“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box?
“Here’ what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply: Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the word right:
Do what’s best--
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
“In prayer there us as connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you go into training inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing, he’ll reward you well.” Matthew 6:7-21 (Message)
Prayer: Extravagant God, you have promised treasure in heaven that outweighs any we could envision or imagine on earth. Help us to be grateful for the amazing gifts you have already given to us. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
“Don’t pile up your treasures on earth, where moth and rust can spoil them and thieves can break in and steal. But keep your treasure in Heaven where there is neither moth nor rust to spoil it and nobody can break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there too!” Matthew 6:19-21 ( Phillips )
One of my favorite Bible passages is 1 Samuel 2:1-11 when Hannah has prayed fervently for a son and in gratitude offers him to the service of the Lord. As he grows he learned what sacrifices to offer God and when to offer them. He also learned what procedures and prayers were proper to use. He, in his training, was learning and experiencing the presence of God.
How do we live in the presence of God? Do we offer sacrifices to Him? How much time daily do we offer to the Lord? Do we fervently offer prayer at all times or only when we are in a difficult situation? Do we worship Him daily or just one hour on Sunday, if that? Do we find our treasure in our power,our monies, our home, our cars, or do we honestly answer Him and open our hearts to receive God.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If our hearts are open to receive God always, He will be our greatest treasure.
Prayer: Lord, forgives us any rebellion that keeps us from desperately seeking you and experiencing your presence. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female.” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
My husband and I have several favorite locations where we can just sit and watch the stars at night and mediate of God’s creation. We can see forever on a clear night, all the city lights in the distance and looking up, the sparkling, twinkling stars up in the sky.
Just looking around us is a vivid reminder of what our Creator has made. He formed us in fine detail, each individual uniquely made, not only the human but everything. However, we humans he made in His own image. Because He made us “In His image” (Genesis 1:27), we can have a personal relationship with God. God has given us the physical and mental capacity to know him through Jesus Christ, through scripture, through Bible Study, worship, prayer and fellowship with others.
So God has created us and like David in Psalm 139:14 declares we, too, should declare, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”
Prayer, Abba Father, Your creation has astounded us in so many ways. The beauty of all that you provide for us we take for granted and rarely praise you or acknowledge you for it. Forgive us Lord through Jesus Christ. Amen
“Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need…” Philippians 4:5 (TEV)
Why? Why do we spend our days wondering where the money will come from? Why so we spend our nights concerned about those who are unkind, who slander and hurt us or our loved ones? How can this stress and anxiety be stopped?
The Psalms are full of prayers and songs addressing these very concerns. Psalm 30 speaks of calling to God for help: “Do not let my enemies gloat over me. Heal me, keep me from going down into the pit (darkness, silence, destruction)”. Reading further we find the Psalmist saying “Lord you healed me, you spared me from the pit, you turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Oh Lord, my God I will give you thanks forever.”
Yes, when we turn to our Father in prayer, our circumstances can change quickly. Psalm 112:1 says “The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life: the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.” What a promise of unfailing protection.
As we reach to God in prayer and through His word we know that the “Lord is near” as told in Philippians 4:5: “Do not be anxious about anything, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer: Lord, help us to seek you out as the Psalmist did so we can find peace which transcends all understanding. Praise be to you, oh God. Amen
“I urge that supplication, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone…and for all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all…I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” 1 Timothy 2:1-8 (RSV)
How powerful these words are. Just having had the elections we ask regardless of party preference, that we follow our prayerful duties as put before us by the holy inspired scriptures of the early church, i.e. to make supplication, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving for all who are in high positions. The church prayed for a life that was tranquil and undisturbed, a life free from war and rebellion, a life that is liven in godliness and reverence, never forgetting 1. The reverence due to God, 2. The rights due to men, 3. The respect due to self. All of our lives are an act of worship and may we pray that be so to all our leaders, that they live in the presence of God, moving through the world as a temple of the living God and never forgetting the dignity of man.
Prayer: O God, as we pray for our leaders and our nation may we be blessed as your hand is placed upon them. Praise be to you O God. Amen
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling,” 1 Timothy 2:8 (RSV)
Yesterday we spoke of how one is to pray prayers of intercession and thanksgiving for those in high positions. Using that same text we will continue about continued prayer.
Here is another opportunity for a new beginning with the one God whose name is Father and whose nature is Love. How blessed we are that through Jesus we have direct access to God with nothing to block the way. It is because there is one God and one Mediator (Jesus) that we are brothers and sisters of one another.
We celebrate God’s gift to us, through the birth of Christ. His celebration reminds us Jesus gave His life for us all so that we can be close to God. As we have celebrated the gift of Christmas knowing the story from beginning to end, we know the wonder of the story of Christ and what it means for us and for the world. We are assured that we can approach our God any tome in prayer with living, forgiving hearts and be confident that God hears our prayers and answers our prayers. What wonderful promises!
Prayer: Lord, may we be full of prayerful moments and daily spend time with You. Amen
“My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 (KJV)
Sharing her sticky, messy handful of rice krispies is still a precious moment of childlike love for me. This two year old didn’t know me from anyone else in the mall but she just walked over to me, smiled and handed them to me. Then she continued walking with her Mother.
Little children love easily and very honestly. Their expression of love is so open sometimes it melts your heart. They smile easily, give bear hugs, honestly share what’s on their mind, and are eager to please.
When you think of it, shouldn’t adults mold themselves as children? Our love for each other should be childlike love. Instead we put up barriers, hesitant to share but talk in eloquent speech. True love is an action from the heart which is only because of God’s love for us. He knows our hearts before we do (even better than we do). Have you ever thought that all you do, your speech, your actions are reflections of God’s love. Our deeds and actions should mimic God’s love.
We are called upon to serve and the truth of Christ is in us. In our childlike honesty, let our deeds reflect God’s love.
Prayer: Lord, today let your love in me show in my actions and deeds toward others. Continue to guide me in your ways that I may know your steadfast love and faithfulness. Amen