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Introduction I had always wanted to learn a second language so I signed up for what was called an “Immersion Course” that lasted three days. I went in with great expectations and high hopes. At the end of the course the instructor gave us some sage advice: “If you will spend just thirty minutes a day in review, you will master this language.” I remember thinking, “That’s not a big deal, I can do that easily.” I was convinced that I was going to become fluent in this new language but something happened. The ability to discipline myself and to sustain even this level of commitment became a real challenge. We all like starting new things and there is an adrenaline rush that comes when we begin a new program or adventure. The problem is sustainability. If we are not careful, we grow weary in well doing even in our Christian life. How do you continue the faith adventure once the “new” wears off? In this book, we are going to begin building upon the foundation of your decision to say “yes” to Jesus. This book will help bring into focus some strategic truth you will need for this adventure.You will face many challenges and potential detours, so it is imperative that you know what you believe.

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This book will introduce the new student believer to six topics to help them begin to focus on the foundation of their faith. It is thorough but not exhaustive in its content. The goal is to provide some stability to their personal relationship with Christ.

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Do I have to use “thee and thou� when I talk to God?

PRAYER

Prayer should not be viewed as something mystical. This is about a personal relationship; it is an opportunity to talk to God and share our hearts.

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How do I get answers and direction for my life?

Bible Study

Everyone wants direction and as a student I know you have plenty of questions about your faith. One of the greatest things you can do is to learn how to study the Bible for yourself.You will be introduced to some basic study tools and plans in this chapter.

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Who sells family Bible back packs?

Scripture Memory

Hiding the Word of God in your heart is not only the best way to combat temptation but it is vital for victorious living. If you will begin to memorize and review Scripture, then you will have direct access to principles to guide your life.

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Can I microwave my relationship with God?

Worship

We live in a day of “instant” everything, so often we try to bring that mindset into our relationship with God. In this lesson you will discover some tips for developing a deeper more intimate relationship with God.

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How do I continue to be thankful for my salvation?

Communion

Communion is more than a ritual; it is an ordinance that can be a consistent reminder of the gift of salvation. It is healthy for all of us to stop and remind ourselves of the cost of our wonderful gift of salvation.

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Can I have victory in my daily walk with Jesus?

Temptation

All of us face temptation and you as a teen seem to be prime targets. Don’t give up on living a victorious life, it is possible to overcome temptation and have victory in Christ.

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How to use this Book You may use this book “solo” on this adventure, but it will be even more helpful to have another mature Christian walk with you as you discover what you believe. If someone has not asked about walking with you on this journey, then I suggest you be proactive and speak to your parent, pastor, or youth leaders about helping you focus on your faith. This book is designed to help reinforce your personal walk with Christ. Growing in Your Walk—The Adventure Continues is the third book in a four-book series called Where Do I Go From Here? Each book answers questions believers need to understand on their adventure of faith. Book one, First Steps—The Adventure Begins, is written for new believers who have said “yes” to Jesus and need to understand the beginning concepts of their new faith adventure. It answers questions about matters such as what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and how to begin growing in that relationship. Book two, Knowing What You Believe—The Adventure in Focus, is written to help students build upon the foundation of their decision to say “yes” to Jesus. This book will help bring into focus strategic truths you will need for this adventure.You will face many challenges and potential detours so it is imperative for you to know what you believe. If you are not familiar with books one and two, you can order them from www.wolstore.org.

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Gr ow in g

Prayer

e s u o t e v a h I o D “thee and thou” when I talk to God?

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As a father I have always enjoyed listening to my sons. I was just as fascinated with their “baby babblings” as I am now interacting with them as men. When they were young, they struggled to speak in complete sentences. Their vocabulary was extremely limited but it did not matter; they were my children. I was not as concerned with their words as I was with the fact that they were talking to me. For all of us who have said Yes to Jesus and now have a personal relationship with Him, God is our Father. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Perhaps you struggle with this concept because you do not have a good relationship with your earthly father. But believe me, your Heavenly Father loves you and delights to hear you talk to Him. Talking to God is what we call prayer. In order to continue growing in your faith, you will want to develop your prayer life. Prayer is our way of communicating with our Heavenly Father.You may feel inadequate or even a bit awkward at first, but go ahead and talk to Him; He is ready to listen. Like little children, your first words may seem like “baby babbling.” But go ahead! This is one place you cannot mess up, because God not only knows your words but sees your heart. I find it very comforting to know that even Jesus’ disciples needed help in this area of their spiritual lives. Look at this request in Luke 11:1: “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’” You and I are not the first ones to need help with how to pray. So maybe you are still asking, “Do I have to use ‘thee and thou’ when I talk to God?” I guess I would answer the question this way: if you normally use those types of old English words in normal conversation, then go for it. It is always best to talk to God in the way you would normally talk to your best friend. I am not suggesting that you be disrespectfulas God deserves our reverential awe for Who He is, but it is not necessary for you to use “Bible words” when you pray. If we are not careful, our prayers will just become a string of clichés. 11


To aid you in developing the practice of prayer, I am going to share some practical suggestions. These are not given as easy steps to spiritual success and should not be read as simply a list. I want to help jump-start your prayer life as you grow in your faith.

Why Should I Pray? God challenges and commands us to pray: • “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving,” Colossians 4:2. To “continue earnestly” is to be devoted to or to persevere in the habit of prayer. Prayer is more than just a ritual; it should be a lifestyle. We can pray anywhere, anytime. The person who is “vigilant” in prayer is the one who is giving attention to prayer and watching for opportunities to talk to God. Perhaps it would help to think about it in relational terms. The boy who likes a certain girl is always looking for opportunities to talk to her. He is “vigilant” and does not pass up even a momentary encounter. We need to have this same spirit about connecting with God in prayer.

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• Pray without ceasing, is the challenge of 1 Thessalonians 5:17. This verse leaves little room for misunderstanding; prayer is to be a consistent part of the believer’s life. This does not mean that you pray 24/7 but that you are “on the ready” to talk with God any time of the day or night. If you were on a trip with a good friend, your conversation would flow all throughout your day. God is closer to you than any friend could ever be and you can talk to Him anywhere, anytime!

You can be strengthened in your personal faith through prayer: • “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,” Jude 20. If you want to build your physical muscles then you work out. Prayer is a spiritual exercise that will help you build your spiritual muscles of faith. • “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him,” James 1:5. All of us need more wisdom for making right choices, and God offers it freely when we ask. Many times we spiritually crash and burn because we try to live the Christian life in our own strength and wisdom. His wisdom is available if we ask.

You can access His power and overcome sin by prayer: • “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41. All of us face temptation in our lives, and we do not want to stand in our own power. Prayer is our way of calling upon God for His help so we can live victoriously. • “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know,” Jeremiah 33:3. Calling on God in prayer is not like having a magic genie in a lamp to grant your wishes. God has all power and it is available to you as His child if you will ask. He wants to help you live a life that is not riddled with defeat and sin. 13


How Should I Pray? Pray with a humble spirit. We should never approach God in pride as though we deserve His blessing. Our salvation, our life, and all the blessings He gives to us are based on His love and mercy, not our own merit. The Psalmist understood this truth when he penned Psalm 10:17: “LORD,You have heard the desire of the humble;You will prepare their heart;You will cause Your ear to hear.”

Pray believing God can and will answer your prayer. Prayer is a time to be reverent but not timid. People may pray with a timid spirit because they fear God will not answer their prayer. Obviously God is God and is under no obligation, but we should pray in faith believing. Consider the challenge of Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Pray as you would talk to a friend. I mentioned this earlier but want to remind you to keep it simple. You do not have to use lofty church terms; just talk to God.

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Jesus actually addresses this matter when He says, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words,” Matthew 6:7. The idea of “vain repetitions” is to repeat or use idle words that have no real meaning to you and are not coming from your heart.

Who Should I Pray For? Pray for yourself. In Matthew 14, we read a story about Peter attempting to walk on the water with Jesus. As long as he keeps his focus on Christ he is okay, but when he looks at the storm around him instead, he begins to sink. Peter was not eloquent and wordy in his prayer. When he saw the wind kicking up and how gigantic the waves were, “He was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’” Matthew 14:30. You will experience times in your life when you take your eyes off of Christ and look at the problems or pressures instead. When you find yourself sinking, do not hesitate to pray for yourself.

Pray for others. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” James 5:16. The concept of “fervent” prayer carries the idea of working hard for something or someone. One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is to pray for them fervently. Pray for your enemies. I know this may sound strange but Jesus challenges us to live differently than the world. Instead of hate, Christians should show love. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Obeying these words may be tough but try it; you will find you cannot hate someone for whom you are praying.

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Problems you will face with Prayer. Unconfessed sin in your life will be a real big problem in your prayer life. “If I regard iniquity [sin] in my heart,The Lord will not hear,” Psalm 66:18. If you have offended your best friend, that is not the time to be asking them for something. The same is true with your relationship with God. It is important to confess your sin and keep your relationship clear.

Wrong motives will hinder your prayers. Prayer is really not about what you can get from God. The purpose of prayer is to fellowship with Him. Now this will include telling Him the burdens of your heart and asking for His help, but prayer should lead you to a closer relationship, not just a blessing. James explains that when we ask for the wrong things and for the wrong reasons, God does not answer our prayer. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures,” James 4:3.

Action Steps: Prayer is talking to your Heavenly Father, so why not start right now? • Talk to a parent, pastor, or leader about prayer and how you can make this a part of your daily life. • Create a prayer list (or use the one provided in the Word of Life Quiet Time Journal—http://quiettimediary.com/). • Begin by committing to pray for three to five minutes a day. This may not seem like much but it is better to be consistent and to grow in your prayer life. • Keep a record of the way God answers your prayers.

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WDIGFH Growing In Your Walk (student sample)