Pressing On

Pressed Flowers - Country Living

Pressing On
with Bayless Conley

In Philippians 3:12, Paul says,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Paul's challenge in this verse is for you and me to press on, to keep growing. I believe one of the greatest assets in life that you and I have is the capacity to grow and change. We have the capacity to press on.

One of the first steps in pressing on is to realize that you have not yet arrived. Even the apostle Paul acknowledged and recognized that he had not yet arrived. He said, Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected.

Paul understood that he had a lot of room for growth. And if he did, so do we.

If you have grown stagnant in your spiritual life, you need to ask the question, "Why?" Why is your spiritual life stunted? Why are you not growing? Why are you stymied in your spiritual progress? What are your barriers to growth?

I believe that if we are willing to admit that we need to grow, then identify the barriers that are keeping a lid on our spiritual lives, and finally, by the grace of God, deal with those barriers and remove them, we will begin to press on and grow.

If you were to take a catfish and put it in a small fish tank, that fish would only grow to be 12 inches long and it might weigh a quarter of a pound. But if you took that identical catfish and placed it into a lake, it might grow to be three feet long and weigh 60 pounds.

What was the barrier to its growth? The tank kept it contained. It grew to the limit that the environment allowed.

Remove the barriers to your spiritual growth and press on!

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ASK: The Third Step in Effective Prayer
With Bayless Conley

So far we have discovered that praise and repentance are the first two steps to effective prayer. Today I want to show you the very important third step of asking.

Yesterday we talked about how repentance is searching your own heart and asking God to put the spotlight on it, and then repenting of anything that He shows you. When your heart is clean, you can have confidence before God when you ask. As 1 John 3:21-22 says,

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus tells us,

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

Pretty clear, isn't it? God loves you and wants the very best for you. Be careful not to water down the words of Jesus, or somehow try and explain them away or complicate them. He meant just what He said.

But there are some conditions. And tomorrow we will look at those conditions for receiving what you ask God for.

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YIELD: The Fourth Step in Effective Prayer
with Bayless Conley

Psalm 37:4 provides us the "Y" in the acronym P-R-A-Y, the four elements to effective prayer we have been discussing over the last few devotionals.

Here is what Psalm 37:4 says,

Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Now the Hebrew word for delight in this verse literally means to become soft or pliable. This means that "delighting" in the Lord is assuming a yielded posture before God.

So the "Y" in P-R-A-Y stands for yield. The question is: How do you practice yielding to God when you pray? Yielding is when you stop talking, and you wait, listen, and seek to hear from God.

In my own practice of prayer, I will often bow before God and ask Him, "God, is there anything You want to say to me? Do You have any instructions for me? Is there anything You want me to change?"

Then I silently wait for Him to speak to me.

As you assume this posture of being yielded and waiting quietly before Him, you will be surprised at some of the things that come to your attention: "You need to spend more time with your daughter," "Take your wife out on a date," "Bake your neighbor a pie and build a bridge over which the gospel can travel," "Spend more time praising Me," "Show your gratitude and appreciation for those who have been helping you in your life."

You will indeed hear from God if you ask Him to speak into your heart, and wait silently before Him.

That is the last element of effective prayer: praise, repent, ask, yield. Your prayers can indeed be effective if you commit to these four principles. That is how to P-R-A-Y.

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God

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