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Do you have a real relationship with God?

Do you have a real relationship with God, or do you just have a religion? Do you know God, or do you just know about God? Do you worry about the smallest things, or do you trust God to help you through even the biggest things? Have you ever considered a relationship with God that has no limits, with a God powerful enough to enable you to think, love, and live differently?

When I read these words as reflection questions as a preparation for prayer, my response was to judge them as too intellectual too focused on the mental and lacking in the spiritual mood that I judged to be necessary for prayer. Then the awareness descended: How can I pray to God when I am setting the expectations for the relationship with Him? Why am I not treating God as my friend? My relationship question evolved into: How do I learn to let go and let God lead? How can I deepen my friendship with God? In answer the Holy Spirit led me to this Prayer Maturity Track.

A note of caution is necessary here. These track steps are to be taken slowly. That is over several weeks. They are starting points for reflections before prayer. They are intended to help open us to allow us to let go of habits that limit us by causing us to want to understand and know before we trust. These habits inhibit our ability to humble ourselves and surrender to God's will when we attempt to pray. Faith works when we trust God first and we act in faith then the Spirit comes to bring assurance and understanding.

Some of the steps have suggested readings included. If you find reading the Bible at times confusing try using the scriptural prayer form LectioDivina which is designed to help us approach the reading not only to encounter the text but also to experience the moment related and to place one within the movements of the Spirit. The steps for LectioDivina can be obtained from several texts and also from many web sites.

The Steps

DEEPENING OUR PERSONAL THEOLOGY [DECERNING the ONTOLOGY of GOD]
This pray topic focuses on how do we speak about God? How do we value God? Another way to measure our understanding of the essence of God is to ask how big is your God? (God is too big to fit in our head) Am I willing to let God be mystery? Reading Exodus 34:29-35. [Note: Theology - how one speaks about God or how one describes God's dimensions. Ontology - study of being, essence]

DISCERNING WHAT GOD HAS DONE IN OUR LIVES
The old hymn: Count Your Blessings is a good place to begin this assessment but a more profound insight can be gained by reflecting on Psalm 139 (use the New Revised Standard translation) [Note: Praise can imply Value i.e. In our praise we show what value we place in object of praise]

HEARING GOD'S CALL
What does God sound like? 1st Kings 19:3-16. [Note: focus on verses 11-13] Seeking God's will can mean listening to the yearning to be in His presence.

EXPERIENCING A DEEPENING of OUR FAITH & TRUST
Are we willing to step out of the boat and walk to Jesus? Matthew 14:25-31.

EXPERIENCING GOD'S NAME FOR EACH OF US;
God's will is revealed in what He calls us to do. Consider Ananias: Acts 9:10-19.

CLAIMING OUR GIFTS
Reflections on how to receive our gifts: let the gifts affect us; open our heart; do not measure the potential value or risk; let the giver see you use and enjoy your gifts. Luke 1:26-38.

LETTING OUR JOY OUT
Live in hope, do not seek to avoid trials; limit the need to be happy all the time trust God to be in charge. Psalm 23:1-6

NOTE: Faith growth is not a solo enterprise. We need to be servants for Christ. We grow best when we assist others meet their needs instead of just seeking to fulfil our own needs.

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This Edition

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