Since we are moving back to the Dallas area at the end of June, my time as teaching leader in our Bible study has come to an end. I've decided to post the letter in two parts because it reflects my big picture perspective of walking by faith in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For a month or more I have been dreading the last time my name was on the list to teach. I knew it was going to be difficult for several reasons. Initially my thought was that I would share with you what I hope you’ve heard me emphasize over the last three years. But because I love and appreciate each of you so much and because what is most important to me creates a great deal of emotion also, I couldn’t imagine how it was that I was going to be able to do that. A few tears when someone teaches are no big deal but I wasn’t sure a few tears were going to be the limit.
Then this week I started pondering what the message of the last half of Daniel is and different songs came to mind. One thing led to another and we ended up having a worship service instead. I hope it was an encouragement to you.
Then I thought there is no reason why I can’t share in a letter what I had previously wanted to do from the front of the room. So I share the following words from my heart to yours.
I feel like I’ve said this one hundred times but its never less true than the last time. God loves you.
Ephesians 3: 14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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 high 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.
It is my prayer for each of you that these would not simply be words of knowledge for you mind but you would come to know them with heart, soul, mind and body. Everything begins with the love of God.
I wont be able to speak to everything that matters to me about prayer in this letter. So what I want to make sure you’ve heard me say is that prayer is in part about your conversion. Praising God in prayer converts us from being worshipers of ourselves to being worshipers of God. Confession converts us from self-righteousness to awareness that we are dependent on the righteousness of Christ. It leads to a willingness to be changed by God. Thanksgiving converts us from be self-reliant to being aware that all goodness in our lives comes from God. Prayer is the action that gives God the opportunity to convert us to believing that God’s will is what matters. When we believe that we will choose to die to ourselves and begin to live in Christ. I believe this with everything I have in me. Please allow God to draw you into a life of prayer.
So asking God for things has become my lowest priority in prayer. I absolutely believe in asking. I believe that God has designed interaction with Him and He with us to include asking. It has simply been moved from the way I most pray to the way I least pray. I am asking God to teach me more about prayer and how and what to ask for. I’m so thankful for what God has taught me so far about prayer.
To be continued...