My heart is being pricked of late because I seem to forget to start my prayers in adoration towards God. I am afraid that too often I jump right into the “Give me” part which should be the last thing we do.
I learned an acronym years ago that leads us into prayer and reminds us of the four major parts of prayers.
It’s called A.C.T.S.
A – Adoration – just plain praise for the Father. It’s what He is looking for. It’s why we were created.
C – Confession – We need to come to Him daily confessing our sins, asking forgiveness for where we blunder, mess up, outright sin against Him. We’ll talk more about confession at another time.
T – Thanksgiving– Oh, never forget to thank God for all He has done. If the only thing He did for us was to save us from sin and death, we should be thanking Him over and over again.
S – Supplication– Finally, in the last position, our requests. I’m afraid that all too often we go straight to this part of prayer.
Start Your Prayers with Adoration
Consider this: When we pray, first approach God’s throne with humility and in awe of how great our God is; how worthy He is of our praise. We can do this through the singing of hymns or even just meditating on hymns of praise. We can also adore him by quoting scriptures, such as this prayer in 1 Chronicles when Solomon was dedicating the Temple to God.
23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. 24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. 26 The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! 27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling.
28 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. 29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. 30 Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
1 Chronicles 16:23-31 NLT
Here’s A Thought
You know, I’m thinking, Why not just wake up each morning with scriptures like this one. Memorize it so that you can speak it out to Him in praise every morning to get your day started. Then sing the Doxology or another hymn of praise. I would bet that your days will go a lot better if you started this practice.
Need Even More Help Adoring our God?
I have always loved the prayers of Anne Graham Lotz. She knows how to bring us into the presence of God. Some of her prayers series are on You Version and you can actually listen to her prayer. What a great friend to enter His presence with!
Now she has published a book with about a month’s worth of prayers. She uses scripture, as I have suggested above. She offers repentance which we all need to be doing, personally and collectively. I’m trying to get into the habit of using this book to start off my quiet time each morning.
Early in my faith, I felt that Christianity was a list of rules I could never follow. The abundant life Jesus promised in Matthew 9:14-15 always felt out of reach. So imagine my surprise when I experienced the power of prayer and fasting in my early 20’s and saw real breakthroughs!
What Is the Power Of Prayer and Fasting?
In college, I heard a message entitled, ‘The Power of Prayer and Fasting: God’s Gateway to Spiritual Breakthroughs.’ After teaching, the preacher challenged us to practice a time of fasting. Wow! God showed up in a way I didn’t think He still worked in the 21st Century.
He answered a question I had been asking Him for years in prayer and drew near to me in a way I could physically feel. To this day I can look back at that experience as the catalyst for all the change in me that followed.
But what is the power of prayer and fasting? To get to the heart of this we have to answer some preliminary questions.
What is Fasting in the Bible?
Medically, fasting is about going without food for a predetermined amount of time, however, Spiritual fasting goes deeper than food.
Biblical fasting can mean giving up food for a meal, but it could also be giving up other things that you seek for satisfaction.
Why Do We Fast When Praying?
We add fasting to prayer when prayer alone isn’t enough. When you have been praying without answers or what you are asking feels bigger than you, you fast. In the Bible, we see fasting and prayer for breakthrough in several areas.
In fact, I love using the books of Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra as a fasting and prayer guide because they used this Spiritual discipline in easy to follow ways. More than that, God moved when they humbled themselves before Him in prayer and fasting. We need God to move in those ways in our world today and I believe if God’s people would begin to fast and pray we would see miraculous change.
Why Prayer and Fasting are Important To Christians?
The people of God experience miracles through fasting and prayer that they would otherwise miss. Prayer and fasting are a way to humble ourselves which helps us draw nearer to God.
It is hard to humble ourselves on our own. It is harder still to draw near to God in this fast-paced world. Fasting is important to Christians because it accomplishes both.
Why is fasting important to God?
One of the main benefits of fasting and prayer is nearness to God. God draws near to the humble (James 4:6). When we are in a posture of humility God speaks to us, answers prayers, reveals sin, convicts us, encourages us and so much more.
Fasting is a discipline we have lost touch with, but it is important to God because God longs for all of those things to be part of our daily lives as His disciples.
We learn from the fact that there are so many types of spiritual fasting, that the power behind fasting is not about the rules as much as seeking God’s heart in humility.
Fasting and Prayer Scriptures
There are many fasting and prayer scriptures that help us understand the power behind this spiritual discipline. However, of all that I have studied, there are two Bible verses about the power of fasting that help guide my practice.
The first verse, spoken by Jesus is why I believe fasting is a must for all believers.
“Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15 NASB emphasis mine)
The second scripture on prayer and fasting shows us that fasting is to be done in secret.
““Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18 NASB emphasis mine)
““This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you—” Leviticus 16:29 NIV
““On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:27 NASB
Yom Kippur is observed in the Jewish culture with 25-hours of fasting and intensive prayer. This is the holiest day of the year in Judaism where they focus on atonement and repentance.
Yom Kippur is only one of many days of fasting that the Jewish people still observe as they follow the example set by the patriarchs of our faith. It would be wise for us to join them in this Spiritual discipline.
Will You Unleash the Power of Prayer and Fasting in Your Life?
Over the years, through the power of prayer and fasting God has broken the chains of sin in my life and set me free from many things. Not only have I found personal freedom, but I have also truly met with God, gotten to know Him more intimately, and developed a personal relationship with him that is deeper than I ever dreamed possible.
Through fasting, our church has found healing from hurts that went deeper than we knew, seen revival spark and spread throughout our city, and more.
Adding fasting to your prayer life brings blessings and freedom. Will you begin to practice this Spiritual Discipline today?
How To Plan A Time of Fasting
Getting started with a time of fasting is as simple as 1-2-3.
Pray about what to give up and for how long.
Set aside a verse or passage to meditate on while fasting.
Make a plan for how to stick with the fast when temptation comes.
Have you ever known someone who could really touch heaven?
If you had a need, who would you ask to pray? My mother is like that. When Mike and I got engaged, we decided to take his two young boys and go to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving to meet my family. Mom thought how nice it would be for these young Georgia boys to experience snow. So she prayed … and boy, did it snow! You can read about another time my mom prayed and probably saved my sister’s life in my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn.
While these stories of intercessory prayers are very good, I am also reminded of two precious ladies at our last church. Mrs. Mae Thomas was a prayer warrior. She kept a notebook where she recorded everyone she prayed for. And she recorded the answers too. (By the way, it is a wonderfully encouraging way to remind yourself of the goodness of God.) When she passed away and the family closed up her home, They found stacks of prayer notebooks with years worth of prayers and answers.
There was another precious lady in the history of that same church. I never knew her but the people still spoke warmly of this precious prayer warrior. It is told that she had a table where she prayed and studied. On that table, was written all the names of people she had prayed for. So many that had turned away from God were pleased to later find their name written on that table.
These are just a few instances that prove the importance of intercessory prayer. Sometimes, we need to get really serious with God to bring people to Him. It can’t be just a flippant sentence, “Oh God, save so-and-so”. Intercessory prayer is found on the frontlines of spiritual warfare.
We are instructed in the Bible to intercede for others. One can find many verses on intercession but the one that comes to my mind first is
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
You know, as I read this verse again, I find it interesting that it says not only to pray for them but to give thanks for them. Oh my, when you think of the people that need salvation, typically, we may not really be that thankful for them. I know from experience though that being thankful can make a world of difference. You know how prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change.
OK, that was just an aside. Let’s get back to Intercessory prayer.
Come Prepared for Intercession
We do not stride into the presence of God.
I recently received an article from Titus Women and it struck a chord with me. I want to share part of it with you now…
When we come to a time of intercession, we must come prepared to be in the presence of God Himself. As Dennis Kinlaw said, “We do not stride into the presence of God.” There must be heart preparation and humility. As we prepare for lifting others in prayer, here are some means of preparation for our own hearts.
“Lord Jesus, we ask You for these things as we come before You to pray for others.”
Checklist for Intercession
A Clean Heart: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor.7:1
A Free Heart: Let all bitterness and wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind…forgiving even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:31-22
A Forgiving Heart: “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble and by it, many be defiled.” Hebrews 12: 15
A Right Spirit: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51: 10, 11
A Yielded Will: “Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” Psalm 143: 10
A Loyal Affection:“You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing; you guard all that is mine.” Psalm 16: 5 (NLT)
These characteristics certainly describe the aforementioned women!
A Challenge to Intercede
I remember once being challenged to think of the greatest “Lost case” you know. The one that you think will never come to Christ; never get their hearts right and straight on the path to heaven. Then intercede deeply for them every day. You might be surprised by what God will do.
Will you join me today to pray and intercede for one person in your life? If you can’t think of anyone, how about one of the presidential candidates? Or the other myriads of people on Capitol Hill? (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2 above)
We all know that PRAYER is an important part of the Christian life. Without it, we are disconnected from our defense system, as well as unity with the body of Christ.
I speak to those who have prayed and prayed for something/issue in their life or the life of someone else. You may have prayed for healing, restoration, salvation, freedom from something. But nothing outwardly changes.
Yes, there are little tiny nuggets that suggest something is at work so this gives you some hope, but you need something big- neon sign floating down from heaven saying-” On May 13th you will see deliverance.” Oh AMEN! YES! However, that is not how it works. 🙁
I discovered today that in prayer and praying God is looking for our belief, faithfulness, and faith that our prayers make a difference. Prayer is not validated if you get what you want when you want it. Let that sink in for a moment.
So today when I pray I’m going to change the way I see prayer and feel about prayer. Today I pray to God in recognition that He has to power to do his goodwill, in my life and others at the appointed time. I believe in His power and understand He reigns in sovereignty. His plans work best and my understandings of what I think should be are weak and skewed.
Today trust God. Trust that he is working even when it looks bad. Trust that He hears you and His silence is not Him ignoring you. Keep praying in faith and recognition that He can change anything and leave him to do His will even when it is so very different from what you’ve prayed. He loves your faithful asking!
-Changing the way I think about pray/praying with you.
We see the day coming but we are no more ready to face the King of Kings and the Lords of Lords than they were in Joel’s day. We sit in our padded pews and “mourn” the sinfulness of our nation but ignore the subtle sins in our own hearts. Our nation will not “turn and repent” until they see that living for God looks different than the rest of the world.
When we look in the mirror of the Ten Commandments, what do we see? Is it righteousness or self-righteousness? Does reading this list cause us to fall on our knees in true repentance like the prophet Isaiah did when he saw the Lord in the temple?
Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Challenge to Examine Your Heart
I challenge you to read down the list of commandments. Ask God to show you where you have failed him. If you don’t see any failure, read it again. And then again. Slow down, read slowly, and consider the subtle things that Satan has blinded you from.
How much time do you spend with God? 5 minutes a day? Do you have a quiet time? study the Word?
What have you placed above God? Job, Success, family, sports?
Do you treat the Sabbath just like every other day of the week?
What ways do you honor your parents?
Have you stolen anything lately? Extra time at lunch? office supplies? Have you robbed from God, by withholding tithes and offerings?
Do you lie and cheat to climb the ladder of success? Do you gossip in the guise of a prayer request?
Are you jealous of those who have more than you?
Hmmm… I wonder why people want nothing to do with Christianity.
Yes. We are all sinners
It’s true. None of us are righteous. We are all worthless and separated from God. Even King David who was considered “a man after God’s own heart” sinned. And he sinned BIG!
The size of the sin is not what matters. What matters is our response when we see that we have sinned against God. This week I wrote at Gracefully Truthful about David’s response when he was confronted with his sin. Click the purple image to read.
Let’s take a look at the words of the prophet, Joel. He said if we repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more. Let’s check it out.
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him;
True Repentance requires more than just “I’m sorry”. It produces change, a turning away from sin. Too often our apologies are not sincere. We are more sorry that we were caught than mournful of our sin. We say “I’m sorry” but we don’t turn from our wicked ways. There must be a change of heart and life. If it is real, the change will be noticeable.
Seek His Face
Many times God says in His Word if we seek Him, we will find Him. Right smack in the middle of the Bible is Psalm 119. It’s a poem using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The entire chapter is all about seeking God and meditating on His Word. Start here in your search for God.
Don’t just read a quick devotion or a few verses and go on your way. Think about what it says and how it applies to you. Ask God to show you why that particular passage is there for you. What can you learn? If you need help with this, I would suggest the online study Gracefully Truthful or try the First Five phone app which studies a chapter a day. This and many others are free online. There are also some great Bible apps for your phone.
Also, invite His Holy Spirit to take full control of your life. Consider your heart as a house. When you ask the Lord into your heart when you are saved, He comes in. But do you only allow him to stay in your living room? Do you allow him into your kitchen? your bedroom? closet? attic or basement? God wants it all. He wants full control. And until we surrender it all to Him, we are still the one in the driver’s seat. We aren’t in full obedience to God.
Fast Weep Mourn
fast – Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Today, some will fast other things they “can’t” live without. The importance is that you use this time for prayer.
weep –To express sorrow, grief or anguish by outcry.
mourn – The Greek word used for mourn is “pentheo,” which means to “wail or passionately lament, grief so all-encompassing it cannot be hidden.” The same word is used in Mark 16:10 to describe the emotions of Jesus’ followers after His crucifixion, a soul-deep sorrow.
2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” Thus, it is a necessary mourning, required for us to reach a place of complete repentance before God.
Honestly consider, have you been truly repentant for your sins?For the sins of the nation? Regrettably, I doubt that most of us have. In Bible times, people would tear (rend) their clothing in remorse. But sometimes this became just a show. (like the Pharisees) Try Anne Graham Lotz’s prayer from the National Day of Prayer. You can find it on her website here.
What rituals are you doing by habit or just showing off your spirituality? I’m reminded of the Pharisees praying, “Thank you, that I am not like them.” We need humility and true sorrow as we pray. This is what Joel meant by “rend your hearts, and not your clothes”
Let’s come to God with a broken and contrite heart as David did in Psalm 51. He was a picture of true repentance.
In Part One, I was remiss in not noting that I have been reading excerpts from the book “Overcoming Spiritual Attack” by Ryan LeStrange. This is one of the great benefits of YouVersion– they do mini bible devotions or studies out of books already out, or soon to be out. So today I continue to give to you, from my notes, some more valuable information.
During an attack your natural mind experiences tension. Experiencing this for long periods of time makes you emotionally vulnerable. Then it becomes easy to give in to the emotions and question God’s promises.
Having good friends is very important. Having strong Christian friends is even more so. You need friends that will fight with you! Think of it as Prayer Fight Club. We need to protect one another through prayer. That’s why Satan does anything and everything to sidetrack you from prayer. Because he knows he is defeated through prayer.
Choose your words carefully as you speak them to yourself and others. Words are keys, keys open doors and keys lock doors.
“In the name of Jesus, I resist you Satan. I resist your lies that you try to bind me with. I break your power in my life and command you to go.”
Girls, Satan will not EVER play fair. He is DIRTY. And he will use ANYTHING. He knows everything about you, your family now and family past. Nothing is off-limits to him unless GOD tells him no- just like Job- God told Satan certain things he would not be allowed to do. BUT Satan CAN BE STOPPED through our constant prayer petitions and God’s word.
-Putting on the armor with you, getting my sword out to fight!
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
What is Meditation?
We know perhaps what prayer is but what is meditation? Sadly, today when we think of meditation our thoughts are turned to what comes from Eastern meditation. There is a difference so let’s find a definition. Let’s go to a great theologian, J.I. Packer, for that…
…meditation is a lost art today and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God; as a means of communion with God.
Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart.. . . . as we enter more and more deeply into this experience of being humbled and exalted, our knowledge of God increases, and with it our peace, our strength, and our joy.
From Knowing God by J.I Packer
What Christian Meditation is NOT
Eastern meditation is an emptying of the mind. But scriptures tell us that when we empty our minds, we are allowing space for the ENEMY to come in. On the other hand, in Christian mediation, we are instructed to “fill our minds” with the things of God.
The majority of the time spent in prayer (if not all of it) is, I fear, just giving our wish list to God. Even when it’s a request for someone else. It is all about what we want or need.
Prayer should include more than this. And in my opinion, the requests should be the least important part of prayer. Communication is a two-way street. None of us like to be around someone who monopolizes the conversation, where no one else gets a word in edgewise. I wonder…
Our children have it figured out. When they want something, typically the first thing they do is give us a little praise and love. [“I love you, mom.”] Come on, you have done it yourself or have experienced it from your children. Right?
So how does a Christian Meditate?
In His book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says that Christian meditation is a process to help us slow ourselves down and get rid of all the busyness of life. The Bible’s definition includes two Hebrew words culminating into several meanings:
listening to God’s word
reflecting on God’s works
rehearsing God’s deeds
ruminating on God’s law
Listening and Hearing
In each case. We are called to change. Yes, we are called to change our behavior because we have been standing before the Living God.
Some may say they never hear from God, but are they listening? Do they recognize His voice, if He did speak?
Meditation is our part of getting quiet.
Take just a small portion of His Word and mull it over in our minds. This is when true fellowship really happens. The truth is, God created us for fellowship. When we run to Him with a bunch of requests, this is not fellowship. But when we spend time coming before Him and soaking Him in. Suddenly, we’ll find we hear Him speaking to us. Finally, we begin to hear His voice.
If you go to the great preachers in history and even today, you will find they spend the majority of their day meditating on God’s Word. This is where they find the wisdom they need to not only speak and challenge us but also to live godly lives themselves.
Why do we Fear Christian Meditation?
Namely, because meditation calls us to silence. Most of us in this day and age can’t deal with silence. Silence calls us to remember things in our lives that need to be dealt with. As soon as we are quiet, we remember the things God has asked to do that we are reluctant to do. Those sins that need to be confessed come to the forefront. Our disobedience to God becomes quite evident.
Meditation is plain out threatening because we are standing in the presence of The Living God. And we must cry out like Isaiah, “Woa, is me for I am undone.” – Isaiah 6:5
A Few Pointers on How to Meditate
Give some portion of each day to meditate. contemplative prayer is a way of life. “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Find an appropriate place. Have everything you need set at this place so that you aren’t looking for your journal and pen. This place will become your obvious place to meditate. Others will know not to bother you when you are in that chair. If you neglect your time of meditation, that chair will remind you.
Posture – Do you sit? Do you kneel? That all depend on you. Actually, it’s not so much the posture of your body as it is the posture of your heart. That said, kneeling or bowing down can help you get in the right spirit.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says
“… just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your Heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.
The Way to Freedom, Dietrich Bonheoffer, page 59
Live the Experience
Apply all the senses to our task.
Smell the sea.
Hear the lap of water along the shore.
See the crowd.
Feel the sun on your head and the hunger in your stomach.
Taste the salt air.
Touch the hem of His garment
Celebrations of Spiritual Disciplines, Richard Foster
Alexander Whyte counsels us,
the truly Christian imagination never lets Jesus Christ out of his sight. . . . You open your New Testament
. . . And, by your imagination, that moment you are one of Christ’s disciples on the spot and are at His feet.
Lord, Teach us to Pray, Alexander Whyte, pp249-50
It is a way of life; You will be constantly learning and growing as you plumb the inner depths.
Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
I hope that you are able to employ these steps in your own time with Our Lord. I believe you will be amazed at the change in your life.
Sing-a-long as you Stay at Home
This Mennonite family recorded this before the corona virus but it made me think this would be a good thing to do. Have your own hymn sing! And this family can downright sing!
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Could it be that our view of God is distorted? Maybe you need a new perspective on how God views the world? Possibly, your heart is not quite in the right place. I would like to offer some considerations as you give prayer another chance.
Considerations as we Pray
God Cares ~ He’ll Give you another chance
First of all, know that He loves you more than you can know. God desires for you to relate to Him. He came to earth and lived the life of a man. Jesus knows your pain and sorrows. He feels your pain. Prayer connects us to Him. You can have true fellowship with the God of the universe!
Talk to him sincerely. Tell him how you feel. Your sorrow. Your anger. It’s OK. He can handle it.
You Are Part of the BIG Picture
As the saying goes, “We are not an island.” There is a whole big world and we are just a small part of it all. That is not to say that God doesn’t have time for you. He is there every moment. However, He is working on a plan for everyone.
Sometimes the things we are asking take time or aren’t the best thing for us at this particular time. Ask God to give you a new perspective. He may have us in a hard place to give us a specific opportunity or direction in life. Don’t think that you cannot ask God, but with the asking, open your heart to hear His desires for you, as well.
Prayer is the courageous act of bringing our authentic desires before God. Prayer is the place where, in Jesus’ name, we meet a holy God with all of our humanity hanging out. In our bravest moments of unscripted, unedited prayer, we find ourselves telling God what we want, how we’re afraid to want this, how we fear he’ll withhold, how we fail to trust, and to worship and to reverence. We allow ourselves to see – and be seen. In this struggle, prayerful and raw, we willingly wait for the mercies of God to deliver us into the abiding belief that He is good. Prayer, bold and beautiful and brave, takes on the quality of our struggle to surrender to the God who is holy, to the God whose holiness produces our surprise.”
Jen Pollock Michel, Teach Us to Want
Don’t Give Up on Your Prayers
Remember, Some blessings take time. Some answers come only after years of trusting and believing. If you have opened your heart to the will of God, keep on praying, even if your heart is breaking.
Oftentimes our heartaches and our unfulfilled heart’s desires skew our perspective and keep us thinking small. We need to learn to crawl out of our small story so we can see all that God is up to, in, and around us. Because He is, and it’s awesome.
Our short-term solutions will always fall woefully short of God’s redemptive plan. And those short-term solutions will often cause us more trouble than we ever bargained for.
How they longed for a child. They hoped and prayed for a very long time. Then they came up with their own solution. To have a child through Sara’s servant, Hagar. Then later, the son God promised is born to Sarah. Oh my! The competition. The fussing and fighting. That didn’t turn out well at all.
You see, when we take things into our own hands, we usually make a big mess of things. Come on now, you know it’s the truth. Just keep waiting and trusting in God. His plans are always the best.
If you give up the life you thought you needed, you’ll find yourself getting more of God Himself. And He will so satisfy your heart that all other passions will be consumed by your longing for Him.
Bruce Wilkenson, Beyond Jabez
When you admitted and turned from your sins and asked Jesus to forgive you, you became a child of God. Your name was written in the Book of Life. You are a citizen of heaven. God loves you and wants to give you the best.
Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:9-11, CSB
There is One Point that Must Be Looked At
Most importantly, you are an Heir of God… aren’t you? Do you remember the day that you knelt down and confessed your sins to God? Have you given your life over to Jesus, repented of your sins? Are you truly a Child of God? Because these are the ones to whom the Heavenly Father gives good things. These are the prayers He hears.
If you haven’t given your life to Him, today is the day to do that. It’s as simple as A, B, C.
Admit that you are a sinner.
Believe the Jesus died for your sins
Confess Your Sins and turn away from sin.
This is the first prayer you need to pray
Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned and I need Your forgiveness and pardon. I believe that You died and rose again for my sins. Now, I accept You as my personal Savior. I will forsake my sinful life. I know that Your grace and power will enable me to live for You. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and for giving me a new life. Amen
Finally, I would encourage you to pray the scriptures. Get yourself a notebook or journal in which to record your prayers. Write the person or request at the top of a page. Then write out scripture that you feel shows that this request would follow along with the will of God.
Leave the rest of this page open to record anything that encourages you that the request is being answered. And record the date and story once your prayer has been answered or a step has been made in that direction.
This gives you a record of all the answered prayers. You will be able to occasionally go through the pages and praise God for the many, many blessings He has bestowed on you.
Your Powerful Prayers
These are just a few thoughts that I have gleaned and made my own from Susie Larson’s book, Your Powerful Prayers. I would strongly urge you to get a copy of the book for your own. There are many, many more things to help you as you give prayer another chance.
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P.S. My hope at the beginning of the year was to rediscover and write about spiritual disciplines. I was drawn away from this when our family learned that we had two months to move. Now we are settled and I am turning my thoughts back to this goal. Follow this blog to learn more with me on the spiritual disciplines. There is a sign up below on the blue bar.
The last 13 year of my life I have become dependant on God communicating to me through the bible. His word is living and breathing and it has NEVER failed me- NEVER.
I prayed about a situation and asked God to give me a verse from his word. Within minutes I got “Thess 1 15″… hmm, Thessalonians doesn’t have 15 chapters, God. Then it was silent… oh oh. So I went to my bible started reading and TADA… it has chapter 1,2,3,4,5… 1-5 Michele.
Wow God the whole thing. Goodness. So I began to read and the constant theme that first chapter and most everything I ran into that day was:
Stay the course
Keep doing good
My staying the course is getting harder, my doing good is not easy. It is getting harder and I liken it to birth pains… each contraction is getting closer and with each contraction it is becoming more and more painful. I am not sure I can hang on. God, I NEED YOUR HELP!
Hope in what she will be keeps me here. Here to raise Trey in love for her when she rejects all we do. Hope, that once God is allowed in she will break free. Hope, that she will be on a dead run far from the pit she just climb out of.
Hope has a foundation friends. It’s not wishful thinking, Jimminy Cricket wishing upon a star kinda hope. It’s real. I can touch almost touch it. Hope is an extension of my faith, its confidence, and GRACE’S future accomplishments.-these come from my bibles annotations :).
Do you have hope? Hope for yourself, for someone, for a situation? I know you do, you travel a hard road with your own life. So KEEP HOPING, YOU’RE NOT FOOLISH. IT HAS A FOUNDATION IN OUR FAITH!
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
I Timothy 4:7-8
Train – (verb) to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying
Training is a word that gets tossed around a lot, especially this time of year when people are making new resolutions. People, anxious for a change in their lifestyle, know that something needs to happen differently. That given no direction, things will continue to go “off-track” (did you catch the “train” (noun) reference?)
Training a Bonsai Plant
One of Webster’s definitions of “train” is to “direct the growth (of a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying”. In order to train a plant, especially to achieve a look or purpose that is different than its nature, specific steps must be taken. Creating bonsai plants involves several types of cutting and shaping. Contrary to popular belief, bonsai trees are not miniature plants, but in reality, are regular plants which have been shaped/created to have a particular look or effect. Wires are used to bend and reposition branches, and later the wires are removed. Leaves are removed and deadwood created to bring about other effects.
Training yourself to be godly, as directed in First Timothy, is similar. Our natural bend or form is sinful. We need to make changes in order to achieve our purpose.
What are some spiritual pruning methods available?
1) Reading the instructions. The Bible gives us direction on how to become more godly. The New Testament is chock-full of directives for us. Love one another, turn the other cheek, don’t show partiality, forgive each other, take care of widows and orphans, etc. And James tells us, if you lack wisdom, just ask God!
2) Do it! Do what, you say? See #1. Do what it says. Be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. Faith without works is dead. You won’t get your body in shape by reading a book about good exercise. You have to actually “do” the exercise. Funny how that works.
3) Continue doing it. In my recent health journey, I learned this – As I have continued my lifestyle of eating habits, I will continue on my healthy path. But if after I have reached my “goal” I go back to my former habits, guess what? I will find myself back at the place where I started! The changes must be ongoing.
Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.
2 Timothy 3:14
Continue steadfastly in prayer.
Let brotherly love continue.
Is it hard sometimes?
Do we fall short at times? Sure! Do you think Olympic athletes have never fallen? Do they quit if something is hard? No! When we start an exercise program, we don’t start with 100 pushups! We start with one. Then two. Then three.
Start doing one more thing today that will train yourself to be more godly. Then do another tomorrow. And guess what? In a year, a month, or even a week, that one thing will get easier and easier. And then you will do it without thinking because it will have become a habit, a lifestyle.
And just like the bonsai tree, the wire that is used to bend and reposition the branches will become unnecessary. The habit is made and the training is easier. And then we get to move on to more training in godliness. And godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.