Looking Up in Prayer

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Lifting hands to heaven

When I pray sometimes I catch myself going through a formula to determine how effective my prayer will be:

  • Have I been obedient for at least 48 hours?
  • Length of prayer is directly proportional to its effectiveness.
  • Fasting will really increase my chances for a favorable outcome to my petition.

It is funny how I think I can twist God’s arm by doing these things. Don’t get me wrong these spiritual disciplines are good to do, but they are not meant to leverage God––to get Him to do what we want. Instead they are disciplines that get us to a place of humility and dependence upon God.

I propose a different checklist to go through as you approach God with a request:

  • Does God’s love reach to the heaven’s and endure forever?  Psalm 36:5 √
  • Is His compassion new this morning?  Lamentations 3:22-23 √
  • Is God faithful in all that He does?  1 Corinthians 1:9 √

I must remember prayer is all about God, and not about me.

A Full Day

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The start of a new day

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

This morning I come before God and ask for His help to live this day to the full.

“Lord, don’t let the thief steal it with anger, laziness, or in the pursuit of worthless things. Send Your Holy Spirit to overcome my weakness and transform this day to one that glorifies You––the fullness of life.”

Along the Road Home

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In case you drove by and did not stop to admire.

What a wonderful Thanksgiving prayer:

The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths
for the honor of his name.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff
comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23 NIRV

God has given us this prayer because He wants us to pray it, so He can fulfill it in our lives. Lord I fall at Your feet in thanksgiving.

Whitewater Prayers

Icicle Creek

Bouncing water like bouncing prayers

Sometimes my prayers feel like this whitewater––my mind bouncing from one thing to another. Very small prayers that don’t go very high. Fortunately, prayer is not about my ability, but upon God’s.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Dancing with God

Cedar branches touching the stream

Dancing in the water

This scene only came to my attention when I stopped…and sat…and waited. Initially I was bored and saw nothing. Finally, I asked God to open my eyes and allow me to see. Slowly I began to sense the deeper rhythms of the stream. I heard the churning of the water against the rocks, then the call of birds overhead, followed by a chattering squirrel upset by my presence. Breathing in I noticed the fragrance of cedar boughs, and finally became entranced by the branches playing in the fast moving water perpetually dancing before the Lord. The joy in that moment returns even now, looking upon this scene I give thanks.

Prayer is like that. It is only when I stop and wait that I begin to perceive what God has for me. To read and meditate upon the Bible letting the Holy Spirit slowly direct my thoughts. It becomes wonderful dance of me with my creator. Unfortunately, as the day progresses my mind gets sidetracked, fretting about so many things. I must restart the process again, waiting on the Lord trying to catch His rhythm. Thankfully God never tires of waiting for me.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. Psalm 37:7-9

Ever feel like you’re all washed up?

Icicle Creek

The water is tumbling down

A prayer for when I fall. Note that none of it is me all of it is God.

Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees:
Then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding…
Direct me in your path…
Turn my heart toward you…
Direct my eyes away from worthless things…
Fulfill your promises to me…
Take away my disgrace…
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Thank you Lord for all you do for me.
Taken from Psalm 119:33-40

A Prayer and an Amazing Response

Lost Sheep

We are like sheep who have gone astray. Isaiah 53:6

To you I call, O Lord my Rock;
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
With those who do evil,…
Psalm 28:1-3

This is a most amazing prayer God gives us to pray when all seems lost. Even more amazing, He gives us a wonderful answer––Jesus our shepherd, not only to save us, but to carry us forever.

Praise be to the LORD,
For he has heard my cry for mercy…
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:6,9

Morning After Nightmares

Awaken to the Morning

Sunrise against the clouds

I awaken just short of being devoured.
The fear lingers on.
My mind is stalked by the night terror.
I call out to Jesus and He comes to hold me like a mother holds her child.
Together we review the truth,
The verses of His compassion and faithfulness.
The depths of his love explored.
The nightmare cannot come it is left outside.
I am made ready for the day.