“In the same way, 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.”
Question To Ponder: Do you ever find yourself unsure how to pray for a person or situation? There is comfort in knowing that in those moments the Holy Spirit will join with you to approach the throne. Are you willing to ask for His help?
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.”
1 Chronicles 29:10-13
When I was young in the faith, my prayers often ran along the lines of “God, please help me with…” – and I’d fill in the blank with whatever situation I wanted changed in the moment. God was always gracious to hear me, but after a while He began to nudge me towards a different kind of prayer. As I read more of David’s Psalms and songs, I found myself shifting my prayers around. Instead of launching right into requests, I began to spend time praising God first. Making that change, focusing on Him rather than me, has enriched my worship life and blessed my heart!
“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.“
“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!
“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.
“On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, either from discomfort or stress. Whatever the cause, once I’m awake it’s hard to keep my mind from revving up. All sorts of wonderings and worries can fill my mind, and before I know it I’m lying on my bed having an anxiety fit at 2:00 am. Thankfully, King David offers a different approach to those restless kind of nights. Deciding to think about God in those dark pre-dawn hours has led to some intimate times of prayer and praise.
Question To Ponder: Do you ever find yourself awake when you’d rather be sleeping? Those stretches of time can seem endless! If you invite God to join you, He’ll bring a calm quietness to your night.
God desires our worship. But what does that mean?
My book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper, A 30-Day Devotional” and ebook, “Worshipping Like David” offer practical teaching and activities to help you grow in this area!
Look for my newest book, “Glimpses of God” coming soon!
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
My last post ended on a bit of cliffhanger – one that unfortunately lasted about 5 months! I won’t spend a lot of time trying to explain myself, except to say that life (and in my case health) truly did get in the way of doing something I love so much. But I am sorry for letting so much time slip by. I’ve missed writing and sharing, and hope those of you who have so faithfully followed me in my journey will join back up with me now. And so, onward!
As I pointed out in Part 1, the issue of unanswered prayer is thorny for Christians. It certainly has been for me. It’s hard not to get something that I really want, or to be saddled long-term with something I don’t want. And I’ll admit that many times I haven’t been gracious about being in either situation, uttering lots of “God, where are You?” kinds of prayers. Continue reading “The Challenge of Unanswered Prayer Part 2”
I was sitting in the drugstore this morning waiting for a prescription to be filled, when I noticed the rack of magazines directly across from me. It was hard not to notice. All the most popular women’s magazines were lined up, one on top of another. Scanning the headlines and teasers on each, I found myself interested in some and amused by others.
Just then a woman with two boys came over to the sitting area. The boys, about 10 years old, started playing around with the blood pressure monitor in the corner. I watched them for a moment, then turned back to face the counter, and the magazines.
This time, I saw them not as a woman reader, but as a mom. And instead of noticing the article headlines, all I could focus on was the cover photos. It was like a montage of images, all designed to ignite desire. I think the point was for women to desire to look, and live like, the females in the pictures. In times past, I would have bought into that myself. But now I see another group of people who those magazine covers beckon.
Boys and men have always been attracted to pretty females – that is nothing new. From what I understand, response to visual stimuli is truly a part of their DNA. On the other hand, men are expected to behave themselves, to reign in their desires. Women, rightfully, demand that men treat them with respect as people, not as sexual objects.
But it seems unfair to me that men are bombarded daily with images of sexy girls and women. The deck gets stacked against them. In that rack of magazines alone, there were 8 different provocative pictures. Add to that TV ads, internet sites, and video games – basically, anytime and anywhere. Men like my husband and young men like my son who are trying to live rightly face an uphill battle.
Some people say that those images are no big deal. Men know they’re just meant to be fantasies, and they’re not aware of most of what’s out there. I’d like to think that’s true. And I know that Christian men have power through Christ to stand up against any temptation. I give God lots of thanks for that truth.
The thing that bothers me the most is that men have to be put in that position in the first place. Blame it on original sin, our fallen nature or the enemy at work in the world. But whatever the cause, men are being continually hit in a vulnerable area, and the fight can wear down even the strongest of them.
I know there is only one thing I can do, whether for my husband and son or those 10-year-olds in the store. Having no power to change what’s on the magazine rack, I can stir up spiritual power by praying. As a woman, I feel protective of young men and empathy toward adult men around me. And I believe God feels the same way.