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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.

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In everyday life, most Christians avoid talking talking about their faith. They freeze up. They don’t know what to say. Or they fear rejection. Or they don’t want to come off as a narrow-minded jerk. The truth is, most people–even most churchgoers–lack a basic understanding in how to naturally bring faith into a real conversation. How […]

via Talking About God Without Being a Jerk — Holy Soup

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.

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING? WHAT? WHAT?

Rejoice always! Continue Reading »

THE LORD’S PRAYER as QUICK PRAYERS

The Lord’s Prayer is also called The Model Prayer and for a good reason. It is a quick, easy, foolproof way to pray for any situation, people, disaster, or even the news. Yes. Instead of wringing your hands over what you see and read, you can actually use parts of the Lord’s Prayer for the people and events as you watch them. You can know exactly how to pray for people you love, co-workers, friends, anyone.

HERE IT IS. . . 

 This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven: 

May your holy name be honored; 

may your Kingdom come; 

may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us today the food we need. 

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, 

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 

Do not bring us to hard testing, 

but keep us safe from the Evil One.’ 

BREAKING IT DOWN

Let’s take it one section at a time to see how we can use it as a “Quick Prayer.”

1. “Our Father in heaven. . .” When someone is hurting one of the best prayers in the world is to pray that they will experience the love, provision, protection, and deliverance our heavenly Father gives us. These are things fathers do. You can think of others.

PRAYER: Father may (fill in the blank) _________________ experience Your love, provision, protection, and deliverance. May this circumstance cause them to know You are their heavenly Father.

2. “May Your holy name be honored. . .” Now this one is loaded. God’s name is not honored on the earth. People do not see God as the omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), loving caring creator being that he is. Now when you see God, our Lord Jesus and/or Christianity put down, ridiculed, , or under attack you can simply pray this extremely powerful prayer and watch God work.

PRAYER: Father, I pray that You would cause these people to come to know You for who and what You are. Bring circumstances and people into their lives to draw them to know Jesus as their Savior.

3. “May Your kingdom come. . .” Jesus is teaching us to be active partners with God through prayer. The first word of the “Beatitudes” is a tremendous clue to the nature of the kingdom of heaven. In the Greek language of the New Testament the word for blessed is “makaroi”. It means characterized by the quality or nature of God. When one is indwelt by God and God’s nature is in him, he has the kingdom of God. When we pray this simple phrase, we are inviting God to come into the lives of people and situations (That’s how His kingdom comes). God is waiting for our invitation. He had chosen prayer as one of His tools to work in the world. So, understanding the nature of God is critical to the power of this four word prayer. We find descriptions of His nature in Galatians 5:22-23, John 14-17, James 3:13-18.

Jesus begins to explain the culture and nature of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 5-7. The culture of a country or kingdom is its way of life. What is expected of the citizens? How do they worship? What is the language of the kingdom? How to they speak and act with one another? What are the laws and rules to observe there? Things to carefully consider as we discover the beginnings of Jesus teachings. Get thoroughly familiar with these chapters especially chapter 5 to increase the power of praying these four words.

PRAYER: Father, may Your kingdom come to ______________________.

4. “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This may come as a shock to you but God’s will is not being done on the earth. Murder, lying, stealing, terrorism, envy, addiction and on and are not God’s will. Can God use sinful people living against His will. Absolutely! We are instructed here to bring God’s will into people and situations where His will is not happening. Remember, sin is never God’s will.

Now here is the beautiful part. . . You do NOT have to know what God’s will is for the people and situations that concern you. You just have to pray for God’s will to be done and let God figure it out. What could be more simple?

PRAYER: Father I pray that Your will would be done in __________________ (Name the people, situations or news item).

5. “Give us this day the food we need.” In the middle of this majestic prayer is the very mundane request for food to stay alive today. I could pontificate (as Chris says) on this all day but there it is. Jesus tells us simply that we can ask our wonderful, loving caring Father for the things we need.

PRAYER: 1. Father I have real needs today (say them). I ask You to supply all my needs.

                  2. Father, ______________ has real needs today. I ask that You supply all

    their needs.

6. “Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” Oh my! This is scary. Could it be that Jesus is saying that IF I do not forgive other people, God will not forgive me? Yes, indeed that is exactly what Jesus is saying. Notice that these are flat statements with no explanation, theological debate or the sort. As so many say today “It is what it is.”. Psalm 66:8 tells that if we have sin in our hearts, God will not forgive us. Unforgiveness is sin.

Good news! Forgiveness may not be what you think it is. It is simply “letting go.” You do not have to feel warm fuzzies for the person who has wronged you, hurt you, or violated you. You do have to give it up to your Father and let it go. I use hot air balloon to visualize this process. I close my eyes and picture the person I need to forgive. I picture the wrong done to me. The I visualize that person getting into the balloon and see the balloon taking off toward my Heavenly Father. This is a process because once dies not do it, usually. I have to do it over and over until my heart and my mind truly can let it go. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. It’s quicker that way. Romans 8:26

PRAYER: Father, I confess my sin of unforgiveness for ____________(name the people). Help me to just let it go.

7. ‘Do not bring us into hard testing. . . “ Whew! I wish I’d understood this earlier in my life. Testing by God is a fact of life. He will test us to bring out our true character, to strengthen us and give us wisdom. BUT, if I can get alone with God as Jesus did in the wilderness temptations, He will give me His divine perspective on the situation. That’s what Jesus was doing for 39 days. Communing with His Beloved Father about what He was about to undertake for the people of earth. Facing something hard? Get alone with God. Stay there until He gives you peace. My Nazarene parents used to call this “ praying through.”. Whatever you call it, it works. Jesus needed this for strength as a human being to face Satan’s temptations on day 40. We do too.

PRAYER: Father help! I need to be with You. Please help me make time to get alone with you. Help me be prepared for whatever comes into my life.

8. “Deliver us from evil.” There is a devil. He has demons who work for him. They hate humans. In the movie “The Matrix” evil is represented by “Mr Smith” in a duplicate computer world. He hates humans, really hates humans. At one point he tells Neo “it’s the smell. . .” Now I don’t know if we stink to Satan but the Bible is clear about Satan’s attitude toward us. 1st Peter 5:7. Facing real evil is rare in most people’s lives. Mostly, we face stupid people, incompetent people, selfish people and maybe even a really bad person from time to time. These are handled by the forgiveness principle.

Christians in the Islamic State face real evil. We can see the stark contrast today between just being bad and being evil. The devil and/or his helpers are always involved in real evil. To face it down Peter tells us principal one in spiritual warfare – Humble yourself before God. Satan’s first sin was pride (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). Pride (self assurance instead of complete and total dependence on God) will destroy you in spiritual warfare. James 4:10. Make no mistake physical wars of this world are based on spiritual warfare. As Child of God you are involved in spiritual warfare whether you like it or not and whether you choose to fight or not. Choosing not to fight leaves you open and defenseless to Satan’s attacks. You will not even recognize that it is a satanic attack on you, your family, friends, or even your country.

Your weapons are weird.

  • Be Spirit Filled. Romans 8
  • Let the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus fill you and control you. Galatians 5:22-23
  • Humble yourself. Rigorously examine your heart and mind for sin and confess it. 1 John 1:9
  • Obey what you know God is telling you to do. John 14:15
  • Know, understand and use the power of The Armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18
  • PRAY- Spend as much time with God as you can.

PRAYER: Father, I put on the whole armor of God today. I know I can’t do one single thing without You. Fill me so completely with Your Spirit that all the fruits of the Spirit would fill me up and pour out on all around me. Show me the areas of my life in disobedience to You so I may confess them to You. Thank You for loving me so much my dear Father.

Alright, I confess that last one was not so easy or quick. Some things require a bit more effort.

Some Greek manuscripts include the powerful benediction to this prayer “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.”

God is, indeed all powerful, His kingdom will win!

Come join Him!

Love in Jesus,  Kathy

    Christians saving the world?  Are you kidding?  No!

    Christians are called to join with Christ in His world saving mission.  For many years I have taught a course called “Praying the News.” Often, we watch or read the news and either be angry or very sad about what is going on in the world.  One of the options I use to offer was to simply quit watching the news.  A world “going to hell in a hand basket can get you down even if you are praying for God to come into the situations and people involved in these news items.  This, of course, was moderately helpful but did not capture the big picture.  And it did not move God to intervene in the situation.

    The BIG PICTURE is . . . You can change the world.  You can change the situations you see in the news. Yes! You can!  How?  By inviting God into the situations and people all around you, not only what you see in the news.  God does the changing through you and I.  God saves the world as we pray for Jesus, the Savior, to save and change the people and situations according to His will and His purposes and His plans.  

    God was appalled that there was no intercessor to pray for the situation in Israel in Isaiah 59. Again in Ezekiel 22:30 God is looking for someone to “stand in the gap” so He would not have to destroy Jerusalem.  These are are astounding passages of Scripture.  Why would an omniscient, omnipotent God need us to intercede in situations like these?  Because sovereign God has chosen to do things this way.  Sovereignty means God is the ultimate decision maker.  He does what He choses.  Now, when I accept that fact, the tremendous power of God will pour through me into the world as I pray.
    INTERCEDING FOR THE WORLD – Changes the world

    Start with the people around you, your family, friends, co-workers and all the people who irritate the socks off if you.  Ask God to our out His Spirit on them, help them, ang change them according to His will.  Wait. . .    Wait some more. . .  

    Wait for it.   .   .

    we went to the most gorgeous cave I have ever seen.  It was quite small compared to other caves we’d visited but the formations were breath taking.  At the end of the tour our guide turned out the lights and led us forward into another area of the cave.  When he turned on the lights I fell to my knees in awe.  There in front of me was a perfect butterfly stalagtite formation God had been working on for eons.  I told people that I was claustraphobic but it was awe of the patience of God.  We must wait for God’s timing.  Daniel 10:12

    Next post – Praying the LORD’S PRAYER

    Theresa of Avila is one of my favorite teachers. “Let Nothing Disturb Thee” is one of her most valued sayings. I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing her words so they are more understandable from the 15th century.

    Let nothing disturb you
    Nothing frighten you
    All things are temporary
    God never changes
    Patient endurance gets everything
    The one whom God possesses
    Needs nothing
    God alone is all

    A better, more succinct description of spiritual maturity would be hard to find. Do yourself a favor. Memorize this.