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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

When I first started practicing law, my mentor told me to write everything down after speaking to a client or another attorney. I nodded and smiled to myself knowing that I didn’t need to write every little thing down. I had a great memory!

A few years down the pike and some years of practice under my belt . . . and the birth of my child – and well, getting older, I started to see what he meant about writing things down.

Today, I write everything down – even so, I forget.

My relationship with God is no exception to this memory loss issue. I need to remember to remember God.

Sometimes, I can be in the midst of my trouble or trial, and I forget that I have a God who loves me–who is near to me–who will never leave or forsake me. I find myself acting as if I am in this trouble alone.

When I finally remember, I feel foolish. How could I forget about God?

My solution? I try to keep God always on my mind.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. In other words, keep a constant connection to God through prayer.

Remember to remember God. It will make a difference in how you handle life’s challenges.

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Hot Potato Prayer

When I was in elementary school and it rained, a regular occurrence where I grew up, we would play indoors at recess and lunch.  One of our favorite games was hot potato – you probably remember it.  The teacher would start it off by handing an object, usually a chalk board eraser (I do date myself) to someone, who had to pass it quickly to the next person, and so on.  If you were left holding the hot potato when the bell or whistle sounded, you were out and had to wait quietly in your seat until the game was finished. The children who were best at playing this game were successful because they never held onto the hot potato any longer than necessary before passing it to someone else.

The Lord reminded me of this game recently, when I was feeling disappointed with the outcome of my prayers.  For a long time, I had asked Him to fix my situation and had a clear picture of what the result would look like.  In fact, I prayed that way for many years.  So when my trial finally came to a conclusion – and it was clear that God’s direction was not exactly what I’d hoped for – I was confused.  All along, I had assumed He was moving in the direction I thought He should.

The problem with this kind of praying is that it can lead to confusion – or even worse, despair – if our requests aren’t answered according to what we want or anticipate.  Not the easiest lesson to learn.

“God didn’t answer my prayer!” many will protest, and some will even get angry with Him.  Maybe the best thing to do in a situation like this, perhaps what He would really have us do, is release whatever it is that troubles us and pass it to Him like a hot potato.  I can’t think of anything better than to toss our ideas in His direction – making suggestions, sure – but leaving the results to Him.

 

References:
     Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret-it only causes harm.
     1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

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I know my heart has prayed this prayer . . .

Prayer for Song

Mend my broken mood,

Maker of Life and Song,

Lest this interlude

Of silence be too long.

Call my soul awake,

Set my heart aflame!

Singing fire will make

Ash of sloth and shame.

Touch my lips with song,

Wing my words with good.

Shepherd of things gone wrong,

Mend my broken mood.

—Fay Lewis Noble

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On the subject of prayer and in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  “Rejoice Always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

John Wesley said, “One who always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity.  He blesses God for all things, looks on them as coming from Him, and receives them only for His sake — not choosing nor refusing, liking nor disliking, anything, but only as it is agreeable or disagreeable to His perfect will.”

In essence, the heart of thanksgiving springs out of an understanding of God, His character, that He is the source of all things and that His will is to be sought above all else.  Having that focus, I can continue in a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving to God for all that He has done for me, is doing for me and will do for me.

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Is your life crazy busy?  Do you have a husband, kids, grandkids a house, a job, another job or just commitments?  We live busy lives, spent rushing from one thing to the next with little time for spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, Bible study or simply listening to God.

In his letter to Timothy in 1Timothy 2:1-4, Paul offers some ideas on how to have “quiet” in our daily lives, and he provides the rationale for doing so.  “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

How do I have “quiet”?

  • Supplications (humble prayer, entreaty, or petition)
  • Prayers (a spiritual communion with God)
  • Intercessions (a prayer to God on behalf of another)
  • Giving thanks for all men, for kings and all who are in authority
Why is this important?
Paul offers the following by way of reason for seeking to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence:”
  • It is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior
The center of living the quiet and peaceable life is relationship with the Father, through the finished work of the Son.  We can come boldly to the throne of grace because of Jesus, our High Priest.

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John, in his first epistle, has several observations on prayer in 1 John 5:14-16:

  • God uses us in prayer
  • God gives us confidence in prayer (confidence in Him, not the prayer itself)
  • God hears us pray which should give us boldness, but not arrogance
  • God give us knowledge of needs, of those who are sinning, so we can pray for them
Prayer is man speaking with God, seeking God.  The quiet after the petitions, the time of waiting on God,  is when God communicates with man.   If he leaves the time of prayer without listening for God, he has had only 1/2 of the communication, a one-sided conversation.

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Poem on Prayer

I asked for strength that I might achieve–

He made me weak that I might obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things–

I was given grace that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy–

I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men–

I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life–

I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I received nothing that I asked for,

All that I hoped for.

My prayer was answered.

  –Author unknown


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