Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘PRAYER’ Category

PRAYER & SUFFERING

ALL THE PRAYERS OF PAUL This is a new project. Actually two new parallel projects. “Transforming Suffering” looks at how suffering can raise us to a new level of awareness, thinking, compassion, un…

Source: PRAYER & SUFFERING

Read Full Post »

THERE IS A PATTERN DEVELOPING. . . A pattern of prayer

1) Paul prays for earthy, simple things like the desire to go see people he loves, and for people to get along with each other.
2) Then we see him praying for some abstract things as being happy in hope, being patient in tribulation and constant in prayer.  Hope is a continual theme.
3) We will see the next level coming in future blogs prayers for people’s relationship with God
4) Finally Paul prays for us to get the big picture.

Keep on the lookout for things to come. . .

HOPE, HOPE, HOPE

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

This is a first things first verse. “What does “. . .the God of hope…” mean! Real hope must be in someone or something that is secure, competent, reliable and trustworthy. I lost hope in my doctors in Dallas. They were none of the above. I had gone to many, many doctors there. I actually lost the will to live because I had no hope anyone could help me. Without a firm trust I gave up. Without a firm trust in the God of hope, we can become hopeless. But why or how can we trust in God.

                                     Processed with MOLDIV

 

But when John the Baptist was in jail, he started doubting, started feeling hopeless. He wanted to know if Jesus really was the person God had promised would come and save the people in world even though John baptized Jesus.. No governments had been overthrown. No freedom from the Roman rule had happened. Where was the kingdom of God? The disciples came back to John with Jesus answer, “Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them. Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me” (Matthew 11:2-6). One thing about God you need to know, He is full of surprises. Well. . . actually they only seem like surprises because we, like John are expecting one thing while God has told us something completely different. So we need to listen as well as talk with God. When we lose hope, we become poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3. We are impoverished of hope—clutching the bars of our prison cells with white knuckles, our once confident voices now desperately crying “Can anyone help me?”

Jesus, are you the one, or are we to wait for another?

In the post below “How to Have Hope When There is No Hope,” we saw that the one characteristic you can grab onto and hang on for dear life is God’s LOVE. Love is what motivates Him to help us. We can trust that. . . always. That is the security we have that God is “The God of hope.” The Bible says,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not die but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“. . . fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Hopelessness is a curse. Every person who has gone through “Recovery” knows that the beginning step is to recognize a higher power. We gave have to look up and out of our selves. When we look to a God we can trust, absolutely, something beautiful starts growing.

I am reminded of the words of John Michael Talbot’s song “Be Not Afraid.”

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

When we find that place of rest in the center of our being JOY is our first response. It may be very quiet or it may burst out like stream out of our rocky hearts. Then a deep, quiet PEACE settles in that cannot be described. We feel this could last forever but there is a qualifier, “BELIEVING.” Staying here in this beautiful, restful, quiet center requires the constant exercise of believing.

BELIEVE! God is waiting to hear from you. Why not take a few moments right now and talk with Him.

We must use our minds and our spirits to do this new exercise of faith. We need the power of the Holy Spirit of God to help us in this new way of living. We cannot do this by ourselves. We need help to turn old, old negative thoughts, attitudes, moods and behaviors into hope, joy and believing. Then we can “. . . abound in hope.”. Odd little phrase. But it simply means that we get way more hope than we could ever imagine

If this has been helpful to you or if you want to comment, please use the COMMENT BOX below.

 

Read Full Post »

SUFFERING BECAUSE OF PEOPLE WE LOVE

Romans 10:1. Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

Saved from what? Incredible as it seems the super religious people in Israel missed the point of Jesus’ message and Paul’s almost completely. We can see in the Book of Matthew the very earthy Jesus getting up every day and attacking the organized religion of the day. They did not understand “God is a spirit. . . worship Him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24

They did not understand the teaching of Jesus and Paul that true spirituality is a LOVE* based life. Moses gave them the great Shema “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). We could say it this way, too “. . . you shall LOVE!”

LOVE! That’s the basis of true spirituality! A life of LOVE begins with recognizing that God IS LOVE! God’s LOVE is different than human love. He loves us just as we are. We do not have to try to be better for God to LOVE us. He already loves us.

Paul had a deep heartache over his people not understanding true spirituality. We see this pain over and over again in his writings in the New Testament.1 Jesus also expressed his agony over people.2 Both Jesus and Paul suffered physically.3. Both of them put their physical suffering second to their love and desire to help people. Basically the Jewish people of th believed that they had to have all their ducks in a row before they could please God.

We do not have to get our ducks in a row. Jesus and Paul were desperate to get this point across. Paul says, “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does it all.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 The Message) The first step is recognizing that we are hopeless and helpless to help ourselves. Jesus tells us “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (MSG). I, like most people thought I had to get my ducks in a row. Then God revealed to me that I DON’T HAVE ANY DUCKS!

It’s a gift! This salvation from ourselves and the wrongness within us is free, a gift from God. It has a name too, grace. Grace! I can relax. All the wrong things I’ve said. All the wrong things I’ve done. All the wrong choices I’ve made. All of it taken care of by the LOVE of Jesus. That’s why He left His Father. It’s why He left heaven. He chose to come to us messed up humans and save us. He did this by dying for us and taking ALL the wrongs of every human being who ever lived, you, me, your boss, your mother-in-law, the neighbor down the street, Hitler, the rapist, a murderer, yes, even an ISIS terrorist. No one is left out. All I have to do is accept this gift and decide to let Jesus live His life of LOVE in me.

There you have it. I cannot live the life of LOVE on my own. I don’t even know where to begin to LOVE my enemies. That’s work for Jesus. I just need to learn to let Him do it.  You can ask him into your life right now.

We see in Paul’s prayer for those he loved so deeply, an agony beyond words. I think he knew they would never “get it.” I think he knew they would always be proud of their spirituality which made them hate others who weren’t as “spiritual” as themselves. Their path was a polar opposite of the free gift to the “poor beggar” who comes to God with nothing.

*LOVE – God’s love as opposed to human love

1 Romans 9:1-5; Rom 9:30-33; Rom 11:1-2;

2 Luke 19:43-44; John 11:35

3 Matthew 27:32; John 19:1

Please let me know if this has been meaningful to you.

Read Full Post »

CULTIVATING THANKFULNESS

ROMANS 1:8-10

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.

Thankfulness is a transforming attitude. Paul opens the letter thankfulness for their faith. This puts it on a positive note before he begins to express some negative things about the Roman Church. Paul follows this pattern in many of his letters. It’s a good pattern for us to follow. Always start on a positive note when correction is necessary. Follow this pattern in all your relationships, husband, children, friends, new acquaintances, etc.

Thankfulness is embracing. It’s an attitude that’s as good as a hug. It fills us with joy. Often I have talked with people who say they can’t find anything to be thankful for. Here’s a very quick solution to that problem.

Exercise 1)
Sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply ten times. Open your eyes and express thankfulness for what you see in the room.
Say “I am thankful for my feet.”. Ask “Why am I thankful for my feet?”. “Because I can walk. I do not have pain in my feet.” Continue this way for as long as you wish, naming other things that you see. Fifteen minutes is a good goal. You might want to journal your exercise in thankfulness.

Thankfulness brings us closer to each other. Paul prays for them intensely. Thankfulness gives him a heart of joy and yearning to see them despite their short comings.

Exercise 2:
Sit quietly in your comfortable chair and breathe deeply as before. This time start naming people you are thankful for. Include people who have disappointed you as well as those who haven’t. Examine your mood, attitude, and emotions during this exercise. Don’t judge yourself. Just objectively look at them.

Please let me know if this has helped you or if you would like more information.

1) Romans 10:1
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

Read Full Post »

PREPOSITIONAL PRAYERS

QUICK PRAYERS

Why quick prayers? When we awe in a crisis situation or if someone else is in a crisis, it is very difficult to find the words to pray. If we have programmed our minds with memorized praying the power from God’s throne begins to come down into the situation. But as Daniel found out, the answer to prayer begins the moment we begin to pray. (Daniel 9:23). But, there are many forces at work to prevent the answer from coming through. We must continue in prayer to God’s throne. As we found out before in the first article on praying without ceasing, the Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Quick Praying is one way to do that.

PRAYER #1 – PREPOSITIONAL PRAYING  
  “Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done in _________ (name person or situation) as it is in heaven.”

As we saw before, the Lord’s Prayer is the best prayer to show you “Prepositional Praying.” We take only the phrase “Thy kingdom come, Your will be done…” because it is a wonderfully perfect example. We will use the name Rachel because I don’t know anyone named Rachel. You can put any name or situation, including your own name there.
“Father I pray that Your kingdom would come and Your will be done in Rachel, by her, through her, and to as it is in heaven.”

 What’s the difference? Why use these prepositions. Well, they say much more than you might think. Let’s take the first one, in. We are asking God’s kingdom(rule and authority) to work inside of Rachel, in her inner being, her spirit.

But what is the “kingdom of God.” Nearly all commentaries and Bible dictionaries agree one one aspect of “the kingdom of God.” It is God’s rule and authority. Jesus actually asks us to bring down God’s rule and authority into situations and people on earth. Now that’s powerful. He also adds “. . . as it is in heaven.” It is crystal clear that God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven. Wars, crime, divorce, fighting, lying, anger, bitterness, addictions, and self-centered thinking are just a few of the things that are not in heaven. In Matthew 5:3-11 you will find Jesus telling us more about the aspects of bringing heaven to earth. We won’t dig that deep today.

Let’s go back to the preposition in. We see things in another person or in ourselves or a situation that are not Christlike, we can quickly say this extremely power-packed prayer Thy kingdom come in Rachel (or people in a situation) as it is in heaven. That’s it. You have now invited God to work by His rule and authority inside of Rachel (or people in a situation) transforming her inside by the power of the Holy Spirit within her to transform her into a “kingdom of heaven citizen. Whew! That’s a lot in a little phrase, isn’t it?

 Now let’s look at the preposition by here. This an active phrase. We are asking God to bring the kingdom of God actively by Rachel (or people in a situation) and deliberately by her thoughts, actions and words. We are agents in the world actively changing the world.

 Bringing the kingdom of God down to earth through Rachel is passive. God working through her with or without her taking part. She may never know that people were impacted by God working through her.

 The other prepositions are primarily intercessary, that is, we have been praying for the kingdom of God to come in, by, and through Rachel. Now we are asking God to bring His kingdom (rule and authority) to Rachel, those aspects of the kingdom of God that have not come to her.

“As it is in heaven.” God’s will is done perfectly in heaven by all it’s inhabitants, Angels, cherubim, armies and people.

Read Full Post »

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING? WHAT? WHAT?

Rejoice always! (more…)

Read Full Post »