One thing that I have noticed since starting here at NHOP is that much of our prayer life can be issues driven. We get most of our information regarding issues from media, government officials, social media and friends and family. The question is “with all of these opinions, how do we align ourselves with the plans and purposes of God in our prayers?” Many of the topics we are seeing often stir our emotions which can cloud or even interfere with what Holy Spirit is actually saying.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
The Word of God is our plumbline. This is the standard we must use to separate what is soul (mind, will and emotion) and what is Spirit. Our Spirits come alive when Christ enters. When we pray we want to synchronize our hearts with the Father. When praying for a matter, look for Holy Spirit to quicken a verse to you. Sometimes it’s only 2 or 3 words and we then need to go and find the rest in the Scriptures. Google is a good tool for this. Once we have the text that Holy Spirit has activated in us, we can then pray into it.
Marilyn and I have our daily devotions using the One Year Bible. We will often hear the prompting of Holy Spirit while reading a passage. This highlights the assignment He wants us to pray from the Word for that day. Even when the reading seems to be the mundane naming of descendants (statistics) as in 1 Chronicles, we are always listening so Holy Spirit can bring illumination. For example, we were reading 1 Chronicles chapter 1 and in v38, the sons of Seir were named. They just seemed to abruptly show up in the passage. Research told us that Seir was a Horite that lived among the Israelites. We saw the inclusivity of God for people who would choose Him; that He grafted them into His family. Even their lineage was counted amongst His Chosen. Our prayer for that day while walking around Parliament Hill was that our government would choose Him. We pray that all of Canada would be grafted into the family of God.
Praying the Word keeps us aligned with God. We also use the Bible to measure what others are speaking or prophesying in the church. Everything must be in order with Scripture. This same plumbline is applied to how we process what we hear from media, government officials, social media and friends and family.
“Anytime you have an opinion about something, you will not be able to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say about it” Bob Jones
That is not to say we are to throw away our opinions. God is not looking for robots. He will never force His point of view on us. However, our prayers need to be parallel with what God thinks and not what we think. Sometimes, we may need to check our presumptions at the door before entering into the place of prayer. Often, I get frustrated with what our government leaders say and do on both sides of the house. I used to sound off on social media about my displeasure with Justin Trudeau, in particular. That has since changed. It had been difficult for me to pray for him because of my opinions of him and the policies his party were rolling out. As we were praying the Word one morning out of Revelation 15:3(b), “Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!”, I heard Justin Trudeau superimposed over the Scripture. I began then and still continue to pray “Just and True” into our Prime Minister. It has changed my heart towards him. Had I continued to pray what my mind, will and emotion wanted to pray, there would be no power in my prayers because they were coming from me and not from Holy Spirit. I would call them soulish prayers. As Hebrews 4:12 states, the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. Praying the Word is a very effective weapon.
In the past, when I read Heb 4:12, I would use it as a measuring stick against other people’s thoughts and intentions. While we need the plumbline of the Word to measure what others are speaking or prophesying, we must first use it to judge our own thoughts and intentions
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3
The gauging of the plumbine should always start with our own hearts. Our posture is always “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36. I have noticed that when I pray using the Word as the Plumbline, it changes me. My opinions change. It softens my heart. As we allow Holy Spirit to lead us through the washing of His Word, our souls become more surrendered to His plans and purposes. It is in this place that we are able to partner with God in prayer.