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Sacred Rhythms - Cultivating Daily Connection with God, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2019 6:00 am

Sacred Rhythms - Cultivating Daily Connection with God, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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September 24, 2019 6:00 am

Are you frustrated or discouraged with your prayer life? Do you feel like you’re just saying words but not really connecting with God? Does it feel like prayer is an obligation rather than an opportunity? This program will open your eyes to a dimension of prayer you may not have considered.

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Are you frustrated were discourage with your prayer life. You feel like you're just saying words but not really connecting with God, then stay with this help is on the way, welcome to this Tuesday a vision of Living on the Edge with chip chip serves as our Bible teacher of his daily international discipleship program early if you've ever wanted to learn the sick, great prayer life program is for you were currently in our series with rhythm cultivating a lifestyle that makes God over the next few days will be talking about this practice of four toughest of the Christian disciplines like Chip said, help is on the way these team teaching with her son Ryan was a pastor in his own right, vibrant young church in the Bay Area. So now here's Ryan with our message cultivating daily connection with God.

One of the distinct memories I have as a kid growing up was waking up super early to go to the bathroom and as I woke up and many of you had this as a kid, but maybe this next part is a little different.

I would see my mom sitting on the couch and without cell in the early mornings when I was still dark. She would be there with a good cup of coffee and just the glow of the lamp lighting the room, spending time with God. There's something about my mom's relationship with Jesus that's deeply personal is shaped me as a kid at you know we would say it this way.

I don't know would say this way but I say it this way like when my mom pray. Stuff happens is powerful. Like when she prays she's talking to a friend, a sacred friend not just an impersonal, the nurse, not wishing that somehow going up. I can still remember that even all throughout to this day like if there's any big need or concern.

I want to let my mom know because when she prays God hears her praises. It's as if she has like this direct connect with God. Have you ever wondered why is it that some people seem to have this like direct connect with God when we talk about prayer doesn't seem like like that powerful prayer are some of the things that we read about or hear about is just kind of feel like that's designated for the super spiritual. Maybe the Navy SEALs of Christianity like they have them at the rest of us ordinary folks, we don't get to experience that may be a better question for us to wrestle with this. How do you and how do I really truly experience this personal life giving intimate relationship with Jesus were in a series called sacred rhythms and sacred rhythms are simply spiritual practices. Maybe some of you know them as spiritual disciplines that help cultivate the very life of Christ in us there practices that as you put into practice. Over the course of time help form Christ in you, our lives are not a product of our desires of our dreams or even our ambitions, our lives are a product of the very rhythms and habits.

We have embraced and so is incredibly important that we wrestle with this question. Well are the rhythms of my life producing the kind of person I want to be the kind of dad, the kind of mom, the kind of friends. The kind of like man or woman you want to be on the rhythms of your life producing the life of Christ and you Jesus in the sermon on the Mount is unpacking what true flourishing looks like he starts with the Beatitudes in this reality of those who are truly blessed are flourishing in life and in what it looks like that in Christ and him. His life is flourishing. That's the reason he came, and then he shifts his attention to the sacred rhythms that are in the very mechanism by which he wants to produce and develop this flourishing in us know if you read the Gospels, what you find Jesus say it this way, if you want to know what's in your heart, look at your words and set out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. But if you want to know what has your heart, look at your finances, and he says this practice of generosity not only releases the grip of greed, but it redirects our heart to a surrender and adjust it as saying God I am all yours.

He then begins to speak about this rhythm of prayer for this rhythm of prayer that begins to lead us to the very heart of God.

This relationship with them. See prayer has remained for many. I would, I think, kind of an enigma. And so he's going to unpack it in fact is the only thing that the disciples asked that we have recorded of Jesus to teach them on is not teach me how to preach, not teach us how to like, you know, cast out demons and heal the sick, and raise the dead Lord there's something about you the way you pray that I want to experience, teach us to pray is a prayer that is just simply this prayer is the pathway for you and I to experience intimacy with God. Prayer is is the way that we begin to encounter God in this deeply personal way.

Prayer is simply engaging in an ongoing conversation with your heavenly father. The ancients would say it's keeping company with God is a conversation prayer. I like the way Richard Foster would say that he would say it this way simple prayer. It is this simple prayer involves ordinary people bringing ordinary concerns to a loving and compassionate father, like simple prayer. You don't have to complicate is not so complex. You don't have to have all these things added to it is just ordinary people, not the supernatural people, not the super spiritual Navy seal people is just everyday people like you and me bringing ordinary concerns.

Sometimes we wrestle like is this a big enough deal to bring to God to just bring what you have, to a loving and compassionate father see prayer is this pathway by which God produces intimacy oneness connection with him and arose as a result, prayer is powerful prayer changes us. Prayer changes the world around us. I love how Oswald Chambers said it he would say this way. Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the great work. Chances are already my introduction. I'm done. Just so you know, the standard introduction. Some of you are resisting everything I said because prayer feels a little bit like flossing right and here's how I answer when I go to the dentist and they asked me to if I floss. Have you been flossing. Not as much as I ship and that's kind of the problem is there's this pressure around this. Some of these expectations and if for some, it just feels like this is necessary thing we have to do we know is good for us but this not life-giving is not transformative is not like wow I can't believe this on to him in the presence of God comes to hear my voice and when I speak to him, he changes me and changes the around me so highly experienced that kind of prayer. How do we experience this intimacy with God. How do you have a direct connect with God, not just the super spiritual. How do we develop a prayer life. That's actually powerful and transformative got your Bibles would you open them up to Matthew chapter 6 verse five we pick it up and what Jesus is going to do. He's going to accomplish two things that set up that conversation.

First, you must indeed clutter prayer. We bring extra baggage to prayer Dolly and he wants to help us understand like. Here's this here's what it really is. Don't add all this extra stuff to it. Take the pressure off and then he's going to lay the foundation for developing this intimate life-giving love relationship with your heavenly father.

Listen to what Jesus says. He says it and when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.

Truly I tell you they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, he will reward you or recognize you and when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask two things we want to accomplish in our time. First let's de-clutter prayer list.

Let's take some of the pressure off of it and then let's talk about how do you develop this intimacy with God through prayer, decluttering prayer. The first thing Jesus tells us here is a couple things that prayer is not and we can add this to our prayer life or the pressure or the expectation.

The first thing he's going to Stella's is prayer is not a performance is not a performance that somehow you have to have the perfect prayer say the perfect words try to impress others, or God knows what he said there right it, he said. And when you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who are the hypocrites of other the Pharisees there that religious elite. They're the ones trying to impress everyone with how godly and how spiritual they are. Do not pray like them wide because they love standing in the synagogues, the place of worship and on the street corners to be seen by others in the Jewish culture. A devout Jewish man had a couple rhythms to his life. First day they would quote the Shema two times a day right when they got up beginning in the day and at the end, Shema hero, Israel, the Lord your God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind is and then they would have three designated times to pray and there is a rhythm and even written up prayers that they would quote during this time and what a Pharisee would do is they'll make sure that during those designated times of prayer. They were in a public place because not everybody did this three times a day just to really develop Jews the religious right ones, and so they would go make sure they're on a street corner so everyone could see them stopping to deal with God while they're hurrying about their day.

Look at me, look how great I am. Look how awesome I am. Look at how godly I am in Jesus's decluttering stripping the baggage away saying prayer, fundamentally, is not a performance see religion is about performing relationship is about presence see you are invited into a relationship God doesn't want your performance. He wants you being present with him. I don't have to perform for God, so he'll respond to me. You don't have to pray the right prayers. There is no perfect prayer, we tend to do this in the only week we hear someone else pray and we compare ourselves and think why Pray like them while they're so good at praying that the funny thing we say like no this is just an intimate love relationship between your heavenly father to conversation were just talking relationship and presents God just gone. I want to be with you. I want to hear from you. I want to know you. I'm not on I don't I don't I don't really know what to say say what's on your mind. Tell me about your day. You can even just be quiet and is amazing how some of your best friends you can just be quiet and be great is just to be together is so wonderful.

You know, years and years ago I was a worship leader and this is kinda how we begin to do stuff in the Christian life and we gotta be so careful at the time there was some really great worship bands and people waiting worship they happened all be from the UK from Britain and well is so cool is like when you hear their worship and will begin to compare like you hear them and like Matt Redman thank you Lord God said, I like when you speak to God in a British accent. It's just cooler and I'm sure God has to hear them better than me is leading worship and it's a holy began to creep in to my reading of worship. As I began to mimic them in some guy came up afterwards like Manda so great, thank you so much for brewing this word by the way where you from and this was in Chicago at the time is like from Santa Cruz is like oh I thought your from Australia. Prayer is not a performance to compare with other people bring you bring your self as your self not someone else and that is to say that is not just not a performance. Prayer is not a secret formula. Have you ever felt like I just have to have this secret code password like if you just say the right thing in the right way, then God will work then God will move then maybe he will hear me notice what he says. He says this, he says. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling that word literally means keeping up empty words do not keep on babbling like the pagans were they think they will be heard because of their many words in the Greek and Roman worship at the length and repetition was a sign of invoking the gods to move on their behalf and so Greek and Roman worship what they would do is they would have very long, very loud, repetitious words, hoping to move their God on their behalf the same. Don't lean that way there's no close word is not like Matt if you just say the right things in the right order. There's no time limits. I remember all my goodness when I was really trying to get serious about prayer, I thought like if you're really serious about prayer prayer you prayed 30 minutes a day and so I set a timer 30 minutes. It was hell on earth longest 30 minutes of my life is not about time is not about like finding the right words is not a secret formula. It's a relationship you're invited in, like, start with just simply a very sincere short direct conversation with God. See what happens with both of these what we unconsciously do is is in our prayer instead of approaching God as this, a loving heavenly father will talk about then a second week were somehow trying to control God get them to do what I want him to do like the secret formulas this genie in the bottom of the Santa Claus reality of like man if I do this if I get this and somehow then God you have to do this for me and by the way, if you want to pray and have it be powerful, we first have to stop trying to control God or make them do what we want and we simply invite him to change us when you have that honest conversation is powerful, but I think a few things, how we do this secret formula world one is just repeated words that have you ever noticed this and if you do is know there is literally no shame were just talking about this were learning about this together right but think about the way you pray and would would you have that same language in a normal conversation because that's all prayer is as a conversation with your heavenly father. And sometimes we bring in lofty words as if that's the Lord God will change your voice will draw right and then we just say I don't. Lord God Lord God Lord God God God God God You know it's like I just got like he knows he's God, I mean, I'm pretty sure he's not confused on who you're addressing, but we can have this repeated phrase over and over and over. We just go now I'm just having a conversation God it's been a tough day today.

It's been hard enough that meeting didn't go the way plant.

I just need your strength.

The end sometimes secret formula is we just have mindless prayers. We do this before lunch or dinner or something like that. You're even talk about your asking God to bless it. He can't. Sorry that is the silliest. I'm sorry I'm so sorry. I should but you're sitting down to eat junk food. Lord bless this food to our bodies like no how. I will not bless that to your body that is in him. Bob okay and it doesn't mean here's what I mean by this. It doesn't mean you can't pray the same thing over and over, or even pray written prayers. I think those are our is to make sure that we are thoughtful in our prayer just joining us here listening to Living on the Edge Chip Ingram chip that is so variety be back in just a minute to talk more about today's message from our series. Sacred rhythms cultivating a lifestyle that makes room for God.

If the burdens of life or pressing it and then you need to make some changes. Sacred rhythms will help you do that in sacred rhythms. You'll learn how to develop a few of the key spiritual practices that unlock a deeper, more satisfying relationship with God to order your copy of sacred rhythms or to send a set to a friend. Just visit us online at you'll find that the CDs are discounted and the MP3s are absolutely free. Or if you prefer to order over the phone. Just give us a call at 1-888-333-6003 will chip you very candidly say the prayer is one of the hardest rhythms for you to maintain a what you think that is your right Dave back. I used to feel very guilty that I still struggle with my prayer life but my mind would wander or you know just the sure willpower and discipline know what I've realized it's a lot more complicated than saying to yourself, okay, I'm really gonna pray there is an enemy at work. When you begin to pray you're involved in spiritual warfare.

I love EM bounds who said you know something to the effect of Satan is concerned. When people read the Bible, but he trembles when they pray and what I learned is a lot of people are frustrated in their prayers and part of it is they can say words but what they don't know is how to experience God in prayer, you know, can become a how do I not feel guilty or do I just go through this whole list and so we've developed a a video online course. That's pretty short is very simple. What I want to share with you is what God stop me from his word not how to say words, not how to be wrote but how to actually experience God in prayer. If there's any gift I could give to anyone that will have an impact in your heart and then your family and your relationships. It's experiencing God when you pray, mean, that's the heart of God anyway and we want to help you learn and grow not to become regular in your prayers, but to walk away from a time of prayer and say in your heart of hearts I just met with God and better he just met with me day want to give them all the information about how to get this free video online course. Sure will chip's online course on prayer is a great resource. No matter where you are in your prayer life. If you'd like to learn more about how to cultivate a daily connection with God you can do these five video sessions with chip at your own pace by yourself or with a few friends to sign up for.

How do we experience God in prayer. Just go online to and take your next step toward experiencing God through prayer.

Now let's get back to Chip and Ryan for today's application as we wrap today's program up.

Brian, you said something that I really think is a key and it was almost like just a comment that you threw in but this is what you said we have to stop trying to make God do what we want and simply invite him to changes what his birth.

That kind of clarity and passion in your life.

I think learning what is truly powerful prayer and wanting to experience the presence of God and yet what I found was my prayer life was trying to get God on my terms God to follow my will and my ways and that's incredibly frustrating it it leads you to a place where you're disillusioned about God, yourself, and he wants to get you and me on his ways, his will, and when we invite him to change us. All of a sudden our prayers take on a new level of power and intimacy and he answers that prayer yeah I think it's not chip's kingdom, Ryan's kingdom come. It's by kingdom, and I will be done and you talk about this little bit later, but this idea of surrendering our will is a real key not only in answers to prayer but it actually experiencing God.

What's the most challenging thing you had to surrender when you were been praying is called a new connection in your relationship with the Lord one that comes right to mind is with my kids. I have three kids playing out to teenagers and that teenage stage and where they're engaging in friends and my daughter starting high school and wanting to protect and wanting to his shield and and learning to surrender and go got okay. Your will be done here. I'm going to release her to you and release them to you and trust you along the way. So you use your teaching at home but there certain things that God can teach your kids as they go through things right and I agree with your boy. Even as a as a grandparent I know better, but I tend to want to pray.

Oh God, make everything you know work out well and help them be successful in the right friends and right this and write that in the right future.

And yet I look back in the rearview mirror with all of you in with me and your mom and realize it's probably been the, the suffering, the difficulty the challenges where we needed Christ, and were he's really become more real to us than ever before. So thanks for shares. Honestly, son.

I think there's lots of people listening that do have challenges with running their kids as well. Just before we close. I want to thank those of you who make this broadcast possible through your generous giving Living on the Edge invests those dollars to purchase their time create programs and provide resources to help Christians live like Christians Living on the Edge is been a blessing to you.

Would you prayerfully consider sending a gift today. You can donate online at or by calling us at 1-888-333-6003.

Thank you for your partnership with us. While I hope you'll join us again tomorrow when we continue our series.

Sacred courtship and everyone here, this is Dave Drewry saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge

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