posture express the attitudes of your heart

In the Biblical accounts of prayer, many postures are described. Abraham fell upon his face before God. (See Genesis 17:3, 17.) Moses prayed with his hands outstretched. (See Exodus 9:27–29.) King Solomon knelt in prayer. (See I Kings 8:54.) Jesus prayed looking up into heaven. (See Mark 6:41, John 11:41, and 17:1.)

Communication with God does not require a certain physical position, but postures do give expression to the attitudes of our hearts. Here we will look at eight postures of prayer, discuss their symbolism, and see how they relate to the beatitudes Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed arethey that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:3–12).

Lying Prostrate Before God

No position symbolizes humility better than being on our faces before God. This position of prayer demonstrates the beatitude of being poor in spirit. When Jesus described Himself, He said he was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29.)

A wise way to begin each day is to get on our faces before God and acknowledge our unworthiness, inadequacy, and inability to accomplish His will. We should ask for His mercy, trusting that His strength and goodness will sustain us throughout the day. Lying prostrate before God expresses the following attitudes:

  • It is an acknowledgement of our total unworthiness.
    When God made a covenant with Abraham, Abraham recognized his unworthiness before God and “fell on his face” before the Lord. (See Genesis 17:1–22.)
  • It is recognition of the need for God’s mercy.
    When the leper came to Jesus for healing, he fell on his face and begged for mercy, saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Luke 5:12.)
  • It is a right response to a serious crisis.
    Often when the leaders of Israel faced impossible situations and knew that only God could deliver them, they fell on their faces before Him and sought His aid. (See Numbers 20:2–6 and Joshua 7:1–6.)

Kneeling Before God

When we repent of our sins, we appeal to the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness. Kneeling before the Lord is a symbol of the heart attitude we should have to make such a petition. It reflects the beatitude of mourning over sin and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
    Kneeling before God provides a visual image of submission to His authority. One day every knee will bow before God, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. (See Philippians 2:9–11.)
  • It is a sign of earnest appeal.
    King Solomon knelt when he asked God to bless the Temple and the people of God. (See I Kings 8:54.) Elijah knelt in earnest prayer when he asked the Lord to send rain to end Israel’s drought. (See I Kings 18:41–46.)
  • It is a sign of personal humility.
    The psalmist humbled himself before the Lord and encouraged others to do the same: “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6).

Bowing Before the Lord

One who bows before God conveys an attitude of honor, gratitude, and faith, acknowledging that all things come from His hand. When Job suffered great losses, he bowed down on the ground: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20–21). This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of meekness and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It is a sign of reverence.
    In some cultures, one who wants to express reverence and respect for another will bow before him. The deeper the bow, the greater the respect he shows.
  • It is an expression of worship.
    When God answered the prayer of Abraham’s servant, the man “worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth” (Genesis 24:52).

Standing Before the Lord

To stand before a ruler indicates that you have a legal right to be there. It is only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we are able to approach God as His children: “. . . We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:1–2).

This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of hungering and thirsting for righteousness and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It represents our position in Christ’s righteousness.
    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1–2).
  • It symbolizes our preparation for battle.
    “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:13–18).
  • It shows readiness to serve.
    One expression that describes serving another person, especially a sovereign, is to “stand before” that person. Daniel and his companions were to serve the king after a period of preparation, “. . . that at the end thereof they might stand before the king” (Daniel 1:5). Since we have been “made free from sin,” we become “the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

Sitting Before the Lord

In Scripture, sitting is a position of authority. When the king or rulers of a city sat in their official places, they were in a position to rule and judge and to have their judgments carried out. This prayer position reflects the beatitude of giving and receiving mercy, and it expresses the following attitudes:

  • It reminds us that all believers are seated with Christ in heaven.
    When we recognize our sinful conditions before God, repent of our sins, and believe on Jesus Christ, we are adopted by God. We are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. (See Ephesians 1:15–23 and 2:4–7.)
  • It represents God’s call to forgive offenders.
    Jesus told His disciples, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14–15). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).

Looking Up to Heaven

Looking a person in the face indicates confidence and honesty. It is indicative of an open, trusting relationship. The Gospels record many instances when Jesus prayed, looking up into heaven. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of being pure in heart and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It demonstrates where our help comes from.
    Looking up to God in prayer serves as a testimony that we are putting our hope in Him and waiting on Him for help. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1–2, ESV).
  • It displays confident faith.
    At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus prayed with faith and thanksgiving before He raised Lazarus from the dead: “. . . And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou has sent me” (John 11:41–42).
  • It indicates intimate fellowship with God.
    Jesus never sinned. He enjoyed perfect fellowship with His heavenly Father. When He prayed on the night before His crucifixion, “these words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (John 17:1–2.)

Stretching Forth the Arm

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. . . . I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (I Timothy 2:1–4, 8).

In the Scriptures, the outstretched arm was symbolic of seeking God’s mercy and blessing. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of being a peacemaker and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It appeals to God’s sovereign power.
    Before Pharaoh released the people of Israel from slavery, God sent ten plagues to the nation of Egypt. God thus demonstrated His ownership over all creation. When Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to ask God to stop the hailstorm, “Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s” (Exodus 9:29).
    When the Israelites fought against the Amalekites in the wilderness, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battlefield with his arms outstretched, holding the rod of God: “It came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed” (Exodus 17:11).
  • It reflects God’s redeeming work: salvation.
    Recalling God’s provision for past needs renews our faith in present situations. Moses often called the people of Israel to remember the great works God.
    Before Israel entered the Promised Land to conquer it, Moses encouraged them not to fear the mighty inhabitants of the land: “Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; the great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out . . .” (Deuteronomy 7:18–19).
  • It demonstrates worship and petitions God’s blessing.
    When King Solomon dedicated the Temple to God, he sought God’s blessing on it. “Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: and he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart . . . . O Lord my God, . . . hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today: that thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou has said, My name shall be there . . .” (I Kings 8:22–23, 28–29).

Leaping for Joy

Rather than being discouraged and defeated by trials and persecution, we are to“rejoice, and be exceeding glad” (Matthew 5:12). This phrase in the Greek indicates the outward action of leaping and skipping, an expression of great inward joy. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of rejoicing in the midst of persecution and expresses the following attitudes:

  • It displays absolute confidence in God’s faithfulness.
    At sporting events, loyal fans leap for joy when their team wins. The pain and strain of the game are worthwhile in light of victory. In the midst of persecution, we can leap for joy, because we know that God’s triumph over evil will be the final outcome. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17–18).
  • It confirms that eternal things are our highest priority.
    Personal possessions, reputation, or health may be lost as a result of persecution. However, compared to the eternal rewards we gain through such suffering, these losses are less significant. Paul said, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Whatever posture you assume, prayer is an important part of your relationship with God. The Apostle Paul challenges us to be faithful in this discipline: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:6–7).

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Mark Altrogge )