What was I Reading in December ’16
My December Reading List
In December I was pretty busy getting ready for the holidays, as were most of you, I’m sure. I poked at a couple of books, read oodles of recipes, and did my devotions. The book I was working through this month after I finished Driven By Eternity, was The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. This book is written in very short chapters that you read one a day and meditate on what you’ve read. It will take 7 weeks to finish this book if you read one a day, five days a week. So I’ll be working through this book in January as well.
What is the Basis of this Book?
If you saw the movie, War Room, you’ll remember that the real estate agent went to list a lady’s house. That little old lady was a prayer warrior and knew from her interactions with God in prayer that the real estate agent needed prayer. So she prayed for her, talked to her and then taught her how to pray. In Scripture, that’s called disciplining a person. At the end of the book of Matthew Jesus says to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe everything that He taught them. The Battle Plan for Prayer is a book that explains what Scripture says about prayer and then the strategies to apply it. It disciples us on prayer.
Who Should Read this Book?
I’ve been a Christian a long time. I’ve been in prayer groups a long time. I took a certification program to become a cell leader at one church and that included a section on how to pray for others as well as how to teach others to pray. All that being said, I have still learned some things in this book. So I would say unless you are one of those people I call “the people with the red phones to God” – those who hear from Him all the time and have a deep and vibrant prayer life – then I believe you will find useful information in this book. It has the basics and some things that are not usually taught about prayer. So I think most people will learn something through reading this book. For those with a vibrant prayer life, re-reading the basics so you can disciples others is always a good thing.
What Will I learn?
I’ve included the Table of Contents so you will see what is covered in the book.
Part I, Enlistment
Basically, why should we pray?
Part II, Basic Training
Some of this is pretty basic, but some is not. I know that I had a lot of questions even into adulthood about people who pray with their hands raised, or laying face down, or if it’s necessary to kneel. We’ve all had some of those questions. Some churches are legalistic about these posturings, some blast them, some require them, some are pretty laid back about them. I’m the type of person who says, What does the Bible say? The Bible tells us to be like the Bereans and test everything that is being preached by lining it up with the Bible. The author goes back to Scripture and explains those things.
My FAVORITE part of this section, the part that I got the most out of were the chapters on the Locks and Keys of Prayer. Alex and Stephen list ten of each. The “Locks” to prayer are those things that Scripture says will prevent our prayers from being heard by God. Most people are taught that God hears all prayer. While He may hear them, Scripture is very clear that He will not respond to certain prayers, or prayers said under certain circumstances. Even though I knew most or all of these, having a concise bulleted list is REALLY nice. I think most of us have times when we say, “Why isn’t God listening to me? I’ve prayed and prayed…” Having a quick checklist to see if we are locking the door to answered prayers is really nice to have.
Then there are the “Keys” to answered prayers. These are specific references where Scripture says if you do this or pray this way, I will answer your prayer.
I think the people who have the “Red phone to God” are people who have a firm grip on these “Locks” and “Keys” and apply them daily in their lives. I want to be one of those people. I know I’ve had many answered prayers. I’ve had times when I’ve prayed for something, often not even realizing what I was saying, and later learning that it was exactly what that person needed. A prayer for a wayward child for a stranger who I didn’t even know had children, a prayer for a pastor who needed those exact words and never told a soul about that fear… But I want to be consistently using that “Red Phone” – don’t you? I think I’ll print the “locks” and “keys” in my planner this year.
Part III, Conditioning
This section goes deeper into some of the items discussed in Part II. You’ll want to spend some time here. Even David, the man after God’s own heart, the man who slew Goliath as just a boy, the great beloved king of Israel, had hidden sin that was impeding his prayer. So, don’t skip this section. Honestly pray the prayers at the end of each devotion and see if there is anything that needs to be worked on in your heart.
I want to highlight a few statements in the chapter entitled, Vertical: Repentance Versus Pride. There are many really good points in this chapter, but these will give you an inkling.
“Think about this. What would change in our marriages, homes, and church relationships if we all clothed ourselves with humility toward one another? We would be more others-centered and less self-centered. More thankful, less complaining. More respectful, less judgemental. More cooperative, less stubborn. Harder to offend, more readily apologizoing. We would listen to advice, counsel, and rebuke rather than getting upset when confronted. Basically we would be more like Jesus and less like Satan.”
“James 4:6 tells us God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble…”
“Humility is a fundamental attitude of the heart for maintaining intimacy with God and a vibrant prayer life.”
Part IV, Strategies
In the first chapter in this section, The Word of God, it talked about how to pray using Scripture to form those prayers. Basically, you are speaking God’s Word back to God, therefore you know you’re in agreement with God.
Today I started reading the next chapter, The Will of God. I don’t know about you, but this is one area that trips me up. I think most people can agree with that. How do we know what is the will of God? Some things are easy, look at the ten commandments and if you violate those, then you’re out of the will of God. There are other direct commands, violate those and you’re out of the will of God.
What about deciding if you should send your kids to school or homeschool? Let’s make it harder, what about your church’s Christian school and homeschool? That’ss harder. Your church’s Cristian school might be a great school, but for your family, for your child, you might be out of the will of God to send them to that school. How do you know what God wants you to do? This chapter helps you figure that out.
Because this chapter is so important to living a Godly life, a life where God can say, “well done, my good and faithful servant,” I have decided to take a couple days on it. I want to hear God say that. I want to be in the will of God every day of my life. I don’t want to just take the easy road, or the road that everyone else is taking, or even the one that seems right logically. I want to take the road that God has for ME. That’s the right road for me. It’s not your road. It’s my road, my race. I need to ask God to direct me.
Although this chapter doesn’t address this point, I don’t know if it will in the subsequent chapters, but I’m going to say it. My road, my race is just that – my road, my race. I am accountable to God for what I do. You may not know or understand the road He has for me. It also means I can’t tell you to walk the same road as me and you can’t tell me to walk the same road as you. Now if I’m in sin, that’s another story. We are to go after a lost sheep. If you have wisdom to impart to me, then impart it, but that is where your responsibility ends. Ultimately I’m accountable to God for my actions just as you are accountable to God for your actions.
The rest of the Book
I will continue to read the rest of the book. I have found this book helpful in my walk with Lord. It is strengthening my faith and my prayer life.
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