Story: Grand Canyon.
When viewing the northern rim from the south rim—you feel that it is only a couple of miles away (it seems so close that you can touch it).
But in reality, it is 18 miles away.
Clarity opens the doors to hope and possibilities.
God wants you to see things clearly.
Today, we begin a journey in discovering what it takes to have and maintain a strong prayer life.
The great hindrance to prayer is the lack of hope.
When we cannot see things clearly in our life and in our church, we become discouraged and we can lose hope.
When we do not know what God wants us to do, we can lose hope.
One of the goals that I have set for my life and for the life of this church is for us to once again see things clearly.
So, in the year 2,020, I want us to spiritual develop 20/20 vision—clarity in God’s call!
So, just as when we are not able to see things clearly physically, we need to get our eyes checked—we need to get our spiritual eyes examined.
God wants you to know HIs Will—His plan and purpose for your life.
Through His Word, the work of the Holy Spirit, and experiences in your life, God reveals His truth that transforms.
Significant obstacles to knowing God’s Will are the distractions and busyness of life.
Too often, we miss God’s revelation because we do not take the time to see and listen.
This is rooted in the health and vitality of our faith.
Transition: Let me give to foundational principles that support the main thought I have for your today:
Engage God’s Word through study, prayer, and action.
To have clarity in God’s call for your life and the life of this church, we cannot ignore God’s Word.
Without God’s Word, we will allow our lives to be led by our emotions rather than the revelation of God.
Without God’s Word, we will misinterpret our experiences, which can open the door to false conclusions (which can lead to false beliefs and teachings).
God’s Word serves as a compass in our journey of faith.
We need to study.
We need to pray through the Word.
We need to apply the truths of God’s Word to our lives, actions, and attitudes.
The second foundational principle that will help us understand the main point I want to make today is...
Embrace the Presence and Work of the Holy Spirit.
Why would Jesus tell us these things?
The presence and work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for us to see things clearly—to understand God’s Will for our lives.
So, instead of resisting the Holy Spirit, we need to allow the Holy Spirit unfettered access to every part of our lives.
These two foundational principles (The Bible and the Holy Spirit) leads us to the main thought this morning:
Experience Tests and Trails as Opportunities to for God’s Revelation in Your Life.
It is natural to think that difficulties and hardships that happen in our lives are hindrances, rather than helps.
It is natural to pray for quick resolutions of these problems, rather than to see these problems as opportunities for God to shape our lives.
When trials occur, one should count it all joy—not meaning mere worldly, temporal happiness, but rather spiritual, enduring, “complete joy” in the Lord who is sovereign over all things, including trials.
Testing of your faith defines the meaning of a trial for the Christian: as Jesus was “tested” in the wilderness (Matt.
4:1–13), so believers are tested.
The Greek dokimion (“testing”) denotes a positive test intended to make one’s faith “genuine” (cf. 1 Pet.
So, when you face times of testing, don’t quickly dismiss it as something of no spiritual value—ask God to help you see the problem as an opportunity of His grace in your life.
Illustration/Story: Going to England and my ride did not show up.
Questions for Reflection and Group Discussion
How does God’s Word help us to know and understand His will for our life and church?
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in helping us understand what God wants to do in our life?
How can God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit help us in times of trouble?
How do problems help us develop and strengthen our faith?