Angel shared this story with me last September and I knew it was one I just had to share with you. It is a powerful story and the best part is, it TRUE! Angel is an amazing lady! And her story is fabulous! In February 2000, after too many asthma attacks to count we were […]
The calliope of colors was mesmerizing. The unseasonably cool morning was a great companion as I sipped coffee and watched the sunrise. Curled comfortably on the porch enamored with God’s billboard and the soothing sound of a gentle breeze blowing through the leaves. Soft, little creatures climbed from their hiding places and began their morning […]
Legos were scattered all over the den floor. Paper and crayons were strewn on the hearth which had become their drawing table. I washed dishes and Wayne cooked a fabulous southern breakfast, which by the way, he is famous for! After breakfast Wayne and I, each with a cup of steaming, black coffee moved into […]
I’ve always loved stories. So it was a natural progression for me to love the narratives of the Bible. I must admit many of them have been a total mystery to me. Mysteries that I’ve pondered and studied to understand the truth cloaked inside. The Garden Mystery One mystery from the pages of Scripture that […]
December 7, 1941 started off like any normal Sunday morning. Hawaii- a beautiful, tropical paradise! While war raged in Europe, Hawaii was tranquil. The American flag flapped loudly back and forth high on its pole at Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Oaho, the Pacific headquarters for the American fleet. Even in December, the warm glistening […]
Like a bee, he followed his nose to the source of the sweet fragrance. The bushy-like orange tree was almost as glorious as the fragrance from the blooms. Vibrant orange balls hung like ornaments on the branches covered with emerald green leaves and beautiful white flowers.Wayne brought a fresh orange inside and handed it to […]
“Just do it” is a motto I live by. Keira has that same mentality. We were unloading a trailer of fill dirt, when Keira found her shovel and joined us. She picked the dirt up by the handfuls and dropped it onto the shovel. She’ll learn. And while I have accomplished a lot by diving in and just doing it, I have also discovered there are benefits that come with increased knowledge. As a little girl I didn’t know anything about prayer, I just talked to God relationally. Later, I discovered examples and clues in Scripture that enriched my prayer time. I still talk with God about everything, but I also enjoy other kinds of prayer too.
Often, different types of prayer get all rolled up into one group like a pot of soup; causing us to miss the benefits that are derived from savoring the unique and distinct flavors of different types of prayer. Let me explain. Most of us know a lot about asking God for things, that’s the “Prayer of Petition.” The Bible gives us a firm foundation for asking boldly and expecting results. But that’s only one kind of prayer.
And like a cook that is given an unfamiliar spice, we struggle with how to use different types. Without embracing and practicing the different kinds of prayer, our prayer time can lack depth and scope. My intention is not to merely put a name on a type of prayer, but enrich your prayer life to include different types of prayer, so you will operate in them with authority, confidence and boldness.
As a believer we each have a right and a responsibility to pray.
Jesus didn’t say, “Well, just in case you want to pray sometime.” No, He said, “When you pray.” Prayer is a right and a responsibility of every believer.
It is a privilege to pray.
As His child you can enjoy all the benefits of belonging to God’s family. You have access into the very presence of God, not because you earned it, but because Jesus paid the price for your sins. And prayer is also a responsibility, and that responsibility includes prayer for others. “1 Timothy 2:1 NIV I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–” To intercede for someone is to make earnest, heartfelt requests for them. That kind of praying continues until you feel in your spirit you have touched heaven or until the answer arrives.
We get a glimpse of intercession in the story of the widow woman and the unjust judge in Luke 18:9-14. She wanted to save her son so she interceded for him.
When you realize you have a dog in the fight, you’ll intercede.
No, really. I know this is a crude analogy, but when you’ve got a dog in the fight, you care about the results, otherwise you don’t care. Every believer has a dog in the fight, so to speak, because we are part of a family of believers. Family is important! We take care of family and that includes interceding or taking someone else’s need to God in prayer.
Let me explain with a story from Bruce Wilkerson’s powerful book “Beyond Jabez.” He tells about going into a stadium arena early for a Promise Keepers event where he found a small group praying. The presence of God was so real that he slipped into a seat behind the group and waited until they finished. They explained that they were a part of a group of churches in that city that had been praying every Friday night for a hour and a half for the last year for this event.
But why? Why did they pray so hard for so long? It wasn’t their event! They weren’t speaking. It wasn’t held in their church. They weren’t getting paid.
- They cared.
- They understood the power of persist prayer.
They prayed because they cared. They cared because they connected with God. In that connection they began to care about the things God cares about. They saw His heart. They saw a glimpse of what God wanted to do with an upcoming men’s event in their city. They got it. God’s vision rubbed off on them. They began to partner with God through prayer for His will to be done. James 4:2b “And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.”
Ask God to stretch your vision to include others. Ask God to stretch your faith. Maybe that stretch will be gradual, but keep hanging out with God. Keep praying your relational prayers. Keep asking God to meet your needs, but then pause long enough to expand your prayer to include, “Father, who do you want me to pray for?” Listen. Pray.
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She is a very intelligent woman, she never allows a grey hair to emerge without coloring it an appropriately modern sandy blond. She dresses sharp, still cuts her own grass and makes the best coconut pie in the whole world. Others have claimed theirs is the best, but I will vouch for the fact, they don’t even come close. And for Christmas she got a smart phone that made her feel totally stupid instead of smart. She still remembers having her first phone installed in her house. It was a black, rotary dial phone that sat on an end table in the living room. The tech savvy giver gave the very intelligent, elderly lady a quick overview of the basics and sent her home to enjoy her “smartphone”.
But at home, when it rang, she couldn’t figure out how to answer it. She put on her glasses and saw a bright green flashing, “Answer” on the screen, but no matter how hard she pushed what she thought should be a button, the phone continued to ring. It was infuriating! She couldn’t even use the phone to make a call, she had no idea how to turn it on. There was nothing on the phone to push or flip, she wanted to throw it, but instead she got some advice from a five year old. Not really, but we all know tons of two years olds that understand how to operate a smart phone. Not because they are smarter, but because they aren’t afraid to try it.
It’s hard for people that are addicted to smartphones to understand that anyone wouldn’t know how to use one. We know that phones aren’t just for talking anymore. We research everything with them. We experience a plethora of sights and sounds from around the world. We store information. Interact with our friends. Check the weather. Catch up on what’s happening in the world. Send texts. Read our emails. Find restaurants. Get directions. The list is absolutely endless. Smartphone users understand the value of being connected.
And so do smart prayers, they just connect with heaven instead of the internet. They understand how to touch God’s throne instead of a phone. That elderly lady may be struggling with how to use a smartphone, but she will tell you “I pray.” She prayed her way through the great depression. She prayed her way through wars, and drought and sickness. She prayed her way through hard times as a share cropper’s wife, living in a small one roomed house with cracks in the floor big enough to see the chickens scurrying below. She prayed over her children. She prayed over big bills and tiny wages. She praised over victories and wept tear puddles over unbelieving family members. And she did more than survive, she thrived. She thrived because she knew prayer was more than talking, it was connecting. She knew prayer was connecting with a God who healed, who saved, who helped her pay bills, who provided. She connected with God and her life is a testimony that it works. Her life says, I pray.
She didn’t take a course on prayer, she just prayed. She didn’t make a list of prayer postures, or wonderful words that would wow God or grab His attention, she just prayed, like the two year old that shows you how to take a picture with your smartphone, she didn’t talk about prayer, she lived it. What about you? Do you pray?
Yes, we are busy, much busier than she was. She ironed everything with a heavy real cast iron that was heated on the fireplace, gathered and chopped the wood for the fire, started the fire, cooked the meals, not from a box, but jars of foods she had grown, harvested and preserved. I’m too tired to continue describing her day, maybe we aren’t as busy as she was, then why don’t we pray?
Too busy to pray, we insist! Yet we spend hours, tons of hours, regularly, on our smartphones because they connect us with our friends, the world, they entertain us, they inform us, they remind us- enough already, this is not a commercial and I hope you are not picking up your keys to go buy another smartphone so you can double your fun. We use our phones because we enjoy the experience and the benefits. And if you don’t pray, you can’t possibly know it’s benefits.
I can’t answer for you, but it seems that the reasons we don’t pray would include thoughts like:
- I don’t really need anything, so I don’t need to pray.
- I’m doing fine without prayer.
- I don’t feel like I need to pray.
- What difference would it make if I did pray?
- Prayer isn’t on my list of fun things to do.
- Let somebody else do it.
- I’ve got better things to do.
- I’m not really sure how to pray.
- I’m not really into the whole prayer thing.
- And last, but not least, I don’t care what you say Pat, I’m still too busy to pray.
It all boils down to one thing, if we don’t pray, it’s because it is not important to us.
E.M. Bounds sums up the issue with “The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it.”
Prayer gets a lot of bad advertising.
If you listen to the in-crowd, they make it sound like praying is for dilapidated old folks or weird people that can’t help themselves. We don’t want prayer in our schools, or in our government and if we didn’t pray over our food it would be extinct from our homes as well. We don’t understand why divorce rattles the window panes of our homes and unrest and fear rattles our sleep. We shake our heads at shocking acts of violence, wince at the long lines of drug and alcohol abuse that end at the gutters of life, and blame everyone, and everything, including God, for the problem. We blame everything, everything, except our prayerless life for the problem.
Yet the strong voice of John Wesley, echoes down the halls of time to remind us, “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.”
And the voice of a wealthy young man that traded everything to give his life as a missionary in China extols the secret of prayer “The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'” (J. Hudson Taylor)
The challenge…God’s challenge from Jer. 33:3 is a call to pray. Not fancy words, not a fancy position, but to call out to Him.
I don’t pray:
- I don’t pray to change God, I pray to change me.
- I don’t pray to give God advice, I pray to get advice.
- I don’t pray because God needs the attention, I pray because I am desperate for His presence.
- I don’t pray because I feel guilty if I don’t, I pray because I am guilty and He sets me free from the guilt of sin.
- I don’t pray because I feel like I need it, I pray because I need it whether I feel like it or not. It is a spiritual discipline that produces spiritual results.
- I pray when I know what to say and when I don’t know what to say.
- I pray when I’m sad and praise when I’m happy.
- I pray when I’m on top of the world and I pray when the world’s on top of me.
- I pray when I have time, and when I don’t have time, I make time.
- I pray…because I’m in love and I’m in love because He loved me first.
I know it’s old fashioned, more old fashioned than a black, rotary phone. I know I’ve rambled and rattled on like an old lady myself, but somebody’s got to share the good news. Prayer is not something to dread or hurry through. Prayer connects us to God…it just doesn’t get any better than that.
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Breakfast Saturday morning ended the ladies conference. Mama T, Thelma Wells, was hilarious and inspiring. I laughed my way to hope filled truth. The altars were packed and overflowing with people. God showed up! It was absolutely amazing to experience and see what God was doing. But by Saturday afternoon, or at the very latest Sunday afternoon, I am confident some people were already wondering, “God where is “my” miracle? God, I cried my eyes out, but nothing has changed. Did you even hear me?”
We seem to be asking the same question the psalmist asked in Psalms 119:84a NLT “How long must I wait? …” Wait is another four-lettered word we hate! (Remember the blog, The Four-Lettered Word That Will Change Your Kid) Wait? We hate to wait. We don’t want to wait for our fast food, nor the instant potatoes, nor the microwave to heat supper in the steam bag container. We want to pray and instantly see it materialize before our very eyes!
Oh, I wish it worked that way! I’ve seen a few instantaneous miracles, but most of the time my miracle required some waiting, some leaning on His wisdom. Actually it requires a five-lettered word that is on the endangered list—faith.
Faith is a pregnant word. Faith must be activated like yeast to do what it is designed to do. Relational prayer activates faith. You believe because you know to Whom you are talking. Waiting gives it time for the process to take place. I don’t know what process your in, but I guarantee you, one is going on–if you’ve engaged your faith. Satan wants to steal your faith and stop your victory.
OK! You’ve prayed, now you must move to step 2. The prayer position must move to a “wait” position. Let’s move “wait” off the “curse word” list and put it where it belongs as a necessary “success secret” in the life of a believer. This doesn’t mean you pick up a magazine or move to the television to occupy your time while you wait.
We need to understand how to wait. The dictionary meaning of wait is “to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.” Psalm 62:5 NLT “I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”
Wait is a faith position. For a bird, it is an outstretched neck, as it peers into the water for breakfast. For a fisherman, it is a baited line in the water, with eyes on the bobber. For a pregnant woman, it is nourishing her body as she waits for her baby to be born, not premature, but right on time. For a believer it means nourishing your spirit with Scripture and worship.
Isaiah 40:31 NLT “But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Remember to Pray, really Pray for America. This link is some prayer helps and declarations.
Check out this powerful declaration over America!
I got my socks blown off last week (I lose more socks that way!) and it wasn’t even my fault. I was cleaning the kitchen, Praise the Lord! Might as well do some praising, it doesn’t do any good to grumble about dirty dishes, especially since the food was good and it wasn’t even burned this time. Beside that, praising God makes everything better, but I digressed.
You know me. I’ve got to do more than one thing at a time, that’s why I burn everything. So, while I washed dishes I was listening to Bryan Jarrett. I love that man. Listening to him is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant! Honestly, in the first five minutes of that sermon my faith was ignited and my socks went missing. Most of the time I skip the introduction and go right for the meat of the sermon. But even his first five minutes was riveting. I had to listen again and again.
If you have my Prayer Object Lesson Kit for Kids you know I love the verse in Psalms 34:3 KJV “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” If you’ve ever played with a magnifying glass you understand that it allows you to focus and analyze more clearly what you are seeing. Worship causes us to stop and focus on the nature and wonders of God. It is a powerful way to move into God’s presence to experience the wonder of who He is.
Pastor Jarrett expounded on this verse. Magnify means make bigger. Yet our worship cannot make God bigger. God is already big, really BIG. So big in fact that it take a universe that spans the distance of billions of light years to reflect His glory. God is immeasurable. God is unfathomable. But if we can’t make God bigger, why does the Psalms tell us to magnify God.
Listen to his explanation: “Our worship does not change the nature of God. Worship changes the perspective of the worshiper. When the Psalmist says come magnify the Lord, He was not saying ‘Come make God bigger’. He was inviting you into a mind shift, a perspective shift where you right size your God, and in the process of right sizing your God you right size your mountain. You right size your difficulty. You right size your perspective.”
Wow! When our perspective is right, we understand God is big and our problems are little. That’s the kind of perspective that turns a youth into a giant killer. It turns a fiery furnace into a revival center where you dance and praise God. It turns a lion’s den into a place to catch up on your rest.
Bro. Jarrett explains there are two methods of magnification:
1.A microscope takes something small and make it bigger, so we can see what it looks like and examine it more closely.
2. A telescope takes something enormous, but because it is so far away we can’t see what it looks little. So the telescope makes it look bigger so we can see what it looks like; so we can be awed by its splendor and beauty. Like the pictures taken from the Hubble Telescope.
Bro. Jarret explains that God is not little. And because God is so big, our praise is like a telescope. The church is like a magnificent observatory filled with telescopes. When we begin to praise God, it gives us a lens to focus on God and see more clearly what He is like. Our praise focuses our attention on Him and brings Him into our view so we can see more clearly what He is like.
Magnify enables us to take something big, like a star that is much bigger than the Earth, pull it closer, so we can analyse it and see it in all its glory for what it really is. Our worship magnifies Him by bringing his presence near. Our worship gives us the opportunity to study, feel and experience and know God for Who He is. Worship is the lens that allows us to see how wonderful, powerful and glorious He really is. Worship brings His presence near.
He also quoted from the classic sermon of Dr. S.M. Lockridge. It is one of the most powerful sermons ever given. I’ve listened to it dozens of times, and every time I am moved to tears and worship! He paints a graphic word picture of Christ our King, Redeemer and Savior. Here’s the link to the audio with slides of this amazing sermon entitled That’s My King
Listen to Bro. Jarrett’s sermon. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you’ll be blessed. https://northplacechurch.com/resources/watch/ Select Incomparable/Magnify Don’t forget to take off your sock first though.
And if you haven’t read his book, Extravagant, run, better yet, take the car and get to the Bible book store or Christian Book Distributors online and get his book! It will bless you. Great book!!!
Pray- We were on our way to church for a kid’s crusade. The two middle grandchildren were in the back seat. We were all excited. Well, except Wayne, he was driving and concentrating! But of course, he had to be excited, with his sweet wife chirping loudly on the front seat beside him and two adorable grandchildren […]
In my whole life I have never seen a child that looked or acted more like their dad than my grandson, Brayden. He is 7 years old now and I’m still awestruck at the amazing similarities. But there’s one way he’s like his Nana, that me. He shares my love for nature. I hope to make this quick and painless. I know some people cringe when proud grandmas drag out their pictures or start their stories. But this is a pretty amazing story. I have to share his amazing first week, back to school story.
Brayden was on his way to the bus stop when he spotted something white beside a brick on the ground. Always on the lookout for something to collect, he bent closer. It was only about the size of the end of his thumb. He touched it and it felt squishy. He knew he had found a lizard egg. Smart boy! (I think I have a scientist in the making. Or is this a proud grandma talking? Maybe both.) He handed it to his mom. Way to go Kimberly. She didn’t scream or complain, she took it back to the car to keep for him until he got home from school.
On the way to take Ashlyn to school, she noticed a distinct change in the egg case and then she realized the lizard had hatched. Now this was super cool. I wish I had been there. To watch a lizard hatch would have to be the coolest thing ever!
You can only imagine the excitement Brayden shared with me that afternoon when he got home. No, they didn’t keep the lizard for him to see. And no, a picture isn’t even close to the same thing. But enough of my nature loving rantings, I want to do more than brag about Brayden, I want to bring it home to you using this illustration.
As believers we know it’s important to pray.
“… yet ye have not, because ye ask not. James 4:2
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask , and ye shall receive , that your joy may be full .” John 16:24
“For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 1 Timothy 2:2
As believers we know it’s important to live a life of purpose and significance.
But, there’s that game changing word. You know what but means, don’t you? It means forget everything I just said, because I’m about to tell you what I really mean. But, there it is again, now pay attention… as a human being life requires a myriad of responsibilities that overwhelm us. With that in mind how can I fulfill my role as a father (or mother), my job, my home and still live a life of significance and find time to pray. That is a question that leaves most honest people scratching their heads. How can I do it all? The reality is, we really can’t. We have to edit the none essentials out of our lives so we accomplish the important things. But that is another blog for another day. My point today is prayer.
Praying for others
Enlarges our circle of influence.
Is one way to live purposefully and significantly.
Brayden would have missed, and for that matter his Nana would have missed an amazing experience, if he had not looked.
And when you see it …Pray
When Brayden saw the lizard egg, he picked it up! When you see something, pray. Maybe it is a person riding their bike or someone sitting in the car beside you at the traffic light. You don’t have to know them, just pray for them. It doesn’t have to be aloud. It doesn’t have to be long, just pray. Ask God to help you pray if you’re not sure how to pray about it. Don’t over think it, just pray. Ask God to open your eyes to people around you that need prayer. Pray while you drive. Whisper a prayer for someone while you shop or pick up the dry cleaning.
Then there are prayer reminders that I have established in my life. Kinda like tying a string around my finger. When I see them, I pray.
Let me give you my two favorites.
Every time a political advertisement comes on the TV or radio, instead of pushing the button on the remote. I push my prayer button. I pray….
1. that God will open people’s eyes to the truth instead of political rhetoric.
2. that God will help people to receive the truth and act on truth instead of lies.
1. I pray for the children on the bus and the bus driver. I pray for their safety and that they will come to know Christ as their savior.
2. I pray for the school where they are going, the teachers and the principal. That they will know Christ as their Savior and teach truth.
Needs are all around you. And you can do something about them. Start by noticing…but don’t stop there…PRAY!
OK! I know you’re out there with lots of prayer ideas to share. What are some prayer reminders that you have in put in place to help you remember to pray for specific things? Share them with us.
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