Where do you want to be in your prayer life? How badly do you want to talk with God? How close of a relationship with God do you want to develop and how eager are you to do it? Will you succumb to life’s trials and tribulations and be deceived by the lies of this world or will you triumph over the trials and seek the truth throughout your life. Can you find your way through Believer’s Island? You must choose your own path and pace to reach the wondrous Valley of Peace.
Roads of Prayer
There are 3 roads of prayer representing different journeys to the Valley of Peace. Once you have begun your journey you cannot switch roads. The orange paths on the map represent the roads of prayer and the shortest paths to the Valley of Peace for each road.
- The first road represents the longest journey. Those individuals who choose this path begin their prayer lives with sporadic and more trivial prayers.
- The second road represents a shorter journey than the first road. Those individuals who choose this path begin their prayer lives with sincere ritual prayers and maintain a moderate prayer life.
- The third road represents the shortest journey. Those individuals who choose this path begin their prayer lives with daily, heartfelt prayers. They pray in the spirit; they pray in power; they have a strong impact on God's kingdom.
Believer's Island represents the journey that all believers must take when seeking the truth, the way, and knowledge. We seek to achieve these goals using these means:
- Bible Study
- Learning to pray
Our deep spiritual growth comes from the journeys we take through Believer's Island. In order to achieve this deep spiritual growth we must always remember these things:
- Take our Bible knowledge and transfer it into our hearts.
- Strengthen our faith and learn to trust in God.
- Increase our prayer life.
- Never forget that the difficulties that we face in our daily lives aid our spiritual growth and without them we cannot grow at all.
- Remember that time is a precious resource. It takes time and effort to build our relationship with God.
Sea of Indifference
Those individuals who fall into the Sea of Indifference display the following characteristics in their daily lives:
- They lack understanding of the spiritual realm.
- They are unaware of the connection between the visible and invisible realms.
- They lack faith and find it difficult to trust in God.
- They feel separated from God.
- They feel discouraged and lazy.
- They feel that their prayers go unheard and unanswered.
- They have a general attitude of indifference towards God.
Beaches of Tranquility
When we first decide that we want to deepen our relationship with God we often feel excitement and joy as we first set out on our journey. Hence we come to the Beaches of Tranquility which are characterized by these feelings:
- We feel content with the level of faith that we have already achieved.
- We feel satisfied with the relationship we have with God and the lifestyle we maintain. We are often afraid to upset this status quo.
- We feel joyful at this point in our lives.
We must beware of complacency in our lives and remember to always ask, "Lord, is there something more?"
The rocky path has a way of making us lose our focus on what really matters. It distracts us from pursuing our relationship with God. Here are just a few of the ways it trips us up:
- Life's everyday little problems wear on our patience and can consume our time and energy.
- We can become self-absorbed with our problems and become totally unaware of the needs of others.
- Eventually we can find ourselves living in our own little world oblivious to all that goes on around us.
The Hills are symbolic of the ups and downs we experience throughout our lives. They are the highs and lows of our life experiences. Here are some things to keep in mind when we find ourselves in the Hills:
- We must weather life's storms with faith.
- We must always remember to seek God's help through prayer.
- Beware that lows often follow highs.
- Learn to find contentment in the highs and the lows.
Forest of Doubt
There are times in our lives where others may challenge our faith or circumstances may cause us to start questioning our beliefs. During these times we find ourselves in the Forest of Doubt where we experience these things:
- We begin to feel that other non-believers seem to have fewer problems than we do.
- We begin to question God's existence and whether he truly acts in our lives.
- We begin to question whether or not God answers our prayers.
- We begin to doubt the answers or responses we receive from God when we pray.
- We begin to develop many misconceptions about God and our relationship with him.
- We begin to develop an attitude of, "I have to see it to believe it."
Rivers of Deception
If the previous obstacles that we encountered began to lead us astray from the road of prayer, we may eventually fall into the rivers of deception. These are the characteristics we display when we find ourselves in the rivers:
- We become absorbed with worldly ways.
- We begin to compromise our beliefs to make ourselves feel like we fit into current society.
- We easily change our beliefs and practices according to the times.
- We feel a lack of accountability and a strong desire not to be held accountable for our actions.
- Eventually we even learn to accept the unacceptable.
- In the end, we run the risk of accepting a strong current of lies that can carry us into the sea of indifference.
Cave of Confusion
For those individuals who began their journey on the first road of prayer there is another danger that awaits those who have begun to wander from the road of prayer. If we are not careful we may wander into the Cave of Confusion where we will face these challenges:
- We may find ourselves unable to discern God's truth.
- We begin to misinterpret Biblical scriptures to suit our own beliefs rather than the truth.
- We can easily be swayed by the opinions of others.
- We begin to lose our focus on Christ.
- We lose our desire to seek knowledge and everything becomes a mystery to us.
- We become very puzzled and bewildered throughout our journey of life.
Regardless of which road of prayer we have taken in our lives, we must all journey through the Desert of Temptation just as Christ had done when he walked the earth. This is the last obstacle that stands between us and the wondrous Valley of Peace. In the desert we will be tempted by these things:
- Worldly pleasures.
- Desire for wealth, power, and control.
- Desire to receive accolades, praise, and rewards for the things we do.
We can overcome these temptations if we always remember to do these things:
- Find rest in God's peace in spite of life's storms rather than seeking worldly pleasures.
- Trust in God's will and not our own.
- Develop a strong trust and abiding love for God and his ways.
- Seek our rewards in heaven rather than claiming them in this world.
Valley of Peace
At long last we have reached the wondrous Valley of Peace. Once here we become aware of the personal relationship we have developed with God and the deep spiritual growth that we have achieved. In getting to the Valley of Peace we have developed the following traits:
- We have learned how to find rest and peace in God's presence in spite of life's storms.
- We have learned to always trust in God's will and not our own.
- We have developed a strong trust and abiding love for God and his ways.
- We have developed great strength and stability in our life and in our faith.
Within the Valley of peace we find a pool of Living Water which continually restores our souls. So it is written in Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. - Psalm 23
For more information on living water see Meditate With God - "The Meadow"
Mountains of Knowledge
Also, within the Valley of Peace, we find the Mountains of Knowledge from which we learn the following things:
- A complete trust in God and a strong faith.
- A complete and total reliance upon God's will.
- An understanding of the spiritual realms and the interactions between them.
- Being led completely by the Spirit throughout our lives. Walking the walk!
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - he is the King of glory. – Psalm 24
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1: 5-8
Make every effort to keep your focus on Jesus Christ. Make it a habit of giving your will over to the Lord in every situation throughout your life in order that you may speed up your journey. This is especially vital if you find yourself straying from the path. Let God take control of your situation and be willing to accept whatever choice God makes, knowing that his choice is for the greater good of his kingdom. Learn to find contentment in whatever the outcome may be.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12-13
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7