Desiring God: Following Hard after God

 

Our desire for God is the fruit of a renewed heart; it is a dynamic of the Spirit.  I like what Tozer has said:

You and I are in little (our sins excepted) what God is in large.  Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him.   In our sins we lack only the power.  The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition.

Let me bring it to you in this way: we being in Christ, desire of God what Jesus desires of Him—His love, His fellowship, and His righteousness, etc.

 

Following Hard after God

With this desire, if indeed it is desire from God, we must pursue Him.  That is, we must take our desire and put it into action.  As Tozer has indicated in his book, The Pursuit of God, we must follow hard after God.  Tozer writes, “On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine.”  Tozer says that since God is a person, knowledge of Him can and must be cultivated.

Therefore, when God pursues us and renews our heart, and we desire Him, we must not let that desire lay still.  We must cultivate that desire so that it will grow.  We must follow hard after God and work at bringing our desires for Him into full bloom—into a full knowledge of God (Eph. 4:19).

 

Desiring God Alone  

Any desire that is not ultimately for God and is not giving Him glory is idolatry.  For this reason, in our desire and search for God—the true God—if we intend to find Him we must concentrate on Him alone.    According to Tozer, “The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation.  In the ‘ands’ lies our great woe.  If we omit the ‘and’ we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.”

In Psalms 73:25 David wrote that there was no one in heaven or on earth that he desired besides God.  David of course realized that in men and in all created things there is some satisfaction, but in God there is a real and eternal satisfaction.  Again, in Psalms 16:11, David said to God, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever.”

 

Desiring God with Our Whole Being

There are a number of Psalms that recount how David yearned and longed and thirsted, even panted after God.  He desired God with his whole being—body, soul, and spirit.

The spirit is that innermost part of man that was created to commune with God.  For David, it was important that his spirit was right, faithful, and steadfast before God. After his sin with Bathsheba—during which his spirit was not in communion with God—the Bible tells us that he was eager in his spirit to be in connection with God again.  He prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).

The soul is that part of us that lies between our spirit and our body.  It is the part that brings the worship of God from our spirit to our mind and body.  It is the center of our being, the seat of our emotions and desires.  It was from that part of David that he expressed his desires for God.  Thus he prayed in Psalms 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”  In Psalms 143:6 he prays, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.”   Again in Psalms 84:2 David declares, “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the Lord.”

But the soul and spirit were not the only part of David that desired God.  He also desired God with his body.  In Psalms 63:1 he said to God, “O God; You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You…”  David goes on in this Psalm to describe how he, in his flesh, desired and praised God.  He said, “I have looked [with eyes] for you in the sanctuary…my lips shall praise You…I will lift up my hands in Your name…my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips…When I remember [with the mind] You on my bed, I meditate [with the mind] on You in the night watches…” (Italics added for emphasis.)

 

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10 Prayer Requests for America

Prayer for Trump and Country

One of the best things we can do concerning all the evil in the country is to pray. Prayer is the most powerful force in the world, and every Christian has been gifted with that force.  Here are ten items to pray over.

1. Thank our Heavenly Father for many things happening in our country.

  • For strong unwavering leadership
  • For a booming economy
  • For record low unemployment
  • For growing religious liberty
  • For business growth
  • For a new world respect for fairness and trade in the world
  • For a new great relationship with Israel—and this will result in blessings for our country according to Genesis 12:3.

2. Ask the Father for protection, health and wisdom for our President and his team. There is evil all around the President. Many evil forces are at work trying to discourage him. He needs our prayers to continue the great service he is dong for…

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We Desire God because God Desires Us

 

According to Tozer, “… Before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.”  God’s work of enlightenment within us, therefore, is the secret cause of all our desiring and seeking and praying.  Tozer says, “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”2

From the beginning of time God has been seeking men and women who have a heart like His so that they would desire Him and do his will (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22, Isa. 65:2). There is, however, only one way that anyone can truly desire Him with a pure heart: it is by accepting God’s Son and resting in Him, thus by allowing Him to transform them and renew their heart and mind (Romans 12:2).

Now the way it works, the way God makes us desire Him is through His Son; when we accept Him He gives us His own Spirit in our heart, which is the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15).

To explain it further, the reason why we become motivated to seek God and to desire Him is because we are really seeking Him through Jesus who is responding to His Father’s love.  Accordingly, because we are in Christ, when God the Father delights in the Son (Isaiah 42:1), we also feel that delight and are drawn to Him in love.  And remember, we are in fact His sons and daughters; we are joint heirs with Him.

And so, we, joyfully, delight in God. And we find, surprisingly, that our desire for Him is a heavenly and holy desire that continues to bubble up from our heart as out of the very heart of God.

 

2 A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, n. d.), p. 11.

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How to Identify A Never Trumper

Prayer for Trump and Country

It seems very odd that no matter what President Trump has done for the country, no matter how well the country is doing, and how happy most people are (with more jobs and lower taxes, etc.), Republican never Trumpers are just that. They will never be for Trump no matter what he does or what shape the country is in. Why? Because they just plain don’t like him as a President. Here are three things that never Trumpers are looking for in a President:

  • Someone who has the appearance of moral and intellectual superiority. They don’t care much about what he does for the country. It is all about appearance.
  • Someone who is part of the political establishment and who looks the part of a President in their eyes, and does what is expected of a President—who has plenty of experience in the political field.
  • Someone who has a global…

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The Biblical Meaning of Desire – Six Categories

 

Here is a biblical study of the term desire. I thought it would be beneficial, in my study of prayer, to get a thorough understanding of this term desire, since prayer has so much to do with it. The biblical meaning of desire is quite broad. In my study I found sixteen Hebrew and Greek words translated as desire, and have put them in the following six categories:

 

To delight in: Hebrew – chapets, taavah.  This term, as indicated by these two Hebrew words and their verses, convey the idea of delighting in, to be pleased with, satisfied with, and to incline toward.  Thus the meaning here is that when we desire a thing it brings us pleasure and satisfaction, and we are drawn toward it.  The desire could be for good or for evil.  Most of the references I found in conjunction with these words were for good, but some for evil.  Many had to do with a desire for God and His Word, such as the following two verses: Psalms 40:8, “I delight [chapets] to do Your will O my God, and Your law is within my heart”; and Psalms 112:1, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights [chapets] greatly in His commands.”

Here is a verse where desire is bent toward evil: Genesis 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable [taavah] to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…”

 

To long for, yearn for, crave after or lust for: Hebrew – taavah, ttaabah, avah, kacaph; Greek – epithumia, epipothesis.  Again these words are used both for good desires and bad desires.  Here are two examples of a good desire: from Psalms 119:20, “My soul is consumed with longing [taabah] for Your laws at all times”; and from Psalms 84:2, “My soul longs [kacaph], yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord.”

The Greek word epithumia is used mostly of evil desires, such as in Jude 18: “…there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts [epithumia].”  In 1 Thessalonians 2:17 is one of the few times it is used of a good desire.  Here Paul wrote, “But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more earnestly to see your face with great desire [epithumia].”

So far, we have seen that both good and evil are brought about by the vehicle of desire.  And in both cases desire is like a servant.  It either serves us for sin, or it becomes for us a servant of love, good deeds and prayer (Read Romans 6:12-18).  Therefore, desire itself is neither good nor bad, but it may bring about good or bad.  It is that vehicle, created by God to bring about good (e.g., to desire God and His will), but of which we are also given the freedom to use to bring about evil (e.g., desire to sin).

According to E. M. Bounds, “Desire is the will in action…”  I think that’s true; the will is at the heart of it.  And there are a few Bible verses that will give us this idea.  As we continue in our study, we will first take a look at the word eudokia, which is rendered as a “good will” given by God, and then we will take a look at some other words and their verses, which again could be used for either good or evil.

 

Good pleasure, good purpose, or good will: Greek – eudokia. This Greek word is used nine times in the New Testament.  Only in Romans 10:1 is it rendered as desire; all the other times as good pleasure, good purpose, or good will.  By this word, in all occurrences, desire is understood as a good desire and comes from God.  In Philippians 2:13 it says, “… it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure [eudokias].”  Thus Paul is saying that God works in us and gives us good desires—they come from Him.  So when Paul said in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire [eudokia] and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved,” this was a desire made in heaven by God and placed on Paul’s heart.

 

The will in action: Greekeudokia, thelema, thelo, boulomai.  From these words we learn that the will is involved in desire.  Eudokia, as we said, is used only as good will (or as good desire), which comes straight from God.  But the other three words could be used as either good will or bad will, of the will of God or of the will of the devil or of the flesh.  Here are two examples, one of each kind:

From John 4:34, Jesus said to His disciples, “My food is to do the will [thelema] of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”  Then, from Ephesians 2:3, Paul states, “…we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires [thelema] of the flesh and of the mind…”  

Notice again that our desire, which is our will in action, comes from either the will of God or from a bad source—from the flesh or the devil.  And the way it works is that when we give our lives over to God to do His will, then our will (our desires) will be for Him and for prayer.  And this will always be true, not because of our own will but because of His work of love in drawing us to Himself.  For God is always working in us, trying to get us to desire (and to do) what is good (Phil. 2:13).  But if we reject God then our desires will be bent toward evil, to fulfill our own lustful pleasures.

Now since we were all born into sin, it is natural for an unredeemed person to desire (and do) what is sinful; he is carried away by his own desire (lust).  But when a person becomes a Christian he is given a new nature; and so, even though he may at times, through his unredeemed flesh, fall into temptation and be carried away by desires to sin, the general direction of his desire has changed.  God has begun to work in Him to give him His desires; all things, including all his desires, have “become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

 

To seek after: Hebrew – baqash; Greek – zeteo, orego.  These three words, translated as seek after, also mean to desire; thus when we seek after a thing we desire it.  Accordingly, when we seek after God or His righteousness, it means that we desire Him and want to do His will.

Deuteronomy 4:29 offers a wonderful promise to those who seek God with their whole heart: “…you will seek [baqash] the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your Heart and with all your soul.”  Matthew 7:7 also offers a similar promise: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek [zeteo], and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

 

As prayer: Hebrew – taavah; Greek – erotao, aiteo.  In Psalms 10:17, taavah is translated as desire: “Lord, You have heard the desire [taavah] of the humble; You have prepared their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear.”  It seems clear to me that we could replace “desire” with “request” or “prayer”—e.g., You have heard the prayer of the humble.  Also, if you look at eratao and aiteo you will find that these words are most often translated as “ask or “request,” but they could also be translated as desire.  Thus we may conclude that prayer, or at least part of prayer, desires a thing.  I think for our sake, however, when we prayer, we need not only have desires, but we need to express our desires to God in words—because we need to hear ourselves pray so that we will be encouraged.

Conversely, and as a fitting conclusion to this section, let me say this: God doesn’t ever need to hear our words of prayer; He hears the desires of our heart even before we ask Him (Matt. 6:8, Isa. 65:24).

 

 

 

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10 Forms of Prayer

 

The forms of prayer are simply the various expressions of our personal life toward God that agree with the various moods or attitudes we have or choose to have.  Thus the many forms of prayer are quite endless, for there are as many forms of prayer as man has characteristics of personal life—as he has moods or attitudes.  Here are ten forms of prayer, which I will describe briefly:

1. The prayer of adoration. We should adore God in all our praying, but generally, this is the way we should begin our prayers (and our day)—saying, “Hallowed be Thy name.”

2. The prayer of confession. This is the only form of prayer that should come out of our lips when we have sinned.  For, it is the only form (or expression) that would be true and honest.  Moreover, without confession fellowship with God would be impossible.

3. The prayer of thanksgiving. We ought to give God thanks continually for all things. For it is God’s will for us (1 Thess. 5:18), it is the way to keep ourselves in the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), and it is the way we glorify Him (Rom. 1:21).  Thus all of our prayers of petition should be with the attitude of thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Sometimes I just like to sit and make a list to Him of all the things I am thankful for.

4. Supplication. This is a special kind of petitionary prayer, marked by a sense of urgency for a desperate need, requiring an earnest humility. Thus to make supplication means to ask for humbly or earnestly.  The Latin words supplicans and supplicant mean to kneel down.  We would use this form of prayer only when the proper mood strikes us, that is, only when the Spirit of God moves upon us with desire and a sense of need.  Normally we use the word supplication to describe prayer for personal needs, but it is also used to describe our petition as we beg and plead on behalf of another.  Such was the case with Esther as she made supplication unto the king for her people (Esther 4:8).

5. Simple and short prayers. These are the meal time prayers when we thank God for our food, and the prayers of benediction at the end of a church service.  These are the prayers offered throughout the day while working, when we can’t take time to pray long.

6. Long and conversational prayers. These are the prayers that we offer during the night when we can’t sleep.  They are the prayers offered on a Sunday afternoon when we have set aside a whole hour to pray.  These also are the prayers offered when we take a long walk—when we commune with God about every little thing.  They are also the prayers of tragedy and suffering when we pray hard and long, when we pray our hearts out waiting for God to come down and touch us.

7. Meditative prayers. These are the prayers offered when we study the Word and muse on deep meanings.  They are the prayers offered when we are lying down and are gazing into the sky contemplating the wonder and glory of God.

8. The prayer of relinquishment. This form of prayer often comes after the prayer of confession.  It is the prayer of dedication.  It is the kind of prayer offered when we see how good and great God is—when we are moved to give Him everything.

9. The prayer of sorrow, suffering and tears. This is the type of prayer we pray for the sick, the elderly, the lonely and the depressed.  It is prayer from the heart.  This kind of prayer is often termed as a crying out of the soul for God.

10. The prayer of authority.  We pray this kind of prayer against the forces of evil when the Holy Spirit assures us that He is with and will help us.  By the prayer of authority we command in Jesus Name for Satan to be gone, and we summon the angels of heaven to come to our aid.  Likewise, with the promises of God’s Word and with the agreement of the saints, we take great confidence in offering this form of prayer.

 

 

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9 Descriptions of Prayer by Various Authors – Part 3

 

Prayer is very basic, yet very deep. It is quite simple, yet at the same time, very complex. In my reading I have found nine descriptions of prayer by various authors. In my last two blog articles we found that prayer has been described as …

 

  • Asking and receiving
  • Approaching God’s throne
  • Our service due Him
  • Letting Jesus come into us and heal us
  • An expression of our fellowship with God
  • Something we do naturally

 

Here is the last three descriptions of prayer I found.

 7. Prayer is dominant desire. This description of prayer I think instructs us well and helps us to see clearly what real, effective prayer is, in contrast to prayer that is not genuine and not effective.

We know that all petitionary prayer begins with a wish or a desire; then we express that desire with a request.  This is the basic meaning of prayer—from the Greek word deesis. In fact this Greek word can actually be translated as either desire or prayer. However, real prayer, prayer that is heeded by God, must have a desire that dominates, or over rides, all other desires (that are more of the flesh and not of the spirit).  That is, this desire in prayer must be most important, making all other desires of less importance—so that there is no doubt what the number one desire of the heart is; hence there will not be doubting—going back and forth in the mind as to what is desired (“like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” James 1:6).

Prayer with this description (having dominant desire) energizes the will so much so that the desire for rest and sleep is forgotten, or even not needed—because this desire in prayer tends to energize the body.  This would be the case with a couple “in love”—who would spend hours talking on the phone to each other, not even being aware of the time.

This would also was the case with our Lord who prayed to His Father at night, sometimes all night long (Lu. 6:12). Most of us would regard this kind of prayer as particularly earnest and sacrificial—I mean, it would be something that was hard to do.  But if we look at it in the light that Jesus loved His Father and longed to be with Him, we get an entirely different idea.  This all-night-prayer of Jesus’ I think was joyous and refreshing. That is because His prayer was made up of a strong desire that put all other desires in second place, even the desire for sleep.

Some (who have subscribed to this description of prayer) have said that we don’t really have to make requests to God; that our strong, dominant desires become our requests.  Well I would differ with that idea, because requests are actually part of prayer—desire being the first part. However, if the holy desires we have are strong and dominate all others, they will in fact cause us to cry out to God with requests.

Now here is the thing that is most important in this description: in real, Christian prayer our dominant desires must be holy and from God.  This of course goes without saying; all effective prayer must be according to the will of God.

8. Prayer is a struggle. If prayer is dominant desire, then prayer must also be a struggle to keep the mind and the desires of the mind on God’s will—and to keep those Godly desires dominant.

Certainly, every Christian struggles in prayer to keep himself on the narrow road as he journeys through this evil world.  We struggle against the world’s system that offers us sex and food and riches and possessions and status. These things are all good gifts of God, and so are good for us in the right proportions and in the right context; but if not, if we use these things for our own pleasure and in disobedience to God, then they can be very damaging and corrupting; and it is sin.

Our struggle in prayer then is obviously not only a struggle against outward forces of the world, but also with inward forces of our own flesh. We struggle in prayer with selfishness, our love of ease, and all kinds of lusts.  We struggle with our pride and with our temper and with our unwillingness to obey God and to forgive others and to pray for them.

And of course, perhaps most of the time unknowingly, we struggle in prayer against the devil and his demons, who are constantly urging us to relax in prayer—I mean to fall asleep and to quit praying.  And they also keep putting things in our mind as we pray to distract us and confuse and discourage us.  Yes pray is definitely a struggle.

9. Prayer is expressing the absence of God. Theodore W. Jennings Jr., in his book, Life as Worship, Prayer and Praise in Jesus Name, says, “In prayer we express the absence of something.”  This something he says is God.  He said, “Prayer expresses our need and desire for God, a need that grows out of our godlessness and godforsakenness.”

I like what Jennings has said; but it describes only the petition part of prayer, the part that is always crying out to God for what we need.  Another part of prayer is praise.  This part, does not express our lack and His absence; it expresses our joy in His presence. This is the part I think that will be most dominant in heaven.

 

The above article is an excerpt from this book.

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