Simply and Always Remember to PRAY

I’m a sucker for a good product. Especially anything that helps my baby/toddler to sleep! Who doesn’t love a good nights rest? So, I have all the machines – white noise, lullaby music, grow clock, sleep sack, stuffies, blankies… and don’t get me wrong, they work great! Until they don’t. It’s this: “until they don’t” that gets me all worked up. What? My child NEEDS ME? In the middle of the night?! What about these MACHINES?! Gimmicks. Nothing but eye-catching gimmicks that if she didn’t have them – I’m sure she’d sleep just fine. If not, the exact same. She falls asleep on her own – that’s all you want as a parent. Sometimes I rely so much on the MACHINES to do “their job” that I forget to do mine – pray.

God knows best.

To pray and ask God about what my child needs and who SHE is. Every mother, has a different birth story – no birth story is the same. Just like every person is different and no person is the same. I love mom blogs and resources that help me parent well. I love books, tips and tricks – of course! The conviction for me comes when I rely more on the gimmicks than Jesus to teach me how to parent.

Remember to Pray…

Dear Jesus,

Not only do you know my daughter, but you created her, and loved her before I did. Thank you for the gift of bringing her as my own and allowing her to call me “mommy”. What a treasure that already is to being someone’s mother. Forgive me Lord, for I have put my trust in gimmicks more than in your wisdom to teach me. To teach me about my daughter, her needs and her character. I pray that you would help me become a gracious, loving and wise mother to this specific little person; whom I call my daughter.

Thank you for your wisdom.
Amen.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

Turning to God in the face of Unknowns

The heaviness of unknowns lurk into the next season and it’s weighty. Many of us feel the same weight. As Covid-19 progresses, or stays the same, the unknowns in how to walk it out remains. Some of us are sending our kids to school in fear. Some of us have big life changes looming with fear. All are valid fears. But then I heard of a life near to us that was on the line. The weight of surviving life or death became much more desperate in terms of unknowns. For me, it brought into perspective of how little we know about the trajectory of our lives.

This is what we train for: to have faith despite the unknowns we face on earth. Since earth is temporary to our eternal home in heaven. So, instead of stressing over the unknowns we must think about what we do know. Christ in us for us.

Unbelief into Belief

In Mark chapter nine, a father brings his demon possessed son to Jesus. Asking him, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “if you can?! All things are possible for one who believes.” Then the boy’s father confesses to Jesus that he has some faith but acknowledges that he is spiritually weak. Then he appealed to Jesus to create in him a heart that believes more firmly. He said,Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” And Jesus healed his son who had an unclean spirit (Mark 9:14-29).

Pursuing life faithfully is a mental battle we must prepare for everyday. Scripture is not just a book with cool stories, its a life line of hope. We learn from the boy’s father who knew Jesus was the Messiah but not sure if he could heal his boy. It’s the half truth we have of Jesus. Yes, I know you’re good God – but I don’t trust you. Without scripture we become lost in our knowledge and understanding of God. Thus, the only way to overcome our anxiety is through fellowship with God by prayer and reading His Word.

Fear into Faith

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

Every morning I wake up and grab my journal and my Bible. I start my day writing out my prayers, making my requests known to God. I end my prayer with thanksgiving, because I acknowledge and remind myself who it is I am praying to. The Almighty God who was, is, and is to come. The same God who spoke directly to Moses guiding the Israelite’s to the promised land (despite their constant sin and setbacks). The same God who sent Jesus to die for me and bore my sins. I am praying to the God who formed me in my mothers womb. Who knows me better than I know myself. I pray because it turns my fear of unknowns into faith of being known by God.

Unknowns into Known

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

A big part of releasing my anxious thoughts and feelings is through prayer. The peace that comes upon me after I pray is a reassurance that God is with me. He guards my heart and mind like a solider guarding his own territory. As Christians, we can entrust all our unknowns and difficulties to the Lord, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all His ways (Romans 8:31-39). Therefore, having an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving contributes directly to inward peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Suffering into Strength

There is no doubt that we will suffer and struggle in our faith because we are up against an enemy that is unseen, but seeks to devour our joy in Christ. Causing a heightened anxiety in us because we are fighting between two voices. A voice elevating our pride to worry and another voice humbling us to submit and pray. We must learn how God speaks to discern what is true.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

In midst of your unknowns on earth,
recite and believe what you know in Christ!

Hero of Heroes

Who’s the Hero of Heroes?

In the book of Daniel, we learn about Daniel – a devoted man of God who served in the palace among other highly esteemed men (Daniel 1:3-6). He served different types of kings in his lifetime. God gifted him with favour and the ability to interpret all kinds of visions and dreams. Known for his outstanding abilities, handsome good looks (Daniel 1:4), wisdom and courage – Daniel had it all! He’s a hero! But when we read about Daniel we see that the true HERO of HEROES was God working through him.

Daniel’s faith – the lions den.

King Darius was reigning in this time and he liked Daniel very much due to his exceptional abilities. So the King wanted to appoint Daniel to the highest position in the kingdom. When the administrators and governors heard about this they were jealous because he had such favour with the King. So they wanted to find him guilty of something but knew Daniel wasn’t guilty of anything. So they had to get crafty..

…the administrators and the governors tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

Daniel 6:4-5

So these administrators and governors went as a group to the king and said:

“May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.  Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Daniel 6:6-9

The men knew how devoted Daniel was to God. So they easily caught him praying as he normally did. With the new decree in place, King Darius had no choice but to throw him into the lions den. But THIS is the redemption story…

The Lord rescues Daniel, the Hero of heroes.

An angel of the Lord came to rescue Daniel by shutting the mouths of the lions. When the King approached the lions den – Daniel answered him…

“May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel 6:21-23

The Hero of Heroes – Jesus.

Since we are focusing on the hero of heroes, we look at Jesus in this story. Where can we see Jesus in this story through Daniel?

Daniel was innocent and yet charged and sentenced to his death. Jesus was a truly perfect man without fault and charged to his death. Mark 14:55 says, “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.”

Faith is not based on our own possible outcomes but on the eternal communion with God.

Daniel did not die of this persecution, but the possibility was around every corner. Jesus died, and rose again, both were faithful through persecution even to the point of possible death. This is a good example because it shows us how faith is not based on our own possible outcomes. But rather on the certain outcome of eternal communion with God. We need to have this eternal perspective. This depth of relationship doesn’t necessarily remove suffering and pain, but can bring a layer of peace to our lives.

Trust in the HERO of HEROES that lives in YOU.

Like Daniel and Jesus we too can have a personal relationship with God – through prayer. Daniel prayed three times a day to posture his heart towards God. Daniel 6:10, “…Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God”. Jesus himself often withdrew from large crowds to be alone with the Father to pray. Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. We too need to find ways in our daily routine that posture our hearts to God. Making time for our relationship with God will grow our faith in Him. Be bold like Daniel and embrace Jesus – the HERO of HEROES who lives in you!

God’s Presence over Performance

Luke 5:15-16: “Yet the news about him spread all the more. So that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

When Jesus began His ministry on earth at the age of 33, he began teaching through His authority as Christ and healing the sick wherever he went. Word spread and people would swarm him with illnesses asking him to heal them. I love what this passage says in verse 16, “But, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”.

There is a reminder here for everyone and especially for those leading in ministry.  Perhaps your ministry is overwhelming and your time is limited with higher pressures and responsibilities. The only time you get to be alone with God is when you are asking Him to prepare a teaching, a meeting, a presentation, or to deliver a biblical response to the public. Even though the pressures to heal and teach were part of Jesus’ ministry, He purposely withdrew to pray alone and he did so often.  He withdrew while there were masses of people still crowding Him asking him for healing. If Jesus needed to withdraw to spend time with God, then we ought to as well.

In one of my books called, “Hearing God Through Your Dreams” by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe, I found this remarkable response by Dr, Billy Graham…

Larry King interviewed Billy Graham, a famous Christian evangelist who saved many lives around the world through his preaching of the Gospel.  Shortly after his 80th birthday, Larry King said, “It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets.” Yet Dr. Graham’s response was surprising, “I am the greatest failure of all men. I was too much with men and too little with God. I was too busy with business meetings and even conducting services. I should have been more with God, and people would’ve sensed God’s presence about me when they were with me.”

Spending time with God was the main reason He got you this far and perhaps now that there is growth in your ministry the responsibilities and pressures are even higher. So the focus has become more about your performance and less about God’s presence.

If Jesus often withdrew to pray then we must too. There is freedom in saying no to the world in order to be with God. It is through Him that works through us anyway.  Even if you are not leading in ministry this should still encourage you with any vocation you’re in. Have you let personal performance become more important than seeking God’s presence? Make time in your day to pray. Do so often.

Bible verses about Jesus praying

 

The Opinion Of Prayer

Prayer might mean the same thing to you as it does to the majority of the rest of the western world. Or if you are a Christian it may only be a shared vocabulary. Often when some sayings or common nomenclature are said, your worldview interprets what is heard to what is understood. Quite often this can take meaning out of what someone says, or may even make an individual prejudicial towards another person, even though there is no shared worldview between the two parties. Take for instance; someone says “I will pray for you”. The word pray or prayer has a varied definition from person to person depending on their worldview. This is especially confusing when it becomes a widely adopted way of speaking, by the public in North America. It’s not only “I will pray for you”, but also “thoughts and prayers” and its many variations. It seems people want to convey some sort of condolence, but with a word that gives the illusion of action.

Prayer is an illusion to most people, to those people who say the words and leave it at that, rather than say the words and then pray. The power and meaning have been widely taken out of the word itself and no longer describes the appealing to God, but to convey a sense of emotion. There was a “thoughts and prayers” fad, that has only recently been busted up by countless memes and twitter posts. This fad has not been called out because of its lack of truth and intention, thought on the surface that is what would seem to be the case, but rather to the large amount of people seemingly praying for events and people and the evil in the world, yet these prayers are seen as going unanswered. It is as if saying the words “thoughts and prayers” to someone, are perceived as to be an appeal to God that somehow we are expecting God to answer and eliminate any reason that precipitated the thoughts and the prayers to begin with. Though many will overlook the obvious case, that saying the word praying or stating the intention to pray is really just words and not a prayer in and of themselves. This seemingly obvious fact can be overlooked because people need something to blame, a reason why evil keeps on occurring shooting after shooting, disaster after disaster, despite the entire western world sending out thoughts and prayers! The subject of evil and the impact prayer would have is a different subject. But this example just stands to show how the idea of prayer in the western world is not being held by any sort of universal definition nor is it precipitating action necessarily.

Prayer is a word of action, and not only the appeal to God to act for us, but to appeal to God to provide for us opportunities to act. Or to give us strength to act in a way we already know we need to, but lack the confidence to do so. Nothing about prayer is passive, even when praying for thanksgiving it is to give thanks for everything God has given us, and action he has taken for us. Saying you will pray for someone has no power. Praying for them, and I would say praying out loud with them carries divine power, and we are appealing to the creator himself. Praying with someone also does not leave the person needing prayer wondering or questioning if prayer is actually going to occur. There is a peace of mind with the Christian when prayer is said and heard out loud between each other.

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. -Luke 22:43-44

Jesus engaged with the world in prayer. He himself prayed to his Father several times, and I must mention that not all responses from the Father were what Jesus wanted. Such as the praying in the garden of Gethsemane described in Luke 22:43–44. Praying was not a new thing in the time of Jesus, people prayed to all sorts of pagan gods and idols. The need for instruction for prayer is illustrated by his disciples asking Jesus how to pray in Luke 11:1. With these verses in mind we should take a second and think about how we are instructed to pray every time we hear the word prayer mentioned in passing or to us in our day-to-day lives. Prayer has taken on false meaning and illusions in the western world, so it is important to remember why we pray and the act upon the word and partner with God through prayer.