I take our dog out each night just before we go to bed. This is one of the times that I get in some of my daily prayers. It is quiet, I am alone and I feel very close to God when I am outdoors. I usually have a number of people that I keep in my prayers for one reason or another. Sometimes, I may pray for them over a long period of time because the circumstance that led me to pray for them has continued to be an issue.
As I was praying one evening, I began to pray about someone for whom I had been praying for quite awhile. Then, it hit me. I had heard something earlier in the day that indicated that the situation had been resolved. God had answered my prayer.
This brings two thoughts to mind. First, I feel like I get a little too “routine” in my prayers, asking for the same thing day after day. Then, this scripture from Thessalonians really hit home. We are to pray without ceasing because it is through our prayers that we can make known our needs and the needs of others. Second, it also made me realize that if I don’t really listen, I may miss God’s answer, which always does come. God does not always provide a dramatic answer, but He does answer. All we have to do is be ready to listen and receive.
Dear Lord, help us to remember to persevere in prayer as you persevere in answering our prayers. Amen.
Do you ever feel like you love the Lord, yet you still don’t seem to feel His presence or the comfort of His security? Do you ever yearn for a deeper, more tangible relationship with God? If so, then God says a good place to start, is by “Marveling at His Deeds”.
For me, this meant investing time in learning His Word. I began in the Old Testament. As I read, my eyes were suddenly opened to all of the miraculous things which He has done! I could literally feel Him drawing me closer to Him with every new thing that He showed me! The more I read, the more I knew that I did not want to miss one word that the good Lord had given to me! Because with every page, I felt myself understanding Him more and more!
But just reading it wasn’t enough. I had to actually believe, that He had done these amazing and impossible things! Then I had to try and fathom it all…but I couldn’t! God wants us to “remember these wonderful deeds that He has done and to marvel at them”. The more I read, the more I marveled, until I finally became overwhelmed at the sheer Awesomeness of our God! When the depth of His glory really began to sink in, I found that I could hardly contain it all! Just reading His Word made me want to “Give Thanks, Sing Praises to Him, Speak of all His Wonders, and Proclaim Good Tidings of His Salvation from day to day”.
Lord, help me to take the time to come and know You better through Your Word. Help me to truly feel the comfort and security of Your Presence. Amen.
I like to pray. I pray either out loud or just in my head. I know God won't answer my prayers the exact way I want them or right away. God knows what's best for you because He created you. He will give you what you need or deserve, not what you want. You could keep asking over and over but like in the Bible verse, He hears it once and that is enough. God hears all who pray and He answers every single person.
At youth group before we eat, we ask someone to pray. I am normally the one to pray, because everyone is so shy about it. To me it is just like talking to a friend who will listen to your problems. I have so many friends in the youth group, but sometimes they tell me what I want to hear, but God tells what I need to hear. He will tell you what to do and what not to do. He will tell you exactly what He wants out of you, and He is always right. God is an amazing friend, and He is the best friend anyone can ask for. Are you scared to pray out loud? Do you pray enough or do you only pray at church or when you need something?
God, please give us the courage to talk to you. You are so mighty and amazing that sometimes we are scared to talk to you. Help us with our praying, so we can better understand you and get closer to you God. We love you and we want to show you our love. Amen.
...He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of his disciples said to Him,
"Lord, teach us to pray...."
....He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves
also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."
Some of us may have been raised in circumstances that did not provide the spiritual guidance we wish we had. If that is your background you may not know how to pray, nor understand the importance of doing so. It may be confusing to start.
In Luke 11:1-4 and in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus instructs his disciples, and us, how to pray. We are to acknowledge God as the Supreme everlasting Being, ask for that which we need, ask forgiveness for our sins, pledge to forgive others and ask for guidance in the future. These are Jesus' basic instructions on how to pray.
Remember, God knows us better than we know ourselves; our fears, our loves, our wishes and our intents. Prayer is a time to open our hearts and speak sincerely with God.
So if you feel you don't really know how to pray or understand the importance of it, you may want to plan a convenient time that is available daily. Start with the Lord's Prayer. As you repeat it daily, time after time, you will begin to feel God's love at work in your heart. Soon your prayer time may be the best time of every day, and something you will never want to lose.
Dear God, thank you for the instruction you provide to us in the Bible. Sometimes it is difficult to understand your infinite wisdom, but we will keep trying, as we know you want us to do. We pray for your patience as we strive to please You. Amen.
Paul says, “Join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us” (Phil ).
I have been blessed in my life with many good examples who helped shape my faith. I am sure you have them, too. For me, there were family members, teachers, coaches, and friends. They didn’t often talk much about their faith, but you could see it in the way they lived. They weren’t perfect, but they were confident that God loved them and that His love was bigger than their own imperfection. It didn’t seem to shake them when life got hard or painful. And they were always ready to reach out with love and compassion to help others because that is what Jesus called them to do. I learned what a Christian life is by watching and knowing them.
As I got older, I was astounded to realize others were looking to me as an example (my grandchildren remind me of it every day). While it may have taken me a while to realize it, it has always been true. And not just for me. It’s true for us all. If you claim to live your life as a Christian, people are watching. It is a tough role to fill. But we are called to be faithful, not perfect. If we focus on that, Jesus will take care of the rest.
Who are the people in your life whose faith has shaped yours? Who are the people in your life who look to you as their example and guide?
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the many faithful mentors you have given us. Fill us with your Spirit, we pray, that we may be the same kind of examples for those who look to us. Amen.
“When it [our civilization] wants a library catalogued, or the solar system discovered, or
any trifle of that kind it uses up its specialists. But when it wishes anything done which is
really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round.”
“The Twelve Men” G.K. Chesterson
Jesus collected twelve ordinary men standing around to carry out the most important undertaking in the history of the world.
At the close of the Last Supper, Jesus passed around a cup of wine saying, “This is the new covenant sealed with my blood...”formally installing each man as the foundation member and the new people of God.
“You know the way that leads where I go, “ Jesus continued.
Thomas boldly interrupted him saying, “we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” and Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.....”
Twelve good men! An instrument for the accomplishment of the Divine Purpose. It was to these twelve men Jesus entrusted his Father’s kingdom. They were the mustard seed that grew into a great tree we now call the church.
Jesus still calls us “O’re the tumult,” just as he did the twelve outside Caesarea Philippi.
“We join with all disciples to live in word and deed,
To share the cup of water and bread with all who need.”
Father, help us to be a more willing disciple saying “here I am Lord......it is I Lord”. Amen
“Oh Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you heard me.” Psalm 30:2
The book “Prayers at Eastertime” contains a child’s simple plea of help:
Dear Jesus, I feel sick today, my head hurts and my nose is stuffy. Mama says it’s a cold, but I feel hot. Please help me feel better, so I can go out and play.....Amen”
There are times when I have difficulty praying. One such time was in 2006. I spent a combined four months in a hospital, nursing home, and rehabilitation unit. It wasn’t always easy to reach out to God. Two events showed me the “power of prayer”.
One day I felt especially discouraged after being told my mobility was as good as it was going to get. That night a nurse (Mary) came into my room asking if I’d like a massage. While gently massaging my body, she serenely sang hymns, interspersing them with prayers and praises to God. Peace came over me. I awoke with renewed hope and sent a long overdo prayer to God. I asked my day nurse if Mary would be working that night. She replied that they didn’t have a Mary on staff. Thinking I had the wrong name, I described my “angel of mercy”. Wow! I knew she was real, yet I’m being told no such person was on duty. I can’t explain what happened, but I’m positive it was “an act of God”...an answer to a silent prayer.
The other event was the first Sunday I visited South Side. Two sisters introduced themselves. Upon hearing my name, they said, “oh, you’re the person we’ve been praying for at Prayer Time.” Wow...people I didn’t even know sending prayers on my behalf! Once again, I felt the “power of prayer”.
Dear God, Thank you for showing us the results of prayer. Help us to develop a passion for praying. Amen
It's 37 years ago today, March 22, 1974, that my journey took a turn. My Mother died. I found her on the floor of our living room when I got home from work. I called 911 and our doctor's home. Before long the medics were there, but nothing they could do. Then Dr. Duckwall came in. He talked to the medics and told them no need to take her. They all left. I made some calls to family and friends and they were on the way, but for awhile only Mom and I were in the room.
It was then I felt the sadness that she had been alone---but then I heard or felt a voice say---"She was not alone". At that moment I knew that God had been with her and I felt surrounded by what I call a Holy Bubble.
Soon others arrived and the funeral home was called. Later in the evening, I noticed Mother's calendar on the dining room table from "Foundation for Christian Living" and the quote for that day--- "For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways". Psalm 91:11.
Remember when you were a child and the light was turned out at night? But you knew your mother was near you in the next room. Perhaps she even told you the angels were watching over your pillow.
"So, God watches over you all your life long. All you need to do is trust Him. He is right there always."---Norman Vincent Peale.
During Lent we pause to remember the events in Jesus' life, as His life brings meaning to our life. That in death we have the promise given when we trust in Him.
Thank you Lord for being always with us even in our times of doubt. Amen.