Session 2: Adoration
How to Experience God in Prayer
Prayer begins with a focus on God’s qualities so that we might see Him for who He really is and praise Him authentically from the heart.
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Online Discipleship: How to Experience God in Prayer
Part 2: Adoration
Welcome to session two of How to Experience God in Prayer. I hope you took a couple minutes and just evaluated your own prayer life and asked, “Am I focused on the relationship or is it a transaction? Am I really believing it’s simple, sincere, and from the heart? Have I got it all complex in my mind? Do I really believe it’s powerful?”
With that in mind, I want to walk you through one singular passage. The four words in all the New Testament on prayer are in this one passage. And the context of this passage is so amazing because it teaches us the kind of prayer, even if your circumstances are difficult, even if life is really hard. You are going to learn, with me, a kind of prayer that allows God’s power and – are you ready? – and God’s peace to invade your soul.
If you have your Bible, turn to Philippians chapter 4. Follow along as I read verses 6 and 7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God,” Notice the promise, “the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What I want you to see is there are four words for prayer in verse 6. Notice Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing.” So in the structure here, he makes a negative command. Literally, the Greek word order is: stop being anxious about anything.
Positive command: start praying about everything. Are you ready for this? Then he gives us four words for prayer. “By prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving, make your request.” Those are four very specific words.
What you’re going to see is the first one is going to talk about adoration. It’s going to say, “When you begin to pray, get your focus off your problem, off yourself, off your anxiety, and upon God.” We are going to talk about adoration and how to do it.
The second word focuses on our need. It’s going to say that you’ve got to get your focus off your lack of resources and onto God’s great resources and realize that you have great need; that leads us to a time of confession.
Third, he is going to say, “Like salt and pepper,” literally, this phrase of: “with thanksgiving,” has the idea of: it’s sprinkled in all the way around. And then, finally, “Make your requests.” The word for “request,” it’s literally like: make a grocery list and tell God exactly and specifically what you want Him to do, what you need Him to do, and bring it to Him.
Many people have come up with a little acronym. I think it probably came out of this passage, of ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Maybe you have heard that before.
Here’s what I want you to know: the promise is that God will bring about a peace that is supernatural beyond your understanding. But I don’t think most people, unless you’re different than me, know how to do adoration. What do I mean by that?
The word means: to be devoted to, to adore, to honor. Some of us are, like, I’m a diehard basketball fan. I adore a great place, a full-court pass, bounce pass, a lob where someone jams it behind their head. I adore, at times, music. I get out every morning and when I look up at the stars, I am just in awe and adore them.
But most Christians that I meet have a difficult time learning: How do I praise God? And this is the first thing. If you have a big God, you have small problems. If you have big problems, you have a small God. And so the first way to experience God is to see Him for who He is.
Now, lean back just for a second. Have you ever thought about when the disciples saw this amazing prayer life of Jesus and He taught them how to pray, what did He say? “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father,’” Who? Our Father – is that how you see God? Are you performing? Is He down on you? Is He your Father? Pause, You’re my Father. You love me. You’re for me. “Who art in heaven.” Oh, You’re the Creator.
Almost every morning, I did this, this morning. Its been raining here for a couple days and I got up early and I made some coffee; I let the dog out. I walked outside and the stars this morning were just like whoo! They were just awesome!
And I stood outside and I just looked at the stars and I thought of the thousands of years that one or two hundred billion stars in the Milky Way and I read where there’s, like, two hundred billion galaxies. And I thought about our time together and talking to you and I said, “My Father and My God, You made all of that.” I was a little uptight about what to say and how to say it.
As I looked at nature and at those stars, and I began to praise and adore God, it got to be like, “Wow! I have got this. God is going to give me all that I need.”
Here’s what I want you to know: there is a way to learn to adore God and I want to give you a tool to do it. The tool is, certainly, you could begin with the Lord’s Prayer and you can look at nature. But I want you to turn to Psalm 103. This is my go-to adoration passage.
Psalm 103 goes something like this, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless,” or, “praise,” or, “adore His name and forget none of His benefits.” And then He talks about the benefits, “…who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit.”
So, here it is, we have given you a little information here. I want you in your prayer time to begin by saying, “Okay, I am going to come before God, I am going to quiet my soul, and then I am going to praise and adore God. I am going to get my focus upward.”
If you’re not sure exactly what to say, “Bless the Lord.” What I did this morning is I just went through and I began to remember all the things that God has done. I remembered the day He chose me. I remembered the day I prayed to receive Christ. I remembered the day He brought my wife into my life. I remembered the day when one of my sons was in ICU and we thought he was going to die. I just began to thank Him and praise Him.
When you do that, things change. So, are you ready? I want you to adore God in your prayer time and we have given you a little outline about how to do that.