Tag Archives: praying
Recently I noticed something. Mail trucks and vans do not have license plates. I never knew it. For some reason, I never looked for their license plates. I happened to be stopped behind a mail van during my travels and found myself staring at where the license plate should be and thought to myself, who knew?!? I missed it and yet I see mail trucks every day. I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of mail trucks.
Whether you have good vision or failing vision, you could miss something like that if you aren’t intentionally looking. In the same way, when you are going through your day, you can miss how God is moving if you are not living intentionally. This means recognizing that you are living continually in the presence of God. This means keeping your eyes fixed on Him and following His leading. This means not being overly busy or drowning in the ungodly.
God brings people into your path. Surrounding you are the unseen angel armies and the visible beauty of Creation. Given to us is His Word and the Spirit of God is poured into us the moment we declare the name of Jesus. Too often we declare the absence of God—we question if He is truly active and moving in our lives. With our attention elsewhere, we miss seeing Him move. We instead have our eyes focused on where we expect Him to be, despite knowing we do not think or imagine as God. Today, take time to sit in the silence. Breathe in. Listen to the quiet. Get away from the noise. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and awesome way. Then be continually aware of His presence as you go through your day. Continue your conversation with Him throughout the day. Expect Him to move. Enjoy the God who is with you always.
“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8 [NIV]
There are people who do not always treat you nice. For some of those people, they would be defined as enemies. An enemy is not only those who are openly hostile to you, but also anyone who are opposed to you. If you are living for Jesus, you are bound to have some people who are opposed to you because they are opposed to Him and His ways.
The Bible tells us that we are not to rejoice when enemies fall. We are not to be happy when enemies stumble. God wants the very best for people. Even when the people He created turn their backs on Him, there is still the desire for their very best. That never changes. He does not want anyone to go to hell. There is still the opportunity for these people to repent and come to Him.
Today, seek to show compassion to all. When you see enemies stumble, pray for them. Ask that their hearts be softened. Ask how you can be used to witness to them. Desire the very best for them.
“Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble.” – Proverbs 24:17 [NLT]
The Bible tells us that the LORD is close to all who call on Him in truth. This verse speaks of prayers that are made in truth—or sincerely, with an upright heart. This speaks about prayers that are made by someone who is trusting in God, waiting upon Him for the answer.
So many people tell us how to pray and it can complicate something that is supposed to be simple. He promises, “You will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12 NLT). He says, “Call to Me and I will answer” (Jeremiah 33:3 NLT). What blocks you from calling on Him and speaking what is on your heart?
Don’t overcomplicate prayer. Don’t neglect to pray because you think you won’t do it right. Pour out your heart—your real heart. There’s no need to insert fancy words or tell Him what you think He wants to hear. Speak boldly. Speak the truth. Reveal what is on your heart. Trust that He will answer. Wait for the answer. This is calling in truth.
“The LORD is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 [NLT]
Too often we look at what we don’t have and we feel bad for ourselves. We wonder why we don’t have it. We may grumble and complain. Sometimes we ask why these things keep happening to us and why things never go right. We see what others have and we don’t understand why the same things aren’t coming our way.
In James, we read that we don’t have things because we aren’t going to God asking for them. We seem to forget that everything we have is from God. He is our supplier and our sustainer. He is the one who gives us all we have. The world tricks us into thinking we have earned it. So if we know that our God is a giver and He gives us everything, we should be in the mode to ask Him for things. The asking comes with relationship.
It’s hard to go up to a stranger and ask for things. I mean, it’s a stranger. You don’t even know the person. But to go up to your parent and ask for something—it’s practically expected. As you continue to spend time with God, building that strong relationship together, it will get easier and easier to make requests to God. He already wants to give you so much. Read His Word. He has promised you so much! Ask for His promises to be poured out. Be sure to pour out your heart. He already knows the desires of your heart. Be real with Him.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” – James 4:2 [NLT]
The Psalmist begins Psalm 25, “O LORD, I give my life to You.” This is such a simple statement. It can be translated as “I put my trust” (NIV), or “I lift up my soul” (ESV), or “I turn to You” (HCSB), or “I’m looking to You” (MSG). As we review what this verse says, we can also review what it does not say.
In this verse, the Psalmist is saying he is coming to God. He has put his trust in God. He is lifting up his prayer to God alone. He is looking to God for everything. He has turned to God. The Psalmist continues his prayer, asking that the Lord show His ways and teach him His path (v. 4). He requests that God lead him in His truth (v. 5). He asks for his sins to be forgiven (v. 7, 12).
This passage is written by a humble servant seeking God, lifting his soul to Him. There is no mention of anyone else involved. The focus is all on the Psalmist fixing his eyes on God. The focus is completely on Him. To Him alone do we lift up our souls. To Him alone do we put our trust. To Him alone, the giver of life, do we lift up our lives.
“O LORD, I give my life to you.” – Psalm 25:1 [NLT]
One of the easiest things to do is pray. We make it complicated. I often consider how my prayers have changed since I was little. When I was a little child, I remember the simplicity of my prayers. I was praying what was on my heart. I was pouring out my heart to God. I believed that He heard. I believed that He would answer. I didn’t try to use grand words, nor did I think a lot to attempt to say what would be good to include in a prayer. I didn’t have instructions on how to pray. I spoke to God. It was simple. And I knew He heard.
As I got older, I started to hear people pray using such perfect words. It was like poetry. The prayers they offered seemed to be exactly what I should pray. It sounded good. So I wanted to try to pray like that—I wanted to pray the way these people prayed. I thought that was the way God wanted me to pray. Oh, how long it took to realize that my lips were speaking a different language than my heart.
I have changed the way I prayed a lot over these past years. I am starting to follow the lead of this little girl I used to know—someone who has grown, but still has a lot to unlearn about prayer. One thing that hasn’t changed is my confidence that the Lord will answer my prayers. I know that when I pray what is on my heart, when I lift my heart to Him, He will answer. He is faithful. Today, give Him your heart. Don’t pray the prayer of someone else. Pray what is on your heart. Lay everything before Him. He will hear. He will answer.
“The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer.” – Psalm 6:9 [NLT]
Today was the big Cross Country Invitational. The event included eighteen high school teams. I am always excited when the events are nearby so I can attend and watch my daughter run. I ran back and forth taking photos. This is something Cross Country parents can appreciate. When I stood at the finish line, I saw my daughter quickly approaching. All of the sudden she fell on her knees. I prayed quietly for her as she was on her knees with her face toward the ground. It looked like she was praying. She was pouring herself out, but not just in prayer. Only a runner or a parent of a runner can understand. I wanted to run to her, but I knew what she was doing, and I knew I couldn’t touch her or she would be disqualified.
My daughter got up from her knees and finished the race, even PRed (this means she beat her personal record). As I drove home with my camera fully loaded with photos, I considered my daughter on her knees, pouring out of herself. It reminded me of a moment of prayer from the Bible that I continue to be reminded of again and again. Hezekiah received a letter that disturbed him. He took it to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out. He spread the letter out before the Lord. What an awesome example of how we should pray. When my daughter fell down on her knees with her head facing the ground it reminded me of Hezekiah’s actions.
We don’t need to always fall on our knees. Prayer is a heart action. As I quietly prayed for my daughter while she was on her knees, that prayer was heard too. Nonetheless, there’s something special about falling on your knees. You are saying God is High. You are saying He alone is in control. You are saying you trust Him. You are fully surrendering to Him. You are worshiping Him and seeking His will in the situation. Yes, there is something special about falling on your knees.
“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD.” – 2 Kings 19:14 [NLT]
We never pray enough. I write and preach so often about prayer because the Spirit continues to show me that we never pray enough. I know I’m guilty of not praying enough. I consider Brother Lawrence and how he would talk to God during the day. It was so natural. Why do I, why do we, pray so unnaturally? Why do we get so caught up with trying to pray properly, instead of simply investing in our relationship with Jesus? Why do we find prayer awkward? Why do we push off prayer? It doesn’t make any sense.
The Bible tells us that God is our Father. He is the one and only Father. We can cry out to Him, “Abba Father,” just like Jesus. This is like crying out “Daddy.” But instead we put up walls. We don’t approach Him like a Father. Do we not see Him as a Father? Do we have “daddy issues” that keep us from understanding the role of a father?
The Bible also tells us that God is our friend. Our friend. Now that is hard to consider. A friend is someone you can talk to about anything. A friend is someone you can speak freely with and just have fun. You don’t hold back with your friends.
If you can grasp that God is your Father and God is your friend—that He is your friendly Father—then you are a ready for what is necessary for your relationship with God. To do life with God, you need to speak with your friendly Father. You need to open up to Him, to approach continually through the day, to include Him in your life. Speak to Him when you rise. Speak to Him as you brush your teeth. Speak to Him as you have your meal. Speak to Him as you drive your car. Speak to Him while at work. Speak freely. No need for “art” and “thou.” You can honor Him as holy as you speak freely. He wants your heart, not a fake and stuffy presentation. He wants a relationship with YOU. The real you. Pray today to your friendly Father.
“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” – John 15:15 [NLT]
It was only supposed to be a quick walk around the block. I got the dogs ready to walk, fitting them with their harnesses and latching them to the double leash. Since it was only going to be a short walk, I solved the no-socks-downstairs problem by simply slipping on my flip flops (thongs). I walked down the street a bit and realized we had a problem. Dogs were approaching. Max surely would get anxious, so I turned and went another direction to avoid the situation.
As I continued on the walk, I was about ready to turn and head back home. Once again, there was a dog up ahead. What was going on this evening? Was everyone walking their dogs? It became apparent that I would be taking the dogs for a much longer walk to avoid the other animals. There I was with my flip flops, certainly not good walking shoes, walking over a mile with the dogs. Talk about being prepared.
When we venture off for our day, we are supposed to be prepared. There is a battle out there. Before we step outside the house, we need to be sure we are armored up. Did you pray? Did you read His Word? This is the preparation that helps to start off the day the right way. When we leave the house in a hurry, missing out on our morning time with God, we likely will continue to walk around in flip flops for miles, when we should have been ready. Just like my feet were not feeling right afterward, so we will feel drained, burdened, and tempted out in the world. Just like I turned again and again trying to find the path to take, in the same way the unprepared turn and turn again going around in circles, never realizing that God has made a way to travel. You have a choice today my friends—how are you going to start your day?
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3 [NIV]
As a parent, life changes completely. Our focus, our time, everything is different. We want the very best for our children. The most important part of our lives should be the most important part of their lives – Jesus. As both a Christian and a parent, the ultimate question that we hope is answered with a “yes” is a simple one—Did they accept Jesus? It is the most important decision. It is the difference between life and death!
My children both are believers; however, the fruit for one is more bountiful than the other. I find myself often on my knees praying that my child will let Jesus in deeper, that my child will give up the control, the emotions, the wandering focus, and allow the Spirit to move freely. The past few weeks, I’ve noticed things have been changing. The once more hardened heart is starting to soften up. It certainly has been interesting.
I am excited to see the awesome work God will do through my children for His Kingdom. Thank you Lord for holding my children in Your hands. I know You have promised that not one could be snatched from Your hands. Friends, keep praying for your children. Pray like Hannah (see 1 Samuel 1). Keep lifting them up to Him. Understand that your prayers for your children are of the most important part of parenting.
“For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.” – 1 Samuel 1:27 [NASB]