I honestly didn't intend to leave the impression that we are praying to ourselves but I guess I did. And in a sense, any time we try to "establish our hearts" in something (be it good or ill), we mix repetition and emotion.
In some circles, it's called "positive affirmations". All it is, is self-talk. The world blasts us with negative self-images all the time. Really, the church does too (but that's a topic for another post).
Television and radio advertising conditions us to believe certain ways. The beliefs of our hearts drive what we spend our money on. Advertisers mix repetition and emotion through the senses. This sensual stimulation is designed to make us feel a certain way. Then it is repeated over and over until it becomes a pattern in us. When that pattern is laid down, the course of our lives follows.
We do the same thing as Christians. We immerse ourselves in the word because we it makes us feel good. We worship God because it feels great! We pray for the same thing over and over - not to convince God to do something He was originally unwilling to do, but to open up our hearts to the truth that we "have received" His blessing.
Mark 11:24 (NIV) says - "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
Jesus said "... believe that you HAVE RECEIVED it and it will be yours". Well, I don't know about you, but that doesn't come easily to guys like me. Think about it - I don't have it but I'm praying to God believing that I already have it. That's not altogether intuitive, ya know?
Paul said - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil 4:6 NIV)
Did you ever pray with anxiety? I did. "God please have mercy!" That's really not the "kingdom way" to pray, is it? "Do not be anxious" but pray and petition - WITH THANKSGIVING! Thanking God for what? I'm just guessing - I'm no bible scholar - but I'd say we should be thanking God for the very thing(s) we were praying and petitioning about. "Dear God thank you for prospering me as my soul has been prospered. Now I can pay the rent." But your bank account is zero. God is good and He does deliver us from harm. He who trusts in the Lord shall not be disappointed.
Kingdom thinking is NOT intuitive but we get good at it after awhile. Fully trusting in God's grace is a challenge but it's not hard. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. His commandments are not grievous. And none of this is automatic. We spend time renewing our minds, don't we.
We conform to the world’s pattern when we pray with anxiety or think we've got to change God's mind about something. We are transformed when we renew our minds with "kingdom thinking". We "fully persuade" our hearts to receive the bounty of the kingdom of God - to believe God's promises by walking in His abundant life.
We condition our hearts the same way we've always conditioned them. We mix belief and emotion then we repeat it so that it gets down in our hearts, "GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!"
Denny, if you do that, you will be light years ahead of everybody you go to church with (unless you go to a MOST unusual church). If you get in your heart that God will not fail you, your study of His word will change. Things will begin to jump off the page. I know. It happened to me :)
God is NOT holding out on you. The good news is that God is not some "unjust judge" withholding His blessings. The apostle Paul understood that because he said, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:32
God has come to our rescue (past tense). All we have to do is start believing it.
Or so it seems to me,