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Showing posts matching the search for obedience

How to pray for God's will

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"Dear God, if it's Your will, please . . ." That's the spiritual way to pray, right? For God's will. And then we proceed to tell Him what His will should be. We'd like a clear-cut path toward a desirable destination. And a nice view along the way. In Hebrews 11, you can read about a whole list of people who spoke with God and heard His response. They heard God's will, about moving to a new land, shaking off slavery, conquering kingdoms, enduring persecution. They prayed for God's will (a plan), they submitted to God's will (their obedience), and then God led them in His will (their destiny). God's will can mean all 3 things. So what and how should we pray for God's will? Accept an unknown outcome  Here are two curious aspects of God's will--He often doesn't tell us the details first, and He doesn't even promise we'll know why something happened. He just expects blind obedience to His written Word. Heb. 11:39 says, &qu

How to change a Bible story into a prayer for your family

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I'm reading my way through Jeremiah. There's a lot of prophecies and punishments pronounced against the Jews, particularly Judah. They are invaded by the Babylonians and hauled off as slaves. The famous verse Jer. 29:11 appears, promising a hope and a future, but the promise occurs in the context of abduction and 70 years enslavement in Babylon. The Jews--and us, if we make application--are blessed when they obey and punished when they don't. My reading today was Jeremiah 34-35. A family called the Recabites have kept a promise to live for generations without drinking alcohol, sowing crops, or building houses for generations, This came out of obeying a forefather's command. The theme of obedience--not the command itself--is praised by the Lord. Here's the principle that struck me and the prayer I took away from it: "Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Recites, 'This is what the Lord Almighty, the God is Israel says,: "You have obeyed the co

Praying courage and power over a tough path

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Praying courage and power over a tough path.   Isaiah 42 is a Messianic chapter which Jesus quotes from in New Testament. It provides an encouraging framework for anyone experiencing fatigue, discouragement, or oppression. Isaiah reminds the readers (as he talks about the Messiah), that God does not forget or hurt the broken. He remembers them and places them on a path to victory. See for yourself... pray this over someone who's struggling. Maybe yourself. Oh, Father, You delight in me. You are pouring out your Spirit on me, bringing justice to the nations through my obedience. You won't push me down when I stumble or break me when I feel broken . You will not snuff me out like a smoldering candle. Instead, you will rebuild me. You will fan the flame in me. You will lift me up and place my feet on solid rock. You will set me on the mountaintops. You have called me into right living because you are always right. You hold my hand and walk with me. Open my eyes that I may see

How to Pray (a lesson from Jesus)

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How should you pray? What if Jesus could show you how to pray a prayer that works? Most of us have probably prayed the Lord's Prayer. We've sung it or recited it in unison in church, at a large event, at the dinner table. It's fast, simple, and maybe a little high-church in its feel. But it's not really a dinner prayer or a convocation prayer. It's not designed for cathedrals. It's merely a sample of how to communicate with God Almighty about both big and little things. Jesus formed this prayer himself, so I'd say this is a reliable template for your prayers, too. You can use this for a model. Here's little breakdown of the topics:  1) worship 2) faith 3) obedience 4) mission 5) request 6) confession 7)    praise (It's always a good idea to start and end with adoration of God--it straightens out our perspectives.)  In other words, I can't ask God for something when my heart is still hiding selfishness or pride. I can't ask for his will w

A prayer for resilience

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Oh, Lord Jesus, I worship you. You alone are what I need,  what I depend on for life and joy. Forgive me for looking anywhere else. I need resilience. I want to recover,  rebound , overcome all the fears that attack me, from the habits that bind me, from the voices that poison my heart and my mind. Only you can do this work in me. Only you can filter the lies from the truth. Holy Spirit, reveal yourself to me. Take control of my mind. Instruct my heart with understanding and obedience to your prompting. Fill me with all the knowledge of you so I can attain the resurrection of life, the purpose for which I was born. Resurrect my faith in you and your process of completing me. Resurrect my shortcomings and my failures. Breathe life into all the dead spaces inside me. I need you. You have formed me, called me, empowered me. I am yours. Always and forever. You can do anything you want with me. You can take the dead places inside me and resurrect them. You can take the broken pieces

8 Things God wants us to know when life is hard (A paraphrase of Psalm 66)

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  Psalm 66 tells us 8 things God wants us to know when life is hard. When my world is melting, sliding out of my control, sometimes I wonder what he's doing. So I usually go to Psalms. God always reminds me that he is busy, and he is triumphant already.  So stop panicking. Here's my paraphrase and prayer of  Psalm 66 , bullet-pointed for clarity: 1. Praise God first, regardless of what's happening Shout for joy, everyone! Give  God credit for his miraculous works! 2. God is in control because he is the Creator Oh, Lord, You fill me with awe. Your enemies cringe at your name. They rebel and slander and revolt, yet the earth itself follows your commands and bows itself in reverent obedience. The orbits rotate, the earth shakes and spews, the animal kingdom continues its circle of life, the wind and waves take their predictable paths. 3. God directs and uses the world for his glory You can alter the world's state at any moment. You can send fire, part waters, stop uprisi

Here I am again, trying to trust You

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  Here I am again, trying to trust You, God. In the last year alone, I've posted 9 prayers specifically addressing the issue of trusting God. Given the year we've had, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And here I am, about to post another prayer about trust. This week, during my prayer time (which I usually have while I walk my neighborhood), Lauren Daigle's song " Trust in you " played on Spotify through my Airpods. It struck me that I'm still struggling over this same issue of faith. I still doubt and worry about what God is doing in my life. Where are you taking me, God? What am I supposed to be doing? Why do I feel so afraid? So unsettled? I'm discouraged that trusting God remains difficult, no matter how much or how long I've worked on it. I'm choosing to trust God again today. Moment by moment. This year. (Read a whole blog about this struggle here .) So here's a song to inspire you and a prayer to transport you into God's presen

A Pledge and Prayer of Allegiance

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In this turbulent time of political, social, and emotional unrest, I thought a prayer and pledge of allegiance might be helpful to remind ourselves where we should be aligned and why.  Loyalty and trust are important, but they reflect what we value most. They reflect what we truly worship . A prayer and pledge of allegiance I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and to unity of believers and t the gospel for which He died, one Church, under God, indivisible in His Spirit, with love and forgiveness for all. Oh, Lord, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace , I pledge my obedience and reverence to you alone. You have created me to love you and to love others . Keep me from spiritual distractions, from aligning myself against others, from creating enemies and judging friends, from believing that you can only work through human law. I pledge my faith to your will and your timing because you are not hampered by the decisions of men. You can use anyone. You can use me, if only I will trust you.

How to pray for the fruits of the Spirit (and understand what they are)

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Dear Lord, I need the fruit of your Holy Spirit , the evidence that you are working in my life and producing works that are honoring you. Give me love like yours that doesn't see status, race, gender, intelligence, economics, politics, personality, age, or sinfulness. Help me just love souls like you love souls. This is not a gift so much as it is a decision. Help me decide to love like you. (Click here to read "Why love hurts.") Fill me with joy at being in relationship with you. This, I think, is also a decision. Help me decide to choose joy and thankfulness for any and every situation, to have the faith that you are present and you will accomplish good in me and through me. Your will and timing are always best. Remind me not to chase after happiness because that is fleeting. Joy lasts. (Click here to read "Handling joy and grief at the holidays.") Help me seek peace over safety, security, and being proven right. Convict me when my decisions and

7 Reasons God may not be answering your prayers

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Below is a guest post by James Watkins, one of the first editors to publish articles by me. He happens to be a great prayer warrior, as well as successful editor and author. And he's funny. I know you'll be challenged and inspired by this article by him (the links in parentheses are mine): On the kitchen wall in my boyhood home hung a plaque that promised “God Answers Prayer.” Because of those words, reinforced in Sunday school and Bible storybooks, I got the idea that prayer was a 100-percent-guarantee, lifetime-warranty, you-must-be-completely- satisfied-or-your-money-back, over-night-delivery promise. And so, as a first-grader, I prayed for a pony for my birthday . . . and didn’t get it. I prayed for a pony for Christmas . . . and didn’t get it. During adolescence, I prayed that my face would clear up, and those prayers weren’t answered either. As I grew up, so did my prayers. They were far less selfish and included more altruistic requests such an end to the Vietna

A prayer from weakness

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Dear Lord in heaven, I feel weak today. So, so weak. Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. I feel insufficient. Not enough. Less-than. I think you call this a strength because I'll to turn to you in my desperation just to survive. In my frustration , I might actually listen on you. Wait on you. Pray to you. Obey you. Trust you. This process makes me stronger because it gives your strength a chance to work in me and change me. You make me enough, just as I am, when I have you. I can do hard things when you're the strength behind my obedience. Thank you. You are so gracious and merciful. You love me, bless me, and guide me. I am in awe of how you work and why you decide to work in me and through me. I praise your name, O Most High. In Jesus' powerful name, Amen. "But he said to me, ' My grace  is sufficient for you, for my power  is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about

Confessing my country's sins

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Lord of heaven and earth, You know what's going on in my country. You know our sins are enormous. Sickening. Despicable. Unfathomable. Unrelenting. We exploit the naive, the weak, the old, the poor, and the traumatized . We kill babie s, no matter what their size. We decide who has a chance to live and what life should look like. We devalue human identity and created purpose, confusing our children and adults about who they are and how you created them. We ignore the handicapped unless they do something amazing that fully-functioning people don't do. We execute criminals , whether they've had a fair trial or not, and we say "Good riddance." We waste our natural resources . We mass-murder our own countrymen and look for someone to blame for it. We desecrate our healthy bodies through dangerous lifestyles, immorality, substance abuse, and food addictions. We call it our personal right to do so. We waste our time . Oh, such a valuable commodity. W

Praying to follow when I can't see the way

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Lord God, the Way-maker, Open new pathways for me. I feel like I'm at a dead end, like there's no way out of this problem. I'm trying not to look around me, not to see the forces of criticism, procrastination, confusion, fear, misapprehension, self-doubt, and down-right evil that assault me from all sides. I'm trying to look ahead, to follow your voice and see your face. To put one foot in front of the other in terrified obedience. Are you out there? Where are we going? I can't see you. I can't even see the path. Remind me of you promises: You go before me. You go behind me. You go with me. You live inside me. You feel my pain. You created me to handle this. You made me for this purpose. You use everything for your glory. You are growing me. Where you lead me, I will follow. You make a way, where there is no way. I believe you can do it again. And so I follow you. That's what you've told me to do. Amen.

A prayer about getting involved

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Dear Lord Jesus, the God who saves us-- I'm so thrilled to be a part of your mission on earth. I sit in awe at how you love every single person, how you desire hope and purpose for them, how you call each person to yourself. Some don't hear you calling. They have too much pain or too many sorrows. Many are fighting to survive, and some are just fighting. I can help with that, if I care enough to get involved. I can sponsor a child, I can feed the hungry, I can welcome the stranger, I can befriend the lonely, I can visit a prisoner, I can provide for the needy, I can advocate for the weak, I can comfort the brokenhearted, I can provide healing for the sick, I can rescue the enslaved. But only if I'm willing. I can't pray and ask you if I should get involved because you've already told me to do it. Now it's strictly a matter of obedience. I must get involved. Give me courage and selflessness. I will take the next step. I will

A prayer of destiny over your family

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Dear God, Creator and Designer of all life-- I ask for your blessing over my family. Not success--not wealth--not even continual happiness. I beg for your perfect will to be accomplished in their lives. I pray for their destinies--for you to have the freedom to use them like you want to use them. You created each of them with specific skills, personalities, talents, intuitions, and inhibitions. Oh, Lord, may you have the freedom to use them to their fullest potentials. Give my children and husband tender hearts to the Holy Spirit and courageous spirits in this stress-filled world. Help them look above the chaos and see your face and hear your voice. Speak into their souls--may they make room to hear you in the quiet places of their lives--and give them the determination to respond in obedience. To step out in faith. To start objectives. To participate in mission. To stand against sin. To not blend in. Make them bold, missional, fearless, confident in you alone. And give them

A raw intercession

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Dear Lord Jesus Christ-- You are full of mercy and love, and you amaze me because we are a desperate and sinful people, and yet you don't annihilate us. At least, not yet. And so I pray to you. Grant us mercy--give us time to repent. On behalf of those who serve you, if we have pleased you with our rare and paltry obedience, please go with us into the earth. Convict us. Transform us. Forgive the arrogance and selfishness of us, your name-bearers. We misrepresent who you are to your world. We are stubborn and rebellious. We elevate our own agendas. We hate the lost, and we compete with our brothers, and we call it Christianity. Please forgive our wickedness. Our sin is grievous to you, and it confuses your message of forgiveness to the world. Under the canopy of spiritual election, we have confused freedom with grace, conservatism with purity, and protection with compassion. Your heart must be breaking at the sight of us. We bear your name, and we

Lord, You did it again! (a praise for grace)

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Dear Lord, You did it again! You answered prayers we didn't deserve to have answered. You gave grace in the midst of our frailties. You sprinkled favor on us like a gentle rain; Your radiance shined on us, like the sun breaking through after a storm. Thank you! Thank you for being Yourself, Your loving and generous self, who gives to the just and the unjust, the holy and unholy, just because You're holy. You gave us another gift today, just because You're You. We are eternally grateful. Help us to live worthy of Your grace here on earth (at least as much as possible). It's what You want from us-- relationship, obedience, glory to God. May You lengthen our memory of this day until the next time we wonder if You love us enough to hear our prayers. In Jesus' precious name, Amen. image by  MALIZ ONG