Prayer Most Effective Christian Tool | Christian Lessons by Trey Murray

Apologetics Series

Studying apologetics takes a lost of concentration and preparation. The first step when dealing with God, and especially learning more about who He is and why you believe in Him is to pray to Him.

It all starts with Prayer

Quite literally, prayer to God is the first thing a Christian does acknowledging that they are a sinner, and in need of a savior to bridge the gap to Heaven.

Too often, “Christians” stop their prayer life there. We must think it is okay to declare that Christ is Lord once, and be done with it. Like we just sign an eternal fire insurance policy and never bother to check what premiums we need to pay to keep the policy up to date.

I’ve heard my whole life, “Once saved, always saved.” I still believe this is true, but James 2:17 says “Faith without works is dead”. Faith is an active thing, not a passive creed.

Communication with God

Christians have a unique ability. We can actually communicate with the creator of the universe, and he wants to have a relationship with us! The first line of communication is prayer.

I’ll admit, at first it is strange to pour your heart out to a seemingly invisible God who you aren’t sure is listening and doesn’t seem to respond. The more you practice though, the easier it becomes to share your hopes and fears, loves and hates, and all your innermost secrets through prayer.

Eventually, you will learn to listen to God. He rarely speaks audibly, but I have heard his words through reading scripture, being silent in meditation, and through friends and family who unknowingly carry his message to me.

I don’t know how to pray

That’s ok! Rest assured I didn’t either. Prayer seemed foreign to me. I remember the first time I prayed in a group as a teenager.

I had gone to church camp with my aunt’s church. After arriving and unloading all our stuff, we met in the common room. After some skits they had prepared, and a quick message, the leaders asked who would pray for the group.

I wish the story was that I volunteered and said the most glorious prayer. The fact is that I was not only new to prayer, but the whole group thing was foreign to me. As I shrank behind the group, I heard one person say “Let the new kid do it.” Then they all said my name and I felt trapped. I had to say something.

I remember stammering out a quick prayer and everyone telling me how good I did. I didn’t believe them, but I did appreciate it. Over time, I learned to let go of my apprehension and just talk to God. Now, I pray once a week in public for the small group I lead.

Just start

There’s no magic to it. Jesus does give us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6, but remember that it is an example and not to become your every prayer. The longer you do it and the more comfortable you become, it will get easier. 1 Thessalonians 5:7 commands us to pray without ceasing. I would guess that would give anyone plenty of practice.

I have yet to pray without ceasing, but I will continue to work toward it. To be effective at Christian apologetics, I must have an active prayer life.

For more resources on prayer, I recommend visiting desiringgod.org. They have a number of articles about all aspects of prayer.

prayer to understand the bible

Prayer also helps us to understand the next step of preparation to begin studying apologetics. Asking the Holy Spirit for understanding and clarity in the verses you study will help immensely.

According to desiringgod.org, there are four things we should pray for before we study the Bible.

The four items to pray for

First, we should pray for open eyes. It is possible to read the same verse repeatedly and get something different from it each time. We should ask God to guide us to the knowledge he wants us to have from his word.

Next, we should pray for mercy. Staying humble and acknowledging that you are in need of God’s mercy allows you to approach the Word with a clear mind and heart for God’s people and his message.

Then, pray to be a doer of His Word. Jesus didn’t call people to merely study God’s Word. He called for them to live His Message out through their own lives. The Bible is a living document, and it is the Holy Spirit that moves the readers to find the message He wants them to have. Those lessons must be put to use to be of any benefit.

Finally, pray that He open your eyes to Jesus. The story of the Bible is a story of Jesus, and He is woven throughout all of the books of the Bible. As being a Christian is to be like Christ, you should be looking for Jesus in all scripture.

The Next Step to preparing for apologetics

Join me for the next lesson which will be reading the Bible. The scriptures are God’s living document to us. It is a love story for humans, explaining God’s love for His creation.

We should not look at is as a chore to slog through, but as a letter we’ve been waiting a long time for from a trusted and valued friend.

Will you read this letter, or will you toss it aside?

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Apologetics for every Christian | Christian Lessons by Trey Murray

Apologetics Series

What is apologetics?

Dictionary.com defines apologetics as ‘reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine’.

The word apologetics derives from the greek word ἀπολογία (apologia) which means “speaking in defense”.

Many people have a hard time with that definition. When I first started studying apologetics, many people would ask me why Christianity needed any defense.

After all, can’t God defend himself?

Of course God can defend himself. He is God after all. I study apologetics to improve my own faith and to offer a defense for why I believe the way I do. It is for my benefit, and the benefit of those around me, not for God’s.

Ultimately, however, God is who will receive the glory of my study. For what does it benefit me to defend God unless that defense leads to people not only to believe in God, but to go and make more disciples of Christ?

Why study Christian apologetics?

Besides cultivating a deeper understanding for what I say I believe, studying Christian apologetics has the added benefit of obeying scripture.

You read that right, it is Biblically sound to study apologetics. In fact, 1 Peter 3:14-16 says:

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but set apart the Messiahas Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.” HCSB

Called to defense

So you should actually be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. More succinctly, you should give a defense for why you trusted Jesus with your eternal salvation.

This should be done with gentleness and respect, though. If not, your defense will fall on deaf ears, and you will be merely trying to win an argument instead of winning souls.

Where do I begin?

The first place is none other than the Good Book itself, the Bible. Many Christians have never read the entire Bible, myself included.

I have committed to doing that several times, and I get stuck somewhere in the first five books. So, I will be finding a plan and sticking to it. I have even found and purchased the Apologetics Study Bible, which has a great number of resources alongside the scriptures.

Another great place to learn more is to read the writings of other well known Christians. C.S. Lewis, Josh and Sean McDowell, J.P. Moreland, Ravi Zacharias, and many other authors have written some great books, letters, and short papers on a variety of subjects pertaining to Christian apologetics.

Many of the authors mentioned above also have websites and list resources for further study.

related resources

Additionally, websites like apologetics315.com, carm.org, or arcapologetics.org also provide great resources for learning more about Christian apologetics.

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For King & Country Ignites Fire with Burn The Ships

It’s not too often that I listen to a whole album day one, even from a band I love. From the opening strings in “IntroIt” to the final tune in “Pioneers”, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to for King & Country’s Burn The Ships.

I had the fortune of seeing them headline The Roadshow tour last year. They had not released this album yet, but they did play track 2: “joy”. The upbeat salsa style mixed with enthusiasm the brothers Smallbone bring captured me from that performance.

I checked my Amazon Music account daily until it released. After it released I waited rather impatiently as the remainder of songs dropped one by one until they all became available for download.

Alone, each of them are amazing compositions of stirring music. Their true beauty lies in listening to the album as a whole. I have been a fan of the album as a mood journey since my discovery of Pink Floyd in high school.

Since that revelation, I have found very few albums achieve this formula from song to song. It is a true rarity to find an album that flows from song to song seamlessly, leading the listener on a journey that stirs the soul. This album took me on that journey, and oh what a journey it was!

From the excitement of “joy” to the valley of pain with a mixture of encouragement of “God Only Knows”, the first song lifted me up to plummet me into a valley with the second.

The third entry “Amen” brings back an upbeat tone, opting for a moving message of salvation. I envisioned a metamorphosis during this song, a butterfly coming from the cocoon spun in ‘God Only Knows’. Every rousing chorus of “Amen” makes me sing out loud with pure enjoyment.

Then the title track hits. A bit of gravity with the slower, more soulful chorus intro. The piano keys mixed with the opening line “How did we get here?” adds the weight necessary to capture my attention. This song has become my anthem for this year.

A reminder to get rid of the past, to let it fade. I’m not who I once was. While I should never forget my past, It is time to move forward and live this new life God has given me. The uplifting chorus once again raises my spirits, encouraging me to move forward.

Continuing the theme of starting new, “Fight On, Fighter” is another encouraging lyric that speaks to me. While I wouldn’t exactly use it as walk out music for a fight, it does move me to feel emboldened. After listening to this song, I’m ready to tackle the issues day to day life throws at me.

Another song moving you into a valley, “Need You More” is a reminder that our source of life comes from God. It is a reality check for me which brings me back to a sober look at why we need to turn back to God in the valleys and on the mountains. “Need You More” is an inspiration for me to spend more time in the Bible and more time in prayer with our Father.

“Control” echoes my feelings and thoughts when I begin to doubt the mission God has given me. “You asked me to let go, but I thought I knew better.” This opening line of the song summarizes my struggle with giving up control to God.

Then the chorus reinforces my need to give that very control up to Him. The song climaxes near the middle with a resolution that they will raise up their voice to sing, which is all they have left to bring. It reminds me that I may only be able to convey my thoughts by writing them out, but I resolve to do this for the glory of the One who made me.

The next song just makes me smile when I hear the “Hoo hoo” intro. “Never Give Up” is an uplifting, lighthearted song which reminds me a bit of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. It’s so catchy, I find myself singing it for a few days after listening to it.

That’s not a bad thing either, as the message of the song is to never give up, keep your head up. It is a breath of fresh air, and an encouragement to me as the album begins to draw to a close.

I imagine the song “Hold Her Tonight” was written with a wife in mind, as the songwriter is on the road. It is a moving piece which drips with the emotion of the writer. The moving music set against the powerful lyrics nearly moves me to tears. I envision having to leave my own wife and praying the lyrics of this song to God as I mourn the time away from her.

The final song, “Pioneers”, showcases the wives of Luke and Joel Smallbone. This song was written to encourage married couples to “carry on”, a message that too often falls on deaf ears. A message of true love, I find this final song a fitting end to the album.

It blends a hopeful tone with a cautious beat. It gives me a feeling of treading carefully through life with a vision and a desire to build something eternal, something that will stand the test of time with the one you love.

All in all, I love this album. As a fan of rock music, I really wanted to dislike for King & Country the first time I heard them. Their innovative lyrics and infectious energy won me over. This album has trumped their previous entries in my book though as it wasn’t just a few songs that hooked me, but the entire album.

If you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend that you take the time and give it a listen. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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