Connecting With God, Part 7
(To read Part 1, click here)
I wrote previously about rebuilding the “house” of my spiritual life by memorizing, meditating upon, and praying Scripture. It is my hope that this example will inspire you to lay your own Foundation, whether with these verses or others of your choosing.
The foundation is the least visible part of a house, but also the most important. Hence, this is the largest of my three prayer segments. (Note: Words in parentheses below are illuminations based on studies in the original Greek and Hebrew.)
Romans 12:2 – I start my day with these words to get my head and heart in the right place: “Do not be conformed to (“shaped by”) this world (or age), but (instead) be transformed (literally metamorphosed like a caterpillar) by the regenerating of your mind, so that you may be able to discern* what is the will of God: what is good, well-pleasing, and perfect.**
Prayer is not about aligning God to my will. It’s about aligning mine to His!
Matthew 7:24-25 – Having purposed to center myself on God’s will, I look to Jesus for the “how to”: “Anyone who hears these words of mine and is doing them is like the wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house, but it stands (Jesus shifts to present tense—the house is still standing!) because it is founded upon rock.” In a nutshell: “Build your life on my Word!”
John 8:31-32 – I now focus on what may be gained by building a life on his Word: “When you remain*** in my word, then you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set* you free.”
How could anyone not be excited by a promise like that?
Psalm 119:10-13 – Next, I personalize my intention, using the words of King David: “With my whole heart I seek you! (And to that end) I have hidden (or “treasured”) your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you (David realized that all sins are sins against God because anything that is not in accord with His will damages something or someone He created). And with my lips I will proclaim all of the ordinances of your mouth.” In a nutshell: “For the benefit of many, including myself, I will meditate upon and teach all of these truths that I have memorized.”
Matt 26:41 – Echoing Psalm 119, I next add Jesus’ warning, “Watch (“stay awake!”) and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation (there’s a certainty in these words—if you watch and pray, you will not fall). The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Greek = “infirm,” not weakness by design, but rather the fallen, “sick” state of humanity). In a nutshell: “I know you’re sincere, but you’re also fallen, so stay alert continually and nip temptation in the bud!”
John 15:10-11 – Moving from don’t to do, I now recite Jesus’ words, “When you obey me, you remain*** in my love, just as I obey the Father and remain in His love. (This does not mean, “I only love you when you obey me,” it means, “Obeying me keeps you out of harm’s way and allows you to be at home in my love.”) “I’m telling you this,” He clarifies, “so that my joy will remain (be at home) in you. Yes, your joy will be complete!”**
Hebrews 12:1-2 – I always conclude my foundation verses with these words of encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (countless heroes and everyday saints have taken this journey, proving it can be done—we are not alone!), let us also (just as they have) lay aside every burden (all the fears and failings that pull us off course) and the sin that clings so closely (that addictive behavior that seems impossible to overcome), and let us run with perseverance the race set before us (get back into the race every day), looking (constantly) to Jesus, the author and finisher** of our faith.”
He put us in this race. He can and will enable us to finish it!”
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*The aorist verb tense (Greek “no limit”) = an ongoing activity, sometimes translated “keep on doing.”
**Teleos (Greek) is a super word that appears again and again in the New Testament. It may be translated: whole, complete, finished, perfect. It’s an essential God-quality that we are called to grow into, meaning, in essence, “no longer broken.”
***Meno (Greek), another super word, can be translated remain, live, or rest, and may most accurately be rendered “abide,” the verb form of abode. It means to make something your “home base.”