“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” Charles Spurgeon
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you needbefore you ask him.“
“…it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
“The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Question To Ponder: What leaves you feeling afraid and terrified?
Exercise: Try writing or reciting this passage, replacing the word “them” with your answer. Then, take in what God has to say. You can be strong and courageous against any fear. Why? Because God is going with you to face it!
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…“
There are so many scriptures that talk about encouraging those our fellow Christians. Building each other up is always good, but it goes deeper than just helping each other feel better. God’s plan is for each of us as His children to grow in character and maturity – then we can go out into the world and do whatever work He calls us to. But none of us can fulfill that purpose alone. There’s so much to learn, and we become discouraged too easily on our own. But God graciously designed us to join together, to share experiences and lift each other up, so that every member of the family gets stronger.
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
We say grace at our table before dinner, usually by my husband. But the other night he was out, so I took on the duty. And after I finished, my daughter’s fiance said ” I really liked your prayer.” He went on to explain that it was longer than prayers of other people he’d heard (one of my trademarks, for good or bad!), and that it sounded like I really meant what I said. Thinking about his comments later on, I felt humbled and grateful for how much God has taught me about prayer. Any growth I’ve had in this area happened when I finally decided to submit my mind and heart to Him!
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
1 Peter 3:8
This past weekend my husband and I witnessed our son, along with 666 other young men and women, graduate from U.S. Air Force basic training. The ceremony and parade where both impressive and stirring. And the thought struck me of how many stories there must be in that group – their individual challenges and triumphs. And yet, marching in step and reciting the oath as one was a testament to how people of such different backgrounds can come together for a common cause. It reminded me that because of my faith in Christ, I am part of something much bigger, connected in heart and mind to other believers. That’s exciting to me!
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
I have a prayer ritual that may sound kind of strange. You see, we live on an ambulance route for our city’s hospital. The sirens used to startle and bother me as the vehicles drove by our house. Then one day as I watched an ambulance whiz by, I decided to pray for whoever was needing it. Since then, I’ve become more aware of things happening to others around me. And though I may not know them or all the facts, I try to take a moment to lift up the situation to God. I like to imagine others might do the same for me.
“And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.”
― Amy Carmichael
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.”
“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”
― Hans Urs von Balthasar
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”
“Dishonest money dwindles away,
but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
Question To Ponder: How patient are you when it comes to saving money?