Pray For Decisive Faith

PRAYERS FOR SPIRITUAL AWAKENING SERIES

Introduction

To be awakened in our spiritual life is…

  • To be attentive to the presence of God in our daily lives.
  • To be aware of the lost souls all around us and reach out
  • To be alert to the sin in our own lives and turn away
  • To be about the work of God before anything else
  • To be growing in our walk with the Lord daily.

Spiritual Awakening is a challenge in a world that is asleep to God and His work around them.

2 Corinthians 4:4 … the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…

But is the church asleep to God’s presence and work also? Easily be distracted from being attentive to our spiritual life. Prayer for Spiritual Awakening: the turning point in our lives.

Elijah under tremendous pressure from evil queen Jezebel (Ahab). Jezebel’s father was a king who won his crown by murder. He was a priest of one of the Baal idols of that day. Used her power to make Baal worship Predominant in Israel. Ruthless…encouraged Ahab to kill Naboth and steal his land. When Elijah gathers the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashram to Mount Carmel for a showdown of faith, he is up against a powerful enemy. Elijah’s challenge to the people was clear:

How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him! (1 Kings 18:21)

But the people were completely silent.

A Decisive Faith Seeks to Know God

Israel was so far from God that when Elijah told them to make a choice they just stood there quietly.

Elijah in this moment had a faith that was strong and decisive because He knew God. Elijah demonstrated the power of God in an amazing way. Two altars. Two bulls. Two calls to deities. Who Will Answer. The prophets of Baal spent hours calling and dancing and trying to gain the attention of Baal, cutting themselves and shouting – but to no avail. Elijah called upon his God but first made sure that there was no explaining away the move of God. His altar was drenched with water over and over until a trench around the altar was filled with water. Elijah prayed with a clear purpose

At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things. Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.”

1 Kings 18:36-37, CSB

Fire came from heaven, consumed the entire altar / water.

How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him! (1 Kings 18:21). This is a call for a decisive faith! When we decide we want to know God we will open up our Bibles and get to know who He is! The life of Jesus in the Gospels reveals the Father to us. Spend time with people who know the Lord. As we live the life of faith we get to know Him better.

For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods.

Psalm 135:5, CSB

A Decisive Faith Seeks to Obey God.

Oswald Chambers “If I am going to know who Jesus is, I must obey Him. The majority of us don’t know Jesus because we have not the remotest intention of obeying Him.

No one obeys God perfectly, but faith makes the effort because God has loved and blessed us so wonderfully. Israel’s slide into idol worship began when they let obedience fall to the wayside. How many of us can say that we grew closer to God when we were disobedient? Faith seeks to obey God.

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6, CSB

A Decisive Faith Seeks to Keep God First

Baal has probably not found a place in any of our hearts. What other idols have fought for first place? 3 questions:

-What do you get emotional about if it is threatened? (angry, depressed, anxious)

-What are your priorities – what is on the throne of your life?

-How do you spend your time – growing closer to God or is there no time for that?

A Decisive Faith Seeks to Share God With Others

Elijah wasn’t just wanting to destroy the prophets of Baal, he wanted Israel to turn back to God! One of the greatest desires of a Christian is that other people could know the peace, assurance, joy, and hope that comes from following Jesus Christ.

Are we praying for our community to come to Christ?

Are we praying for our church to be bold in talking with others about Christ?

A Decisive Faith Seeks to Worship God

When the people saw the power of God they bowed down and cried out The Lord – he is God! Yes, the Lord is God! This is our desire today – that we would reject the idols crowding God out of our hearts and turn to Him alone. The mixture of humility and praise is where worship begins.

-Humility: recognizing our own sin and desiring to serve God.

-Praise in worshiping him as worthy.

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Corrie Ten Boom

We need to gather with the assembly and express praise to God – it is what faith drives us to do.

A Decisive Faith Decides

Our neglect of God and attention to these gods has brought about pain and discomfort into our lives. It has separated us from our Father and spiritual drought is depleting our spiritual energies. How long will we waver between two opinions? Two opinions … the battle for the highest place in our hearts is ongoing.

Conclusion

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling — extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here. Let us set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what to say, since they were terrified. A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him!” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

Mark 9:2-8, CSB

Are we ready today to have a decisive faith… to decide now to follow Jesus Christ? Pray for awakening to the need to do this.

LifeGroup Questions

  1. Elijah was standing alone for God in this moment. Can you think of a time when you stood alone for Jesus that you would share with the group? How would you describe that experience?
  2. What do you learn about Elijah from this episode of his life? What stands out about him as you think about his challenge on Mount Carmel?
  3. What is Elijah’s challenge to the people of Israel (v 20-21)? What does their failure to answer indicate? Why is this an important / striking question for today?
  4. John mentioned three questions about the idols we can have in our lives in his message. Have someone in the group go to Phylicia Masonheimer’s brief article and read over the three considerations of idolatry today and discuss each one. https://www.projectinspired.com/how-to-know-if-you-have-an-idol-in-your-life/
  5. What are the “Mount Carmel” situations you face? (For example, at work, at school, in your family or neighborhood.) In what ways are God’s power and reality challenged there? How can you, like Elijah, rely on God’s power in that situation? (Take into account what your part and God’s part might be.)
  6. When we pray for a decisive faith, what kinds of things would we pray? What does a prayer for spiritual awakening / decisive faith sound like?
  7. What else did you see in this text that you wanted to talk about?

Resources:
How to Know if You Have an Idol in Your Life

Old Testament Characters: A LifeGuide Bible Study by Peter Scazzero (IVPress)