PART 17 – GOD WANTS US TO KNOW AND PRAY HIS WILL (17/3/20)
Here's Sunday's message if you were unable to gather with the church.
‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’
I guess you may be wondering why we have not stopped this teaching series in order to talk about the Coronavirus. My answer is that I believe that the Father would want us to learn to pray as a result of the current crisis. It’s God’s will that we learn to pray, and I’m praying “May your will be done earth’ in this regard.
I hear people speaking of God’s will as if, primarily, it’s how they feel about something, an inner feeling that they have, an unusual circumstance… These things are valid, but it does worry me that so few Christians seem to speak of God’s word as being their ‘reference guide’ to God’s will. Knowing the bible is hard work, but it ’s vital if we are to know, do and, most importantly, pray God’s will; when we know His will we are to pray ‘Your will be done…’.
The general will of God
God’s ‘general will’ is revealed in His word. Christians are to obey the whole Bible. The Bible reveals God’s will for you and me. David wrote
‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ (Psalm 119:105)
‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:1-2)
The renewed mind comes through devotion to God’s word. We learn not to conform to a worldly pattern of life. We don’t come into the Christian life with complete understanding of God’s will. We have been moulded by our upbringing, culture, our personal preferences… and we need to pray and then learn what God’s will is. The Holy Spirit teaches us through His word otherwise we would not need, and He would not have inspired the bible! EVERY TIME WE PICK UP THE BIBLE WE ARE SAYING “YOUR WILL BE DONE”!
The Great Commission
A very important aspect of God’s will is revealed in Jesus’ last words, that we call The Great Commission, and we will look at this through our devotions this week. We read,
“When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:17-18).
Take a moment to meditate on this text; what do Jesus’ words reveal about His will for all of us? Pray out of what you read.
The specific will of God
Throughout God’s word, He speaks specifically to people about His specific will for them (As we saw yesterday when God spoke to Jeremiah). God has definite things for you and I to do for Him. The Holy Spirit reveals His will through portions of the Bible that ‘speak’ to us, prophecy, dreams, visions, inner conviction (faith), encouragement from others, circumstances…
Take a moment to pray and seek God to lead you. Pray “Your will be done”. Maybe He will remind you of
what He has said in the past.
Pray “your will be done”
This prayer is sometimes an act of surrender to God. There are times when we realise that God is doing things that we don’t like and so we pray, in, in surrender, “your will be done”.
However, there are many times when, after reading scripture or ‘hearing’ God’s voice, we believe that something is God’s will, and He gives us the responsibility to intercede and fight in prayer to see His will being done.
When we know God’s will from scripture we are to pray “Your will be done…” - pray for what you read to come about.
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY
Has there ever been a time when your really wanted something but it didn't happen? How did you learn to deal with it?
Introduction - please read in your group
I guess you may be wondering why we have not stopped this teaching series in order to take about the Coronavirus. My answer is that I believe that the Father would want us to learn to pray as a result of the current crisis. It’s God’s will that we learn to pray, and I’m praying “May you will be done earth’ in this regard.
This week we have come to the phrase "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". This is not a promise that every sickness will be healed, everyone will be saved, every difficulty removed. It is, firstly, a prayer that Jesus would come again; because, only then will His will be fully done on earth as in heaven. Secondly, it's a prayer for what we read in the bible and what we believe to be God's will to be done on earth. It's an encouragement to pray and expect big things to happen.
Read The Lord’s Prayer
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”) (Matthew 6:9-13)
i) God's general will
God’s ‘general will’ is revealed in His word. Christians are to obey the whole Bible. The Bible reveals God’s will for you and me. David wrote, ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ (Psalm 119:105).
Do you allow the bible to form your prayers and do you have any examples? How is the bible informing your prayers in the current crisis?
ii) God's specific will
Throughout God’s word, He speaks specifically to people about His specific will for them. God has definite things for you and I to do for Him. The Holy Spirit reveals His will through portions of the Bible that ‘speak’ to us, prophecy, dreams, visions, inner conviction (faith), encouragement from others, circumstances…
Have you any stories of God giving and fulfilling promises for you? Do you have any promises from God that you are waiting for Him to fulfil?
Go around your group, each one sharing what they would like prayer for at the moment. Pray for each person in turn.