Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22,23).

A Plain and Simple Prayer…

Jesus,

I woke up today and remembered that You are still on the throne. You are very much alive, still risen and victorious over death.

The angels and elders haven’t ceased their praise. Nothing has changed–You are still Lord of all.

I woke this morning and discovered that You still love me. You still care; You’re ready to carry my burden today. You are poised to lift me higher than my circumstances, for Your are bigger and greater and higher than any mountain I face.

So, Jesus, lift me above the struggle I’m facing today as I fix my eyes on these Truths, as I worship You around the throne, as I sit myself with You, ruling and reigning in life with You.

I woke this morning and remembered that the devil is still a defeated foe, though energized by sin and hate. He cannot ultimately win because You have already won every victory on my behalf.

I woke this morning and Your promises beckoned me. They did not expire overnight. They are still available; they still stand true, never to become invalid. Not one promise has lost an ounce of relevance for me. Not one of Your precious promises is out of my reach. If I stay true to my commitment to love and worship and obey You (please grant Your grace and mercy), I will enjoy the blessings of every one of Your promises.

I woke this morning to say still…

You are good!

And Your love endures forever.

So with Your enduring love, I will endure everything that comes my way with a song of praise on my lips and gratitude in my heart to the One who made me, the One who loves me.

Amen

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20).

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.

…I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.

…Let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

(Psalm 5:3,7,8,11,12)

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So the last will be first, and the first will be last (Matthew 20:15,16).

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The Kingdom of God isn’t fair. It is just, but just not fair. This is actually a bit of wonderful news for most of us, which is exactly what the word “Gospel” means:  good news, news that encourages our souls and gives us hope for not only this life but for whatever comes next.

Jesus tells the story of a landowner who hired workers at various times of the day and paid them all the same wage, even the ones who came at the “11th hour.” When the hired workers who worked the longest argued that this wasn’t fair, the landowner in Jesus’ story responded, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

Jesus retains the right to reward anyone in His Kingdom regardless of how long they have served Him. Again, this is the best news.

The Kingdom operates by it’s own rules of inclusion. No matter how you’ve lived your life, if you give your life to serve Jesus even at the 11th hour of your days, you will get the same reward as someone who never left His service since childhood.

That’s why He could say to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus is so generous and kind. He wants everyone to come to Him, barring none but those who exclude themselves.

Why not make this your 11th hour? Don’t presume to wait; this moment might very well be your 11th hour. Make Jesus the Lord of Your life today by praying this plain and simple prayer. Then you, too, can enjoy the benefits of working for Jesus in the Kingdom of God, for He pays generously – giving you a rich and satisfying life, rich in joy and satisfying with peace that nothing or no one else can afford.

Father,

I choose today–be it ever so late in the game–to give myself to You, spirit, soul, and body. Take this broken down life of mine and do something with it.

I step down from the throne of my life and place You firmly there. I have tried and failed at running my own life. It’s all Yours.

Jesus, please forgive me for my stubborn, narcissistic ways, thinking I knew more than You. Forgive me of all my sins – far too numerous to count.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and baptize me in His powerful presence so that I will be empowered to do the things Jesus did in this world; I want to do for others what You are have done and are doing for me, giving me peace for the first time since I can remember.

I worship You with my heart and soul and mind and strength. I celebrate all You are doing and will do in and through me now.

Amen!

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“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

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Does God know us? Doesn’t He know everything? While He certainly does know everything–He is omniscient, apparently He doesn’t know everyone.

The Scripture above is among the scariest of all. Jesus goes on from there to tell us that many who are presently famous in the Christian culture will not be the ones we see honored in heaven. In fact, they are the ones in danger of not even making it through the gates. They themselves will be as flabbergasted as the rest of us.

On the other hand, those who are obscure in our Christian culture, those to whom fame has not been granted, are the ones more likely to be famous in Heaven. It doesn’t mean, of course, that every person who enjoys fame in our society is disqualified from honor in Heaven. It just means that being known on earth doesn’t necessarily mean we are known by the One who matters most. Being known by God is something altogether different.

I think of my dear friend Diana, a retired special needs educator, who spends her entire morning everyday worshipping God and interceding for those the Lord puts upon her heart. I daresay, God knows her well.

I think of my beloved neighbor Patsy, who gets up long before dawn to pray. She’s not a celebrity here, but in Heaven I imagine she is well-known, heeded, and honored. Currently short in stature both literally and figuratively, yet in Heaven, she will be head-and-shoulders taller than most of us.

Who will be featured on God’s Red Carpet?

Only those whom He knows. Again, this begs the question: why doesn’t God know everybody? Isn’t He all-knowing?

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me…
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Psalm 139:1,23)

Perhaps allowing God to know us only happens when we give Him access. David’s prayer is an invitation to be known by God. Just like reading Eric Metaxas doesn’t make Eric Metaxas know me, studying the Bible helps me know God, but doesn’t allow God know to me. For me to get to know Eric Metaxas would require spending time with Eric Metaxas. I would need to be granted access into His life, make an appointment with him, and persevere until enough time was spent in order for him to understand my character, temperament, dreams, hopes, and abilities.

Thank the Lord, allowing God to know me isn’t quite as difficult nor logistically challenging. The good news is, we have been granted access to God’s presence, any time, any day. His calendar is wide open to us. All we have to do is take time to be quiet before Him and share our heart with a plain and simple prayer, like this one…

My Father,

I feel like I know You because I am aware of Your Word. Though I can recite passages, I am fearfully aware that that doesn’t presume intimacy with You.

So I ask You today: please get to know me. I know You are willing, for You make that clear on every page of the Bible:

“Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” Jeremiah 33:3.

You invitation stands open indefinitely. Today, I want to sit at Your feet and let You know me. I will share my heart with You and ask that You share Yours.

I won’t bring my list of things I need or want from You. I just want You to know me.

Teach me to be known by You. As I grow in this understanding, I believe You will enrich my life in ways I never dreamed. Thank You in advance, dear Lord, dear friend.

Amen

 

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Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him. I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name (has a personal knowledge of my mercy, love and kindness; trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no never). Psalm 91:14 Amplified

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The Lord’s primary commandment to humanity is to love him. It’s fascinating to me that He is more interested in my love than He is my obedience. He’s not demanding submission first and foremost; He wants my love.

Love involves relationship. I can obey a superior without having a relationship with him or her. I can submit to an authority figure without having an ounce of admiration for him nor a smidgen of affection. I can’t love God without a relationship with Him. Love presumes relationship.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

He longs for us to have a personal understanding of His love and kindness and, with that understanding, love Him in return.

It is in loving Him that we reap the benefits of Psalm 91: we receive His help and deliverance. You see, we assume that God just helps and delivers everyone, but is that a correct assumption? It certainly doesn’t bear out in our experience, for everywhere we look, terrible things happen to people. Tragedy strikes us all irrespective of our attempts to live godly lives.

But if we dig a bit deeper, we can see that the promises of God are often contingent on something. The protective promises of Psalm 91 are contingent on our love for God, our willingness to dwell under His shadow–or to abide in Him, as Jesus taught–as well as to deliberately trust in Him in all circumstances.

I’m writing this out of my own raw, painful struggle that I have faced for almost a decade. I’m with you, looking for answers and crying out to God for breakthrough. Could this be it:  simply making it our daily task to love our Father God? To bless His name, to continually speak our thanks and whispers of love to Him?

Let’s give it a go! Agree with me in prayer for breakthrough over the challenges we face by learning to love God with everything we have and everything we are.

Father,

You have promised to protect me, deliver me, keep me from death, shield me from calamity, command angelic charge over me, grant me victory from my enemy, answer me and help me in times of trouble, and to give me a rich and long and satisfying life, showing me Your salvation along the way.

These magnificent promises are partially realized in areas of my life, but there is one gaping hole, one thorn in my flesh in which I have yet to discover victory. I lay all other questions and requests aside now as I seek just this one thing:

May I be granted the grace to love You more? Give me the understanding to know Your love and to return love to You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

I want to love You from my heart.

I want my emotions to be engaged in my worship.

I want to want to love You.

I want my thoughts to reflect how much I love You, my God.

And I want my day-to-day actions to show forth a love for You that is genuine and growing daily.

I believe I receive the answer to this request. I am expecting Your help as I purposely engage in loving You from my heart.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

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