SOS! Need Prayer Partner!

What do you do when you are so shaken you don’t even know how to try to pray?

You don’t have time to try to remember scripture. You are in crisis. Nothing is coming to mind but panic.

Or honestly you’re tired of praying. You’ve tried every way you know to pray, and you’re hearing nothing back from God. You may think “prayer doesn’t work.”

Even worse you may begin to believe God doesn’t work. There are scriptures that say “Wait upon The Lord,” but come on. You did wait and nothing happened.

There is help available. Jesus promised The Holy Spirit would live in you and be with you forever. He remembers everything Jesus said and He will remind you.

He will comfort you. He will counsel and guide you. He will even take that mess of disjointed thoughts you are having, and connect them in perfect order with God’s Thoughts.

Jesus said,
“I will ask The Father and He will give you another Advocate to help you, and be with you forever — The Spirit of Truth … you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”
John 14:16-17

“When He, The Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all Truth. He will not speak on His Own, but will only speak what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He makes known to you.”
John 16:13-14

“But The Advocate, The Holy Spirit, Whom The Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:26

Paul described very well how The Holy Spirit helps us when we can’t pray pretty, coherent prayers. When all we can do is groan or just say God’s Name or Jesus’ Name, The Holy Spirit will speak for us.

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but The Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He Who searches our heart knows The Mind of The Spirit, because The Spirit intercedes for God’s People in accordance with The Will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27

If you don’t know how to pray (or even if you think you do), turn to your Personal, Ever Present Guide and simply say, “Please show me how to pray.”

He is The Truth and He will guide you into all Truth!

“Whether you turn to the left or to the right, your ears will hear A Voice behind you, saying, “This is The Way; walk in it”
Isaiah 30:21

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Speaking God’s Language

Many times we read The Bible as if it is a history book. While it would appear on the surface to be a collection of stories about different people, it is, in fact, God’s Story.

Even more remarkably, it is God’s Story to be lived out in every one of His Creations. As we discussed in my last post, anything God ever said, directly or through Jesus is the same as He is saying to you right now.

Prayer gives us the opportunity to hear God’s Words and respond to Him. Let’s look at some examples.

God says,
“I have loved you with an Everlasting Love.”
Jeremiah 31:3

We can say back to Him,
“Thank You for loving me with an Everlasting Love. I love You with an Everlasting Love.”

God says,
“Do not fear; for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

We can say back to Him,
“I am not afraid. You are with me. I am not dismayed. You are my God. You are strengthening me. You are helping me. You are upholding me.”

Jesus said,
“Neither do I condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin.”
John 8:11

We can say back to Him,
“Thank You for forgiving me and not condemning me. I am leaving my life of sin right now.”

Jesus said,
“I am The Way, The Truth and The Life.”
John 14:6

We can say back to Him,
“You are The Way for me. You are The Truth. You tell me The Truth about everyone, including myself. You are my Life. I live because You give me Your Life!”

Start your adventure in praying through God’s Word today. The Bible is God’s Personal Love Letter to you!

“Your Word is a Lamp for my feet, a Light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105

“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in The Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we may have hope.”
Romans 15:4

“My Word that goes out from My Mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve The Purpose for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55: 11

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How To Get God To Answer My Prayers

What is the “secret” to getting God to answer our prayers?

Often times we believe we know what we need and we try to get God to line up with our will.

We may ask others to “agree with us” in prayer. What we really mean is that we all agree on what we want from God and we tell Him!

While we all agree, it may not occur to us that we should all be agreeing with God in prayer.

In my last post I suggested we should let God speak first. It turns out He has already spoken! His Words are recorded in The Bible.

What God said at any time in the past is still true right now. If it was Truth to David, the gospel writers and Paul, it is Truth to us also.

“I The Lord, do not change!”
Malachi 3:6

“The Word of our God endures forever.”
Isaiah 40:8

If you want God to agree with you, it’s simple. Agree with Him!

God’s Word is alive! When you speak His Words, He will always agree with you.

“All Scripture is God breathed.”
2 Timothy 3:16

“For The Word of God is alive and active.”
Hebrews 4:12

When Jesus was tempted by satan in the dessert, He knew what to do. He spoke The Word of God.

When demons overtook people, Jesus dismissed them with a Word.

When people were sick, their illnesses were cured by The Word.

“He sent out His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.”
Psalm 107:20

Jesus had this to say about agreeing with God:

“I do nothing on My Own but speak just what The Father has taught Me.”
John 8:28

Begin with studying The Bible to see what God says. As you read, ask Him to reveal to you what He wants you to know at that moment.

But also realize you are planting precious seeds that will come up in other seasons.

When you have a concern you want to pray about, begin by being still and knowing He is God. Thank Him for your many blessings. Praise Him.

While God already knows every detail of your present situation, He will be glad to listen to you talk about it. But then be ready for Him to speak.

Wait for Him to bring to mind scriptures already planted in your spirit.

Then just agree! Thank Him and praise Him again!

In my next post, we will be talking more about praying In The Power of The Word of God.

“In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God!”
John 1:1

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I’m Talking to God. Why Doesn’t He Answer Me?

Have you ever been in a one sided conversation, where the other person does all the talking? And when you think it’s finally going to be your turn, they end the conversation?

Frequently we do this to God. We often pray by doing all the talking, saying “Amen” and walking away.

Many of us never consider that God would speak directly to us. We expect God’s Answers to come through our circumstances. If things line up, as we wished, we say God answered our prayers.

If things don’t go our way, we may wonder why God didn’t answer us. We may go from simple praying to “praying hard.”

If that doesn’t do it, we may take it up a notch by getting as many people as possible to agree with us in prayer. Unfortunately, many times, for some, it is like gathering signatures on a petition to present to God. If we get more people to agree with us, we think it may get God to move favorably on our behalf.

Is it ok to pray fervently? Yes! God loves it when we reach out to Him.

Is it ok to get as many prayer partners as we can? Yes! Calling others to pray is an invitation to them to communicate with The Lord.

But prayer is not for one way communication. And the results are not dependent on a popular vote.

Prayer is an interactive dialogue between God and us. It begins, not with our presenting our list of requests, but by our being still.

David the Psalmist was still. In the stillness, he heard God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

Many times we attempt to begin the conversation with God from the vantage point of what we believe we know.

In Truth, there is only one thing we need to know. He is God. We are not.

We can leave any preconceived notions about any situation at the door. Any knowledge we believe we have cannot come up to The Knowledge of God.

Be still.

Know that He is God.

Know He already knows every detail of your situation.

Know He already has The Plan for your life and He is willing to reveal it to you.

Let Him speak first.

Begin by listening.

Enter His Throne Room with thanksgiving and praise.

God will gladly hear your petitions. But after a time of being still, knowing He is God, knowing He knows you intimately and already has a Plan, thanking Him and praising Him, you may find your list of requests have disappeared.

He already knows what you want. But even more importantly, He knows what you need.

“Because The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.”
Psalm 23:1

“For I know The Plans I have for you,” says The Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you Hope and A Future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

“Thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
1 Corinthians 25:57

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What Do You Want God To Give You?

Why do you pray? Some people use prayer as their 911 backup. Some pray when “there is nothing left to do but pray.”

Some pray like they are visiting a wishing well. They use prayer as a way of telling God all the things they are wishing for.

Some approach God, acting as an efficient administrative officer. They have everything neatly laid out. They tell God what they need, what He needs to do, and when it is due (usually immediately).

When is the last time you prayed without asking God for something? As I pondered this question myself, I resolved to go one week without asking Him for anything.

Being a fairly needy person, I had trouble on day one. If you take away asking God for things, what is there left to pray about?

So I decided to pray about that very issue. But then I realized I would still be asking God for something. I would be asking Him for answers.

Everything that came to mind emphasized my dependence on God. Finally, I said, “You’ve got everything, God. How can I pray without asking You for what I need?”

He answered, “You could start with looking at what I have already given you.”

The Living Bible Translation of Psalm 23:1 says,
“The Lord is my Shepherd.
I have all that I need.”

Since that’s true, then we should have no need to beg God to give us things. We already have everything we need.

The New King James version translates Psalm 23:1 as
“The Lord is my Shepherd.
I shall not want.”

We often forget what we already have that fulfills all our needs. We “want” more.

Satan’s first attack comes by tempting us to believe God has not provided what we need. If satan succeeds, we feel deprived and are not sure we can trust God to provide. This puts us in a perfect position to be open to what satan will offer to fill what we think are empty spaces.

Satan used this technique consistently, beginning with Adam and Eve. He has tried it on all of us.

What do we have? God said,
“My Presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”
Exodus 33:14

Jesus said,
“Be sure of this: I am with you always.”
Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised The Holy Spirit.
“And I will ask The Father, and He will give you another Advocate, Who will never leave you. He is The Holy Spirit, Who leads into All Truth …”
John 14:15-17

We have The Glorious Presence of The Three in One, Who live in us and are All we will ever need.

How do we come into His Presence? We are in His Presence all the time. But we become most aware of His Presence through The Power of Prayer.

Jesus invites us to open our hearts, not to beg for more, but to receive What is already within us.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in …”
Revelation 3:20

He is not knocking from the outside of us. He is knocking from the inside of us. He is our heartbeat, ever Present and always reminding us He is there.

I invite you to come into His Presence. Begin by being truly thankful for all you have been given. Thank The Lord over and over again.

When you recall His Faithfulness, Love, Mercy and Grace to you, praise will naturally follow.

“Let us come into His Presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!”
Psalm 95:2

 

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Pray Without Ceasing!

My father taught me many Truths, but none more profound than the simple Truth by which he and my mother lived.

“Prayer is the Biggest Power we’ve got.”

My parents were praying people. They prayed on their knees. I got up many mornings to find my father kneeling beside his favorite chair in the living room and my mother kneeling by their bed. They were in separate parts of the house, but locked in a Divine Unity with God that enfolded us all.

My father would get up from his prayers, covered with Grace and say, “It would take more than 24 hours a day to thank The Lord for all of His Many Blessings. Thank The Lord over and over again!”

Speaking of Grace, they did. Before each meal, they did not say “the blessing.” They said “Grace.” And they did not just say it. They prayed it. They truly thanked God for their many blessings.

Before our evening meal, my mother read the devotional of the day from the Upper Room, which always included a prayer. And then we prayed The Lord’s Prayer together. Today, anytime I pray The Lord’s Prayer, I feel transported back to the kitchen table at home.

The spirit of thankfulness extended beyond just a meal. I remember the delight with which my father would enjoy a slice of fresh apple pie and exclaim, “Good old apple pie! Thank The Lord!”

Their prayers connected our family. When my brother went away to college, he was as much a part of the family as if he were still at home. Every night when my mother prayed with me, she would also pray for my brother.

She would end by saying, “Let’s throw him a kiss goodnight.” She would point in the general direction of his college, and we would blow kisses of blessings. We believed in The Power of God’s Spirit to deliver them.

Today I live far away from my brother, and my parents live in Heaven. But when I pray at night, I throw them kisses and I believe The Holy Spirit delivers them and joins us together.

My parents prayed for others often. They knew they were not powerful enough to meet every need, but they were blessed to know The One Who could. So they “plugged in” to that Power to intercede for others.

They believed in being called to prayer.
When they heard a siren from police, fire or ambulance, they prayed for the ones responding and the ones being responded to.

Their prayers carried our family through good times and bad. Life gave us each challenges. My parents prayed us through every one, sometimes right at our side and sometimes, unknown to us.

Wherever we were, in whatever circumstance, The Extra Power that flowed from The Throne of Grace had been called forth by our praying parents/grandparents/great grandparents (They were all.).

They faced various trials, as they neared the finish line of Life. But their prayers of gratitude and complete faith that God would provide never ceased.

When they could no longer go to their knees, they prayed from their beds. They continued to pray Grace at meals. My father even prayed over his puréed food in the nursing home, “Thank You, Lord, for this food … whatever it is.”

When my mother was near the end, she turned to my father and said, “God has provided for us all of our lives. How could we do anything but trust Him now.” And they held hands and prayed.

After my mother died, my father was in deep grief. But he never gave up. He continued in faith, praying for all, and just as connected with her as He ever was through The Power of Prayer.

After he died, one of his nurses talked about how powerfully he gave thanks for everything they did and everything he received. I could imagine him saying, “Thank The Lord, over and over again!”

When I look at the ever extending line of our family, I realize how far the Godly witness of my parents has gone. Their prayers went before us, sustained us and go before us now, as part of that “great cloud of witnesses.”

It is now my Joy to pray for each of you who read these words. I trust God to bring these words to you at just the right moment. May you always know the joy of connecting with The Lord through Prayer!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is The Will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

(Pictures of me, as a child, and now)

I Forgive You!

Is it possible to remember and forget at the same time? Yes, God does that!

He never forgets us.

“See, I have engraved you on The Palms of My Hands; your walls are ever before Me.”
Isaiah 49:16

Does God forget anything? Yes, He does.

When we repent and ask for His Forgiveness, He forgives us and forgets our sins.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 8:12

There’s just one “catch.” If we want to receive the Joy of God’s Forgiveness, we must forgive those who have hurt us.

Jesus was very clear.

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:15

Sometimes we attempt to heal old wounds by trying to forget the ones who hurt us. However we find that difficult to do. They are a real part of our history. To eliminate them would be eliminating a part of ourselves.

What if we forgave like God does? What if we made a conscious effort to remember those who hurt us?

See them for a moment, as you may have held them in your memory, chained to their sins.

If you could release them, would you? Or is it possible, you have become the prosecuting attorney, judge, jury and prison warden, who would never consider releasing them because of what they did to you?

The sobering question is not how much they sinned, but rather how much have we sinned in not releasing them?

But wait, you might say, you don’t understand what they did to me. They never said they were sorry. They never asked my forgiveness.

The ones who were crucifying Jesus did not ask forgiveness from God or Jesus. Yet, even as they continued to sin and hurt Jesus, He said,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34

Did they really not know what they were doing? Their actions seemed deliberately focused on causing pain and death. Yet Jesus saw them, not as the sum of their actions, but as the sum of all God created them to be.

Forgiving as Jesus did means forgiving while being hurt. Sometimes it involves forgiving long after we are hurt.

Forgiving as Jesus did means being willing to see the other person at their best, not at their worst.

Forgiving is an act of faith by which spiritually, (not physically) we bring someone else to God’s Throne of Grace, and pray they will seek God’s Forgiveness, not ours.

We sacrifice our desire for an apology. We commute the sentence of how much hard labor they will have to do to pay for their sins against us. And finally we pardon them completely, trusting God to restore them to all He created them to be.

Grace is a Gift of God that comes both to us and through us. As God does with us, we can remember the one He created. And with God’s help, we can forget their sins.

“It does not depend, therefore, on human desire or effort, but on God’s Mercy.”
Romans 6:19

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17

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What Jesus Wants You To Know

We often read The Bible like it is a book about other people. We miss that what is being said is also being said directly to us.

God’s Word does not change with time, place or person. If He ever said something to someone, He is also saying it now to each of us.

“I am The Lord, I do not change.”
Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

Pull up a chair. Jesus is talking directly to you right now.
I am The Alpha and The Omega, The First and The Last, The Beginning and The End.
Revelation 22:13

I am in My Father, and you are in Me and I am in you.
John 14:20

And surely I am with you always.
Matthew 28:20

You will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.
John 14:19

I want you to be with Me where I am, and to see My Glory.
John 17:24

I am preparing a place for you. I will take you to be with Me where I am.
John 14:3

Anyone who loves Me will obey My Commandments. My Father will love you and We will come to you and make our home with you.
John 14:23

I am The Way and The Truth and The Life.
John 14:6

I have come that you may have Life and have it to the full.
John 10:10

I am telling you this so that My Joy may be in you, and that your Joy may be complete.
John 15:11

I am telling you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

You are blessed when you are merciful. Then you will be shown Mercy.
Matthew 5:7

If you forgive others, My Father will forgive you.
Matthew 6:14

When My Father forgives your sins, He forgets them.
Hebrews 8:12

I don’t condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.
John 8:11

If you do not forgive others, My Father will not forgive you.
Matthew 6:15

I love you. Love one another, as I love you.
John 13:34

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What Jesus Didn’t Say

If someone is speaking for you, you want them to say what you would say.

Jesus spoke for His Father God. He explained how that worked.

“I have not spoken on My Own. Instead The Father Who sent Me told Me what I should say and how I should say it.”
John 12:49

As Jesus’ Followers, He is depending on us to say exactly what He says. For those who choose to go off on their own and just say what seems right to them, Jesus gives this very sobering admonition.

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on judgement day for every empty word they have spoken.”
Matthew 12:36

I have to repent on a regular basis for words I have spoken that were not Jesus’ Words. When you speak, do your words line up with what Jesus says? Or are your words …

What Jesus never said

I’m sick.

I’m tired.

I can’t do this anymore. I quit.

I want to make more money so I can buy more things.

I want to win and therefore I want you to lose.

It’s every man and woman for themselves.

When I’m sleeping, don’t wake Me up.

Don’t interrupt Me when I’m already doing something.

Just do what I tell you to do. Don’t ask questions.

Don’t expect Me to wait on you.

I don’t know what to do.

Why is this happening to Me?

This isn’t fair.

I’m hurt.

You hurt Me.

Why are you treating Me this way?

It’s My right to do what I want.

I condemn you. I’m better than you.

I am the only one God talks to.

I don’t like you.

I hate you.

I can’t trust you.

You are too demanding. I can’t meet all your needs.

You’re an #&@#.

An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth.

Go to hell.

I’m never speaking to you again.

I’m cutting you out of My Will.

You say that you don’t know Me? Well, right back at you. You are dead to Me.

You made your bed. Now lie in it.

I might forgive you eventually, but I tell you one thing, I’ll never forget what you did.

This is just like the time you did the other things I’ll never forget.

You’ll never change. Once a thief, always a thief.

I’m going home now. You’re on your own until I get back.

 

Take a few minutes to reflect on the things Jesus didn’t say. If you find you have spoken on your own instead of speaking His Truth, spend some time in repentance and receive His Forgiveness.

Besides getting back on track, it will save you a lot of time on Judgement Day! When God forgives, He forgets the sin and no longer holds it against you.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 8:12

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your Sight, O Lord My Strength and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14

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What’s That Smell?

What is your favorite smell? When you think of the smell, does a memory come to mind?

I have a favorite place to sit and contemplate life. I like to sit in a swing on our covered patio.

From there I can look over our back yard and then across the fence to a beautiful, lush pasture. Horses graze there.

Today sunshine and a gentle breeze made it even more of a delight. The breeze brought the fragrant smell of the blossoms of our Sweet Bay Magnolia.

Its smell brought to mind another of my favorite smells from the past. When I was growing up, there was a banana shrub right outside the window of my room.

Frequently we had all the windows open in the spring. I would lie across my bed, read and enjoy the fragrance from outside.

After I left home, I always looked forward to returning in the spring. When I first got out of the car, even before my parents’ welcoming hug, I would smell that wonderful scent. It was as if that tree was welcoming me home.

God created every part of our bodies in unique ways … and always as a Part of His Masterful Plan. This is especially evident in the way our brains are created.

God connected our sense of smell with our memories. Smells get routed through a part of the brain that analyzes the smell. That part of the brain is closely connected to the part of the brain that handles emotion and memory.

There is a very important connection between Jesus and a fragrance. John 12:3 records what happened about a week before Jesus’ Crucifixion.

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ Feet and wiped His Feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

When Judas objected to what he saw as a waste of what could have been sold for money, Jesus said,

“It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”
John 12:7

It was not yet the day of Jesus’ Burial. But it is likely the smell was so strong, it lasted on through His Burial. If that is the case, everyone who came in contact with Him over the next week would have been exposed to the smell of that sweet perfume.

And it would have been linked into their memory. From that day forward, every time they remembered Jesus, the smell would come to mind. Every time they smelled that smell or something similar, they would think of Jesus.

When anyone opens their heart to Jesus, the sweet smells of Heaven pour forth. And even when hearts are still closed, His Fragrance fills the air.

Close your eyes and breathe in His Presence. Know that you carry His Fragrance with you wherever you go.

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:15

“Follow God’s Example, therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of Love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and Sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

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