The world has much to pray about this New Year. The virus may be uppermost in your mind, but for now let’s go deeper than that. We all want to be happy and healthy and comfortable. So that is how we pray.
I propose that we are praying for the wrong things.
God has promised to hear us, to answer us, to be there with us. He has not promised to give us every item we ask for. His will is not for every person to be healed, happy and comfortable. His will is for every person to come to Him, to connect with Him in a real relationship of Love.
Matt. 7:7-8Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Ask and ‘it’ will be given to you.” What is ‘it’? It is that close, loving relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. God has promised to give ‘it’ to us and He will, but we must seek for it – in truth.
Do we really want to hear God – or do we just want God to hear us? We cannot have one without the other.
Ps. 145:18The Lord is near to all who call on him.To all who call on him in truth.
Yet at times, praying is hard work. Paul Miller describes it this way in his book A Praying Life.
“We last for about fifteen seconds, and then out of nowhere the day’s to-do list pops up and our minds are off on a tangent. We catch ourselves and, by sheer force of the will, go back to praying. Before we know it, it has happened again. Instead of praying, we are doing a confused mix of wandering and worrying. Then the guilt sets in. Something must be wrong with me. Other Christians don’t seem to have this trouble praying. After five minutes we give up, saying, “I am no good at this. I might as well get some work done.
Something is wrong with us. Our natural desire to pray come from Creation. We are made in the image of God. Our inability to pray comes from the Fall. Evil has marred our image. We want to talk to God but can’t. The friction of our desire to pray, combined with our badly damaged prayer antennae, leads to constant frustration. It’s as if we’ve had a stroke.”
Doubts begin to creep in. Does it even do any good to pray? Does God even care? Is there even a God out there? But we cannot admit our doubts to others – sometimes we cannot even admit them to ourselves. Then guilt begins to pile on top of doubt like ten thick woolen blankets, shutting out the light and the air.
Or maybe we have prayed non-stop for years for a friend’s healing or a family member’s salvation with no improvement whatsoever. Then we give up completely.
Paul Miller shares with us, “Life’s unexpected turns had created a path in my heart to God; God taught me to pray through suffering.”
Note what he said – “…created a path in my heart to God”. That is relationship!Relationship that was built in the hard times.
Praying is reaching out to God. It is connecting with Him no matter what happens afterward. He doesn’t need the ‘right words’ in the ‘right formula’. Weneed to lay ourselves before Him, to Love Him, to feel Loved by Him.
Matt. 6:6But 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.
What is it that is heavy on your heart this New Year?
Go to God.
Lay it down at His feet and reach out – earnestly – for His love.
so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
(From Andrew Murray, Teach Me to Pray)
God’s thoughts are “altogether beyond the power of our comprehension”.
Some people say – “God is cruel to send this virus.” …or that earthquake…or that flood. Others say there must be no God if all of this is happening.
These kinds of thoughts are not God’s thoughts – they are the thoughts of fallible people. God’s plans and purposes are light years away from ours. Once we truly understand that, then we can be humble before God and await His plan.
Andrew Murray goes on to say, “God tells us that we are made in His image. By grace we are actually renewed again into that image. As we gaze upon God’s glory in Christ, we are changed into the same image by His Spirit. These, too, are thoughts, beyond our comprehension – our minds cannot take them in.
“God, by His Holy Spirit, conveys to our hearts the life and the light that can make us feel at home with these thoughts dwelling in us. But we need daily, prayerful fellowship with God if we are to enter into His mind and to have His thoughts make their home in us. It is by faith that God will not only reveal the beauty and the glory of these thoughts but will actually work in us their divine reality.
“Just think of what Paul writes: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). But as we pray God will reveal them through His Spirit.”
…God will reveal them.
…It is by faith.
…We need daily, prayerful fellowship with God.
As long as we are demanding of God, sitting in judgement of Him and His work, the door is closed between us and Him.
But – Be humble before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
There is no reason to fear this, or any, virus. God alone determines when we will die physically. We will all die – and none of us know when that time will be. That has always been and that will always be. Our great advancements in technology and economics will never do away with physical death. I will die. You will die. God holds all of our days in His hands.
Psalm 139: 16
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Yet, the death of our body is not the end. We will all live forever. The question is – where will we live in eternity?
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will go to be with Him in heaven. He has promised this.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” V. 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you have not acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you will not be allowed into Heaven. That is what we should be afraid of!
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Stop running after material wealth. Stop spending your days filling yourself with sensual pleasures. Those things will not last. Look for God. Pray to Him. Ask and you WILL receive.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
How do you hear His voice? Read the Bible, pray and listen in solitude.
We don’t need to shut down the whole country. We need to turn back to God.
It is as simple at that.
Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you have any questions about Him?
Over the past few days, my husband and I have been looking back and looking forward. The new year has brought us to ponder our lives and what we see in this world.
We see more drugs and violence. We see families in trouble where there were once many strong families. We see communities of people helping one another reduced to strangers living next door and children not able to cope.
Yet, we also heard an incredible testimony at church last week. A young man raised in a Christian home had fallen far from God and he was feeling the effects of it. His guilt and shame grew and grew until he could no longer stand it. He came back to Jesus and his incredible joy is truly infectious.
This morning my husband and I began a new devotional, Teach Me to Pray, from the writings of Andrew Murray.
January 1 reads: “Wait upon God – He (Daniel) prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10
“The more I think of and pray about the religious situation in our country, the deeper my conviction becomes that Christians do not realize that the aim of conversion is to bring them into daily fellowship with the Father in heaven.
“For the believer, taking time each day with God’s Word and in prayer is indispensable. Each day we need to wait upon God for His presence and His love to be revealed.
“It is not enough at conversion to accept forgiveness of sins or even to surrender to God. That is only a beginning. We must understand that we have no power on our own to maintain our spiritual life. We need to receive daily new grace from heaven through fellowship with the Lord Jesus. This cannot be obtained by a hasty prayer or a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word. We must take time to come into God’s presence, to feel our weakness and our need, and to wait on God through His Holy Spirit to renew our fellowship with Him. Then we may expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout the day.
“It is my aim to help Christians to see the absolute necessity of spending time with the Lord Jesus. Without this, the joy and power of God’s Holy Spirit in daily life cannot be experienced.”
That is the answer. The answer to the world’s trouble. The answer to our personal, daily walk through this troubled world.
Texas. Ohio. Nevada. Florida. Georgia. Colorado. North Carolina. Arkansas. Alabama. Virginia. Connecticut. California. Oklahoma. New York. District of Columbia. Missouri. Maryland. Indiana. Tennessee. Rhode Island. Kentucky. Mississippi. Michigan. Oregon. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Washington. Louisiana. Michigan. Iowa. South Carolina. New Mexico. Massachusetts. Hawaii. Nebraska. West Virginia. Vermont. Minnesota. New Jersey.
We are a
nation in mourning. The senseless killing continues. We Must do something.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
promise is an If, Then promise. If people do this, Then God will do that. Our
step comes first.
from Wicked Ways
“He has shown you, O man, what is good.
does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
the Bible, Ask God what he wants in your heart and in your life.
Please, Stop and Listen.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
When God created the world, He did so with Relationship at
its core. Humanity was created in order to be in Relationship with God, and
in Relationship with one another.
If either one of these Relationship Dynamics is off track,
then our emotional, mental and spiritual health is out of balance. We begin to
try to fill the holes with many other things: money, sex, material possessions,
power over others … the list goes on.
If both of these Relationship Dynamics are in good working
order, then we are able to grow into mature Christians, who are in turn able to
give to others who are in need.
Those are the simply basics of how life works.
When God created Adam and Eve, there was perfect union with
both God and with each other. The two people walked with God in the garden,
talking with Him and being open and honest with each other. Genesis 2:25 says, “The
man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” This is not only
about no clothes. This is two people being completely intimate physically, but
also emotionally. They were in harmony. They were vulnerable with each other,
not hiding anything. They “knew” each other completely. There was no shame.
We were created to be in that kind of Relationship with both
God and others. To be open and honest. To be intimate. To be accepted.
Someone once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in
the world is. Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt
Everything in life comes down to these two Relationships.
We must be reconciled to God. We must ask His forgiveness
and we must cultivate a daily relationship with Him.
We must reconnect with others. We must care for each other,
forgive each other, reach out in love and support for each other.
So how do we do this? Jesus gives us this very important directive
in living our lives. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
James tells us, “You do not have, because you do not ask
God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that
you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
We know what God wants for us and what we need – Intimate and
We know the first step in getting those Relationships.
Prayer. Talk to God. Admit that you need Relationship and ask Him to help you
That is asking in Jesus’ Name and He will do it.
Is there a Relationship in your life that needs restoring?
Start working on it today.
The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper is an amazing book. The subtitle is: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die.
Reason #6 is To Show His Own Love for Us.
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
[He] loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
John Piper writes: The death of Christ is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the supreme expression of Christ’s own love for all who receive it as their treasure. The early witnesses who suffered most for being Christians were captured by this fact: Christ “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). They took the self-giving act of Christ’s sacrifice very personally. They said, “He loved me. He gave himself for me.”
John continues: Surely this is the way we should understand the sufferings and death of Christ. They have to do with me. They are about Christ’s love for me personally.
This book has changed the way I view Christ’s death and his resurrection.
I was reading a blog the other day that was very sad.
This person told about breaking up with their boyfriend,
then going to a terrible party, getting drunk, then feeling miserable about her
life. One bad incident triggered three miserable events.
I realize that this happens often, to both men and women.
There is an old country/western song that said,
“Looking for love in all the wrong places,
Looking for love in too many faces, Searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces
of what I’m dreamin’ of.”
Looking for love. That is the very essence of who we are.
Why? Because God created us that way.
God planted deep within our hearts a powerful yearning for
authentic love. That yearning was intended to bring us closer to Him. It was
also intended to bring us into families. Children desire love above all else.
Women long for a deep relationship with one strong man. Men long for a deep
relationship with one tender woman. We want to be special. We long for
commitment and security in one intimate relationship.
When those longings are not fulfilled, our lives crash. After
my own divorce, I hit rock bottom.
The song goes on to say, “Playin’ a fool’s game, hopin’ to
win.” And “I did everything I could to get me through the night.”
It doesn’t have to be that way. God has longings too. He
longs for us to turn toward Him so He can pour His love out on us. He longs to
provide the relationships we desire.
It took me lots of time before I realized I just needed more
of God. When I rededicated my life to Him, He filled my life to overflowing with Love!
But we have to ask. Try it. Start talking to Him today. The
Name of Jesus is very powerful. Ask in Jesus’ name for what you need. God will hear.
You must be willing to set your pride down and admit where
you have gone wrong. God will hear.
Have you experienced God’s love? Share your story here.
O my people, hear my teaching; Listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old — What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.
We have been entrusted with a most sacred duty. We are to teach the Word of God – the Holy Scriptures
to the children.
Christ, his death and resurrection
Secrets of life and death
The Holy Spirit
How to be filled with the indescribable Love of God
God’s guidance for living a godly life; wisdom,
understanding, drugs, deceit
Knowledge for salvation
Our children are the very ones who will run our churches, marry and have children of their own to raise in the church.
The children come every Sunday, sit in these rooms, with eager minds and hearts, they want to know the truth. They drink it in faster than we can pour it out.
And we are too busy.
One parent, when asked to help teach the children said, “Spend time with the kids? No way!”
He (God) decreed statutes for Jacob (God’s people), And established the law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, Even the children yet to be born, And they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God, And would not forget His deeds, But would keep His commands.
When no one teaches the children about God and His deeds and
laws, then the children wander through life looking for the love they crave.
They become lost. They become targets for those looking to use, abuse and
The children are the future. Will the future be one of life
in God? Or will it be one of a living death?