If I was to take a poll of Christians asking ‘what in your Christian walk would you most want to know more about?” The most likely two top answers would be, ‘know God’s will for their life’ and ‘how to improve their prayer life.’
I’m of the position that ‘God’s will for my life’ can be found in the scriptures and to gain a fuller knowledge of God’s will for my life, I need to have an ongoing deeper study of God’s Word. But for prayer the challenge is greater. True, how to have a better prayer life can be found in God’s Word (Matt. 6:5-13), but I have personally found it a challenge. Like many other Christians if they were to be truthful to themselves, I find myself saying the same old thing, my mind wandering, and I begin doubting if I was praying God’s will and so on.
I have also come to know in my Christian walk, though God created me unique in many ways, my struggles in my sanctification isn’t as unique as I perceive it to be, especially in prayer. If you are saying I have a great prayer life, well more glory to God, but for many others and me, though God calls us to pray, we need to be taught how to pray.
In a follow-up to “A Soldier’s Call to Studying the Bible” I will begin teaching “A Soldier’s Call to Pray”. I’ve chosen three resources for the curriculum; ‘Prayer’ a six part DVD teaching series by R. C. Sproul, ‘Developing a Healthy Prayer Life’ by James and Joel Beeke and ‘Praying the Bible’ by Donald S. Whitney.
I choose Prayer by R. C. Sproul because I liked a broad approach in why and how to pray using the acrostic ACTS; adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. It is an easy method to use in how to approach God in prayer.
In ‘Developing a Healthy Prayer Life’ James and Joel Beeke give a deeper understanding of how to approach God, challenging the reader to examine their prayer life by using thoughtful meditations and offering encouragement to enrich this spiritual discipline.
Finally in ‘Praying the Bible’ Donald Whitney gives some very good practical lessons in how to lift a prayer life of redundancy and boredom by using scripture as a foundation to paraphrase the objects of our prayers. By using scripture, like the Psalms, we have an endless resource to keep our prayers feeling refreshed and vibrant.
It is hoped that by applying the teachings of these three resources the ‘Student Prayer Request,’ and my own prayers, will not be man-centered prayer to meet our personal wills but God centered prayer to fulfill God’s will and come away glorifying God and enjoying Him
Cell-phone - Old nostalgic term referring to convicts calling home from prison. i.e.: using a "cell-phone" (calling home) Courtesy of Inside Prison
Bibles In the Jails and Prisons
It was a blessing of God’s provision through Joe & Janet Jones & Tyndale House Publishers that Dixon’s SOCPM students graduating from Discipleship “A Soldier’s Call to Study the Bible” received a copy of Our Daily Bread Devotional Bibles published by Tyndale House.
Bibles as you may surmise are a constant need in the jails and prisons and though that need is being constantly supplied, it is never enough. Bibles that are donated in large supply are usually very basic, just the scriptures, maybe a concordance. Prison policy often forbids hardcover Bibles making soft paperback bound Bibles the norm. After a few years they are usually falling apart but because their Bible has been personalized with highlights and notes, a prisoner is reluctant to replace it. Because it is not copyrighted the most widely distributed translation is the KJV. A lot of inmates will say they prefer the KJV for numerous reasons, the church they may have been raised in utilized the KJV, they believe it to be one of the original word for word translations, or believe it exceeds other translations immensely when it comes to accuracy. Pride also is a factor ‘I’m not bothered by all those ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ the Holy Spirit makes it all clear to me.’ Perhaps, but do away with the pride and most would confess it is hard to read let alone properly interpret.
The other common translations NIV, NASB, ESV and NLT are copyrighted and the cost can be exorbitant, but for large organizations. A good study Bible would be a strain on a lot of budgets so the distribution of them is minimal. SOCPM is a big advocate of study Bibles. When a student includes the reading of the study notes in his reading of the scriptures, it can more readily squelch any inaccurate or heretical interpretation which can easily be done when scripture is taken out of context. A lot of the scripture out of context is the foundation for many false teachings that is rampant in today’s churches. They’ve become so widely accepted an attempt to teach the scriptures properly are met with strong and sometimes hostile opposition (Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 4:1-5, 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:1-5).
When I teach on a topic while referring to the scriptures and I’m met with an opposing interpretation I will ask those in class who have study Bibles to read the notes and the other referenced scripture. I’ve witnessed the Holy Spirit change the hearts of many students when they hear or can read for themselves a deeper study of the scriptures using a good study Bible.
I use to do cell by cell visits at Pontiac Correctional Center along with other Prison Fellowship volunteers including Phil Meyer. Despite cell by cell visits being something I truly enjoyed, busy Saturdays fulfilling Sheridan and Dixon responsibilities and a two hour drive, led me to forgo doing cell by cell visits and I lost contact with Phil. This past summer while grocery shopping I heard someone say ‘Scott is that you?’ Turning around I saw Phil. We got to talking and sharing how God was using us in prison ministry. For Phil he was preaching once a month on Sundays at DeKalb County Jail (DCJ). He asked if I would be interested in joining him.
Having a desire to enter DCJ for some time and after seeking God’s affirmation Phil and I arranged to meet to discuss in detail what a typical Sunday would consist of and I came away still feeling affirmed. Final affirmation came with being approved by DeKalb County Jail and Pastor Steve Persons of First Baptist Church Sycamore.
On Sunday September 27th I preached my first message at DCJ on 2 Corinthians 13:5 to eleven inmates of DeKalb County Jail. I will be going into DCJ with Phil on the first Sunday of the month and we will rotate on preaching.
179 - Number of subscribers to Student Prayer Requests
SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112
I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin
to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.
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