March 29th, 2020

Fervent Bible Study Blog Introduction

Fervent Reading SchedulePrayer. Is it your last resort or your first line of defense? Is it about taking God a list of to-dos or drawing closer to Him? One of the things that captured my attention in the introduction of Fervent was when author Priscilla Shirer writes, “This book is just not meant for pretty reading. It’s not for coffee-table curiosity and other such Cameo appearance. Think of it instead as industrial-grade survival gear.” (2)

Why? Well, according to Priscilla, “Because this is war. The fight of your life. A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, your man, your child, your future.” (2)

I’d like to start our discussion here. What is prayer to you? How is your prayer life? And do you feel or have you felt like you are in a fight for your life, your emotions, your family, your future?

Once upon a time I considered myself quite the prayer Warrior. My bestie used to say that God always answered my prayer. I guess my training really began 12 years ago as we started homeschooling. I left my full-time job and my husband found himself without a job. Prayer becomes a daily part of your life when you are struggling just to survive financially, when you are completely dependent on God for your daily bread. I saw God do the impossible, move mountains I thought were stuck, and open the heavens to pour down blessings. But then…then I watched two people I loved the most die. Prayers didn’t save them. And my husband had one too many heart attacks for my liking. It’s not that I stop believing in prayer, I just felt helpless against the war that was raging against me. I would pray for others, but not for myself and my family’s situations. I felt like I was losing the battle Satan was warring against me, so I stopped engaging. I called upon my prayer warriors to stand in the gap for me because, well, I was just exhausted. That’s when I found out the truth of why Priscilla says we need to pray on page 3, “Because life is just too impossible otherwise—yours, mine, everybody’s. We simply don’t have the luxury of playing nice with prayer.”

I’ve felt like life was impossible for far too long. About a month ago, a friend and I went to see Beth Moore live and that jump-started my spirit. A few weeks later, I stumbled upon my copy of Fervent. The book I was reading before it seemed like all hell broke loose in my life five years ago.  And then the conora virus began to escalate. People everywhere were saying, “we need to pray.”

And I remembered.

I remembered the miracles, the provision, the blessings. All unleased in that season of authentic prayer. That’s what made me pick up this book again to finish it. I knew if I invited others on the journey, not only would I be blessed to see the glory in their life (I’m kind of a glory-of-God junkie), but I WOULD finish it this time and I would feel that rush of the Holy Spirit again.

So, what brings you here? What made you sign up for this study?

I loved on page 14 when Priscilla wrote, “We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.”

It’s like that saying prayer is the key that unlocks the door. We can’t do it on our own, but with God through prayer, we are victorious.

Here’s the crazy thing. Even though the healing of my best friend and father happened in heaven rather than earth, I saw God’s glory as He transformed, refined their faith before He took them home. The loss hurt, but God’s glory shone for all to see.

We are going to pray some big prayers in the next six weeks. We are going to start believing God for a lot. Even if answers don’t come as swiftly as we’d like or in the package we’d prefer, God can be trusted. He is able.

After Priscilla touches on the strategies we will be praying through, she shares the acronym PRAY that will help us keep our prayers anchored and strong. PRAY stands for:

P – Praise

R – Repentance

A – Asking

Y – Yes (referring to 2 Cor. 1:20 – “All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding yes!”)

During this study, we will be writing out our prayers, but I also encourage you to write out the scriptures that stir something within you that are at the end of each chapter. In fact, if you are up for the challenge, I encourage you to memorize one scripture for each section. You don’t need to have it memorized by the time we read the next strategy. Write out your favorite scripture, place it somewhere you will see it, then recite it daily. Imagine at the end of six weeks if you have ten new verses under your belt that you could claim in prayer. That, my friend, is a powerful and effective weapon!

What a journey we are about to embark upon. As we move forward, I would love to know what jumped out at you in your reading this week. Also, I asked several questions above. Feel free to answer any or all of them.

What is prayer to you?

How is your prayer life?

Do you feel or have you felt like you are in a fight for your life, your emotions, your family, your future?

What brings you here? What made you sign up for this study?

 

Comments :

  1. Laura Forberg says:

    I love prayer but I don’t always go to God first. I tend to worry first and then remember to pray about something. The last few years I have tried to focus on prayer and have set aside time every morning to go through my prayer list. I also pray two prayers a day from The Power of a Praying Parent. But…I don’t want it to be just a list to check off. I want to be on fire in my prayers. I want more passion in my prayers. I want to trust God completely.
    Here are some things that stuck out to me while reading the first two chapters:
    Priscilla wrote, “Because as you may have noticed, the battles your enemy waged against you-especially the most acute, consistent ones-possess a personality to them, an intimate knowledge of who you are and the precise pressure points where you can most easily be taken down.” This is so true! The enemy knows us and lives to make us doubt. No more!
    I also like when she said, “I resolve to stop using physical means to fight battles that require spiritual remedies, using instead the power of prayer to do what it’s always been designed to do.” I need to remember this!
    Thank you, Kelly, for doing this study.

    • Kelly says:

      Amen to those quotes Laura! I often try to fight my battles in the spiritual forgetting that they are spiritual. I wouldn’t be so exhausted if I’d pray first!! I want to be better about setting aside a specific time for deeper prayer and prayer journaling.

  2. Rachel Dupray says:

    Kelly, I am always amazed and encouraged with your writing. Your questions make me sit back and think about why I do or believe what I do.

    So, what is prayer to me. It is having a conversation with God…intentional focus that brings me in line with His will, a way to push back on the enemy, it is essential but also an area that I take for granted too often. I look forward to going through ‘Fervent’, starting to journal prayers. It will be my way of tracking thanksgiving to God, I love how her grandmother answered Priscilla’s question of why, with “So I won’t forget.” Like the monuments built in the Old Testament my journal will tell of God moving. It is so easy to forget. As much as I would like to say, I’ll remember it all. The reality is, I will always forget more than I remember. Those funny things my children do are surely forgotten within a week, if it’s not written down.

    I do feel that we are in a battle. When my husband and I argue, we remember that we’re not fighting each other (sometimes it takes longer than others). The enemy is waging war on anything and everything, our identity, the family unit, God’s premium plan for one’s life. Even though we homeschool, it has been easy to get overly involved with various activities and this time as an answer to prayer on clearing out our schedule. I have experienced guilt and shame, not talking to God for over a year but that was an attack. Problem was, I was so focused on myself I didn’t look up. It is an easy trap to fall into if I am not putting on my armor and standing firm as Eph. 6:11 says. I sit here wondering why I haven’t prioritized prayer like time in the Word. In the first section she hits home that a strategy for war doesn’t begin by happenstance.

    I am here because I have thought for years about hosting prayer with my husband’s business partners wives (mouthful I know), covering our spouses and their business but have put it off because I don’t want it to be a gossip session or thinking that we know best for the business. It will be wonderful to have tools and develop a plan of attack. That is besides the chaos of the world today. My consistent prayer is that no matter the circumstance, that those involved will come to know the Lord. My grandfather is no longer responsive in MN and all I can pray is peace over him (he accepted Christ), that he go home quickly and that my extended family comes to know the Lord.

    Why this study? Kelly, every study I’ve had the pleasure of doing with you…has caused me to dig deep and mature in my relationship with the Lord. As I teach and encourage others, I must continue to grow and learn. This study reveals an area that needs growth. So, here I am.

  3. Kelly says:

    Thank your for sharing, Rachel. I am also amazed at how quickly I can forget God’s goodness and provision which causes me to worry. It’s crazy how many times God mentions to remember in the Bible. I’m starting my prayer journal tomorrow and am excited to get back into the habit.

  4. Patty So says:

    I’m SO glad to be a part of this right now! Talk about timing…God is helping me use my time in HIS way as opposed to all my organizing of events, countdowns, etc. So thank you for this, Kelly!
    Prayer, to me, is a pretty constant thing. We have a prayer wall in our bathroom where we write names of those with certain needs, so my husband and I look at that in the mornings as well as other times of the day to remember. (It also has some good verses on it to confirm our faith.) I pray when I fall asleep. I pray when I wake up. I pray when God wakes me up in the middle of the night. My prayer is often a simple conversation with God. I’m pretty pragmatic, and I’m also a positive thinker. I think the prayer and absolute faith that God has this all under control keeps me that way. I always remember the sermon about Moses’ mom when I try to put God in a box and have Him solve things “my” way. However, I HAVE asked God to “not make it all too uncomfortable” if He’s going to work on something in me! HAHA!

    What brings me here? TIMING! I’m not on my hanster wheel for a few weeks! God brought this to my attention, and compelled me to dive a little deeper! So thank you, Kelly!

    • Kelly says:

      Patty, I used to have a prayer wall in my bathroom, but over time the stickie notes fell off. Thank you for the reminder of what a great tool that is.

  5. Kristin says:

    Hi everyone! Oh my, you all have hit on so many important points already and Kelly has a way with words and the gift of teaching that brings us all together to study God’s word! I’m so thankful!!!
    I have to remind myself not to think about the right way or the wrong way to pray, that’s the devil’s tool he is using against me. But to get ready and to pray as Priscilla said. I can’t wait to dig into the strategies Priscilla has given as a foundation. The first thing for me to do is to write in a journal. I have started one before, but I don’t write anything down. I need to start new habits and not let anything get in the way. Let’s remember how Priscilla encourages us to not let the enemy have his way in our lives or the lives of our loved ones. Let’s Pray!

    • Kelly says:

      Kristin, yes, it is so important to remember there’s not a right way. And our prayers never “fail” because it’s all about communicating with the Lord.

  6. Brenda Lee Maingot says:

    Dear Friends,

    I was late getting committed to this study, but I am glad I am here. To be honest, I have not been in a bible study for about 6 years. I was going through a lonely dark season in life that I told God I was not going to pretend anymore. I knew all the “Christian” answers to say, but had no intention on doing them.
    Fast forward to yesterday. My pastor had a message about this tine and season of our life. What “seeds” were we going to sow, what did we want life to look like coming out of this. I knew the answer. I committed to do this study.

    My prayer life, well it is inconsistent. I do journal, though. I feel now more than ever, I am in a fight for my spiritual well being. I deal with it daily in my mind.I need tools, I need to get a defense against the words of the devil. Thank you Kelly for not giving up on me and Laura for inviting me!

    • Kelly says:

      Brenda, so glad you are here. There is no need to pretend we have it together. I will be one of the first to admit so often I feel like I’m falling apart! Thankfully, God is there to put us back together.

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