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Communing with the Holy Spirit

Modified from Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

What does it mean to “commune”? To commune with someone is to share something with him or her that is of mutual benefit. John Owen defines communion as “the sharing of good things between persons who are mutually delighted being cemented together by some union.” Communion, then, is not just shared delight, but the “cementing effect” of that shared delight between two persons.

The Cementing Effect of Communion

You have probably experienced communion with close friends. What makes a friend close? You are close, not because of proximity, but because you share a delight in some of the same things (music, film, food, values, beliefs), and that shared delight has a cementing effect, which creates a close bond between friends. Prayer fosters this bond with God, cementing our souls with him through shared delight in the gospel of grace. All too often we eliminate the Holy Spirit from our communion with God. We live as functional bi-nitarians, communing with the Father and the Son, not Trinitarians—communing with Father, Son, and Spirit. In order to experience the Spirit’s power, we need know the Spirit as a Person, to begin a relationship with him through prayer.

How Can we Commune with the Holy Spirit?

Here are a few ways to begin today:

  • Repentance over your neglect of the Spirit. Confess your sinful self-reliance to the Father and the Spirit, asking the Son for forgiveness, and thanking God for the gift of the Spirit.
  • Address the Spirit throughout the day in ways that reflect his role in your life (understanding, discernment, decision making, power to overcome sin, desire for God, faith in the gospel, etc.)
  • Memorize and meditate on texts that show you who the Spirit is so that you can get to know him (Ex. 31:3; Num. 27:18; 1 Sam. 16:13; Joel 2:28–29; Acts; Romans 8, 15; 1 Corinthians 2; 2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 3–6).
  • Rejoice in the gift of the Spirit as a Person who indwells us with power to believe the gospel, glorify, and enjoy God!

What Happens When we Commune with the Holy Spirit?

  • Communion with the Spirit brings us a general happiness and contentment that cannot be found anywhere else.
  • Communing with the Holy Spirit produces a vertical relationship with the Lord that has horizontal results.
  • When we re-personalize the Spirit, he reintegrates us as disciples who have a whole way of living wholly under God’s redemptive reign in Christ.
  • The more we relate to the Spirit, the less we will be concerned about balancing vertical and horizontal discipleship.
  • Spirit-empowered belief in Jesus Christ as Lord leads to an integration of piety and mission. This communion with God takes us deeper into holiness and sends us further into mission.
  • As we relate to the Spirit, he empowers us to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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March 7, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Prayer,The Christian Life,The Holy Spirit,Theology | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | 1 Comment »

Praying in Response to God’s Word

by Nigel Benyon and Andrew Sach from Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God’s Word

Sometimes people say that prayer is a two-way conversation, where God speaks to us and we speak to God. But the Bible never uses the word “prayer” in this way. Prayer is simply when we talk to God.

Others think of reading the Bible as a conversation, in which God speaks to us, and we bring our own meanings to the text so that in some sense we find a voice, too. That’s not right, either.
We have a conversation when we hear God speak to us in the Bible and then we speak to him in prayer.

There’s a vivid description of that dynamic in Nehemiah 8–9. For seven days Ezra the scribe read the words of the Law of God (part of the Old Testament) to the people. As they heard God speaking to them, the people were deeply moved to sadness and to joy; there were tears as well as rejoicing and great feasting. And in response to what they heard, they poured out their hearts in prayer to God.

In our churches, though, the things that we share “for prayer” at the end of an evening’s Bible study are often completely unrelated to the passage we’ve been studying. While it’s true that nothing is too small to bring before our heavenly Father, it’s a shame when the tiny things—the health of someone’s neighbor’s dog, for instance—take over, and we forget the amazing truths that God has been speaking to us minutes before.

Get into the habit of praying these kinds of prayers:

  • “Sorry for X, which your Word has shown to be wrong in my life.”
  • “Thank you for Y, which you have shown us this evening.”
  • “Please, by your Spirit, give me power to change Z in response to what you have been saying.”

Learn more about Dig Deeper.

January 26, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible Study,Life / Doctrine,Prayer,The Christian Life | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

“Daddy, Can You Teach Me How To Pray?”

Has your child ever asked a similar question?

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to answer this question as a parent, because when we look back, it appears that good prayer comes from time and experience; things our children don’t have much of. How can we encourage our kids to expand their prayer language beyond “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and “God bless Daddy and Mommy…”?

In The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, R.C. Sproul’s imaginative and beautifully illustrated children’s story, the fictional father Mr. McFarland responds to his daughter’s similar question, as many teachers do, by sharing a story.

Mr. McFarland tells the 500-year-old story about Master Peter, a barber well-known to all in his village. One day, when Martin Luther the Reformer walks into his shop, the barber musters up the courage to ask the outlawed monk how to pray. Luther responds by writing a letter to the barber. The barber’s life and many others’ are changed as they encounter a model for prayer by using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.

Sproul’s story will delight children and help them learn to pray according to the Bible. The full text of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed will make this a treasured book to be returned to time after time.

Learn more about the The Barber Who Wanted to Pray or preview the book here:

October 21, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Children / Parenting,Life / Doctrine,Marriage / Family,News,Prayer,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:03 am | 0 Comments »

How Ought We to Pray?

Piper encouraged us to pray as we prepare to share the gospel. But how ought we to pray? Jerram Barrs gives a handful of specific suggestions:

  • For the work of the Spirit in our friends. We pray, first, for the work of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of those around us. We know that He can reach the parts of them, the inner workings of their minds and hearts, that we cannot reach. He can soften the hard heart, bend the stubborn will, open the closed mind, challenge the long-held prejudices, and heal the painful memories that are inaccessible to us. (See 2 Corinthians 4:6 and John 6:44).
  • For open doors for the gospel. We are to pray for open doors in our relationships so we will have opportunities to make the Gospel known. (See Colossians 4:3).
  • For yourself, for courage. Pray for yourself in all your relationships. (See Ephesians 6:19-20).
  • For clarity and that God would give you words to say. Paul also struggled with being clear in his presentation of the Gospel and requested prayer in this area too. (See Colossians 4:4; Eph 6:19; and John 12:49-50).

Excerpt adapted from The Heart of Evangelism by Jerram Barrs.

January 13, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Church Ministry,Evangelism / Missions,Life / Doctrine,Prayer,The Christian Life | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 1:00 pm | 0 Comments »