Friday, October 23, 2015

Praying Around the House

Today this devotional of mine was posted by Guideposts online.

Does sitting in a chair praying for people (even those you love) produce droopy eyelids or wandering thoughts? It can be hard to concentrate on praying, even with a list or journal in your lap. You want to be an active prayer warrior, but somehow, you just can’t focus.
Have you ever considered praying in motion? Doing something while you pray?
This habit began for me during my baby-rocking years. Although I loved sitting in the rocking chair, feeding my baby or lulling him to sleep, I couldn’t help but add up the “unproductive” hours in my head. In an effort to multi-task, I took to praying over him.
I prayed over my baby’s eyes to see good and shun evil, his hands to help people, his feet to carry him to mission, his mind to know the Word, his heart to believe in Jesus.
As my children grew and became more mobile, I prayed around the house. While doing the laundry, I prayed over the pants and socks and shirts—that their wearers would follow God and flee from sin. As I ironed shirts, I prayed for arms to embrace others and hearts to seek God. In the kitchen, I prayed for hungry hearts and minds, for social graces, for fun family dinners and game nights around the table. In the living room, I prayed for peaceful evenings and protection from harmful media images.
At night, I often sat beside their beds and prayed in the dark, over troubling friendships, pending decisions, and bright futures. I prayed against the forces of evil that came against them daily.
Just as the Lord’s house is called a house of prayer, I want my house to be the same. And I have found that praying in motion—in the steps and actions of everyday life—is one of the best ways to make that happen and some of the most active spiritual warfare I can wage.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In Jesus' name, Amen

John 14:14 might be one of our favorite verses in the Bible: “You may ask anything in my name, and I will do it.” Hence, someone developed the practice of praying with the important tag on the end, "In Jesus' name, Amen." 

Because adding Jesus' name to a request is like saying "please" when you're a little kid. It's the magic word.

Shame on us for trying to rub the lamp for the Jesus genie. Asking for something in Jesus' name bears far heavier implications than saying "please" when you want a chocolate chip cookie. Jesus' name invokes power, authority, and sacrifice. When I align myself with Jesus, I bear the responsibility of Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 2--I must humble myself like Jesus did and become a living sacrifice. I must say "Not my will, but Thine be done." That's what Jesus' name means.

Jesus stands in the gap for us before the Father and intercedes for our requests. He reminds the Father that this lowly human (me)--this follower of Christ who's struggling in finances or relationships--has been pardoned from her great guilt by Jesus' own personal payment. This human likeness of Christ I aspire to have lets me stand before a holy God and ask for help, which God promises to give me because of Jesus' love and pain. If I am truly a replica of Jesus--if I can stand as a "little Christ" (i.e.. Christian)--then I will want God's will, whatever that looks like. I will not subvert God's will, reinterpret God's will, or manipulate God's will so I triumph emotionally, financially, physically, or socially.

Because if I'm like Jesus, I'm walking a path of suffering, and I'm leaning into God's strength for wisdom, courage, and destiny. God's will is my will. That's what I'm asking for. That's what I want. In Jesus' name.

“The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give that which I have asked. . . . This popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires.”—A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Thankful Heart

You can't fake a thankful heart, even if you say "thank you" or send a "thank you" note, (which, by the way, is still an excellent idea, even in the age of technology). Thankfulness permeates why you do things and how you do them. It emanates from a spirit of contentment rather than entitlement.

Thankfulness makes statements like--
"You are so thoughtful!"
"I can't believe you did that!"
"You make me feel so special!"
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world!"

Thankfulness and humility go hand-in-hand. They expect nothing, appreciate everything, and value everyone. Thankfulness comes from the heart, creating pure joy.

Col. 2:6-7--"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

image by

Friday, October 9, 2015

How to complain the right way

I know how to complain. You do, too.

This isn't fair.
I will never dig out of this.
Nobody appreciates me.
I wish I had nicer things!
Why can't I make any more money?
I don't have any friends.
Why is this happening to me??

It's all really pathetic on paper yet pretty important in our heads and hearts. We want to give credence to our feelings, so we express them to a friend, a spouse, social media, or some unsuspecting car at a stoplight. Does it help?

Some. Verbal statements seem more accurate than fleeting thoughts, so it's nice to express how we feel. The hard part comes next--how to be positive. So we give our complaints the respect they deserve, and we speak them out. We're frustrated that God's not doing a better job of meeting our needs, and we don't see any escape routes.

In times like these, I turn to the Psalms. David wrote at least 20 specific laments, and he's a doggone good complainer. But here's the interesting thing--David complains to God. Before his declarations settle in to his psyche, he responds to his own complaints with faith. He gives himself the answers that seem hard to believe. Yet he knows they are true:

God is good.
God loves me.
God will protect me.
God will avenge my enemies.
God has a plan for my life.
God will use this hardship for good in my life.
God has blessed me a hundred times before; He will bless me again.

David let those words sink in, and he believed them even more.

So don't just complain about your issues. Turn to God for help. Make your laments and believe that He cares. Plain ol' complaining is just a waste of time.

image from

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lament about Oregon shooting

Below is a blogpost on Guideposts, by my friend Bob Hostetler. He writes extensively about prayer, and uses laments on his prayer blog to show his readership how to call out to God when times are terrible. Last week proved yet another example of when and how to lament. I've copied his blog below, as well as the source material.

by Bob Hostetler

Another shooting happened last week at a community college in Oregon. Nine innocent people died, adding to our collective sense of grief and frustration.
Since then, of course, airwaves and the internet have been filled with anger and argument, outcries and opinions of all kinds. Such things are understandable. They can even be healthy. Though few people—if any—would suggest that prayers alone are sufficient at such a time, prayer is critical. And particularly the prayer of tears.
The psalmist David cried out:
Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. (Psalm 39:12, NIV)
On another occasion, he asked God:
Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll. (Psalm 56:8, NIV)
Tears of grief and passion—even fury—are precious in the sight of God. We may instinctively try to stifle our tears when tragedy strikes and grief overwhelms. But maybe we shouldn’t. Especially when words fail us, our tears can say what we can’t express. Tears cleanse. Tears relieve. And tears pray.
So let yourself cry. Let your tears pray. Ask God to listen to your weeping. Ask him to record your tears and in his loving, providential wisdom, turn them into healing, help and hope—for you, for victims and for our hurting, sin-stained, violent world.