The joy of prayer

“What you think about in your unguarded moments reflects what your mind dwells upon. To keep your thoughts pure, you must guard what goes into your mind. The things you allow your mind to dwell on will be revealed by the way you live. Ifyou focus on negative things, you will inevitably be a negative person. If you fill your mind with thoughts of Christ, you will become Christlike. What you fill your mind with is a matter of choice. Choose to concentrate on the magnificent truths of God, and they will create in you a noble character that brings glory to God.” – Henry Blackaby
 
Dear intercessors,
 
The challenge we are facing today is learning to meditate on God and His Word instead of focusing on the bad things that are happening in the world. God can help us walk in the joy of prayerful meditation in spite of what is happening around us. The choice is ours. Learning to meditate on God’s Word is essential for a powerful prayer life. Meditation guides us into a deeper life with God, enabling us to pray on-target prayers and helping us to know more deeply the ways of God. Meditation is often a lost art because of the busy and noisy world in which we live.
 
Henry Ford once hired an efficiency expert to evaluate the Ford Motor Company. After a few weeks, the man gave a very good report, except for one thing. He complained about the man down the hall. The expert said that there was a man who was just sitting in an office with his feet up on a desk, appearing to be wasting his time. Henry Ford replied,“That man thought of an idea that saved us millions of dollars. And when he thought of it, he was doing exactly the same thing: sitting with his feet up on the desk!” That man was meditating (thinking and focusing his mind on one thing). It can look like a waste of time, but the best strategies for life will come when we take time to prayerfully meditate on God’s Word.

Meditating is something that even the secular world practices. Several years ago, I worked on a team trying to reach the cults in Chicago. A popular cult at that time was transcendental meditation. Weekly the cult leaders had meetings open to the public, trying to entice others to join. Our team went prayerfully to a couple of their meetings and listened to them tell of their peace through meditating. Clearly they were not meditating on God but using an empty mantra. On one occasion as the cult leader told about the peace he was getting through meditating, his chair collapsed right in front of everyone and he completely lost his peace! God answered our prayers for those attending the meeting that evening in a most unusual way.

True meditation through God’s Word is key to a life of joy and spiritual fruitfulness. It keeps us from dwelling on the bad things we hear every day in the newspaper and on the news. Meditation is different than reading, studying, or memorizing Scripture. It is the digestive faculty of the soul. It builds us up and refreshes and feeds our souls. 

 

The Value of  Meditation“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” – (Psalm 1:1-2).  

Biblical meditation involves taking a phrase, verse, or passage of Scripture and thinking carefully about it, pondering, and letting the Holy Spirit slowly make it alive within you. Then you pray it back to God. Meditation creates faith and expectation. Meditation focuses our thinking on God’s Word. Through meditation we come to know God, not just about Him. Through meditation we grow in our love for God’s Word. Meditation helps us:

  • Get to know God – This goes beyond just knowing about Him. We get to know Him personally as our King, our Rock, our Redeemer, our Savior. 

    “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

     

  • Hear God’s voice and keep from sin – We are then able to pray on-target prayers. 

    “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

     

  • Change spiritually and gain insight –We will always grow and God will change our hearts through meditation. 

    “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:99).

     

  • Walk in obedience – Meditation will help us to obey God and be ready to do the right thing in a moment that requires a sudden choice.

    “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

     

  • Have something to share with others – Often the very Scriptures that we meditate on are the ones someone else needs to hear and the ones we need to pray. 

    “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 48:9-10).

     

  • Grow in a worshipping lifestyle – As we ponder Scripture, we naturally grow deeper in our prayer life and are led more fully into worship. 

    “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy” (Psalm 77:12-13).

     

  • Gain comfort and gain strength –We gain spiritual strength when we meditate on Scripture. 

    “Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:23-24).

     

  • Receive understanding and success –God teaches us how to walk in success as we meditate on Scripture. 

    “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

Meditation helps us pray more effectively. Psalm 119 speaks over and over again about the value of God’s Word and the importance of meditation. Meditation on the Scriptures will cause us to understand something of the mind and heart of God. Meditation changes us deeply, freeing us from negative thinking because we are dwelling on the positive truth of Scripture. It touches the deepest part of our soul and transforms us. Meditation should always result in a response to God, whether it is repentance, thanksgiving, worship, obedience, or a change in attitude.

How to Prayerfully Meditate

  • Read through a passage of Scripture.
     
  • Let the Holy Spirit bring your attention to something in the passage.
     
  • Paraphrase the verse.
     
  • Try picturing what the verse is saying.
     
  • Relate the verse or passage to other verses you know.
     
  • Make it personal. 
     
  • Pray it back to God thanking Him, asking for His help to obey, praying for insight, etc.
     
  • Write something down.
     
  • Respond.

This week meditate on one aspect of God’s nature in a single verse of Scripture.For example, prayerfully meditate on God’s holiness in Psalm 93:5,“Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless day, O Lord.” 

“Lord, teach me about your holiness. Your Word says that You are holy, and holiness adorns Your house forever.  There is no end to Your holiness. There is no darkness in You. I praise You for being holy and righteous. You are pure and spotless, without flaw. Thank you for creating me in Your likeness. I long to partake of Your holiness. Make me like You. Help me to think about that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). I thank you for the joy of prayerful meditation. I bless Your holy name. Amen.”“When God’s truth is allowed to touch the deepest corner of your soul, the Holy Spirit will transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. Don’t just read your Bible; meditate on God’s Word and ask Him to change your heart.” Henry Blackaby

Together in the Harvest,
 
Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOP-KC)

[email protected]

www.crosswalk.com

“Jesus says, ‘Ask and you will receive’. We’re very good at the asking part but how about the ‘receiving’? If we are the ones who are dong all the talking, it’s a pretty one-way conversation. Soaking is the listening part of our conversation with Him. It’s laying aside time to lie down and receive from Him.” –CTF Ministries

“When we discipline ourselves to behold Jesus in every circumstance, a transformation occurs. We learn how to sit, wait and watch for Him every day. The Holy Spirit teaches us about face-to-face, personal adoration; it comes from a worship that flows from a place of rest. When we sit at Jesus’ feet and just be, as Mary did, we behold Him. Worship cannot come out of striving, but out of stillness. Spending time with God gives us a touch from Him – this touch is such a pleasure that it will cause a spirit of adoration to well up in us, and overflow.” –Graham Cooke

There is joy in the life of those who practice soaking prayer. It’s time to lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus. It’s time to find rest for your soul in 2007. It’s time to be still and know that He is God. It may take a little effort to quiet your racing thoughts, but it’s well worth the effort. Let Him lead you beside still waters. Take time to meditate on the following Scriptures:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalms 23:1-3).

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).

How to Soak in God’s Presence

”When it comes to real devotion, come with nothing to do except to sit and learn how to wait, rest and be. Be still. Fill your mind with Jesus. Faith and stillness are sustenance for your spirit, so learn to focus on Jesus. When your mind wanders off, bring it back. Retrain it; it’s had years of having its own way. Renewing your spirit and your mind is exciting and has incredible fruit. Worship becomes natural for you, and the peace of God wells up in your heart. God’s perspective can be seen more quickly.” –Graham Cooke”

  • Find a quiet place – A peaceful environment helps you to become peaceful on the inside.

  • Listen to worship music – You may want to use quiet instrumental or quiet worship music. There is so much good soaking music available (www.soaking.net is an excellent resource).

  • Quiet down your busy thoughts – Initially your thoughts can be racing all over, but know that the Lord is with you. Turn your attention to Him. Wait for your thoughts to settle.

  • Invite the Holy Spirit to come and soak you in His presence – Surrender your mind, body and soul in prayer to the Holy Spirit. Humble yourself before Him.

  • Focus on the Lord’s presence – Open your heart to God. You are learning to abide in Him. You are learning to focus on Him and His presence.

  • Rest in faith and believe that God is working within you – It isn’t about what you can accomplish through your efforts; it’s about what God is doing in you.

  • Give time to soaking in God’s presence – The more time you can spend in His presence, the better. Start with 20 minutes in His presence. You will find as you do this, in a very short time you will want to spend more time in His presence.

  • Watch as God changes you – You will leave refreshed and full of the Holy Spirit. Your life will be different because God is changing you through soaking in His presence. You will have an impact on the world around you as you carry God’s presence with you wherever you go.

“Intimacy with God is the key to fruitfulness in every area of our lives. As we become more aware of His presence in us… so do other people. As we become more affected by His presence in us… so do those around us. By taking time in the secret place with God, we start to walk by the spirit in everyday life. We find that rather than striving to achieve things for God, He is building His kingdom through us.” –CTF Ministries

Begin today by soaking for at least 20 minutes in God’s presence. Go on the internet to www.soaking.net. This website offers free downloads of soaking music. I guarantee that you will be blessed by playing this soaking music. We used it during our month-long 24-7 House of Prayer in Spain. It was a favorite in the prayer room. If you don’t have a computer, put on any quiet worship music. Practice the above points and watch what God does. Soaking prayer will have a transforming effect in your life, and if you practice it regularly during 2007, it will have a transforming effect in your year.

“Soaking is a dedication: ‘God, this is time just for you.’ Soaking is an invitation: ‘God, do what you want to in me.’ Soaking is an expectation: ‘Thank you, Father, for what you are accomplishing as I rest in you.’ We come to Him like little children believing that He has good things for us. ‘If you then know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” –CTF Ministries

Together in the Harvest,

Deb

This article first appeared on the Praying Pastors Blog of the National Pastors’ Prayer Network. Used with permission.
Debbie Przybylski is the founder and director of Intercessors Arise International, a part of the ministry of the Elijah Company, Inc. The vision of Intercessors Arise International is to see thousands of intercessors from every nation released in strategic prayer for the furtherance of the Gospel worldwide. Contact Deb at [email protected]

www.crosswalk.com

Послушала замечательный, замечательный, замечательный диск – “The Joy of Prayer”, “Радость молитвы”, иудейская пасхальная служба. Мартин Калманофф (р. 1920) – такой известный американский композитор, автор множества произведений для музыкального театра. Отец его в своё время был основателем синагоги, а в 1980 году сын написал полную пасхальную службу для синагоги Эману-Эл в Нью-Йорке. Это произведение было исполнено в Кеннеди-центре, а позже записано с Шерриллом Милнзом, в то время ведущим баритоном Метрополитен Опера. На диске так и написано: “Американский симфонический оркестр и хор, кантор – Шеррилл Милнз”.

Обалдеть, какая музыка. Нич-чего не понимаю, что поют, но от такой музыки хочется жить, радоваться и всех любить! И как Милнз тут чудесно поёт… При том, что еврейской крови в нём нет ни капли – как он замечательно чувствует эту музыку! И, как ни странно, петь на иврите у него получается лучше, чем на английском (там есть и так, и так).

Прокрутила альбом два раза подряд, отдельные треки – раз по восемь. Это нужно слушать в особенности тогда, когда мерзкая погода, плохое настроение и всё бесит. Сразу станет лучше. 😉

Два маленьких отрывка, прелюдия и мой любимый трек с первого диска:

PreludeV’Shomru (из Исх. 31:16-17):

…и пусть хранят сыны Израилевы субботу, празднуя субботу в роды свои, как завет вечный;
это – знамение между Мною и сынами Израилевыми на веки, потому что в шесть дней сотворил Господь небо и землю, а в день седьмой почил и покоился.
Кстати, друзья-иудеи и разбирающиеся: почему “Б-г” и “G-d”, почему никогда полностью не пишется? Выяснили, спасибо.

arashi-opera.livejournal.com

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