How to Receive God's Blessings
Part 1: Prayer

Jesus told his disciples (and the multitude who had gathered to hear Him speak) a parable about a sower sowing seeds. Depending on what kind of ground the seeds fell into, they brought forth different results. The ones that fell into good ground brought back amazing results--- 30, 60, or even one hundred times more than what was sown!

But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Do you want to achieve results like that in your life? Getting 30, 60 or even a hundred times more than what we planted? I don't know about you, but I sure do! So how do we get these kind of amazing results in our lives?

First, we need to realize that our Heavenly Father WANTS us to have these blessings. Jesus said in John 10:10:

"The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly."

God wants us to have absolutely amazing results in our lives. He has the very sames plans for us as He had for the children of Israel, during their exile. In Jeremiah 29:11-14, God told them

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

God promises that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we WILL find Him, and His plans to prosper us will be fulfilled in our lives. And He never tells us to do something without giving us the tools to do it. So what are the tools we need in order to find God when we seek Him, and have His blessings in our lives 30, 60, or even 100 fold?

Jesus explained to His followers the three duties of a Christian. You'll find it in the sixth chapter of Matthew. In verse 2, He instructed them, "When you give alms...." In verse 5, He told them, "When you pray....." And then in verse 16, He said, "When you fast....."

All three of these are instructions; things His followers are to do. None of them are options; Jesus never said, "If you pray..." or "If you fast....". These are three specific tools given to Christians both then and now, in order to receive blessings in their lives. We will look at them one at a time.

The first duty of a Christian is prayer. There are many different kinds of prayer: praise and thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession, just to name a few. Each serves a specific purpose, or addresses a specific need. Each is very important. The Bible tells us we are to "Pray without ceasing." (I Thes. 5:17).

When we pray, we need to make sure there is no hidden sin in our lives. The Bible is quite clear: If we regard iniquity in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. (Psalm 66:18) We need to be sure to examine ourselves, confessing all our sin to God (who knows it, anyway!) and pray with clean hearts, in order for our prayers to be effective.

How do we receive God's richest blessings in our lives? We begin with prayer. Remember, the Bible tells us in James chapter 4,

"You have not, because you ask not."

However, James goes on to say that when we ask with the wrong motives, or purely selfish reasons, we also will not receive. So it is important to pray God's way, not just our own. That doesn't mean using big words or long, solemn prayers, but rather, praying in the Spirit. We don't have to impress God, and we aren't supposed to just give Him a long "to-do" list. Instead, we are to seek His will for each thing we are praying for. The Holy Spirit will guide us in what we should pray for, and also will pray for us when we don't know what to pray for! (see Romans 8:26)

James 5:16 also tells us

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The mystery of prayer is that God, although He has all power, all omnipotence, will not do anything to intervene on earth unless someone ASKS Him to! He will never force His own will or His own way on anyone, although He may be desperately longing to interceed! He is constantly looking for someone to stand in the gap, to pray intercessory prayers in behalf of others in need. (see Eze. 22:29-30)

So, the first tool we have to achieve a closer relationship with God and receive all the blessings that He wants us to have, is prayer. Let's start working on our prayer lives to see amazing changes in our physical lives!

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