Prayer as spiritual capacity buildingRomans 8.26-27Doug Brownaudio, pdf, and power point available @ karenvineyard.org
“Capacity” is the maximum amount that something or someone can contain. Capacity can also be the ability or power to do, experience or understanding something.
Capacity-building is the development of conditions that allows us to expand and enhance existing knowledge and skills. It also can be the creating of situations that allow us to engage in the process of learning and adapting to change.
Obstacles to Spiritual Capacity Building via Prayer v.26 the Spirit helps us in our weakness . . .
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? Psalm 13.2 • Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139.23
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4.8
We can only "act as far as we can think." Our behavior is limited to the data stored in the mind. The way we then behave is based on our interpretation of our experience. We often believe lies, slander, and accusations based not accurate information, but past hurtful experiences. Therefore, in order to act differently we must be "renewed in our minds."
Thoughts lead to emotions. A person's present emotional pain comes from the misinterpretations (lies) embedded in their memories and not from the memories themselves. For example, an incest victim feels shame not because she was molested but because she may believe it was her fault (the lie).
My present situation is not the primary source of my pain but rather evidence of pain in the past. The negative emotions I currently feel are primarily echoes of the past, an open window into the wounds of my life. To look through the open window I must let go of the present situation, and release it from being the primary source of my pain and be willing to seek out and identify my true source of emotional pain.
The pain I feel is not coming from the event, but from the misinterpretation (lie) which was given the event. • The emotions I feel will match the lies I believe. • A lie which is believed will produce the same consequences as if it were true.
To be free of the lie requires that I take the lie "captive," rather than reject or denounce it. This is done by praying that a way is made clear for me to receive God’s healing Word into my darkness and then I will be free at last.
v.26 we do not know what to pray for • This interplay between our thought life and our emotions are what make capacity building via prayer such a struggle. • But our main obstacle to growing our capacity in prayer is our thinking.
Spiritual capacity building via prayer is first accomplished by altering the flow of our thoughts.
Our thought life is like a flowing river • If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river . . . Isaiah 48.18 • There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God . . . Psalms 46.4 • Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22.1
. . .but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. v.26“Capacity” is the ability to receive, hold or absorb.
As all manner of thought comes rushing at you let it go quietly by like rubbish on the surface of a gently flowing river. Don’t fight it, ignore it. • The chief act of the will is not effort but consent. The secret of getting through the difficulties in prayer is to accept them. To try to accomplish things by force of will is to reinforce the false self.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will v.27
Spiritual capacity building via prayer Developing conditions that expand and enhance our capacity to receive and live out of God’s presence in prayer.
Choose to increase your spiritual capacity What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2.12
Learn how the Spirit develops you This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1 Corinthians 2.13
Increase your capacity through contending Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 2.3-4