One of the most profound statements in the Bible is contained in the Lord's prayer: "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9-13 We are to ask for God's will to be done on earth, and it is made very clear that God's will is done in heaven.
If earth is a training ground for God to teach us his will, there are two groups of us: those willing to learn and those who turn a deaf ear, insisting things be done their own way.
If one were forced to abide by God's will, would it not fill one with animosity? If animosity is not allowed in heaven, then those in attendance are likely to desire God's will.
Some have it in the back of their minds that if God exists, then salvation may be obtained by "being good." When our human nature promotes failure in such an effort, we can become dismayed, and angrily reject God. So why does the failure occur? Those who depend upon themselves fail to realize that God is alive.
A relationship with God is a gift. God has given us the freedom to choose. The gift is not forced upon us. One must ask for it. Ephesians 2:8-9 This gift is not given lightly for it was paid through God's son, Christ Jesus, who went to the cross. For those who accepted this gift, He offers us moments within the presence of the Holy Spirit John14:15-21, and the eventual presence of God for eternity.
Experiencing God requires a step into the unknown beyond simply asking for forgiveness. It requires repentance, which includes the desire to turn away from sin.
If your heart does not yet know Jesus, this can be your moment. He is waiting for your consent to come into your life.
Bow your head and fold your hands in humility. Praying the following prayer requires submitting your heart before a God who loves you:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I have placed a lifetime of selfishness ahead of your will and wish to turn from my sin. I ask for your forgiveness. I now give to you my entire existence, my hopes, my dreams, and my ambitions. Please be my “Lord” so that I may submit to your desires ahead of my own. Allow “your will” to become my motivator for the remainder of my life.
Each day is no longer about you. This prayer is the first step in opening up to a new world of learning. God has the patience to rebuild your life, however, it requires taking this step to allow Him in. He does not force; it is your choice.
Some having experience "spiritual birth" John 3:3-21, at a young age may have no recollections of the moment.
The other end of the spectrum is that the experience of spiritual birth, is a person's most personal and private moment within his or her life. This moment may include "physically experiencing" the presence of the Holy Spirit for the first time. Acts 8:14-17 For many, it is the moment they went from God just being a theory to knowing God does exist.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
We may recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit most commonly during times of "my will to thy will" submission before a Holy God. A Born-again (spiritual birth) Christian may be going from a heart of "I am only willing to do," transformed to "What would you have me do?"
God allows us to learn how to serve Him through prayer. Some appreciate the presence of the Holy Spirit beyond submission to aid in discernment. The Holy Spirit offers to teach us how to apply Christ's teachings. However, this requires our willingness to be open to receive his grace (gifts of spiritual learning.) It is done through prayer and an awareness of how He responds.
Have you ever asked a Christian of true maturity for a long-term commitment? Much of the time their reply may be, "I'll get back with you." During the following weeks they may spend time on their knees seeking the direction in life God would have them take.
The more determined our will to locate God’s direction for us, the greater our ability to proceed with an “open obedience” in following His will. With such a degree of submission, the Holy Spirit may send us clues for our initial moves to develop additional trust or to overcome other factors within our personalities that are holding us back from learning at a faster rate. When looking back, we can appreciate the love shown by choosing to work on ourselves first. As we grow in his grace, opportunities for effective service may be blended in. Our prayer may change to asking for “guidance not to stray from His path” so that we do not delay God’s progression of events.
Next Chapter: Forgiving Others
Chapter 1: Facing God
Chapter 2: The Bible and God's Plan
Chapter 3: What is Prayer?
Chapter 4: How to Receive Grace (current page)
Chapter 5: Forgiving Others
Chapter 6: Facing Ourself
Chapter 7: How to Pray
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