VIVID SERIES

VIVID is a 5-week series about spiritual disciplines. People who incorporate spiritual disciplines into the rhythms of life see the things of God more clearly, grow more effectively, and experience greater peace, patience, and joy.

Discipline #1 - prayer

"Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in prayer, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving." (New City Catechism) 


CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

1. Prayer involves the real you talking with the real God.

2. Praying according to God's will means prayer flows out of confidence of a person's salvation in Christ and meditation in the Bible. (Psalm 1:2 and 1 John 5:11-15)

3. Prayer is unselfish in nature. It's theme is "Not my will but Thy will be done". (Matthew 6:10)

4. Effective prayer requires intentional margin and patience for God to respond. 

Examples of Biblical Prayers

DAY #1

Spend 20 minutes reading, reflecting, and praying.


Psalm 141:2-4  [A Psalm of David]  "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice! Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!"


Reflect and pray about the following based on Psalm 141:2-4:

1. Prayer acknowledges our need of God. How often do you stop to think about this reality?

2. David knew his heart was prone to wander. Our affections are prone to wander too. What are some things in your day that pull your love away from God?

3. David knew his mouth and lips needed restraint. He knew the principle of "what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person" (Matthew 15:18). Evaluate what's been coming out of your mouth when times are good and bad. What does this reveal about your heart?

4. David knew the strong pull of earthly busyness easily distracted him from things of eternal value. How easily are distracted?

5. David understood the influence sinful people had on his heart and mind.

6. Pray for your joy to be made complete in God and the things of His Kingdom. Earthly "delicacies" are temporary and cannot satisfy our deepest longings. What are some pursuits in your life that you believe will satisfy your soul? Would they fall into the category of "things of this earth" or "things of God's Kingdom"?

7. Pray for contentment as it will guard your heart from the corruption of jealousy and envy. Thank God for your life and His many blessings. Ask God to bless you with even greater joy and contentment.  



DAY #2

Spend 20 minutes reading, reflecting, and praying.


Ephesians 4:1-3  [written by the Apostle Paul]  "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Ephesians 4:22-25  "...put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."

Ephesians 4:32  "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."


Reflect and pray about the following based on Ephesians 4:

1. Today's focus is on the relational aspects of Gospel-centered community. The truth is Christianity isn't a solo or private journey. Our faith is designed to be lived out and will mature in the context of community.

2. Ask the Lord to reveal your spiritual health to you regarding your attitude. 

3. Likewise, ask Him to show you how your behavior is promoting or hindering spiritual growth in your life as well as in the lives of others around you.

4. Out of all the descriptors in these excepts of Ephesians 4, which has been the most difficult for you? Is it speaking the truth in love or forgiving someone? Is it humility or patience? Ask the Lord to give you faith and perseverance to grow in these areas.

5. Meditate on these verses throughout the rest of your day. Trust in the Spirit of God to use you within Gospel-centered community to enhance His Kingdom through you.  



DAY #3

Spend 20 minutes reading, reflecting, and praying.


John 15:1-5 and 7-9  [these are the words of Jesus Christ]  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ...If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this the Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love"


Reflect and pray about the following based on John 15:1-9:

1. One of the most important aspects of Spiritual Disciplines is the reality of our dependance on God. The Father, Son, and Spirit work on our behalf in ways greater than our wildest imagination.

2. What does it look like for you to abide in Jesus?

3. Jesus said those who abide will bear much fruit. What fruit is your life producing of eternal value?

4. Can you identify obstacles or sin in your life which are preventing you from abiding fully in Jesus? 

5. Meditate on the love of Jesus for you throughout this day. Trust God to work through you as His disciple.  



DAY #4

Spend 20 minutes reading, reflecting, and praying.


1 Peter 1:13-16 [written by the Apostle Peter]  "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"


Reflect and pray about the following based on 1 Peter 1:13-16:

1. Spiritual Disciplines reflect a call to holiness. To be holy means to "be set apart" for the purposes of God.

2. Functionally, where have you set your hope? On a daily basis, we work for and worry about all kinds of things. Often, these areas of stress can reveal where we have placed our hope. 

3. For our minds to be ready for meaningful action, our hope must be centered on Jesus Christ. The passions of this world work in opposition to the pursuits of God's Kingdom. What do you think about most throughout your day? Do your thoughts align more with this world or are they centered on the Kingdom (...in other words, are they "holy")?  

4. One of the challenges of the Christian journey is living a life of holy conduct (attitude and behavior that is in sharp contrast to that of this world) even though our flesh desires the things of this world.

5. Can you identify obstacles or sin in your life which are preventing you from holy living? If so, which is the biggest obstacle? What are you going to do about it? 

6. Meditate on this call to holiness throughout your day. Trust God to work through you as His disciple to set your mind and hopes on Jesus Christ - the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  



DAY #5

Spend 20 minutes reading, reflecting, and praying.


Romans 8:35-39 [written by the Apostle Paul]  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long;  we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Reflect and pray about the following based on Romans 8:35-39:

1. Spiritual Disciplines are a response to grace. Jesus Christ invites His followers into a relationship of unconditional love which is not based on our works or intentions. Instead, it's all due to His free gift of grace and mercy.

2. Do you ever feel like you are your worst enemy when it comes to your relationship with God? Maybe you doubt your worth, your goodness, or your salvation. Worse yet, maybe you doubt the power and sufficiency of the cross. 

3. Our present circumstances are real. We're living through them right now. However, they don't have authority over our eternity. 

4. What do you think or feel is separating you from the love of Christ? What will it take for you to realize Christians are "more than conquerors"? In other words, God has spoken through the Apostle Paul of this reality. In Christ, nothing in all of creation can separate us from His love. Do you believe that? Have you received this truth and applied it to your life?   

5. God has invited us in to His Kingdom as His citizens. Furthermore, He has adopted us as His children. All of the riches of Christ have been lavishly poured out on us. All this is for our good and for His glory. Spend time throughout today thanking God for His immeasurable and steadfast love toward you. Ask Him to reveal its fullness more and more as you spend time in His Word and at His feet in prayer.