1. A CHANGE OF HEART
a. What is our natural heart like, and what does God want to give us in exchange for it? Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 36:26.
“When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 100.
b. What experience does God want us to have as we receive the new heart? Job 22:21; Jeremiah 24:7.
“Whatever line of investigation we pursue with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.
“In this communion is found the highest education.”—My Life Today, p. 264.
2. TRUSTING IN GOD AS OUR FATHER
a. What examples do we have from Scripture which show supreme trust? Luke 23:46; Genesis 22:7–9.
“Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 756.
b. What does trusting in God involve? Proverbs 3:5, 6.
“Lean to your own understanding, dear brethren, as you make your way through the world, and you will reap sorrow and disappointment. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and He will guide your steps in wisdom, and your interests will be safe for this world and for the next.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 427.
c. In whom do we naturally tend to put our trust, and what advice does God give us? Psalm 118:8, 9; Proverbs 29:25.
“Whatever position in life we may occupy, whatever our business, we must be humble enough to feel our need of help; we must lean implicitly on the teachings of God’s word, acknowledge His providence in all things, and be faithful in pouring out our souls in prayer.”—Ibid.
“Every individual must seek by earnest prayer to know the Word of God for himself, and then to do it. . . . Bring all your burdens, both public and private, to the Lord and wait upon Him. You will then have an individual experience, a conviction of His presence and His readiness to hear your prayer for wisdom and for instruction that will give you assurance and confidence in the Lord’s willingness to succor you in your perplexities.”—This Day With God, p. 82.
3. SPENDING TIME WITH THE WORD
a. What experience does the Lord want us to have in our personal Bible study? Jeremiah 15:16; Psalm 34:8.
“The soul that is nourished by the bread of life will have every faculty vitalized by the Spirit of God.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 153.
“Each one must appropriate the blessing to his own soul, or he will not be fed. . . . You know you would not be nourished by seeing a well-spread table, and by others eating. We would starve if we did not partake of physical nourishment, and we shall lose our spiritual strength and vitality if we do not feed on spiritual bread. . . .
“Those who eat and digest this Word, making it a part of every action and of every attribute of character, grow strong in the strength of God. It gives immortal vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience, and bringing joys that will abide forever.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 22.
b. What must we first do in order to be able to speak to others of God’s great works? Psalm 119:27.
c. What other blessings come to us as we spend time in studying the Word of God? Psalms 17:4; 119:11, 93; Romans 10:17.
“The Holy Spirit loves to address the youth, and to discover to them the treasures and beauties of God’s word. The promises spoken by the great Teacher will captivate the senses and animate the soul with spiritual power that is divine. There will grow in the fruitful mind a familiarity with divine things that will be as a barricade against temptation.
“The words of truth will grow in importance, and assume a breadth and fullness of meaning of which we have never dreamed. The beauty and riches of the word have a transforming influence on mind and character. The light of heavenly love will fall upon the heart as an inspiration.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 132.
“The heart that is stored with the precious truths of God’s Word is fortified against the temptation of Satan, against impure thoughts and unholy actions.”—My Life Today, p. 28.
4. SPEAKING TO GOD
a. What should we never forget in bringing our supplications to God? Philippians 4:6.
“‘Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given thee.’ Thanksgiving and praise should be expressed to God for temporal blessings and for whatever comforts He bestows upon us. God would have every family that He is preparing to inhabit the eternal mansions above give glory to Him for the rich treasures of His grace.”—Child Guidance, p. 148.
“If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Often there will come to us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 129.
b. What was Jesus’ example of communion with His Father when on earth? Luke 6:12.
“The Saviour was an untiring worker. He did not measure His work by hours. His time, His heart, His strength, were given to labor for the benefit of humanity. Entire days were devoted to labor, and entire nights were spent in prayer, that He might be braced to meet the wily foe in all his deceptive working, and fortified to do His work of uplifting and restoring humanity.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 45.
c. How often should we pray? Psalms 5:3; 55:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
“If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to often lift the thoughts to God in prayer. If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy.”—Messages to Young People, pp. 114, 115.
5. WHEN GOD HEARS
a. What are the conditions upon which God hears and answers prayer? Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 21:22.
“Prayer is heaven’s ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character. The divine influences that come in answer to the prayer of faith will accomplish in the soul of the suppliant all for which he pleads. For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; and the promise is, ‘Ye shall receive.’”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 564.
“Ask God to do for you those things that you cannot do for yourselves. Tell Jesus everything. Lay open before Him the secrets of your heart; for His eye searches the inmost recesses of the soul, and He reads your thoughts as an open book. When you have asked for the things that are necessary for your soul’s good, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.”—The Adventist Home, p. 299.
b. When only does God not hear our prayers? Psalm 66:18.
“The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit, and separates the soul from God. . . . God will honor those only who honor Him.”—Messages to Young People, p. 114.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to have a new heart?
2. How did Jesus show trust in His Father, even when He suffered under the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor?
3. As we fill our minds with the Word of God, what will our Christian experience be like?
4. How can our prayers become like a conversation with God?
5. What types of things can we tell God in prayer, and how does this affect our relationship with Him?