Archive for category prayer
Hannah’s prayer was a timely inspiration this morning.
1 Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
2 “There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 “Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.
4 “The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.
6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
upon them he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
I have been reading and listening to Brennan Manning, who is a very humble God-follower. Brennan’s life is a rare example of humility and deep understanding of the love of God for us. I am amazed at his humility.
Hannah’s prayer is a great example of humility before the Lord. It spoke to me of my increasing arrogance and course nature and reminded me that I need to get on my face before God and honor Him at all times and love those He puts in my life.
The rest of the chapter is a somber reminder of what can happen when we’re disobedient (not humble). The actions of Eli’s sons affected not only them, but their father, and their entire family line from then on.
I will meditate on this today.
After an extended hiatus, I’m jumping back into dBrag (daily Bible reading accountability group) with a few of my close friends. It’s amazing how easy it is for me to get out of the habit of reading God’s word every day. That tells a lot about myself, huh? The only way I can stay consistent in God’s word is if I know others are counting on me to do it. Oh well, the hope is that doing this long enough it becomes a part of my daily routine.
Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE reading God’s word. When I actually sit down and do it, I find it very rewarding and enjoyable. But it seems like the sitting down to do it is the hard part.
Anyway, we decided to jump back in with Hebrews, 1 John through 3 John, then Jude. Much of which I’ve already written about. Then we decided to take a trip through 1 Samuel (one of my favorite OT books).
Follow along if you dare…
1 Samuel 1 –
I found it interesting how God’s word tells more about some people’s birth than others.
We are told of the events leading up to the birth of only a few men in the Bible, Samuel being one. Not exactly sure why in this case. Perhaps because we need an example of answered prayer. Hannah prayed and asked to have a son, even though she was barren. God answered her prayers. Perhaps her spoken request to Eli, the priest, had something to do with it?
The encouragement for me today is to not be afraid to ask God in prayer.
Have a great day,
So, King Saul is dead. David can finally be annointed King as the prophet Samuel had anointed him so many years back.
But first, David sought God on where he and his family should settle:
In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.
The LORD said, “Go up.”
David asked, “Where shall I go?”
“To Hebron,” the LORD answered. (verse 1)
Throughout the books of first and second Samuel, this is one of the common things you will see. David stops frequently and asks God for guidance. “Should I go here, Lord?”, “What should I wear?”, “Which side of the bed should I get up on today?” Okay, I may have thrown in that last one myself, but from my reading I get the impression that David consulted God on every decision large and small.
Perhaps this is why God calls David, and no other in the Bible, “a man after God’s own heart.”
I have to ask myself these questions:
- Do I believe God hears my prayers? My answer is an empahtic “Yes!”
- Do I believe God answers my prayers? Again, “Yes!” is my answer, but not always in the ways I expect.
- Do I believe God cares about my well-being? Definitely “Yes!”. He has demonstrated this time and again. He’s not necessarily interested in what I wear, for example, but definitely interested in my decisions and the consequences involved.
- So why is it that I don’t take everything to Him in prayer – as David did?
That’s the question I must ponder today. What about you? Do you take everything to God in prayer? Or, like me, do you usually end up doing things on your own, only consulting God if things get out of hand?
Forgive me, Lord. I trust You. I will try to be more like your servant, David.
God has me thinking a lot about what it means to go deeper in my relationship with Him. I’ve been blogging about my fears, about worship , about serving. Today, I’d like to take a gut-level honest approach to prayer.
To be very honest:
- I am a confident prayer when I know people are listening
- I pray really well when I’m in the midst of a crisis
- There is nothing I want more than better communication with my heavenly Father (both ways)
Perhaps you can tell from the way I worded the list above that I’m not the world’s mightiest prayer warrior.
First, I have a big hang-up when it comes to praying out loud; in front of people. When someone else is listening, I go into a whole different mode. I’m thinking about who’s listening, what they may be going through, how I can carefully arrange my words to avoid offending or embarassing them or someone they know, how I can encourage with my words and bring blessing on them, yet communicate with God in such a way that will properly bless and praise Him. Phew – that’s a lot of work.
Don’t get me wrong – I can do it. I’ve been a Christian for a good number of years and I’ve heard a good number of prayers. I’ve got my “prayer language” down just right. I have plenty of cliches and spiritual-sounding phrases to impress every skeptic in the group. In my list, I mentioned that I’m confident when it comes to praying out loud. But, to be honest, it feels fake most of the time. Not that I’m trying to be something or someone other than what I am, nor am I trying to manipulate or impress. Perhaps it’s because I’m trying so hard to “cover all the bases” and being careful not to leave anyone or anything out. By the time I’m finished, and look up – I frequently have this feeling that I was talking only to those physically in the room. And – what’s the point of all that?
It’s quite a different story when I pray alone. I can be honest, avoiding formulas or senseless ritual when it’s just the Father and me. Especially when I’m going through difficult times. I mentioned second in my list that I pray really well in the midst of crisis situations. Well, I’ve had my share of crisis, and I must testify that God has never let me down. He’s always been there to hold me up and hear my cries. He is my strong tower and my fortress. He is my deliverer and my comfort and my strength in the storm.
So, what about when everything’s going pretty well? Why do I not have the same zeal and passion? Why is it I can go for days without really praying?
I was curious, so I put in “what is prayer” into my favorite search engine. I got hundreds of thousands of possible links. I clicked on a few of them with titles like “How to get into the habit of prayer” and “daily prayer time”. I know there must be something useful out there, but what I found left me with a bad taste in my mouth. You see, I’ve never been one for legalistic rituals or 3-step formulas for things like prayer.
It seems so pathetic to have to set aside 15 or 30 minutes each morning in a prayer closet, sitting in a certain position, palms up, praise music on the iPod, incense on the dresser. Is it just me? What if Jesus were my roommate? Would I need to schedule a time each day for us to talk? Woud I need to meet Him at a certain place and sit in a certain position and make sure there were no distractions? Would we meet in the library? No, can’t talk in there. What about Starbucks? No, can’t hear in there.
The articles I started reading all had to do with this thing called “discipline.” Is that it? Am I so undisciplined that the thought of such a daily ritual leaves me disgusted?
No – I want to talk to my Abba Father, my Daddy, just as if He were here with me: in the car, in the restaurant, in the room as I shut my eyes at night. I don’t want 3-step formulas or rituals to get in the way. I want to praise Him and tell Him what He means to me and thank Him for all He’s done. I want to lift my daughters up to Him and ask for Him to bless their day and protect them from the enemy. I want to tell Him exactly what’s on my mind and I want to stop and listen for His still, small voice.
So – why don’t I?
As I said on my list – it’s the thing I want the most.
So – ???
The only thing that comes to my mind is Paul’s amazing, comforting passage in Romans chapter 7. He writes about how the things he wants to do the most, he doesn’t do – and the things he doesn’t want to do, he ends up doing.
I’m starting to see that, like any spiritual discipline (i.e. Bible reading, prayer, giving, serving, etc.) we are handicapped in several aspects. One is our human nature – our flesh is always trying to die. But we are not our flesh – what we are is spirit. Our flesh is just what carries us around on this earth.
And, two is our sworn enemy. The Bible calls satan a roaring lion roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour. Fears, doubts, temptations, distractions – these are some of his favorite tools to keep us from going deeper with God.
Our best defense?
I guess the point for me today, after reviewing all this stream of consciousness is:
Do whatever it takes.
Perhaps I need a ritual. Perhaps I’m not strong enough on my own – not disciplined enough to talk/listen to God at all hours of the day. Perhaps I need accountability and a plan to build prayer into a habit.
I mean, what’s worse – praying out of compulsion to follow a ritual or not praying at all?
Lord, You know my heart. I want to know You more. I want to always be listening for your voice. I never want to neglect talking with You. But, just as I wouldn’t want my own children to have to schedule a certain time, wear certain clothes, sit in a certain position, say certain things – I don’t want that to be how we communicate. I need You in my life each and every second. I want my focus to always be You. I want to turn to You immediately if there’s a problem and I want to know You’re right there. As with anything, Lord, if You don’t help me with this, it’s over. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and prick my conscious, Lord, each time I am distracted. Help me to look at my own world through the lenses of prayer. Help me to hear through the earbuds of prayer. Thank You, Lord – for Your grace and how You also want more than anything else to better communication with me.
The New Living Translation starts out this chapter with “A psalm of Solomon.” So I started reading it thinking it was Solomon who wrote it. But something was wrong – it wasn’t making sense. So, I turned to my trusty “Matthew Henry’s Commentary” and cleared up the confusion.
You see, David wrote this “for” Solomon in his dying days. It’s a prayer or song of blessing for the newly anointed successor to King David. I started reading it over and was blown away by the petition from David for his son.
1 A psalm of Solomon. Give justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. 2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful, because the king does what is right. 4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. 5 May he live as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon continues in the skies. Yes, forever! 6 May his reign be as refreshing as the springtime rains like the showers that water the earth. 7 May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the end of time. 8 May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. 9 Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. 10 The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. 11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. 12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. 13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. 14 He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him. 15 Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 May there be abundant crops throughout the land, flourishing even on the mountaintops. May the fruit trees flourish as they do in Lebanon, sprouting up like grass in a field. 17 May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.
Upon reading this chapter – I was convicted to pray for my daughters. I pray for my daughters now – every day. But, the passion and thoughtfulness of this dying man’s prayer has reminded me of the importance of prayer covering for my children. It’s probably the most important thing I can do for my girls on a daily basis.
I’m grateful for the reminder. I, like dying King David, want my children to use their position in this world as princesses of the Most High God to bless godly people God puts in their lives. I want all they are in charge of in their lives to prosper because of their relationship with Father God. I want people to look up to them for their example of how a godly woman flourishes in a dying world.
Bless my girls, Lord. Help me to pray fervently and passionately for them each day, just as David did for his son.