Are You Growing in Grace? - page 4


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From the Summer 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Are You Growing in Grace?

by Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director, Washington Area Fellows Program

 
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Prayer

  The fourth means of grace is prayer. The Greek text says, the prayers, suggesting that at this early period, when the newly converted disciples were still gathering in the Temple precincts, they were also praying some of the traditional Jewish prayers. But Jesus had taught them what we call the Lord’s Prayer, and no doubt they were using it, as well as free, extemporaneous prayers. Prayer was a major part of the life of the church in Acts and was connected with extraordinary answers (Acts 4:23–31; 12:1–17).
  Prayer is something we must learn. The way we learn to pray is by praying. Reading books on prayer can be helpful, but this is not a substitute for the action itself. Fortunately Jesus gave us a pattern to guide our praying and help us mature in prayer. It is usually called the Lord’s Prayer, but it should be called the Disciples’ Prayer, because it was given to the disciples as a pattern, a guide, a framework for their prayer lives (Matt. 6:9–13). It seems very simple at first, but it contains six petitions that cover the main areas on which our prayer should focus. The more we ponder each of these, the more we discover the comprehensive scope of this prayer. Over the centuries, this prayer has been the primary resource for learning to pray, followed by the Psalms.
  If we are devoting ourselves to the Scriptures, we will discover many promises from God. And if we are living in true fellowship/koinonia, we will have much to pray about. Praying with others is an important element of prayer. A prayer partner or a triplet or quad is a great way not only to grow in prayer, but also to develop deeper koinonia. As we learn how to pray rightly and see God answer our prayers, we will grow in our gratitude, trust, and intimacy with Him and faith in His Word.

Summary

  You may have noticed that these four means of grace seem to be interconnected. In fact, they are deeply connected because the Holy Spirit energizes and integrates them in ways that help transform us. When we, like the first church, devote ourselves to all four, the Spirit uses each to intensify the others in a divine synergy that propels us forward in grace. On the other hand, when one or two are neglected or sluggish, our spiritual vitality is greatly diminished. How is it with you? Are you devoted to all four of these essential means of grace? If not, ask God to help you, then take whatever action is necessary. As you use God’s appointed means of grace consistently and with perseverance, trusting the Holy Spirit to work through them, your relationship with Christ will deepen and increase in strength, vitality, fruitfulness, and joy.


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