Archives For prayer

Do you see God as useful or beautiful? This was a question mentioned somewhat in passing by David Platt recently, but it hit me hard. Why are you a follower of Jesus? You may have initially chosen to follow Christ because you saw the beauty in His love and His compassion for you, but has that same fascination remained?

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Perhaps as the years have passed you’ve come to view Him as more useful than beautiful? A good way to measure this is by looking at the content of your prayers. Are they more focused on His magnificence and the holiness of who He is, or are they more self-focused requests on what you want or need?

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I spent some time in the mountains recently and was once again awed by the beauty and creation of God.  There is something about getting away from our man-made surroundings and into the natural world God created that reminds you of His magnificence and beauty. In our busy and harried world, we spend too little time taking a break and getting quiet with our Creator. We were not created for the bombardment of impulses affecting us every day. We were not created to fill every minute of every day with (mostly) mindless activity.

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It’s okay to be still. In fact, the sons of Korah realized the wisdom in this and wrote what God had said to them: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When the Israelites were preparing to take the land promised to them, God told them to be still and He would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).

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Christine Caine made a great analogy between our physical heart and our spiritual heart. She said, “Your physical heart muscle pumps and regulates your blood flow. That blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. If you exercise that muscle with cardio workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it junk food, and you know what happens: the arteries get clogged, and the muscle grows weak.

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The same is true of your spiritual heart… What happens if you let your spiritual heart languish and you feed it junk food, the ‘earthly things’ that do not satisfy? It also gets clogged, grows weak, and sends toxicity pumping throughout your life.” How are you nourishing your spiritual heart?

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I believe we too often forget what a privilege it is to pray. At some point, we began to take it for granted. When was the last time you considered what was actually taking place when you began to pray? Prayer is our opportunity to talk to the one and only almighty God of the Universe. We are conversing with the One who designed and created not just ourselves, but everything on this planet and every other planet.

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Truth be told, we should all be far too intimidated and awestruck to even utter a word in His presence. In His grace, He has adopted us as sons and daughters into His family (Romans 8:14-17), which means we not only have a right to be in His presence, we have the intimacy of a familial relationship to be able to speak to Him with ease.

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Outside Union Station in Los Angeles is a plaque reading: Vision to See / Faith to Believe / Courage to Do. I love that. It’s a great encouragement to me as I seek to follow Jesus. When we set out to do something in His name and to further His mission, it is His vision guiding us. He can see so much bigger than we could ever dream. No matter how grand our vision, God’s is always so much more.

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When you think your dream is too big, remember God is saying it’s not big enough. How ridiculous is it to think we might be dreaming too large for God? What exactly is it we think He can’t accomplish? He is able and willing to do whatever we ask and immeasurably more when we are doing it for His glory and His purposes (John 14:12-14; Ephesians 3:20-21).

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This may be the most surprising author I’ve ever quoted on this blog, but save the raised eyebrow and appreciate the quote I read from Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I submit in our walk with Jesus, our life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s faith.  What might we do for Christ if we actually believed what He said about faith? What might we do if we only believed we could do what He said we could? If we want to live a big life for God’s glory, we’re going to need a big faith. I believe Jesus intends for us to trust Him in what He says.

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He has created us with a unique mix of skills, talents, and passions to accomplish His mission on earth. It should go without saying if He designed us for certain work, He has given us the abilities to accomplish that work. It should excite you to be a part of His mission. If you want to expand the role you are playing in the mission of Christ, it follows you’re going to need to expand your faith.

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Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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Constant prayer has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a near constant dialog going with God. Somedays it’s more conversational, others it can just be a series of “I love You” or “Thank You” prayers being sent His way. Praying continuously is something I do without thinking. It wasn’t something I planned one day, it’s just how it is for me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

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Even when times are difficult, the prayer continues. While there are plenty of other areas with which I struggle, this one isn’t a huge concern for me in this season of my life. Still, I recognize continuous prayer doesn’t come as easy to many. Knowing this, I wanted to spend some time looking at Scripture and talking through the discipline of praying continuously.

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This is a topic I revisit every so often, but probably not often enough. We need to remember the persecuted around the world. Every day while we enjoy the comforts and freedom of our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing unspeakable torture and persecution. Throughout the New Testament, Paul urged all believers to be united as one (Ephesians 4:1-16). Jesus prayed His followers would be as close as He and His Father are (John 17:21).

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To be united, to stand as one, we must continuously pray for and identify with our fellow believers around the world. Allow me to throw down a challenge to you in the form of a question: how much time are you spending in prayer for our brothers and sisters in chains?

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There is no more awesome feeling than being in the presence of God. If you’ve spent time there, you know this for yourself. Its true God is always near, but in our busyness, we tend not to notice Him. Once you’ve tasted being in the presence of God, you crave more time there. Knowing this, why is it we spend so little of our precious time pursuing the greatest love of our life?

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Is it, perhaps, we don’t consider Christ to be our greatest love? Or maybe we think we’ll get back to God once our lives slow down and we’ve accomplished certain goals? For those who have pledged our lives to Jesus, there is no excuse for not spending time in His presence.

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