Results for tag "prayer"

8 Articles

God is a God of coming back

In the midst of encouraging a friend this evening I just need to write these words. Perhaps they will reach you in a time of hopelessness.

God is a God of coming back, a God waiting with open arms…

At the point you don’t feel like you can’t crawl back the 1200th time THAT is exactly when you should fall before him and confess.

Confess who you are, confess who He is,

and cling to the cross of Christ which satisfies the scales of justice and opens the door to mercy. Pour it all out on Abba Father and surrender all pride. His mercy has no limit and His grace is sufficient.

—-
An excerpt of an amazing prayer, “Meeting God” from the Valley of Vision.

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-14‬ ESV)

Amen.

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A Personal Interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer

Make Your Name Holy

My Pastor has recently been preaching thru the Sermon on the Mount and his teaching on the Lord’s Prayer was a catalyst of internal revolution. While I have never used this prayer as something to recite I have recently discovered the real blessing of turning the “Lord’s Prayer” into my prayer. After reading my friend Savannah’s blog post this morning I was prompted to finally share a personal interpretation of the Matthew 6:9-13.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

-from the Gospel of Matthew

 

God you are high and holy, above all, seated on a heavenly throne, yet you are near. You desire fellowship with me. You desire that I know you as my father.

Make your name Holy. Make it holy through me. Make it Holy to your people. May your very name be whispered with awe.

May your ways come alive in me today. May I live out your kingdom as I walk through this day. May I be an ambassador of your upside-down way of interacting with this world.

Lord grant me what I need today. Be it protection, health, or merely bread. Remind me of my utter dependance upon you this day, every day.

Lord forgive my many sins. May you pour your mercy upon me as I continue to grant that mercy to others. Help me to repent and walk toward you.

Father, please protect me from the temptations that I cannot withstand today and give me the strength and wisdom to bring you glory and be refined by the trials you choose to allow.

Amen.

-a personal interpretation

I highly recommend you taking time to listen to Bro. Wyman’s sermons on the Model Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole.

I’m grateful for friends and leaders like @SavannahB and @WymanRichardson that inspire me and challenge me. You’d be blessed as well by following and reading them.

photo credit Dennis Peterson

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Taking Threats to the Throne

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“In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign,King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them.” 2 Kings 18:13

All their fears were now realized and knocking at their doorstep.

The Assyrian Army had already conquered all of their neighbors including Israel and now they had overrun the border cities of Judah and have arrived at the gates of Jerusalem. King Hezekiah was a good and Godly king but in the face of this overwhelming threat his faith crumbled and he retreated to his own power. He attempts to pay a ransom for their safety and does so by robbing the silver and gold in the Temple and even stripped the Gold from the doorposts of the Temple.

He and his people are scared and lacking faith. When the ransom fails to save them he sends messengers to the prophet Isaiah as a last resort, asking Isaiah to pray to “His God”.

Bend down, O Lord and Listen

When the final written warning from Sennacherib comes, Hezekiah makes a very different choice,

“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.” 2 Kings 19:14

He took that threat which was sure to destroy him and everything he loved and he went straight to God. He took the threat to the throne.

I don’t know what you are facing today but I if you are drawing breath then you are either in the midst of a threat or one is coming around the corner.

Don’t retreat to your own strength and resources but rather remember you are a child of the King and even when you make a terrible mistake, as Hezekiah did, God is waiting for us to confess our fears and admit our inability to handle them.

Once we spread that letter out in front of God that my friend is when Jehovah Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts) shows up.

Dear Christian, take your threat to the throne room. You serve an almighty God who is not surprised by the threat or your weakness and he will use both to bring Glory to Himself.

“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it,and now I am making it happen.” 2 Kings 19:25

PS: Don’t miss the God’s full response to Sennacherib, in 1 Kings 19:2-34

 

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Waypoints for May 30

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waypoint noun ˈwā-ˌpȯint – a reference used for purposes of navigation.

Items that inspire, encourage, or challenge me along with a bit of commentary or context. Read More →

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This is my Prayer

There is something uniquely encouraging and powerful about the prayers Christ and the Apostles prayed for the church and followers of Christ. Those prayers don’t have a shelf life and to realize in the eternal church of God these prayers apply to you and I in the present day.

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One of the most notable of these prayers is the “High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus found in John 17:1-25 but as I’ve been reading Philippians I keep returning to the Apostle Paul’s powerful prayer at the beginning of this letter written from prison,

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

That your love may abound more and more

Which love is he referring to? All of them. If we speak about love for one another then we are also speaking of our love for Jesus, for our sincere expressions of brotherly (horizontal) love are born only thru authentic love for our Redeemer (vertical). But it is also true that for me to have love abound I have to feel loved.

For me personally, this is where I often interrupt this cycle. I too easily focus on my own failures and listen to the whispers of the Evil One, “you are unlovable.” I feel unworthy and unacceptable and the fruit is frustration and lack of fellowship (vertical and horizontal, again these are always connected). To combat lies you must expose them to truth. The truth is

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

When I’m convinced that I’m unlovable then I’m wrongly denying the power of Christ. I’m unworthy of love but being loved is based on who He is, not who I am.

If my love should abound more and more then:

  1. I need to return mindfully to the Cross of Christ and see his love demonstrated to me. His life, his willing sacrifice, his resurrection, and ongoing involvement in my life are proof that I am loved.
  2. Next I need to repent of the sin that is choking my fellowship with him and ask for a fresh view of Christ. When you see Him as he is you cannot help but confess, worship, and obey. Just ask Isaiah – Isaiah 6:1-8
  3. Lastly, when I’m walking in the center of His love and daily worshipping and seeking Christ (note that this ability and desire are both a gift of God, not something we conjure up out of our own ability) then I will naturally love those around me.

It’s a beautiful circle of love abounding more and more. From Him to me, from me to Him, and through me to others.

For from him and through him and for him are all things.
   To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

Amen indeed.

Today

Lord help my love abound for you. Remind me how much you love me. Forgive me for my doubting and help my unbelief. Wash me so I can simply sit in the midst of your love and return it to you and then pass it on.

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Asking for Wisdom

Without baring an uncomfortable amount about my prayers & spiritual needs I have begun to specifically ask God for 2 things.

  • Wisdom
  • Fear of the Lord

(We’ll leave the latter for a future post once I digest & organize my Bible study on the topic.)

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It felt a bit odd, even silly, asking for wisdom but I’m in desperate need of God’s wisdom so I can see with His eyes, feel with His heart, and speak with His words. It’s a renewed journey to have the mind of Christ. I need mind renewal that results in less of me and more of him. (Rom 12:2)

The call for us to seek Wisdom is often repeated, especially in the wisdom literature of Proverbs where I draw daily water.

I could reference many passages but Proverbs 2 is more than sufficient –

"making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart,and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you," -Proverbs 2:2-11

That sounds like where I need to be. Attentive and actively calling out for Wisdom.

As I begin this prayer journey I was struck by this passage in James (it’s worth mentioning that James is my favorite book of the Bible & I often just flip there to read). Last night I was reading James and found this,

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:5-6

I found the problem. I too often pray “hoping” instead of believing without doubt. God grants simple people like me wisdom and does so generously if I truly seek it as treasure that I’m confident in finding.

Your Turn

Do you pray for wisdom?
Can you give testimony of it changing your mind & life?

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Paper Proving God’s Faithfulness

As I study Isaiah I’m struck by how often God challenges Israel to remember what He has done. God spends a great deal of time in Isaiah 40-46 asserting his divinity & sovereignty (that He is God & God alone) and part of His proof to a captive Israel is challenging them to remember what He has done in the past.

"Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me," Isaiah 46:8-9

I can recall numerous times that God has delivered me & answered prayer but to be honest 90% of His works aren’t something I can recall readily.

God is teaching me to trust Him with the "little" stuff and to increase my faith I too need to be able to remember His works. So for the very first time I’m going to keep a prayer journal. A simple list of what I’m daily handing over to God & recording His faithfulness.

A simple expression of my motivation would be: If I want to have more faith in September I need to be able to see God’s working in August.

I’ve never done this so I’m not sure what to expect. I also don’t know if this a long-term activity but I intend to give it 1 month of diligent work.

Bill Hybels said,

"Our prayers are weak because our faith is weak."

Now I just need to find a system that works for me. I’d like to do it on paper to preserve it for future reference but I don’t always have my notebook with me. Perhaps I’ll stick in my trusty Evernote. I’ll report back on what I learn.

Your turn

  • Have you ever keep a prayer journal?
  • What did/does it teach you?
  • What’s your system?

(Next up writing my prayers once a week but 1 step at a time.)

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Know therefore – a confident faith

In response to a prayer this evening where I was seeking confidence in the Lord and admitting my own areas of weak faith I needed a reminder of God’s Lordship.

[Author’s Note: These posts are written via iPhone late in the evening. so please pardon the lack of formatting and perhaps logical thought but I’d rather post and edit later than leave them in queue. this is my journey it happens as I go.]

After taking a few moments after prayer to read & reflect on God’s Word (it’s
my way of turning on my listening ears)… I was nudged to take a look at my memory verse. As I’m making it a habit I paused to recite the previous weeks verse and as uttered the first part I paused and smiled because the answer to my prayer was on my lips.

“Know therefore the Lord your God is God, the faithful God keeps covenant & steadfast love to those who love him & obey his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deut 7:9

This verse hit like a gentle nudge from a friend, saying “See, keep reading”.

“Know therefore” indicates an equation. We must see what precedes “therefore” to understand what comes behind. In colloquial lingo, you have to find out what the therefore is there for.

That means there is an equation we must find. Causation factors x+y =(therefore)= the desired result. in this case confident in the Lord.

So look at the preceding verses:

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession…because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. -Deuteronomy 7:6-8 ESV

To paraphrase: Let me tell you that you are chosen & loved and look at all the my works on your behalf.

How do we that God is Lord? Look at where he brought us out of.

You may not have been enslaved in Egypt or facing mighty warring armies but you have been rescued and protected. God says look back at my hand on your life, count your blessings.

The Result
Look at the remaining verses.

be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today. “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. (Deuteronomy 7:11-13 ESV)

What promises and hope are ours when we choose to be obedient and serve him.

In need of a confidence the answer to a doubtful soul’s prayer came from a verse I memorized last week & turned it into a powerful lesson on counting my blessings so and enumeration his works. Then I’m left with this confident knowledge.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, (Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV)

Just one minor example of God’s providence and the necessity of memorizing scripture so God can speak and answer through it.

To God Be the Glory.

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