What a privilege . . .

“. . . What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!” – Joseph M. Scriven 

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Don’t Wait, Pray Now!

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  Jonah 2:7

There is a glorious truth that is woven through the pages of Scripture.  That truth is that God wants to hear from you now.  Alas, many put off the intimacy of regular time in prayer with the Father until they are in desperate situations and they use Him as a last resort to the problems and conditions they are facing.

God is always present.  God is always listening.  All He needs is that heart surrendered to Him in faith, one who will seek His face, bow the knee before Him, and humbly pray.

Jonah, that famous prophet swallowed whole by a great fish, found himself in desperate need of prayer.  With Jonah, as with many, the situation didn’t have to get this bad.  He didn’t have to end up in this nasty position.  He didn’t have to wait to seek God’s heart on the matter of prophesying to Ninevah.  At any given time before this episode, he could have gone to the Lord in prayer.  Perhaps then, his own heart for the people would have changed.

Yet, we will never know, because the story before us tells us the choice he made.  He chose to run from God and as a result, he found himself in a place nobody would want to be.

It was in this place, where he finally prayed, and said, “I remembered the LORD.”  The very God he tried so desperately to run away from, now in his darkest of times, he is seeking and he remembers.  When he felt overwhelmed by his choices, overwhelmed by the sin those choices led to, and overwhelmed by the experience of his sinking plight, it was as if a spiritual light clicked on deep within him and he remembered the LORD.  He remembered His Word.  He remembered His promises.  He remembered His love for His people.  He remembered His faithfulness.  He remembered His covenant.  He remembered just how great a God he served!  When he ran from God he forgot about all the wonders of God in his selfish pursuit, but now he remembers.

That remembering led to a heart that was ready to seek God in prayer.  He wrote, “My prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  When he cried out to God, his very cry reached the presence of God.  God was listening.  Sincere prayer reaches the ears of God.  Although he had many opportunities to pray prior to being in the fish, the sincerity of his heart is now more real than ever as he reaches out to God in prayer.

The truth of the Bible is, God hears, but don’t wait until your situation is so desperate that you are at the point where you have no other choice than to pray.  God is available with a listening ear at all times.

Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Why is that? Because as breath is with the body, with each inhale and exhale, one’s life is sustained, so is the prayer line that fosters that interpersonal relationship between God and man. It is not only life-sustaining, but it is soul-sustaining, keeping that glorious love connection between the two open and flowing.  And, as Jonah felt the time of his last breath drawing nearer, he then sought to reconnect with God once more through prayer, and he believed his prayer was heard.  When we call out to God we too can believe that our prayers are heard, if we also have a sincere heart.

Prayer should never be our last go-to, get-out-of-whatever situation-free card.  Prayer keeps us in holy connection with our holy Father.  Open the lines of prayer in your life today.  Do not wait for a more opportune time, or for an event that makes you fall to your knees.

Make no mistake, the Bible repeatedly tells us that God hears those desperate, urgent cries (Psalm 34:6; 39:7-8; 50:15), and I for one am so thankful He does.  But our heavenly Father wants to hear from you now, in a consistent, daily walk of fellowship through prayer.

Keep God before your face and your heart in prayer.  Foster that love line in your life and it may keep you out of some nasty situations.

“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

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Father God, on You do I wait. . .

God’s Word is my firm foundation and on the promises written within, I wait! “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5, NIV

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Jesus is Greater!

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things . . .” Hebrews 1:1-2

The writer of Hebrews opens his book with the exaltation of Christ over all and declares that God “hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things,” (Hebrews 1:2). As the rightful heir, His supremacy is beautifully noted.

“Therefore,” Hebrews 2:1 tells us, “we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”

Many believe the recipients of this letter are early Jewish Christians whose faith has come under attack, and they needed encouragement to hold on to the words of Christ, to hold onto the gospel message they received lest they “let them slip.”

When one “slips,” it is usually a backward path into old ways, and this is what was threatening their current faith.  The old ways, that were attached to the older religious system, that came before the securing and atoning death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, were trying to prevail and draw people backward.  In his writings, the author of Hebrews continues to teach and explain that Christ is greater than those old ways.  He is greater than Moses, greater than the old religious system and priesthood, greater the angels (read Hebrews 2-3 for more), and all that came before Him (although technically, Christ was before all of them – see John 1:1-5; 8:58).  He is simply greater in every way.

Is there something plaguing your current faith today? Has something infiltrated your dedication to the Lord and is seeking to pull you into a slipping mode?

Friend, whatever it is, Jesus is greater than that too. He understands the frailty of humanity. He understands the emotions you battle with and the questions you long to ask. Lay it all at His feet today. Take everything to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him, with all sincerity, for help with this and all other things you may be confronted with.

The old may be comfortable, but faith in Christ, the heir of all, is the greater choice.

Therefore, our rest and peace are now forever found in the promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:18-4:3; 2 Corinthians 1:20), because He is greater.

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Before Your Throne, I Come!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Before Your throne, O God, I come. With praise in my heart and supplications on my lips, I come.

  • “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” – Hebrews 13:15
  • “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” – Ephesians 6:18

I come and lay at Your feet every burden that is held in this heart.

  • “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 55:22
  • “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

I come and pray for my family (Click here for 8 Ways to Speak God’s Blessings Over Your Children)

  • “. . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
  • “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style,” – Psalm 144:12, NKJV.
  • “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4

I come and pray for my nation.

  • “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
  • “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.” – Job 12:23

I come and pray for the souls of this world.

  • “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” – 1 Timothy 2:1
  • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
  • “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” – Acts 26:18

Father God, You hear the cries of our hearts. Our prayers are not far from Your ears. They are open and attentive to the needs and the pleas of Your children.

So, before the throne, I come, with a heart resting in the full assurance of who You are in my life and all of Your glory.

  • “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” – Psalm 8:1
  • “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” Psalm 115:1
  • “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” – Revelation 4:11

I come, knowing the tears I shed and the words uttered are taken into account by You.

  • “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” – Psalm 18:6
  • “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” – Psalm 56:8
  • “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” – Psalm 139:17

I come, committing everything into Your faithful hands knowing that You are “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20.

  • “Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.” – Psalm 89:13
  • “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” – Isaiah 41:13
  • “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

I come, thanking You, Father God, that You always hear me and I am believing in Your just grace and mercy to see me through another day.

Thank You, for working in my life. Thank You, for holding my hand every step of the way. Thank You, for hearing me when I call.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

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Praying . . . 5/20/22

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God, we as Your people stand before You today both as hopeless, and yet as being full of hope. If it is to ourselves we look for strength and resources then we are a hopeless bunch because there is no good thing in us. But, if it is You and Your mercy we are leaning on then our lives have nothing but hope because You, Lord, are the Author of all that can be and when we are trusting in You, we have the possibility of everything before us. Help us this day to keep looking to You where we can find hope, and not to ourselves. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!
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Acknowledging Prayer

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:2-4

When one acknowledges something or someone they are ascribing or giving them credit that they deserve.  Here, opening His teaching on prayer, Jesus jumps in without hesitation, stating, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven.”  Now, notice first that Jesus didn’t say “if” ye pray.  He point-blank expected that His people should have an active and working prayer life so He said, “When ye pray.”

Starting with the statement, “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus acknowledges to whom one’s prayers should be directed.  And, in the verses following God gets the credit for everything!  This is acknowledgment.

“Our Father which art in heaven,” points one in the right direction.  There are many voices that try to offer advice and insight to the world we live and to the troubles and woes we face.  Yet, none can have the insight as He who created all things.  None is Sovereign as He to really be our champion for real change.  That can only come from He who is enthroned in heaven for all eternity; by He Whom everything takes its commands: “Our Father.”

“Our Father” describes the intimate, relational context in which God wants to be committed to us.  Did you get that?  God wants to be “Our Father” so much that Jesus, God incarnate, instructed us to address Him as such in prayer.  Man may not always step up to the plate to fill this role, but God does.  He willingly takes on the role of “Father,” meaning more than provider in my view.  He takes on the responsibility to love, care and nurture those who come to Him seeking Him as daddy.  Romans 8:15 describes it as this: “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  This adoption is an on-purpose act of love that He is seeking to fulfill as the role of “Father.”  God “will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

“Hallowed be thy name.”  Part of acknowledging prayer is respecting His holiness.  Oh, I cringe when I see people take the name of the Lord in vain.  God’s name is not like any other and should not be treated as it is.  His name is holy (Isaiah 57:15), and He is the one who “dwell in the high and holy place.”  When one invokes God’s name in prayer it is not a plaything.  We are seeking His holiness to come in on our behalf; garnering His stamp of approval.  Heaven knows how to treat His name so much that they speak the word “holy” three times: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts,” (Isaiah 6:3).

Acknowledging prayer recognizes God’s authority, His power, His Sovereignty, His control, His kingdom, and His will overall. “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”  No wonder at the end of the parallel of this prayer found in Matthew 6:13 it states, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”  We should want to see the glory of God’s will take over the atmosphere of this old stale world “as in heaven.”  We should have heavenly visions of God’s power reclaiming this earth.

Acknowledging prayer recognizes that God is the provider of all.  “Give us day by day our daily bread.”  “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  We, as all other things created, are dependent on Him as our provider.  “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God will provide.

Acknowledging prayer knows that forgiveness comes from God: “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  God wants to spiritually heal people from their sin-sick ways.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

In return, we are expected to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.  Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought for healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!  Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.  And, we acknowledge that this is His will for us.

Acknowledging prayer shows God as a deliverer: “And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” God doesn’t tempt people into sin.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” (James 1:13).  Sin is a choice and so is choosing to let God lead and trusting Him to keep you in those hard times.  “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee,” (Psalm 25:20).  “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me . . .” (Psalm 19:13).  He is a keeper to them that know Him as a deliverer and He is a protector against the ultimate enemy, the devil.

The Bible gives us this wise advice: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Acknowledging prayer says that there is no part of our lives that is untethered by the touch of God’s love. Therefore, in everything, and in every way, I lean into God, trust Him, and acknowledge Him in every area of my life.

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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This morning, lay to rest…

This morning, lay to rest and hand over any troubles that may be stirring in your heart. Jesus is the answer for a troubled heart.

Father God, we are praying for an anointed release over Your children. We are praying against any troubles or circumstances that try to invade the peace that Christ so beautifully secured for our lives. Father God, we know that You are near Your children regardless of what they face or may be going through. Help us to grab hold of that truth as we go about this new day that You have blessed us with. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen!

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” – John‬ ‭14:1

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A Personal Audience With God

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Every time you bow the knee in prayer. Every time your hands are raised in adoration to the King. Every time your mouth opens to bless the name of God and lay your petitions before Him, He personally pays attention.

Out of the over 7,000,000,000 people that currently roam planet earth, when you pray before the Father, you enjoy a personal audience with God.

Yes, my friend, you are that special to Him. Yes, my friend, He loves you that much.

When you pray, you have God’s full attention. I don’t know how He’s able to be such a good Father in giving you and me this undivided attention, but He is.

It’s as if nothing else matters when your heart seeks Him in holy supplication. Even out of the billions, when you pray, God hears as if you are the only one.

We know He is omniscient, knowing all things, everywhere, with everyone, at one time, but He, in His love and grace, gives us this personal audience, to hear what we petition, to be mindful of us personally when we pray.

This, my friend, shows us the delight God takes in His children. Each one matters to Him personally.

Like a parent whose child calls home, God picks up the receiver and listens, giving His blessed ones His personal audience.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” – 1 John 5:14

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you– Matthew 7:7

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” – Philippians 4:6

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. . .” – 1 Peter 3:12

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Persevering Prayer

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“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him, as many as he needeth.” – Luke 11:5-8

Keep at it.

Keep coming to the throne of grace.

Keep praying. It’s not in vain. God hears every prayer.

The scenario is simple: it’s late in the midnight hour and someone has dropped in unexpectedly.  The problem with the scenario is due to the lateness of the hour and the unexpected nature of the visit there was not enough time to gather resources to care for this visitor.

The proposed solution: knock on the neighbor’s door who is a friend and ask for some help.  The problem with the solution: again, stating the obvious, it’s midnight.  We are in bed.  Are you trying to wake up the kids with all that knocking and yelling out there?!  “I cannot rise and give thee.”

Now, I don’t know about this neighbor, but waking up at midnight is not exactly a welcomed intrusion into my otherwise restful night.  Then, to have the audacity to show up banging on my door and asking for food at that time… well, that’s a whole other story!  But hospitality was central to the culture of the day and was expected to be doled out accordingly.

Also, in those days, sleeping arrangements were generally shared by the whole family.  Doors had big, heavy bolts that clanged and banged if moved.  To get to the bread one would have to step over kids, make noise to get the bread, and bang and clang the door opened and shut again.  At this point, the whole house could easily be disturbed.

Jesus stated that the neighbor eventually will give his friend what he is asking but not because he is a friend.  He will only get up out the bed because of his “importunity;” or his persistence.

Jesus uses this scenario to teach us the power of persevering prayer.  We cannot give up so easily.  We have been afforded the privilege to come before the throne of grace “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  We must be persistent in that privilege.

One’s lack of persistence in prayer can be tied to a lack of faith.  Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge and the widow to illustrate His point: “Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me,” (Luke 18:5).  Jesus then asked, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8, emphasis mine).

A powerful key component of prayer is not to give up too quickly.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Psalm 18:6

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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