We look at how to help not only those with a preference to auditory or visual learning, but those whose preferred learning style is kinaesthetic. Are they the most neglected of all?
The value of this approach is that it increases:
I hope you find these thoughts helpful. What have I missed? What else is important?
Please leave a comment and pass the link on to one other person ….
God bless, Malcolm
What’s the danger with jargon?
As someone said, “If we confuse we lose.”
We talk this week about the problems with jargon and some common pitfalls to avoid.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: email@example.com.
Thanks again for watching. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.
The “iPhone Effect”
Pause the Phone
When you want to avoid distraction
- Put the phone in Airplane Mode – vibrations can be enough to cause distraction
- Put the phone in another room – i.e. out of sight
- Leave the phone behind – if you go out for a prayer walk or into the garden
When you want to use it to help your prayer time
Jesus meets us where we are
Careful with the comparisons
Power up the personal
- Try new things: Follow rabbit trails that interest you. Bible verses, characters, themes, book ideas. Try lighting a candle, going for a walk, experimenting with set prayers.
- Learn from others: Pray with people (see Luke 11.1), listen to podcasts (including this one!)
- Bring your whole self to God in your prayers: Read David’s Psalms (Psalm 18.1; 22.1). He was one never shy of being himself with the LORD. God seemed to appreciate it (1 Samual 13.14).
Do your prayers fence God in, or release the power of his Spirit? Consider these verses: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name…….” (John 14:13) “…ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7 NIV)
The rodeo bull is frustrated waiting for the gate to open but all explosive energy once let loose. I wonder sometimes whether my prayers are more fence than gate. Granted, the metaphor is limited. I’m not suggesting God is a bull, nor that you are his rodeo rider. But, can we consider the gate and fence images for a moment?
I use a prayer app to record my prayers. They are categorised by topic. Recently I reviewed the list. The majority are for people I know to be converted. Some are for the healing of friends. Not many are about world events. None were for politicians. Where are your gaps? Are they the fences that keep God penned in?
Our vision is limited. But God’s vision for answering our prayers is bigger than ours: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV11) If God can see further than us, it makes sense to pray for things that are beyond what we can see, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV11)
Clearly, our prayers must line up with God’s vision. He will not answer prayers that are contrary to His will. But, do we use that possibility as an excuse to avoid praying for the ‘impossible’?
Everyone and Everything
Prayer is for everyone, and for everything that is in our hearts and minds. No matter how ridiculous or impossible an answer may appear to be. It’s the only way to make sense of what Jesus said about prayer. Are we fencing God in by only praying for a few things in a few areas, instead of everything? God can do more that we think.
In this letter to the Ephesians, Paul finishes his thoughts with a sentence that sounds like a prayer to me: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV11)
Our prayers open the gate to the action of God’s Spirit when they are about him, his power, his glory. We fence him in when our prayers are about our weakness, our sins, our limitations, our fears. Of course, it is right and good to bring those to him, but we do not have to end there. Instead, could your prayers move on to focus on the abilities of God?
The Apostle Paul saw everything as relevant: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV11) Nothing is off-limits where prayer is concerned.
Only if we lay everything before God in prayer will He be able to enact the promises of John 14:12 & 14. The phrase, “If you ask … I will do”, appears 6 times in John chapters 14-17. Jesus is trying to get something fundamental but new across to his disciples. Have we ‘got it’?
In his book, “Don’t just stand there… Pray something!”, Ronald Dunn writes this:
“…prayer is set forth as the primary human factor in the accomplishment of God’s programme on earth .. Divine action .. is conditioned upon believing prayer. This prayer is set forth as the chief task of the believer. It is his responsibility to ask. It is God’s responsibility to accomplish.” p29
Consider this saying of Jesus: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (John 14:13 NIV). Why do we not pray to God about everything?
What do you pray about most and what do you leave out? What helps you pray for the impossible?
Please leave a comment here and post your ideas. We’ll all learn better when we share our thoughts.
If you have answered prayers, tell the story here. We’d be grateful for the inspiration.
If you’d like some coaching for your prayer life or any of the spiritual disciplines, please contact me via the button below. I’d be honoured to assist your walk with God.
When you pray to the “Father”, what’s in your mind? There are riches that we may not recognise. In John 17 Jesus prays to the Father using three different descriptors.
- First we have the plain vanilla address: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (v1) And again, “Father, glorify me in your presence,” (v5), as well as, “that all of them may be one, Father.” (v21), and, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” (v24)
- Secondly: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11 NIV11)
- Finally: “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” (John 17:25 NIV11)
Why these different forms of address?
Plain “Father”, reminds us that our God is also our ‘pater’, daddy. Then, he is ‘hagios’ – separate from common condition and use; dedicated. Our Father is loving, and also pure, uncorrupted, sinless, perfect. Finally, he is ‘dikaios’ – just, equitable, fair. The Father to whom we pray will treat us with absolute integrity. He is righteous and just (e.g., Ps. 116:5; 119:137; Jer. 12:1).
How about praying to your Father using one of these ideas for your next three prayer times, focusing on one attribute at a time? Dwell on God as ‘pater’, ‘hagios’ and ‘dikaios’. If it was meaningful to Jesus it can be meaningful to us.
A suggested prayer-starter for each one could look like this….
- Father, you are the father of all fathers. You are loving, kind and discipline me for my best interests. I am so grateful you have taken me as your son/daughter …
- Holy Father, you are pure, uncorrupted, sinless and perfect. I am in awe of your holiness. Thank you for not considering my sinfulness a barrier to showing me your love …
- Righteous Father, you are fair, just, unswayed by human opinion and always act with integrity. It is a privilege to know you. Thank you that I can trust your promise to be equitable and honourable in all your dealings with me….
Have a wonderful time praying to our wonderful Father.
God bless, Malcolm
PS – do you have prayer questions? Would you like more direct coaching in your prayer life? Why not consider taking me up on some prayer coaching. Click here for details.
eg 300w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/John-17.001-768x576.jpeg 768w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/John-17.001.jpeg 1024w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/John-17.001-285x214.jpeg 285w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />HOW TO MAKE SURE GOD GETS THE GLORY IN YOUR MINISTRY
Reflections on the prayer of Jesus in John 17 and what it means for those of us who have an area of ministry.
“Ministry” is simply another word for area of service. It is about service, not title. The responsibilities God gives us can be a burden, or a thrill. Hard, yes, but exciting. Best seen as an adventure of faith, rather than a task to be done. Jesus carried more responsibility than anyone, and carried it out with enviable peace. His secret? How did the Gospels becoming Acts? He, “often withdrew” to pray, Lk 5.16, and his praying had an impact on the disciples, Lk 11.1ff. John recording his prayer, John 17, at least in part so that we could learn from him.
1. LOOK UP FOR A BIGGER VISION
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heavena and prayed: Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” v1
Q: Do you have a vision as to how God will be glorified in and through your ministry? Pray for that.
2. ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU
“For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” vv2-4
Q: Does anything stand between you and fully embracing the ministry God has given you? Pray for that.
3. OUR TASK IS TO REVEAL GOD TO PEOPLE
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.” v6
Q: In that way can people get to know God, and know Him better through your ministry? Pray for that.
4. GIVE THE WORD TO CREATE ONENESS
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. …I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” v11b-15
It’s noticeable that Jesus does not use the word ‘unity’. Instead – “one”. This is more relational than structural. The goal in ministry is not to have the same goal, but the same heart and mind in pursuit of that goal. This comes through giving people the Word, v17. One hundred pianos all tuned to the same tuning fork will automatically be in tune with one another. Let’s tune people to Jesus through the Word.
Q: How is the ‘oneness’ of your ministry? Pray for that.
5. SEND PEOPLE OUT
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” v18 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” vv20-23
It’s not just about us, but the next generation.
Q: What plans do you have to send people out? Pray for that.
Q: Who are you praying for that will ‘believe’ as a result of your ministry? Pray for that.
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” v26
It’s all about love in the end. Was this prayer answered? Survey the book of Acts and I think you get your answer. God got the glory, the whole church embraced their purpose, God was revealed in His power, inclusivity and love, the church remained one despite challenges – in fact, made stronger by them – and sending was in the church DNA and continued into next generation.
When praying for your ministry, you could use this acronym to remember the points above:
G.A.R.O.S. spells, ‘garos’, which, as we all know, is the Greek-Cypriot word for, “donkey”! Why not join me in praying the ‘garos’ prayer for your ministry this week?
In this sermon for the South East region of the London International church of Christ we take a look at the real meaning behind the promise of Jesus that he provides “life to the full”.
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Some of the disciples turn back and leave Jesus. We can understand the crowds and the Pharisees not following him, but why his disciples? Any insights?