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Day 1 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Introduction Throughout the Abide, you’ve been introduced to different parts of the tool, SMORP. Today the final part, prayer, will be highlighted.  

Scriptures – Refers to reading and memorizing the Bible Message – Refers to anything the Lord may be saying to you Obedience – Refers to obeying what God instructs you to do Repentance – Refers to sin the Holy Spirit requires you to confess and repent of Prayer – Refers to your prayers to God   It’s wise to be a follower of the Way who wants to grow in prayer! In doing so, you’re imitating the early disciples, who offered one of the most significant prayers of all: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). In the following twelve verses Luke passes on four messages about prayer, originally delivered by Jesus. The first message is often called, “the Lord’s Prayer.” Really, it’s a pattern for how his disciples should pray.  

Hallowed Be Your Name   This model prayer starts off with the phrase, “Father, hallowed be your name.” What does this mean? The word “Father” refers to an intimacy that you can have with God in prayer. This is amazing! However, it’s also a reminder that you’re not at the same level as God – he is, “hallowed” – which means to be recognized as set apart, unique, and above all. There is none like him!  

Further, this phrase – “hallowed be your name” - goes beyond personally recognizing God’s greatness. A disciple is ALSO to pray that God’s uniqueness will be recognized by others, even through their own service to the church and the world. This is what Jesus was getting at when he said, Matthew 5:16 (NIV) … let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.   Really, the “heart” of this prayer includes many things! It means:  

First: we’re asking God to keep us from dishonoring the name by which we are called Consider Paul’s words, 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. This means that you’re to pray in a way that is concerned with God being honored; NOT simply for your selfish desires to be satisfied.   That’s why James says, James 4:3 (NIV) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  

Second: we’re asking that God be praised among the NATIONS Abraham provides an example of a prayer where God’s honor is seen as the most important thing, Genesis 18:24-25 (NIV) What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  

Third: we’re expressing our gratitude to God, magnifying who he is   This desire for God to be lifted up (some say, “to be glorified”) is the key thought of the entire prayer that Jesus teaches. While praise focuses on who God is, thanksgiving focuses on what God has done. Of course, at some point in practice, the two always end up coming together, for God reveals who he is precisely by what he does!   You can see this in many verses, including, Psalm 106:1-2 (ESV) Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all his praise?   A person cannot read the Psalms without being deeply impressed that praising the Lord is EXPECTED. In fact, the word “praise” is used 137 times and the word “praises” another 27 times.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. Why is calling the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples “the Lord’s Prayer” a bit misleading?

3. What 3 things does the phrase “hallowed be your name” include?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. How much time are you currently giving to prayer in your daily devotions?

2. However long that you’ve walked with Jesus, think about this question – has your prayer life grown or declined over the years? What impacts how much you pray?

3. Spend a few minutes in prayer and ask Jesus – “Jesus, teach me how to pray.” Listen in prayer for his response to this desire/request.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 25:1-30.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 2 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Why We Should Praise God  

Reason 1: he is a great God who is worthy of our praise   The Psalms are a reminder of God’s greatness, and the need to praise him in response. Consider these incredible words, Psalm 96:2-4 (NIV) Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.   For another example, Psalm 103 lists many reasons why the Lord is worthy of great praise! As you read through this, either highlight all the reasons to praise him, or write them down.  

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-13 (NIV) Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's … The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  

Reason 2: praise is an appropriate sacrifice to give to God   Some argue that disciples of Jesus should not speak of, “sacrificing for God.” Of course, Samuel did say, 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV) Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  

So in one sense, you don’t need to sacrifice – that is, sacrifice rams goats or ANYTHING for your sins. The blood of Jesus took care of all your sins! Praise him! However, you DO have the responsibility for two types of sacrifice. First, to obey him. Second, to praise him. And have you ever noticed that the word “response” is a part of the word “responsibility?” Put another way, there is this responsibility, or response, of sacrifice for followers of the Way, as a reaction to the GREATEST sacrifice.  

Consider, Psalm 50:14 (ESV) Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High. And again, Psalm 50:23 (ESV) The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!  

Of course, this expectation is also in the New Testament as well, Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. It uses the word “sacrifice!” Here’s a good guideline – don’t hesitate to use words that the Bible does.  

In Romans 1, Paul notes that sin includes a lack of thanksgiving, Romans 1:21 (NIV) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. The verb translated “glorified” means to give God the praise due to him. Men and women, experiencing God’s provision in every area of life, should have recognized that he is the source of all good things (see James 1:17). This IS the obligation of ALL people. And it’s an appropriate and expected sacrifice for those who are followers of the Way.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 reasons for praising God are given today?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Would you say that your life is full of thanksgiving and praise? If you feel that you fall short in this, spend some time in confession, saying sorry to your Father for a lack of gratitude.

2. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22, Psalm 1, Colossians 3:2, Psalm 39:4.

3. Memorize Matthew 5:16.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 25:31-46.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 3 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Why We Should Praise God  

Reason 3: through praise we experience God’s presence   The Bible teaches that God is present everywhere, always. However, you don’t always experience him, do you? This is an imperfect illustration, but consider marriage. A spouse isn’t always right beside their husband or wife, but at any moment they MAY be able to call them, or bring them to mind. In other words, through a bit of effort, someone who is married can usually experience their husband or wife.  

Of course, God is far greater, more available and is perfect (e.g. he has no insecurity, isn’t moody, etc.)! But it also takes some effort on your part to experience him. Well, praising him and thanking him are, “doorways into his presence.” Or as it says in the Psalms, Psalm 27:8 (ESV) … my heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”  

And in another verse, it declares, Psalm 100:4 (NIV) Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. When you bring your offering of praise to the ‘gates’ of his presence, he doesn’t just tell you to drop off your sacrifice and take off! Instead, the gates OPEN up and you can come right into his presence.  

This experience is similar to the life that can be found in Jesus, which previous lessons highlighted.  

Reason 4: we experience the joy of the Lord and peace through praise  

The apostle Paul clearly emphasized the connection between thanksgiving, and experiencing peace. He said, Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

Not only is peace experienced as you take time to be thankful, but the psalmist states that there is also fullness of joy! Psalm 16:11 (NIV) You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Wow!  

And not just peace and joy, but also hope! Which is why Paul said, Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Once you’re genuinely thankful in God’s presence, anxiety, worry, and stress will go! Why? Because God has NO anxiety, NO worry, and NO stress! NONE! The King of kings and Lord of lords is completely in control and no one can overturn his will or threaten his plans! And so, you’re urged to pray with thanksgiving in all circumstances, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 reasons for praising God are given today?

3. Why will being in God’s presence help you experience peace, joy, and hope?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Write down something that you are anxious about right now. Spend some time in thanksgiving – e.g. “Father, I praise you for having a plan for this thing that I’m anxious about . . .” Also praise him for who he is – e.g. “God, I am thankful that you are Gracious, Merciful, Gentle, Sovereign, All Powerful, Loving, Perfectly Wise.” Stay in this position of praise – it takes practice, especially if you’re used to focusing on your challenges.

2. Now bring the anxiety to God. Practice stating it, rather than dwelling on it. Finish this prayer time by thanking God for caring for you!

3. Review Matthew 5:16.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 26:1-25.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 4 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Why We Should Praise God  

Reason 5: praise increases our strength and faith, helping us to pray expectantly   When you turn to wholehearted praise and thanksgiving, you enter the presence of the Lord – you really experience him. Further, as was noted in Day 3, you’ll discover joy, peace, and hope.   And here’s a bonus - these emotions in turn will give you strength. As Nehemiah described it, Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Of course, all followers of the Way will need this strength as they seek to be faithful to Jesus!  

The apostle Paul also refers to the result of such strength, as he speaks of boldness. He says, 2 Corinthians 3:12 (NIV) Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. Praise God that when you’re filled with hope, you acquire the faith needed to pray faith-filled prayers!  

Reason 6: praise is a spiritual weapon against evil  

The Bible has a lot to say about praise defeating and driving back the very REAL powers of darkness! For example, 2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of Jehoshaphat, who was facing the invading forces of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites.  

In prayer, Jehoshaphat says to the Lord that they are helpless against such a great army, and that all eyes are on him (the Lord). God responds, telling them to not be afraid, as he would fight the battle for them! So, instead of sending out soldiers with swords and spears against his enemy, look at what Jehoshaphat does, 2 Chronicles 20:21 (NIV) After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever."  

And what does God do? The next verse notes, 2 Chronicles 20:22 (NIV) As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.  

What happened here? The physical enemy was defeated because unseen, spiritual enemies were scattered by the power of praise!  

The same thing – praise to God resulting in victory - happens when King Saul is plagued by an evil spirit. In 1 Samuel, you can read the whole story! When David would worship and praise the Lord with his harp, the evil spirit would leave. Or in the words of the Bible, 1 Samuel 16:23 (NIV) Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. Wow!  

Praise isn’t merely a nice way to begin a church gathering, or a personal time of devotions. It’s not a warm-up or filler until a sermon or Bible reading. Of course, if praise is just something you do mechanically, it IS meaningless.  

Biblical praise however, drives back the powers of darkness, releases the angels of God to do battle on one’s behalf and brings God’s awesome presence into each situation. Listen to how one psalmist describes praise, Psalm 149:5-6 (NIV) Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands . . . And another one, Psalm 8:2 (NIV) From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 reasons for praising God are given today?

3. Why can being in God’s presence increase your faith for prayer?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. You’re seeing in this lesson that your praise of God is so important! Take a look at your life and schedule – how can you better include this in your devotions and even family life?  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 26:26-46.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 5 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) How We Should Praise God  

First: with our whole heart   It takes time to learn how to praise God! Since God is unlimited, this is a lifelong journey. But it’s important to know that the starting point is to praise him with your whole heart. Or as the psalmist declares, Psalm 9:1 (NIV) I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. May your praises be no different!   True praise and thanksgiving are definitely motivated by whole-heartedness – that is what God seeks! How appropriate for the one who is your very life.  

Second: we may speak, shout or sing our praises   For sure, you can speak your praises to God. He loves this! However, the Psalms reveal other features of praise, such as singing, Psalm 147:1 (NIV) Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!  

The Bible also refers to shouting in praise. People understand this in a sports setting! But when it comes to an almighty God, many shrink back at the idea of shouting out to him. This is sad! Yet, see what God’s Word says, Psalm 33:3 (NIV) Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.  

This can result in loud or enthusiastic singing as well! Psalm 47:1 (ESV) … shout to God with loud songs of joy! And even clapping, Psalm 47:1 (ESV) Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!  

Third: with corresponding postures  

There’s another element to entering God’s presence and that’s your posture; how you use your body. Consider this instruction in the Bible, Psalm 95:6 (NIV) Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  

To physically bow and kneel are ways of acknowledging greatness! It’s also appropriate to raise your hands in praise to the Lord, Psalm 134:2 (NIV) Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.  

And what about dancing? You’re to rejoice in the Lord with abandonment – like little children. Sometimes pride stands in the way, doesn’t it? When David’s wife, Michal, saw her husband (the king) “leaping and dancing before the Lord,” she despised him in her heart (2 Samuel 6:16). And later the two got into a very heated argument over this (2 Samuel 6:20-23), and it appears that God judged her for it.  

When your praise comes out of a good and loving heart, postures and movements of your body will flow almost automatically. At other times, the INTENIONAL use of a specific posture can lead the heart to a place of adoration.  

Fourth: by adoring or praising him for his attributes.  

You may select an attribute of God, such as his mercy, and center your attention on it. Or as you’re reading and meditating on the Bible, you’ll come across an attribute of God. Either way, you can simply begin to praise God in prayer for that characteristic.  

For example, as you begin to read Psalm 3, you read that God is a deliverer. Then, you ponder how he delivered people and people groups in the Bible, and throughout time. Next, you can move on to consider how God has delivered you in your own personal life. As you do, you praise him for that! Today, there’s a lot of excellent praise and worship music available online, which you can use in your quiet time. Try it! It can transform your devotional time with the Lord. You’ll never be the same!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 4 suggestions are given today for how you can praise God?

3. How can postures help you praise God?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you something that you can praise God for, with your whole heart. Once you receive something, write a prayer of praise to God. Let it flow from deep in your heart!

2. Text, phone, or email a friend. Ask them to share what they have been praising God for lately.

3. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22, Psalm 1, Colossians 3:2, Psalm 39:4, Matthew 5:16.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 26:47-75.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 6 Final Steps 1. Write down a list of 8-10 things that God has done for you and/or your family. Then try praising God in a different posture than you would normally use.

2. Choose an attribute of God. Spend some time praising God for:

1) how he has always been this attribute

2) how he displayed this attribute in the Bible

3) how he has displayed this attribute in the lives of others

4) for how he has displayed this attribute in your life. If you get stuck, remember to ask Jesus to help you pray! He will!  


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