In my 33+ years as a Christian leader, I noticed most of my emotional and spiritual growth have come during times of intense pain and challenges to my leadership. While most of us would love to grow merely from the accumulation of information, the truth is that we need to experience revelation in order for the knowledge to transform our inner being. That is why I often tell people: We cannot grow from only attending Bible studies and saying prayers; we must live these studies and prayers out in our lives so we can realize the growth!
The following is a chapter from Joseph Mattera’s latest book “Travail to Prevail: A Key to Experiencing the Heart of God”.
When I came to Christ in January of 1978, I was the kind of person that could read the bible for many hours, but I had a hard [difficult] time praying for more than a couple of minutes.
All that changed in June of 1978 when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Within a few months I was able to pray for a long time without getting bored.
God wants His creation to be fascinated with Him and His ways.
Passages like Isaiah 40 are examples of how God wants us to always have hearts that pursue and seek out the mystery of God and His ways.
As a full-time church minister since 1981, I have had the task of observing the lives of thousands of believers. Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that there are believers in the church who say they are Christians, while, at the same time, espousing value systems that are secular. However, these secular believers are slightly different from what we may identity as a “carnal Christian,” whose ways have to do with the overt sins of the flesh and emotions (read 1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Of these two types, the secular believer, as with “secular Christianity” (which, by the way, is contradictory and, therefore, a misnomer) is more subtle because they are sugar-coated with spirituality and outward peace but have foundations of secular values.
Text: Job 37:6-7 (ESV)
This week there was a blizzard in New York City that dropped 20 inches of snow. Both the commissioner of the NYC Sanitation Department and the mayor of the city took huge hits to their reputations because, as of the writing of this article (three days after the storm hit) many of the streets still have not been plowed! This is so scandalous that some in the New York City Council are also thinking about having hearings to investigate why this happened.
Merely praying is never enough; if this was so every person in the world who prays to God would have their prayers answered. There are clear criteria in Scripture related to how and for whom God answers prayer. The following are scriptural principles related to praying in the will of God.