I have been invited to speak to our church’s MOMS group tomorrow on the topic of “prayer.” I have learned a lot about prayer lately because I’ve been facilitating a women’s Bible class on the subject. Here is a brief summary of some of the things I’ve been learning and what I will share with the MOMS.
2.17.12 PS–Ladies at the MOMS meeting requested Scripture references from this morning’s session, so I will be adding them ASAP. Thanks for your patience! LH
The Connection Our Hearts Are Longing For: A Message for Women
No matter who you are, where you’ve been or where you’re going, I believe can tell you what the #1 need of your heart is, and I think I can tell you how you can have that need fulfilled as well.
Because I read the Bible, I have learned that humans, both men and women, were created for a purpose, and we are designed with a longing to have that purpose fulfilled. I have also learned that only God can satisfy that desire, and that He does so by giving us the opportunity to connect with Him through His Word and through prayer.
Women–even those of us who have known the Lord for a long, long time–often mistakenly think that our career, our spouse or our children can fulfill the deepest needs of our hearts. Other times we think that delving into a particular ministry will satisfy our desire to be connected. Sometimes we think more shopping, more vacations, more girlfriends or more gemstones will fill the empty places. And yes, once in a while we even think another romantic novel might dispel the longing for the “something more” that our heart tells us is out there.
The real truth, however, is that we are created for an even greater purpose than our careers, our friendships, our marriages and our families. We are created to have an intimate relationship with God that overshadows everything else in our lives. The God of the universe not only wants to save our souls, He wants to fill the needs of our hearts as well! We long for more of God and God longs to give us more of Himself. The connection that makes it all happen is prayer. He created us this way so that we would seek Him and find our fulfillment in Him!
But the kind of fulfillment that He offers doesn’t just happen. It takes an intentional move on our part. He wants us to be in His Word every day of our lives. And he wants us to learn to really pray–to draw near to Him with our whole heart. I don’t mean that God is asking us to pray more for other people. We already do a good job of that, for the most part. I mean that God want us to pray for ourselves more! He wants us to pray for more of Him, for a deeper understanding of His plan and purpose for our lives, and for His comfort, strength, wisdom and guidance in the day to day details of our lives.
Let me give you an illustration. If I have an electrical appliance such as a toaster, for instance, or a blender or a stick vacuum or a lamp, I know that it was manufactured for a specific purpose. And I also know that as long as that appliance is not plugged in to any source of power, that appliance is not doing what it was created for. For a toaster to toast, it needs to be plugged in. For a blender to blend, it needs to be plugged in. A lamp that is not giving light is not fulfilling its purpose, and it’s not fulfilling its purpose because it’s not connected to a power source.
To (loosely) translate that example into real life, I would put it like this: You and I were made for a purpose. Unless we are regularly connected to our spiritual “power source” (God), we cannot fulfill the purpose for which we were created. I believe it is prayer that makes the connection our hearts long to have with the One who created us and loves us.
God has told us in His word that He is eager and willing to give us more of Himself. These are some of my favorite Scriptures: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23 NLT) “The eyes of the Lord move to and for throughout the earth, that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.” (II Chronicles 16:9 NASB) “You . . . act on behalf of those who wait for You . . . You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember Your ways.” (Isaiah 64:4-5 NIV)
So I ask you: How serious are you about having an intimate, soul-satisfying relationship with God? If you want to be intentional about drawing near to Him, then I challenge you to pray these prayers. Don’t pray them for other people. Pray these prayers for yourself and see what God will do!
1. Lord, draw me into a closer relationship with You! Give me a greater desire to read Your Word. Give me a greater desire to spend time with you in prayer and meditation. Give me a greater desire to spend time with other believers. Give me a greater desire to worship You. “But if you seek the Lord Your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29) “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:38) “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
2. Lord, make my heart clean! Help me to see my sin, confess it to You and turn from it completely. Help me let go of past hurts. Help me forgive the wrongs others have done to me. Set me free from anger and jealousy. Set me free from negative thoughts and emotions. Set me free from fear. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 NKJV) “Create a clean heart within me, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
3. Lord, help me surrender every area of my life to You! Help me to seek Your will above my own. Help me to trust You to do what’s best for me. Help me surrender my career and my finances to You. Help me surrender my husband and my children to You. Help me surrender my time and energy to You. Help me surrender my future to You. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
4. Lord, strengthen, protect, comfort and provide for me and those I love! Help me to seek You during times of uncertainty, pain and loss. Help me to trust Your goodness and love toward me even when I don’t understand what You’re doing. Protect me and those I love from evil. Provide for our needs from day to day. Allow me to experience Your peace and comfort in every situation in my life. “I want you to trust me in your times of trouble so I can rescue You and you can give Me glory.” ( Psalm 52:15) “But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in Your hands.'” (Psalm 31:14) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (I Corinthians 1:3-4) “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
5. Lord, give me wisdom and help me fulfill Your purpose in my life! Help me to put my life in order. Give me a desire to establish my priorities according to Your plans. Remind me to seek You first when I need guidance and direction. Help me be willing to listen when You speak. Grant me Your wisdom in both big and small choices in my life. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8) “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,’ says the Lord, ‘neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9) “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)
6. Lord, fill me with more of You! More of my favorite verses: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-20a) “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and hight and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)