Tag Archives: prayer

Why to give thanks…II

Thanksgiving

1 Chronicles 29:12-13  Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

Not only should we give thanks to God for who He is, but we should be ever so grateful for all that He’s done.  He’s able to do far more than we can even imagine, and He even sometimes responds to prayer better than we thought He would.  Not only is He good, but He provides.

All of the good we have in our lives is from the Lord.  We owe Him our thanks because nothing we have here is our own.  It’s all His and He allows us to be temporary caregivers to His things.  He provides our physical needs, but think of all the other wonderful blessings He gives that have nothing to do with “things” at all.  The intangible blessings are usually the most satisfying.

Imagine, the Lord of all things created, in heaven and on earth, giving up His Son for the sake of mankind, that we might be reconciled to Him.  Even if He never gave us another single thing in this life, that’s a sufficient reason to give praise and thanks for the rest of eternity.  We give thanks because of who His is, and because of what He’s done.

He hears us

1 John 5:14-15  And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Joshua prayed with confidence because he knew that God would hear his prayers.  God had told him earlier that He was on Joshua’s side.  The apostle John also knew the value of approaching God in prayer with confidence.

If we know that He hears us, we know He’ll grant us all that we ask accordingly with His will.  To pray according to His will though, we must be daily in His Word, seeking Him.  When we’re in close communion with our heavenly Father, we’ll know what we can ask for and expect to be heard.  With that, we can ask with confidence.

Knowing that our Father loves us and cares for us makes a world of difference as we approach Him.  Thankful hearts, knowing that He hears us, make it all the more likely that we’ll ask according to His will.

———-  What are you asking God for right now?

 

Don’t worry, pray

Philippians 4:6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Central to Paul’s thoughts on prayer given to the Philippians is the aspect of thanksgiving and praise.  Want to be free from your burdens?  Rejoice in the Lord!  Are you bringing your requests to God?  Do it while giving thanks for what He’s already done!

Pray knowing that God hears the cries of His people.  Bring all things to Him, cast them all before Him.  Know that God is faithful and just.  Trust, knowing what He has already been faithful in, that He will continue to provide your every need and hear the desires of your heart.  Give Him thanks!

Echo the thoughts of Paul:  Rejoice in the Lord always!  This attitude in prayer will lead to peace, no matter what burdens you carry.  The Lord is good and He will lighten your load.

———-  What’s your biggest worry?  Cast it before God and have the faith to let it go.

Number our days

Psalm 90:12  So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

This life on earth is like a breath.  Before we can know what happened, it’s come to an end.  No matter how much effort we put into gaining things for ourselves – possessions, wealth, prestige, pleasure – we leave everything behind in the end.  As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”

As followers of Christ, we should be seeking to prioritize our time in this short existence to use our time in the way God wants us to.  Our prayer should mimic the Psalm, asking God to teach us to number our days, that we may know Him more fully and bring about His will.  Our desire should be for a heart of wisdom.

Two practical applications for learning to number your days:  seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and store up God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Make the most of what God’s given you.

———-  What changes can you make to the way you use your time in order to make the most of it?

Meet with God daily

lightstock_152996_medium_user_3963721
Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.

 

 

 

 

In the world of Christianity, we’ve come to refer to prayer time spent with God as “quiet time,” but in my life there’s very little time that could be qualified as “quiet.” With three little kids running around, it’s not easy to etch out time for a daily devotional time. Waking up earlier is not always an option, because certain kids in my home (who shall remain unnamed) wake up at incredibly early hours. So am I doing this quiet time thing all wrong? Am I less of a Christian if I don’t follow the many people who get up SO early and spend that time dedicated to the Lord?

The thing is, when we boil down time with God to a few minutes first thing in the morning, we do two things: 1) we cause people who don’t do well at that to feel very guilty or like a failure, and 2) we make prayer to our Father into something that can just be checked off of a list. Time with God is so much more than something to get us going in the morning, though it’s a great way to start the day. It’s an ongoing conversation throughout the day with Him.

Reality check: All that said, if we don’t take some time every day to intentionally meet with God, it may never happen at any other time during the day. If you’re like me, that may not mean you do “quiet time” when you first wake up. I’m willing to be that many of you, like me, don’t function at all until the first cup of coffee has been consumed. I spend time with God after I’m capable of processing what I’m reading from His Word and able to communicate coherently in prayer. Maybe that’s not the way everyone does it, but the important thing is that I spend time with my Lord every day.

He’s always got something to say to me, and I’ve always got something to say to Him. It’s time well spent. Better than anything else I could be doing, as a mater of fact. If you don’t take specific time to meet with God daily, will you give it a try? Start today.

Resolved: To go to my Lord in good times

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. – Jonathan Edwards

Are you like me? Do you ever realize that you’re going to God when things are tough but not spending much time with Him when things are going well? I’m not proud of those times, but I also know I’m not alone in doing that.

If I’m completely honest, a lot of times in my life have been that way. Hard times have a way of bringing us to our knees like nothing else. When there’s nothing else and no one else to turn to, we always know we have Jesus as a backup. But He’s so much more than that.

Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The love God has shown me and you through Jesus should make us bow down on our knees often, praising Him and giving Him thanks for everything He’s done. If He dwells in our hearts, we should all the more approach Him in love, not just when we need something. Will you resolve with me to spend more time in worship and stop waiting until things are bad to reach out to the Lord?

Pray for your pastor

Ephesians 6:19-20 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Do you pray for your pastor and leaders in the church? What about missionaries and charity workers?  We ought to be in prayer for anyone and everyone who proclaims the gospel.

The Apostle Paul closes out his section in Ephesians on spiritual warfare by asking the people to pray for him as he proclaims the gospel. It was taking the gospel public that had him in prison, and the last thing he was going to do was give up preaching it. It’s safe to assume that the Ephesians and many other Christians did pray for Paul and that his effectiveness was in large part a result of that.

Your pastor needs prayer as well. It’s not easy to get up before people and preach on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It comes with a lot of spiritual warfare, as does the work of missionaries in the field. They desperately need the support of other believers.

Take time each day to pray for the people that are bringing the Good News to those who have not heard. Pray that God would direct them, protect them, and work through them to reconcile people to Himself.

To persevere, pray

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints

It may sound like an easy answer, but when facing spiritual warfare, one of the best tools we have is prayer. Though many of us would say that this is obvious, we still neglect to take advantage of the ability to speak to our Creator.

Most of the time, when we’re in dire circumstances, we turn to just about everything before we resort to praying to our Father who is able to provide all things. The truth is that when we’re depressed, He brings comfort, when we’re worried, He provides peace, when we’re being attacked, He gives protection. There’s no reason to look anywhere else before seeking Him.

Prayer isn’t just a defensive tactic though. In fact, prayer is one of the primary ways to be proactive in spiritual warfare. When we keep alert in prayer, we’re ready and equipped for what comes at us. When we’re aware of God’s direction and we follow Him, we’re sensitive to what He wants us to see.

Keep in contact with the Father and you’ll find yourself where you need to be. Pray at all times.

Ask, seek, knock

Luke 11:9-10  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

After Jesus had taught His disciples how they should pray (v.2-4), and that they should pray with perseverance (v.5-8), He tells them that if they ask of God they will receive.

If our earthly fathers know how to give us good things, how much more does our heavenly Father know exactly what we need and how to give it to us?  We never have to worry when we pray because the Lord is good and He is capable of providing anything and everything.

Luke’s account of this story does not say that God will give “good things” like Matthew’s (Matthew 7:7-11), but rather that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.  What better gift could we ever receive from God but the gift of Himself?  He is more than we could ever imagine or think to ask for.

The Lord loves to bless His people.  He wants us to ask for all that He has in store for us.  In the end, it brings Him glory.

Do This! Don’t Do That!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Living in the world, with all it’s troubles, it’s a big task not to worry. It can seem like an impossible one at best. I read this scripture and I just want to experience this so badly, but yet I fail at it constantly. I just want to make myself stop worrying but I can’t. So what’s the solution?

Paul tells us that we shouldn’t worry about anything. Anything? Really? What about my looming mortgage payment, yet I want to tithe above and beyond? What about the fact that I’m working a full time job and doing ministry full time? Not even a little worry?

My wife and I recently started trying to eat healthier. We wanted to cut out processed foods and a lot of the junk that we’ve been eating. Does this mean that we quit eating all together? Of course not! We just replaced what we were eating with natural and healthy choices. This is what Paul is saying in verse 6. We could reword this verse to say substitute worry with prayer.

If you’re like me, I’m a habitual worrier. Like with any habit that we’re trying to break, it takes effort, but our goal is to replace the habit of worrying with the habit of prayer. I use to be a candy fiend but I slowly replaced it with fresh fruit. My wife and I buy so much fruit now it takes up half of our refrigerator! What this translates to is I should have the best prayer life of anyone I know!

The results of our change in diet is that we feel better, we’ve lost weight, and we don’t focus on eating so much. The results of changing out worry for prayer are far greater. When we focus on God and all He has done in our lives and we open up to Him with our most sincere needs of our heart, we then get to experience the peace that can come only from Him.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, gave himself as an atonement so that you and I could have a relationship with our Father in Heaven. Prayer is a privilege and it’s not something we should take for granted. Along with His word and His church, it’s His invitation to a love relationship with Him. Not because He needs us, but because He wants us. He wants your heart filled with His everlasting peace, not the temporary worries of this world.