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Becoming The Man God Intended

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93137Target Point, Introduction   
   
Topic: Developing A Devotional Habit of Prayer
Author: Dick Eastman (adapted from his book, The Hour That Changes The World, (c)1978 Baker Book House, used by permission).

WELCOME!

You have signed up for an incredible topic. This topic will encourage you in developing an intimate relationship with the God of the universe. Just think, God created the universe within which we reside, but He desires to hold your hand, He desires to have an intimate relationship with YOU!!

Over these next 31 days, you will see a one-page devotional, each one building upon the previous day, all of which are designed to assist you in your growth in the area of prayer.

There are two attachments which we would like to encourage you to open and print out at this point (Just click their links in the definition below):

Attachment A: A page showing "Attachment A Prayer Clock" broken up into twelve segments. Print out perhaps even two of these, and place one by your Bible or near your favorite chair, and one in your car, or wherever else you might find it helpful for ready reference.

Attachment B: Three pages "listing each day's subject" with space for you to make notes to yourself about that day's topic, or thoughts that might come to you to do, or things that are meaningful to you personally as you progress along.

As you proceed over the next 31 days, be blessed, have fun, and grow in Christ!

Vince D'Acchioli
Founder/On Target Ministries

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
PRAYER-The Slender Nerve of Power

93137TargetPoint  Vol 31 of 31

. . . AND IN CONCLUSION-

We hope that these twelve aspects of prayer on the topic of Developing A Devotional Habit have encouraged you to progress and grow in an intimate relationship in prayer with the God of the universe . . . the God who made you, the God who loves you!

Dick Eastman, the author of this series, is International President of the ministry of Every Home for Christ, located in Colorado Springs, CO. Every Home for Christ oversees works in approximately 105 countries around the world, using the nationals in those countries, to carry the Gospel systematically to every home, home-by-home. Dick has authored a number of books, and he is quite well known for his seminar: Change the World School of Prayer.

As you can see, these 30 Volumes were adapted from Dick Eastman's book, The Hour That Changes The World, (c)1978 Baker Book House, used by permission. Reading this book would further assist you in your prayer time, as it goes into much greater detail on the subject. If you are interested in ordering the book or any other books or materials from Every Home for Christ, just click on Every Home for Christ's website: www.ehc.org

It would greatly help us to hear from you. Your feed back is absolutely invaluable to us in hearing how this TargetPoint may have helped or strengthened you in some way. After all, that's the point-the TargetPoint! If it is not helpful, it merely joins up with the stream and myriad of information that pounds our nation on a daily basis-from TV, to books, to the internet, and on and on.

Do you have any thoughts for improving our subject matter, our format, our presentation? Do you have a testimony of how a particular TargetPoint may have helped you? With your permission, we would publish your testimony and the blessing and assistance would certainly be multiplied to many others.

And finally, it's important to tell you that our desire is to continue to offer the TargetPoint ministry FREE OF CHARGE. The reality is that the cost of developing and producing a single subject is $1200.00. If this has been helpful to you, perhaps you would like to sponsor the cost of a TargetPoint subject for $1200.00; or even a partial amount, translating to $37.50 per volume, or $262.50 for one week's worth. If so, please contact us at 1-719-649-1000. You can use your credit card or send a check to On Target Ministries and memo it to TargetPoint. Or, just contact us at vince@otm.co and let us know of your desire to help.

Thank you for your support and interest in reaching out to others and assisting in building up the body of Christ.

Becoming The Man God Intended,

Vince D'Acchioli
Founder/On Target Ministries

93137TargetPoint  Vol 30 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PRAISE-The Attitude of Prayer and The Amen

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done . . .

Life Implication:
Perhaps the greatest secret to learn about prayer is how to maintain a DEVOTIONAL ATTITUDE AFTER your time with the Lord concludes. We must learn to take the spirit of praise with us throughout our day.

Think about it this way: When we walk away from this special time with the Lord, we are not asking, but giving. Into a busy world we carry words of praise. We can learn to sprinkle every action with silent worship. THE GREATNESS OF GOD can then begin to DOMINATE our thoughts and our conduct. This is key to having a life that is fulfilled, not empty!

And then we end with AMEN! There's rarely a time when we don't conclude our prayers this way! Amen tells the Lord, so be it, or, it is done. A hardy AMEN ends our praying with a STRONG EXPRESSION OF CONFIDENCE. In essence we are saying, God, I know you can be trusted to bring these petitions into being. I confess my confidence in your promises. I praise you because it is done!

Life Application:
ALLOW an ATTITUDE of prayer to flood your being as you prepare for your day. As you walk away from your prayer time, LEAVE YOUR HEART'S DOOR open to the Lord. Even though you say a hardy AMEN, consider that you are leaving a comma at the end of your prayer, instead of a period

REMEMBER, God has been your power during prayer and will be your power throughout the day. SEEK, as much as possible, to CARRY ON A DIALOGUE with the Lord as you progress through your day.

DETERMINE to magnify God's name in all you do as you proceed through your day. TAKE OPPORTUNITIES during quiet moments (driving in the car, standing in a line, working on a project), to tell the Lord you love Him.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
AND IN CONCLUSION . . .

93137TargetPoint  Vol 29 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PRAISE-The Act of Divine Magnification

Luke 1:46, 47, 49 . . . My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. . .For He who is mighty has done great things for me.

Life Implication:
Does this aspect of prayer look familiar? You're right! Prayer has now come full circle, and we FIND OURSELVES AGAIN AT PRAISE. Worship should seal all praying. We began with an act of adoration, and now we END WITH AN ACT OF MAGNIFICATION.

Jesus not only taught us to begin our prayer with praise-Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, but He also taught us to end our praying with praise-For THINE is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt. 6:9, 13).

Here we MAGNIFY THE LORD'S NAME WITH PRAISE. This puts a spiritual magnifying glass to all that God is and we declare these discoveries aloud.

The Greek word for magnify in Luke 1:46, means to make great. Nothing could provide so meaningful a conclusion to prayer as a statement of the greatness of God.

As prayer concludes we praise God because it has been His greatness that has made our devotional time possible. When we began praying we recognized God's glory in all of its splendor and beauty. Now, WE RESTATE OUR CASE FOR WORSHIP. In these final moments we add faith to our praise. We actually praise God for future answers to prayer.

Life Application:
ALLOW YOUR SOUL to pause to contemplate the awesome wonder of God's being.

SPEAKING OUT LOUD, declare to Him how wonderful He is.

FOCUS your praise on His POWER (omnipotence), His KNOWLEDGE (omniscience), and His PRESENCE (omnipresence).

SPEAK PRAISE and Thanksgiving for all that He is doing in your life, and all that He is going to do.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Praise, The Attitude of Prayer and The Amen

93137TargetPoint  Vol 28 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: LISTENING-God's Whisperings

Isaiah 30:21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it. Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.

Life Implication:
Now that verse sounds pretty clear, as clear as that billboard we were wishing for a couple of days ago! Your ears shall hear, go this way, not that! Now that's the kind of direction we want, wouldn't you say?

AWESOME POWER awaits the Christian who develops a LISTENER'S SPIRIT. Since the sounds of the world wreak havoc in our prayer, the secret of silence begins in conquering these undesirable sounds.

Have you ever found yourself having done a certain thing or gone a certain way that turned out to be a wrong choice . . . and you have reflected back that you had a feeling you weren't making the right choice, but went ahead anyway? Perhaps you did not experience an inner voice, but you did SENSE GOD'S PRESENCE GENTLY LEADING you. It is at these times that we know that to move in a certain direction will please God, and so we come to desire to follow this quiet leading.

Most often GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD. In fact, all forms of guidance must be measured by Scripture. Never forget that guidance contrary to God's Word is guidance originating from another source.

Life Application:
SEEK to APPROPRIATE your regular quiet time as a workshop for developing that capacity to hear. KEEP your notebook handy, and your heart dependent.

PRACTICE listening to God's still, small voice, or becoming aware of His presence with you when you are about to make that purchase, or go to that function, or make that phone call, or speak those thoughts. MAKE A DECISION that you will TUNE IN to His voice, and then FOLLOW His lead.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Praise, The Act of Divine Magnification

93137TargetPoint  Vol 27 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: LISTENING-A Gift and Its Cost

I Kings 19:12 . . . and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

Life Implication:
What is the price of SILENCE, but the GIFT OF SELF TO GOD? The price of silence is also TIME, much time given to the practice of listening. To quiet our hearts for the specific purpose of receiving the day's guidance is an ACT OF BOTH DEPENDENCE AND FAITH! Again, it serves to move us out of our cultural emphasis on self.

It has been said, We are besieged by words in our society. Billboards blaze them into our minds as we go by. Headlines scream from the newspapers. Regular prayer builds into our lives those experiences of silence and concentration when the still, small voice of our Saviour can cut through life's howl and speak His words of peace and joy.

We must TUNE OUT the noise of the world in order to TUNE IN to that still small voice. Not only WILL GOD REVEAL how to PRAY EFFECTIVELY, if we will listen, but He will reveal how to LIVE EFFECTIVELY.

Just think! God, alone knows the solution to every problem we will face. Don't we truly want His solutions?

Life Application:
DON'T BE DISCOURAGED: The closer we come to the conclusion of our devotional time the more our minds cry out for action. This is normal. But, let's listen carefully to be certain all of our plans for action originate in God. What a great way to live!

MENTALLY EVALUATE all circumstances that relate to a particular problem or concern. ASK GOD TO SHOW YOU HIS PLAN through those circumstances.

JOT DOWN the thoughts and impressions that come to you and offer those thoughts and ideas up to God in prayer.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Listening, God's Whisperings

93137TargetPoint  Vol 26 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: LISTENING-The Act of Mental Absorption

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.

Life Implication:
How many of us would say that when we need direction on a particular issue, we just wish God would put a billboard in front of us saying Do this, or Do that! That would be so much easier. STOPPING TO LISTEN TO GOD in our busy world of radios, TVs, computers, phones, and cell phones is a huge challenge.

But let's face it, GOD SPEAKS IN THE QUIET OF OUR HEARTS. If, by the power of God's Spirit, we can muster the will to go into that secret place with Him, we just might be able to hear His voice.

You might say, Dick, this sounds like the Waiting portion of the devotional hour, or perhaps the Meditation portion . . .Aren't we doubling up here? Waiting is a time of resting silently in God's love; and Meditation is a very careful exploration of a particular spiritual theme. But, to LISTEN in prayer is to QUIETLY SEEK GOD'S INSTRUCTIONS concerning specific matters for your day.

Stop and think about someone whom you would characterize as your best friend. I wouldn't be surprised if that individual is an excellent listener! Best friends are always good listeners. If we truly desire to be friends with the Lord, we must learn the secret of listening. Actually, when you think about it, to be like Jesus is to be a listener. He listened to the Father, and He always listened to the people.

Life Application:
KEEP A NOTEPAD HANDY to jot down any thoughts that might come to you during this time of listening. TELL GOD, I believe you will truly speak to me, and I have come prepared to record your instructions.

ASK GOD SPECIFICALLY to help you plan your day's activities. If you are a housewife, ask Him to prioritize your responsibilities for your home and family. If you are a businessman, ask God to give you specific wisdom regarding important projects.

REMEMBER, you are not merely listening for divine niceties, but you are asking God to order your day.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Listening, A Gift and Its Cost

93137TargetPoint  Vol 25 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: MEDITATION-Other Focus Themes

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.

Life Implication:
Stop to think about the incredible works of God. Every created ASPECT OF THE UNIVERSE can become a focal point for effective meditation. Just like we Praised Him earlier for His works, these ponderings must always be directly in reference to God. Here we go beyond thinking on His works in order to Praise Him-we STOP and TAKE TIME TO MEDITATE and PONDER TOWARD HIS MAJESTY and the works He has done.

In TIMES OF DISTRESS AND DISCOURAGEMENT our hearts can be lifted up greatly by looking at the many blessings God has given us in previous days. This might be called, FOCUSING MEDITATION ON PAST VICTORIES. Just like Jeremiah in the midst of his complaints, he declares, This I recall to my mind, therefore, have I hope. It is because of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23) Sometimes a former experience will come alive with such reality that we can almost relive the experience. The END RESULT IS A NEW CONFIDENCE to face even the most difficult future.

And finally, FOCUS MEDITATION ON POSITIVE THOUGHTS. Like Paul told his Philippian friends, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . .pure . . .lovely . . .of good report . . . of virtue . . . of praise . . .think on these things. (Phil. 4:8) Meditating on these things removes our minds from heavy concerns of the day and helps us focus on the good stuff!

Life Application:
From the themes of God's Works, Past Victories, or Positive Thoughts, SELECT one of these themes. APPLY FULL ATTENTION to that specific area of spiritual thought. Allow your mind to wander within the framework of your chosen theme. PONDER ALL ASPECTS of the theme carefully in reference to God.

ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS about this theme that might lead you to ponder the subject more deeply.

REMEMBER ABOVE ALL: God's Word is the necessary foundation for all meaningful spiritual thought. Bring Scripture into all phases of meditation.

Now that we've Meditated and Pondered His Greatness . . . we might just be ready to Listen and hear His voice . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Listening, The Act of Mental Absorption

93137TargetPoint  Vol 24 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: MEDITATION-The Value

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You . . .

Life Implication:
Inner peace! How many people do you know that you could truly say, That person has inner peace? In our culture today, visiting a counselor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, is very common place. MEDITATING UPON GOD AND HIS WORD is certainly a lot more effective, not to mention, a lot less costly!

Scriptural meditation provides the Christian with spiritual BENEFITS received through no other means. PERSONAL INNER PEACE is but one of these benefits.

The person who spends time thinking thoughts of God will often GAIN GOD'S PERSPECTIVE on an issue. In issues and concerns of life, don't we want and need to grasp His UNDERSTANDING, His CREATIVE thoughts?

Meditation solidly based on a biblical foundation could be called the MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR-This is to think well, serving God in the interior court. This is the best thinking in which we as human beings can engage.

Life Application:
Yesterday, we discussed focusing your meditation on God Himself. Another focus is to MEDITATE ON GOD'S WORD. Scripture is filled with thousands of brief phrases that are worthy of concentrating our thoughts upon.

In the back of your Bible you may find a list of words or phrases, or a concordance. PURUSE that list and SELECT a WORD of interest to you. Then LOOK UP one of the Scripture verses mentioned. For example, the word Knowledge in my Bible mentions, among several references, I Samuel 2:3. In reading and meditating upon this verse, I see that God speaks to me about not talking proudly, and that God is a God of knowledge and that He weighs my actions! (Wow! There's a lot there to ponder!) God sees into the motives of my heart, he is much greater than any proud talk from me, I better not be too quick to speak, God's knowledge far supersedes any thoughts coming from my mouth, my actions speak louder than words to Him, and on and on . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Meditation, Other Focus Themes

93137TargetPoint  Vol 23 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: MEDITATION-The Act of Spiritual Evaluation

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law . . . you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Life Implication:
A number of days ago, we focused upon the phase of prayer called Waiting. Now, we return in prayer to enlarge that focus. At first glance it may appear that Waiting and Meditation overlap in their functions. However, waiting is an act of loving, while MEDITATION IS AN ACT OF THINKING.

The act of spiritual evaluation, called meditation, helps the believer DISCOVER HOW TO APPLY ALL THE TRUTHS God has revealed during prayer and in His word. The word meditate can certainly conjure up thoughts of gurus and the lotus position. However, TRUE MEDITATION is a far cry from what has become a twisted procedure in much of our culture.

As the Scripture above tells us, MEDITATING UPON GOD'S WORD, HIS TRUTHS, is a KEY to leading a SUCCESSFUL LIFE.

So what does meditation mean? Well, the Hebrew and Greek expressions mean respectively, to mutter upon, to bow down, rendering special mental attention, to be careful, or, to show care, in a matter. Because meditation is the mental evaluation of any spiritual theme, the BIBLE becomes a TREMENDOUS SOURCE FOR MEDITATION.

Life Application:
PONDER THE NATURE OF GOD with full intensity. CAREFULLY PROBE everything you know about your heavenly Father, constantly asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate and stretch your thinking.

ASK YOURSELF: What do I really believe about God? What does the Bible say about God that touches my life? How would I define my concept of God? What great attributes of God can I better appropriate in my daily life?

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Meditation, The Value

93137TargetPoint  Vol 22 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: SINGING-Six Themes for Songs, Part II

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . . singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Life Implication:
Yesterday's verse (Isaiah 51:11) spoke of the fact that through singing you will obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Wouldn't you like to capitalize on that? It sure beats a psychiatrist! I encourage you, now that we're on our third day discussing this often neglected form of prayer, to ALLOW GOD TO DEVELOP THIS ABILITY in you.

In Psalm 147:7, the psalmist says, Sing unto the Lord with THANKSGIVING . . . In singing with thanksgiving we create a song based on those specific gifts or blessings God has provided. Remember, anything we can thank God for verbally, we can thank God for musically.

The next theme we can use for singing to God, is to SING THE NAME OF GOD. Just think, all that Jesus is or did can become the theme of our singing during our time alone in God's presence. (To help you, see Names of God Attachment.)

PUTTING MELODY TO GOD'S WORD is another excellent way to worship God in song. Again, the psalmist says, Thy statutes have been my songs . . . (Ps. 119:54.

And finally, we are instructed to SING A NEW SONG. New refers to something fresh. A new song means your own song, not someone else's. It refers to a song from your heart that you have never sung before. This is where asking the Holy Spirit to help you really helps!

Life Application:
PAUSE in your devotional time to sing a specific song to the Lord.

SELECT A SPECIAL THEME for your song, such as praise, thanksgiving, His name, His power and mercy, or a favorite passage of Scripture.

ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT to create an original melody in your heart so your song is truly "a new song."

DO NOT HESITATE to sing songs of thanksgiving for specific blessings or victories you believe God will give you in the days ahead.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Meditation, The Act of Spiritual Evaluation

93137TargetPoint  Vol 21 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: SINGING-Six Themes for Songs, Part I

Isaiah 51: 11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing . . . they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Life Implication:
How do we make SINGING unto the Lord PRACTICAL in our daily time with Him? Of course, the singing of well-known hymns and choruses, from memory or with the aid of a hymnbook or sheet music, is a possibility.

However, another good place to start is to ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO CREATE NEW MELODIES within your heart. With these melodies you will be able to sing songs based on a variety of themes.

There are at least six distinct themes in the Bible that might be used in ministering to the Lord with song. The first is to SING PRAISES to the Lord. Imagine a child creating and singing a little song of praise to his/her Dad. Even though that song might be somewhat off-key, that father's heart would be delighted because of the sincerity of heart behind it, and because that child singing is the object of that father's affection. In the same way, to sing praises unto the Lord BRINGS GREAT JOY TO GOD'S HEART because of His intense love for us.

Another theme would be to sing of God's POWER AND MERCY. To sing of God's POWER is to put into song all that God has accomplished with His power. To sing of His MERCY is to sing of His faithfulness and justice. It is to sing the attributes of His divine nature.

Life Application:
Just as you learned to speak PRAISES to God during our first few days together, take those same phrases and instead of speaking them try SINGING TO THE LORD. ALLOW THE MELODY TO FLOW from your heart.

TELL GOD IN SONG how much you appreciate His POWER, all that He has accomplished; and then sing of His MERCY, His faithfulness and justice.

PRACTICE THIS NEW ART, by singing to Him in the shower; or make up a song to Him as you're driving in your car. DO NOT BE CONCERNED if your voice seems somewhat unpleasant, or your tune not up to snuff with the Philharmonic - remember, God sees your heart, and He intensely loves what you are doing.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Singing, Six Themes for Songs, Part II

93137TargetPoint  Vol 20 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: SINGING-The Act of Melodic Worship

Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing.

Life Implication:
Oh, Oh, Dick, you say, now you've gone too far. I can't even carry a tune in the shower! Well . . . now, let's just investigate this a little. Perhaps when we are through, you may just feel like singing . . .

Words of adoration combined with a melody from the heart lead to praise in its most beautiful form. Here we discover ONE OF THE MOST NEGLECTED ASPECTS of personal worship, singing alone in God's presence. Would you believe that no fewer than forty-one of the Psalms specifically refer to singing praises unto the Lord? And, that was a man (King David) writing.

It was once said by an old saint, I sing the doxology and dismiss the devil! SATAN DESPISES MUSIC UNTO THE LORD. You see, he was the worship leader for heaven before he decided to take the glory for himself.

There's a great story in the Bible in II Chronicles 20 where God promised Jehoshaphat that Judah would see victory in battle. Verse 22 gives the bottom line: WHEN THEY BEGAN TO SING and praise, THE LORD SET AMBUSHES against the people . . . who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. Singing can be an act of SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

Life Application:
Based on one of your favorite Scriptures or two, TRY TO WRITE YOUR OWN SONG to the Lord. Don't worry if your song does not sound polished, and the words need not be in rhyme.

HOW TO BEGIN? First, WRITE OUT YOUR OWN PARAPHRASE of a particular verse. Put it into your own words. Then, try to DEVELOP A SONG based on this verse. Sing that song to the Lord in prayer. For example:John 3:16 ? "Thank you God for giving me Jesus, your only son, because you loved me so much . . . "?

As you sing to the Lord, CONCENTRATE on the fact that GOD IS THE ONE THAT DOES battle for you if you allow Him to, whether in your relationships, your finances, your work, or your family.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Singing, Six Themes for Songs, Part I

93137TargetPoint  Vol 19 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: THANKSGIVING-A Confession of Blessings

Psalm 116: 12,17 What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving . . .

Life Implication:
THANKSGIVING can be TRULY LIMITLESS in its scope. In each situation of life, no matter the difficulty it presents, focus for thanksgiving can be discovered. Even the death of a loved one reminds us of the knowledge of eternal life.

Thanksgiving might be termed as a "MINISTRY TO GOD." It also could be characterized as an ATTITUDE . . . Don't you love to be around thankful people? God appreciates that too!

An especially MEANINGFUL GOAL of thanksgiving is to thank God each day for at least one blessing you cannot remember thanking Him for previously. Another form of giving thanks, is to thank God IN ADVANCE for blessings you expect Him to bestow on you in the future. Sounds a bit presumptuous? Even King David, often in the Psalms, thanked God ahead of time for defeating his enemies!

Life Application:
ACKNOWLEDGE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. Do you recall ever thanking God specifically for the person who first told you about Jesus . . . your first Bible . . . your early Sunday School teachers . . .?

ACKNOWLEDGE MATERIAL BLESSINGS. Be very specific, remembering even the little things. Thank Him for the chair in which you sit, or the warmth of the room.

ACKNOWLEDGE PHYSICAL BLESSINGS. Thank Him for good health. If you are experiencing pain in one leg, express appreciation for strength in the other. "Hear" the Attitude?

ACKNOWLEDGE EXTERNAL BLESSINGS. Think of blessings which are not directly related to you, for example, God's kindnesses rendered to your friends, community, or nation.

DETERMINE TO BE APPRECIATION CONSCIOUS and ALERT TO BLESSINGS throughout your day, and then verbalize those things to God. Now that you are so full of thanksgiving, you might just feel like singing . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Singing, The Act of Melodic Worship

93137TargetPoint  Vol 18 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: THANKSGIVING-The Act of Expressed Appreciation

I Thessalonians 5:18 . . . in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Life Implication:
Basically, thanksgiving is the act of EXPRESSING SPECIFIC GRATITUDE to God for blessings He has bestowed upon us. These expressions may be mental or vocal.

THANKSGIVING differs from praise in that praise focuses on WHO God is, whereas thanksgiving focuses on WHAT God has specifically done for us. Thanksgiving helps us FOCUS ON GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.

It is during this aspect of prayer that we RECOGNIZE ALL OF LIFE'S BLESSINGS and confess them before God. This is essential to prayer because it draws the heart to God . . . it draws our attention from ourselves and places it where it must be centered to make prayer effective. Think of it as a SPECIAL GIFT to God for His kindnesses.

One might say-Look, I've had a hard life; I've been divorced; my kids are haywire; I've had to declare bankruptcy . . . and on and on . . . However, I would challenge you to see the GLASS HALF FULL instead of half empty. The Scripture doesn't say "FOR everything give thanks", it says "IN everything . . ." That means FINDING THE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD in your life and giving God thanks for those. It could be as little as the fact that you woke up this morning without a headache. Seriously, as we begin to thank God for His blessings, we are opening the door to receive more of His blessings in our lives.

Life Application:
ALLOW YOUR MIND TO REFLECT over the previous day's activities. This will lead you to many points of concentration for specific thanksgiving. MENTALLY CATALOG these specific things and put these blessings into words and speak them back to God.

BECOME AWARE of all that exists around you. What do you SEE worthy of thanksgiving? In the same sense that we need to watch in prayer, we need to watch in thanksgiving. Once you are aware of those specific things Jesus has done for you, then VERBALIZE THESE BLESSINGS.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Thanksgiving, A Confession of Blessings

93137TargetPoint  Vol 17 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PETITION-Expressed Dependence

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Life Implication:
DEPENDENCE? I thought INdependence was the highest level of humanity! You might think that is true in American life, but this scripture denotes one of the most dependent requests one might have.

HELPLESSNESS - why that's just plain counter-cultural! But, it was Jesus who taught us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread. Beware, you are about to enter a zone of helplessness!

Because PETITION IS AN EXPRESSION OF HELPLESSNESS, it should be present each day in the devotional hour. We are, no matter what our culture touts, to express our DEPENDENCE ON CHRIST FOR EVERY NEED. Petition is our means of such expression. We go before God as an attorney with a carefully prepared argument upon which to base our case. We have a sincere, unselfish basis for our requests. Our motive is pure and our arguments well ordered. After all, Jesus was fully dependent upon God His Father. Can we be anything less?

Here's a great guideline to follow: ASK with a beggar's humility, SEEK with a servant's carefulness, and KNOCK with the confidence of a friend.

Life Application:
Make your petition very SPECIFIC - never vague. Make your petition very COMPLETE. CAREFULLY THINK THROUGH your petition before presenting it. ANALYZE THE PROBLEM from every angle and then express it as a petition.

Make your petition SINCERE. STRIVE to bring your claims before God with a right spirit. Make your petition SIMPLE. Though we should analyze a problem, piece by piece, our manner of petition ought to be SIMPLE AND INFORMAL.

ENLARGE A PETITION carefully, taking time to explain to God why you desire an answer for that request. FREQUENTLY EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES for claiming a petition. Be certain they are pure in the sight of God.

Now, with our requests made known to God, we are on our way to giving Thanks . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Thanksgiving, The Act of Expressed Appreciation

93137TargetPoint  Vol 16 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PETITION-The Act of Personal Supplication

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Life Implication:
Now that we've spent time praying and interceding for other, we can (still unselfishly) move into praying for ourselves. PETITION is that aspect of prayer given over to asking God for SPECIFIC PERSONAL THINGS. To seek an unselfish spiritual or material blessing is not unscriptural.

A little known man in the Bible named Jabez, called on God, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my borders . . . and GOD ANSWERED HIS REQUEST. You will find this passage literally buried amid a lengthy list of begats in I Chronicles 4:9-10. Amazing!!

Just as our Christian experience is a personal experience, prayer, too, MUST BECOME VERY PERSONAL. We must not hesitate to declare as Jabez, Bless me, indeed!

In a practical sense, PETITION is not the prayer of a man opening heaven's doors to release God's power. Rather, it is MAN OPENING HIS HEART'S DOOR to receive power already appropriated by God. Expressed helplessness is the key to opening that door, thus giving God access to our need. WE MUST, THEN, DEFINE THE NEED.

Life Application:
Begin your petition by ASKING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HELP YOU CLAIM only those desires that will bring special honor to the Lord.

MAKE A MENTAL LIST OF SPECIFIC NEEDS you have for that very day and offer each need to God.

As we learned in Scripture Praying a few days back, OPEN YOUR BIBLE to I Chronicles 4:9-10 and pray for yourself the prayer of Jabez. Pray it in its entirety and then THANK THE LORD that He is going to bless you and enlarge your borders, be it borders of influence, or borders of health, or even financial borders.

Again, WRITE DOWN your specific requests in a PRAYER JOURNAL - then record His answers and the date. What a FAITH BUILDER, what a joy! Your TRUST in Him will grow.

Lord, teach me to intercede . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Petition, Expressed Dependence

93137TargetPoint  Vol 15 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: INTERCESSION-Prayer Centered on Others

Matthew 6:9-13 Our Father which art in heaven . . .

Life Implication:
Just do it! Go for it! Grab the gusto! This is the lingo of our culture! DO YOUR OWN THING whatever it takes, no matter whom you might step on in the process.

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray it was clear the EMPHASIS WAS TO BE ON OTHERS. How do we marry this with the culture in which we live? Sounds like a road less traveled doesn't it?

The LORD'S PRAYER began with the word OUR. We were not taught to pray, My Father, but Our Father! Further in the prayer we see statements like give us, lead us, and forgive us. In the deepest sense, the prayer is a LOVE PRAYER. Every word is self-less. It cannot be prayed without deep compassion.

To keep our praying always centered on others, INTERCESSION SHOULD COME BEFORE expressing our own needs and wishes. Because Jesus realized we would periodically lapse into a spirit of selfishness, He taught us to
pray, Thy kingdom come, before praying, Give us this day our daily bread.

Life Application:
As you pray for others, NEVER BE TROUBLED by the fact that your knowledge of a need is somewhat limited. ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT to aid you in prayer so that your praying is as meaningful and intelligent as possible.

REMEMBER that all prayer, especially intercession, is a learning experience.

FAITH BUILDER IDEA: KEEP A JOURNAL of prayer requests for others. As time goes by, and you see answers to your prayers fulfilled, MAKE NOTE of the answer and the date by the prayer request. This becomes an exciting and FAITH BUILDING exercise as we see the Lord responding to the needs of others because of our prayers. And, it becomes a FOUNDATION OF FAITH as we then learn to request prayer for ourselves.

Lord, teach me to intercede . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Petition, The Act of Personal Supplication

93137TargetPoint  Vol 14 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: WATCHING-Spiritual Prayer

Romans 8: 26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps . . . for we know not what we should pray . . . but the Spirit . . . makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Life Implication:
As we move from a few minutes of Watching in prayer, and of having the Holy Spirit make us aware of needs, the logical next step is to then INTERCEDE for various people and situations. Our goal is that we may all lead a quiet and peaceable life. Sounds great doesn't it?

INTERCESSION might be labeled the heart of prayer It is God's method for involving His followers more completely in the totality of His plan. Basically, intercession is prayer OFFERED ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER. In the process, we forget our personal needs and we focus all of our faith and prayer-attention on others.

To INTERCEDE IS TO MEDIATE. It is to stand between a lost person and an almighty God, praying that someone you know will come to know about God and His salvation; or that a particular person's needs will be met.

Being made aware of a particular need in an individual you might know, or of a particular situation in the news, we may than EARNESTLY APPEAL ON BEHALF of that person or situation, praying that His "kingdom come, His will be done".

Truly, there is NO HIGHER PLANE in prayer than INTERCESSION. It is OTHERS-DRIVEN, not self-driven!

Life Application:
First, ask God to give you an unselfish HEART OF INTERCESSION.

As you think of people you know who have not given their hearts to Christ, ask God to REMOVE THAT WHICH BLINDS their minds to the one true God. Ask Him to OPEN THEIR HEARTS to Him. Ask the Lord to SURROUND THOSE PEOPLE with friends who truly know and walk with the Lord, so that their hearts would be softened to God's Spirit.

As you focus on a particular need of an individual or something in the news, ASK THAT GOD'S PLAN BE REVEALED to that person, or in that situation. NEVER stand in the way of God's plan by praying what might seem the obvious only - ask Him to BRING FORTH HIS PLANS for good for that situation.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint:
Intercession, Prayer Centered on Others

93137TargetPoint  Vol 13 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: WATCHING-Spiritual Prayer

Romans 8: 26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps . . . for we know not what we should pray . . . but the Spirit . . . makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Life Implication:
My pastor often speaks of FOUR DIFFERENT WILLS in this world: God's will; the will of natural laws (e.g. gravity - so don't jump!); the will of the flesh which is man's sinful nature; and the will of the devil.

As we continue on this subject of WATCHING in prayer, we must learn to RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT to HELP US DISCERN whether or not the will of our flesh or the will of the devil is distracting us from our focus. The Holy Spirit will also HELP US DISCERN what are the NEEDS OF OTHERS AND OF THIS WORLD we live in. Each of us has been given the help of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. This guidance is best cultivated in the WATCHING aspect of prayer.

Twice in Scripture, Christians are admonished to PRAY IN THE SPIRIT (Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20). Of course, praying in the Spirit, means vastly different things to different Christians. But no matter what, we each need to seek to develop a much enlarged RECOGNITION of the Holy Spirit's power as it relates to personal prayer.

God earnestly desires to reveal SPECIAL SECRETS (things that only He can know or see), to help us pray more specifically for particular needs. To WATCH in prayer is to open our spiritual eyes to perceive these secrets, and this can only be done by PERMITTING THE HOLY SPIRIT to enlighten us during prayer.

Life Application:
Before we move on to the privileged aspect in prayer called Intercession, our eyes must be open to the needs of others, as well as ourselves.

EARNESTLY REQUEST that God, by the power of His Holy Spirit, give you spiritual alertness, eyes wide open, and ears to hear.

MAKE IT A PRACTICE to draw out the needs of others: (Hey! . . . you don't look too happy . . . what's wrong?). PRAY CONTINUOUSLY FOR SENSITIVITY to the news of the day and to people around you.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Intercession, The Act of Earnest Appeal

93137TargetPoint  Vol 12 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: WATCHING-The Act of Mental Awareness

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray . . .

Life Implication:
Some of you may be old enough to remember the TV show Laugh-In. On that show a well known comedian often used a one-liner that brought a lot of laughs: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, he'd say. No matter your political bent, you probably are aware that even Dr. Laura and Bill O'Reilly (talk show host/news host) know about, and speak out against EVIL.

ENTER: THE ENEMY! We speak often, generically, about "the devil; the thief; the enemy; satanic forces; the evil one". But God actually gave this enemy of ours a name: SATAN. Early in the New Testament, in the book of Matthew, when the devil tempted Jesus while He was out in the wilderness, Jesus responded: AWAY WITH YOU, SATAN! There it is, in your face, so to speak . . . not generic, he has a name!

I Peter 5:8 says, Be sober, be WATCHFUL; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour. Jesus says in John 10:10 that this enemy of ours does not come except to STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY.

Have you ever begun to pray and suddenly your THOUGHTS BECOME SCATTERED, your MIND BEGINS to WANDER, or you may even get drowsy and FALL ASLEEP? Satan does not want you praying because he knows therein lies the POWER. He wants to STEAL AWAY YOUR BRIDGE to the power of God which is PRAYER.

Life Application:
Take a few moments during prayer to become SPIRITUALLY ALERT. Watch for the methods of the devil, and ways that he might use to hinder your Christian walk today.

While praying do your thoughts become scattered? Does your mind wander? Is your flesh weak? Do you get drowsy and feel as though you will fall asleep? TAKE a few moments to IDENTIFY THOSE AREAS OF WEAKNESS . . . areas where the enemy would like to steal your effectiveness in prayer. Then PRAY AGAINST THOSE THINGS: Father, I TAKE AUTHORITY over my mind and my thoughts in the Name of Jesus. I CHOOSE to have no thoughts that are alien to the Holy Spirit of God. I DESIRE to have the mind of Christ in the things for which I pray.

If your thoughts are not focused in prayer, MAKE A DECISION to write down those things you wish to pray about. If you get drowsy, WALK AROUND the room while you pray in order to keep alert.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Watching, Spiritual Prayer

93137TargetPoint  Vol 11 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: SCRIPTURE PRAYING-Word Enriched Prayer

I Thessalonians 2:13 We thank God . . . because when you received the word of God . . . you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

Life Implication:
What a gift! God's Word! It is more than a mere foundation for effective praying it is the ACTUAL SUBSTANCE for effective praying. Just as the Word of God brings life to the Christian's daily walk, God's Word BRINGS LIFE into our praying.

By bringing God's Word directly into our praying, we are bringing GOD'S POWER directly into our praying.

It has been said that there are only three classes of people in the world today: those who are afraid, those who do not know enough to be afraid, and those who know their Bibles. The Scriptures are LIFE AND POWER to those who believe.

Life Application:
STRIVE to give the Word of God its rightful place. READ (or listen to Scripture on tape; you could do this while driving in your car). As you read (or listen) the moment you discover a verse (or two) that impresses a particular truth upon your heart, STOP and QUIETLY MEDITATE on what that verse is saying to you. Ponder every aspect of the passage. CAREFULLY EVALUATE how the passage might be transformed into a specific request.

ASK YOURSELF several questions. Does this verse prompt me to pray for something specific? How can this passage be directly applied to my request? Is it possible to use some of the words of this scripture, verbatim, as I pray?

FORM A PERSONAL PRAYER enriched by a promise in the Word from God. MENTALLY DEVELOP an actual prayer based on what you have read or heard in the passage and offer that prayer to the Lord. Here's an example: Ps. 37:3-4 Lord, help me to trust in you and to do my best for others; help me to learn how to feed on your faithfulness, and to live where you have planted me. Thank you that you will give me the desires of my heart.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Watching, The Act of Mental Awareness

93137TargetPoint  Vol 10 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: SCRIPTURE PRAYING-The Act of Faith Appropriation

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not My word like a "fire?" says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Life Implication:
Well, here we are at the fourth aspect of a dynamic devotional prayer life. We've walked through the first three aspects: Praising, Waiting, and Confession. Now we are ready to pursue SCRIPTURE PRAYING. This may be a totally new concept to you, so let's plunge in!

As we learn to systematically apply God's Word during prayer we will come to a full understanding of how MUCH POWER God has available to us. The Bible says Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Familiarity with the Word of God is a definite faith strengthener.

The Word of God is the Christian's TRUE PRAYER BOOK. It is our guide and foundation for all effective praying.

A SECRET FOR RECEIVING ANSWERS to prayer lies in how we learn to apply God's Word during prayer. Think of it, every promise in the Bible is a writing of God! Therefore, we can reasonably request that He do in our lives what He has said in His Word. God will not cheat His children who depend upon His truth; He will not break His Word to His own child.

Life Application:
With a heart full of praise, a heart full of love, and a heart that is clean, now take the next few minutes to sit with your BIBLE OPEN ON YOUR LAP. Turn to the New Testament and EXAMINE A PASSAGE from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John), or the Epistles (letters from Paul to the churches, Galations, Ephesians, Philippians, etc.). Or look in the Old Testament at the Psalms or Proverbs. LOOK CAREFULLY for specific ways to apply each verse to prayer.

ASK GOD to bless his Word to your spiritual body, just as He blesses natural food to your physical body.

DEVELOP ACTUAL PRAYERS based on the thoughts and phrases included in a verse (or verses) of Scripture and offer those prayers confidently to the Lord. A perfect example of praying Scripture is what we looked at yesterday from Psalm 51:10 - Lord, as Your Word says, Create a clean heart in me. I cannot do it myself, I need You to do it for me. Thank You, Lord God, for making my heart a new and clean heart.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Scripture Praying, Word Enriched Prayer

93137TargetPoint  Vol 9 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: CONFESSION-The Necessity and the How

Psalm 51:10-11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Life Implication:
King David, in Psalm 51, has helped us greatly by establishing a pattern for daily confession.

David cries out for DIVINE HOLINESS (create in me a clean heart). He pleads, I cannot be cleansed or forgiven by my own actions. Forgiveness is a work only God can do.

David cries out for a DIVINE ATTITUDE (renew a right spirit within me). David's first petition concerns a right relationship with God, while this petition concerns a right relationship with others. One's attitude is crucial to dynamic praying. Bitterness toward others drains prayer of power.

David confesses his need for DIVINE GUIDANCE (Do not cast me away from your presence.) Here we confess our need for God's presence throughout the day, especially to defeat temptation.

David cries out for DIVINE PRESENCE. (Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me). This aspect of desire for the Holy Spirit's presence, is to admit that without God's Spirit operating in and through us all efforts will be hopelessly ineffective.

Life Application:
During confession, AMPLIFY David's requests, while ELABORATING on areas that need improvement in your life.

Take a MENTAL TRIP through the previous twenty-four hours in order to allow God to reveal specific needs for confession.

ASK YOURSELF, Did I fail God in any areas of personal conduct?  Was I honest in my dealings with others?  Were my thoughts pleasant to God?  As God reveals various spiritual shortcomings, CONFESS THEM and BELIEVE FOR TOTAL VICTORY.

And finally, CONFESS YOUR NEED for God's guidance and supernatural presence.

And now, with a clean heart, we are ready for the next step in prayer . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Scripture Praying, The Act of Faith Appropriation

93137TargetPoint  Vol 8 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: CONFESSION-Spiritual Surgery

Psalm 139:24 And see if there is any wicked way in me . . .

Life Implication:
Why is confession so difficult for some? Perhaps because confession is really the MOST PAINFUL PART of personal prayer. The moment we admit that a particular act displeases God, we recognize the responsibility to change it.

The act of declared admission gives God access into the heart of the believer, REMOVING ALL HINDRANCES to effective prayer. It could well be described as a spiritual work of surgery.

There can be no HEALING WITHIN until there is first CONFESSION WITHOUT.

The well-being of ourselves, our family and our friends depends upon our prayers. But our prayers depend upon our spiritual well-being. Think of it! How can a holy God pour Himself through a Christian whose life is CLOGGED WITH THE DEBRIS of this world? Sin causes indifference, and it is impossible for indifferent people to change the world.

Life Application:
ASK GOD to do SPIRITUAL, RADICAL SURGERY in your heart, your mind and your spirit.

ALLOW God to bring to mind specific sins you have committed in your thinking (THOUGHT), in your speaking (WORD), or in something you have done (DEED).

DETERMINE to MAKE RESTITUTION where it is needed. DECIDE to ASK FORGIVENESS from that friend you may have spoken unkindly toward. RESOLVE to change that improper pattern of behavior that God has brought to mind.

And most importantly, ASK GOD to help you make these changes, for without His help, these changes will only become a temporary fix.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Confession, The Necessity and the How

93137TargetPoint  Vol 7 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: CONFESSION-The Act of Declared Admission

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me . . .

Life Implication:
Having honored God with vocal Praise and Silent Love, we find the door now opens for truly effective praying. Immediately we must DEAL FULLY with the matter of PERSONAL SIN.

What is CONFESSION? The New Testament Greek word for confess means to agree with God concerning His opinion of a matter. It also means to admit our guilt.

God does not ask us to confess our sins because HE needs to know we have sinned, but because He knows that WE need to know we have sinned.

Confession is CRITICAL to our praying and should be IMPLEMENTED EARLY in prayer. It CLEARS THE CONSCIENCE of faith-killing guilt and OPENS THE HEART to truly believe God will hear our deepest needs, desires and concerns.

Life Application:
Following your time of silent waiting, IMMEDIATELY ask God to SEARCH YOUR HEART for any unconfessed sin.

MENTALLY EXAMINE your recent activities to discover possible areas of failure that need confessing; moral failure, spiritual failure, big sins, or little white lies. Whatever comes to mind.

Especially BE ON GUARD for little things - those unseen sins that can grow and eventually lead to bigger problems in our lives.

ADMIT these sins that come to mind and tell God that you desire TO TURN FROM those sins. Ask Him to help you have the strength, by His power, to turn 180 degrees in the other direction.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Confession, Spiritual Surgery

93137TargetPoint  Vol 6 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: WAITING-Its Focus and Value

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

Life Implication:
The word know means to have a CLEAR PERCEPTION OR UNDERSTANDING. God says we come to KNOW that He is God by being STILL. Can you just imagine our Heavenly Father saying about His people, Why, I can't get a word in edgewise!  With our electronic devices, TVs, and videos on constantly, He literally cannot get a word in edgewise. Our minds cannot TUNE IN till we TUNE OUT all the rest of the noise of this world we live in.

To focus attention entirely upon God PLACES GOD ON THE THRONE of our praying.

Not only does Waiting prepare us for Confession (which follows our time of Waiting) in prayer, it actually serves to snatch us away from the things of the world. To wait in silence is to BID FAREWELL TO EARTHLY conversation and attention. It is that VITAL BRIDGE that takes us from a carnal world to a spiritual world. This silent surrendering of the soul to God opens the door to the higher plane of His divine love.

Life Application:
As you practice this delicate art of WAITING, DO NOT RUSH these moments of spiritual silence.

As you take these moments of Waiting, WHISPER WORDS like, I love you, Lord, or, I long for your presence, O God. 

CONCENTRATE full attention on the love aspect of God's nature in your minutes of silence.

REMEMBER this second aspect of prayer following your moments of Praise, is beginning to prepare your heart for Confession to Him. ALLOW the quiet preparation of your heart. As you are STILL and as you come to KNOW Him, you will come to fully TRUST Him as you next turn to Confessing your sins to Him.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Confession, The Act of Declared Admission

93137TargetPoint  Vol 5 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: WAITING-The Act of Soul Surrender

Isaiah 40:31 They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength . . . they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Life Implication:
Wouldn't we all love to run and NOT be weary? Here we have a KEY given to us by God Himself. He says to WAIT upon Him. That sounds like a difficult assignment but with practice, the benefits are well worth the effort.

What does it mean to WAIT upon God? And how does waiting differ from praise? WAITING on the Lord is basically the SILENT SURRENDERING of the soul to God.

Waiting is NOT THE NORM. Don't most of us have to force ourselves to relax while waiting in a line and counting the minutes of what we perceive as wasted time?

WAITING ON GOD REQUIRES OUR ENTIRE BEING. It is not drifting into daydreaming, but is rather an exercise that demands our keenest attention, our most alert frame of mind. Waiting says softly, God, I love you. Waiting might be termed wordless worship. It is a spiritual love affair with intimate supernatural union. It is a RELATIONSHIP.

Life Application:
After your moments of praise, bring your mind and heart into a TIME OF COMPLETE SILENCE to the world around you. Think no thoughts but thoughts of God the Father, His Son Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.

Especially STRIVE TO CONQUER the nature of our culture of misspent conversation that permeates the very fiber of human life. This is not the time for asking, but of QUIET FOCUS in His presence.

PRACTICE THE ART of silence throughout your day. Silence takes practice in this noise filled world in which we live. You can practice in various ways: As you drive in your car, try TURNING OFF THE RADIO for 10 minutes or so. While at home, if you're used to the TV being on most of the time, try turning it off for a half hour. During those times of silence, QUIETLY CONCENTRATE on your LOVE for Him. While praise cries boldly, God, I see these excellent qualities in your nature, waiting says softly, GOD, I LOVE YOU.

As you practice this art in different ways and settings, you will find that during your prayer time, those few minutes of silence following your moments of praise become easier and easier.

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Waiting, Its Focus and Value

93137TargetPoint  Vol 4 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PRAISE-A Few Final Thoughts

Psalm 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Life Implication:
To enter His COURTS is to be enclosed inside a fenced in or safe place. What better place to be! For the last few days, we have been learning the mystery of beginning our devotional time of prayer with PRAISE.

Praise sets us FREE OF SELF.
Praise SENDS THE DEVIL RUNNING.

The scripture itself tells us that God INHABITS the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3). Think of it! When we begin our time of prayer with praise, God COMES AND SITS DOWN with us; He DWELLS with us; and He REMAINS with us. That is the actual meaning of the word inhabits in Hebrew. Wow! What more could we ask for than the real, abiding presence of our Lord and Savior with us as we approach the next aspect in prayer of learning how to WAIT upon Him.

Life Application:
Along with the themes we discussed yesterday, of praising God for His NAME, and then for His RIGHTEOUSNESS, another theme could be to dwell upon His INFINITE CREATION. It is important here to praise HIM for His creation, rather than to praise the creation itself. Perhaps you can recall sitting by a beautiful clear stream, or you've climbed to a mountain top and viewed the grandeur of the vista: GIVE GOD honor and praise for the beauty of His handiwork.

And finally, take time to PRAISE GOD FOR HIS WORD. Like King David, even in his moments of deepest depression, he wrote, In God will I praise his word (Ps. 56:10).

As you select one of these themes for praising God, DECLARE VOCALLY all that God is. EXPAND your theme as much as possible. ALLOW GOD TO REVEAL new themes for worship as your time of praise develops.

Early in prayer TAKE TIME to recognize all that God is. DON'T be in a hurry. Allow God to come sit down with you as you adore Him with your words of worship!

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Waiting, The Act of Soul Surrender

93137TargetPoint  Vol 3 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PRAISE-Why Praise First?

Psalm 22:3 But You are holy, Who inhabit the praises of Israel.

Life Implication:
Yesterday, you determined to set aside the first moments of your time of prayer to speak vocal PRAISES to God. But WHY do we do that? Only praise puts God in His rightful position at the very outset of our praying. In praising God we declare His sovereignty and recognize His nature and power. Through praise we first draw our attention to GOD in prayer BEFORE we draw our attention to SELF.

In its very nature, praise is unselfish. It has been said that praise DECENTRALIZES SELF . . . it demands a shift of center from self to God . . . Praise produces forgetfulness of self?and forgetfulness of self is HEALTH.

What a concept! Aren't we all looking for HEALTH in body, mind and spirit? We soon discover SPIRITUAL HEALTH has its ROOTS in DIVINE ADORATION. Therefore, praise is quite PRACTICAL. It is practical because it changes our focus. As we recognize God for all He is, we soon realize it is this ALL-POWERFUL GOD to whom we will be presenting all of our later requests.

And last, but not least, opening our prayer time with Praise, promptly SENDS THE DEVIL RUNNING. Adoration is actually the antidote to the poison of satanic oppression. The devil is allergic to praises to God, so where there is massive triumphant praise, the devil is paralyzed, bound, and banished.

Life Application:
CHOOSE at the outset of your devotional time of prayer to shift your focus off of self and on to God. Do first as the Psalmist does, PRAISE GOD FOR HIS NAME. TELL Him how much you appreciate Him and what He has done for you. To praise God is to prize God. So take a few moments to PRIZE the name of Jesus Christ with words of praise?  Lord Jesus, I praise You. You are so wonderful. I praise you for all that You are. I praise You that Your Name is the greatest . . 

RECOGNIZING that God is our standard for righteousness, praise Him for His RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteous means meeting the standards of what is right and just. You will come to find that it actually becomes a relief as we come to DEPEND upon and FOCUS on His righteousness rather than our own? God, I praise You that You are my righteousness on Whom I can depend . . . that You never shift or change . . .

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Praise, A Few Final Thoughts

93137TargetPoint  Vol 2 of 31

Today's Verse/Thought: PRAISE-The Act of Divine Adoration

Psalm 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

Life Implication:
Now that you've determined to schedule an appointment with the Lord . . . here we are . . . and you may be saying, How do I begin?

Let's look at how our Lord told us to begin in Matthew 6:9, Our Father which art in heaven, HALLOWED be Thy name. There it is, as simple as that. The best place to begin is by PRAISING HIM. Hallowed is a New Testament expression used ONLY in reference to the name of God. It means to revere or to sanctify, or to set apart.

PRAISE is more than a single aspect of prayer. Praise can become a way of life. What is praise? First, praise is EXPRESSING VERBALLY your love for God. This act of vocal adoration is important because it implies we acknowledge God as God.

PRAISE is FOUNDATIONAL to all other kinds of prayer. It opens the door of our hearts to Him. It starts us out on the right foot, so to speak, with the One who wants to be our Best Friend.

Life Application:
When one of your dear friends says something nice about you, what happens inside you? If you know that person to be sincere, it becomes a blessing to you. It opens your heart to that person. In the same way, your FIRST STEP in life changing prayer needs to be the ACT of PRAISE.

SET ASIDE (sanctify), a period of time specifically to praise God at the beginning of your prayer. Spend a minute or two telling Him how wonderful He is.

As you think about Him, SELECT A SPECIFIC THEME for praise, such as God's righteousness, His Word, or His creative acts. Let your mind wander about how wonderful He is, how incredible His creation is, and then TELL HIM so. . . Lord, teach me to adore you!

Tomorrow In TargetPoint
Praise, WHY Praise First?