I had the opportunity to talk with a good friend last week. When I asked her how she was feeling about God she replied, "Hopeless."
And that broke my heart.
As tears began to fall down her face she poured out, "I don't know how to pray. Is He even listening? I don't know how to read the Bible. It's all so confusing and I feel lost."
Let's start slowly, friends. Take my hand and walk beside me and we will figure this out together.
- You have to believe that God is real.
He is very real and He hears us.
"This is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will HE HEARS US. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15 (emphasis mine.)
Be confident that He hears you.
- You have to believe that God's Word - Thee Bible - is true.
"All Scripture (that is, Thee Bible) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the (wo)man of God may be competent,
equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (emphasis mine.)
Ok, I know right now, that if you are not familiar with reading Thee Bible you are probably saying, "Carolyn, what in thee world does any of that mean?"
Here's where you have to pay attention. Dissect each word. Take it apart and think about it. Look up words you may not know. Or find a different Bible version until it does make sense to you.
Www.BibleGateway.com is an excellent source. You can go there, type in this verse and choose your version. If you are not yet a Bible reader, I would choose the Good News version or The Message for now.
I personally use the NIV and other translations, but that is because I have been seeped in God's Word since before I could read, thanks to a Mama and Grandma who instilled a love and thirst for His Word. Does that make me better than you? Nope. But I wanted to share why I feel a deep connection with Thee Bible, and a deep desire to teach others how to read it and make it applicable to their lives.
So, let's unpack the verse above.
The Bible is the very breath of God (Hebrew ruach). It's God-breathed. Living. Still true today because if it has breath, then it is alive!
Next comes a list of what we can use Thee Word for:
- Teaching. Which is what I am using it for today with you.
- Reproof. To show you what is wrong in your life. To point you back to His direction.
- Correction. A little discipline never hurt anyone. A father lovingly disciplines his children. God is that kind of Father.
- Training in righteousness. Righteousness is a word you may hear a lot in church. It simply means living right. That is, the way God instructs you to. Thee Bible is full of guidance and wisdom. It may be thousands of years old, but it's wisdom is still useful for today, right where we are.
And finally, the results of reading His Word:
- It will make you a competent woman. If you will serve God, you will be capable. To do anything. To love those who hate you. To get out of bed each day. To be a better wife. An attentive mom. A good friend.
- It will equip you for every good work. It will give you all you need to accomplish the good things that God has planned for you. Read Jeremiah 29:11. That's our family verse, and I want you to claim it for your own, too.
- You have to "get right" with God
This last point is also the most important one.
If you don't trust me will you take my words as true? Nope. If you don't know me would you let me in your front door? I hope not. How do you feel when you haven't been forgiven when you have done someone wrong and truly have apologized and they won't offer grace? Rotten. Rejected. Torn.
We all have sinned. Romans 3:23 says that "all have sinned and fall short of God's glory." That means He is God and perfect and you, my darling, are not.
Sin - anything that is against God's will and perfect love - separates us from God. It forms a barrier. And while we are all still sinner's God still loves us. That's a Gospel truth.
But is only when we ask for forgiveness and become cleansed that we can approach Him in prayer.
This is how I pray when I have sinned:
"God, I really messed up today. I let my mouth get the best of me. I said things that were hurtful and hateful. I used your holy name as a profanity. God, I need to ask you to forgive me. Restore me to you. Give me strength to watch and weigh my words so that they do not tear others down. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me, so that I may have this forgiveness and boldly approach the throne of God. AMEN."
Confess. Tell Him how you sinned. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for help with the sin and offer a way to make it right next time. Thank Jesus for His sacrifice. Praise God.
Praying this way opens up the gates to approach God. He will hear you. He will find you. He will help you.
You have no need to feel hopeless. You can move forward. You will be healed!
If you have any more questions about Thee Bible or prayer comment below, send me a FB message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
And I will never stop praying for you.