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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer for God’s Thoughts

posted by Mark and Jill

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8).

For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (II Corinthians 2:16)

I am not smart enough. Don’t smirk; neither are you.

Researchers say we possess “bounded rationality” which means we all make decisions with only limited information and very limited brains. And yet, God trusts us with massive responsibilities: a wife or husband, children, a business and employees, homes, cars, retirement portfolios, and visions and dreams for a preferred future. Knowing what you know about yourself, do you think this was a good idea? But God loads us down with blessing, so much in fact we can’t possibly manage it completely.

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We are not smart enough and life is a set up for failure. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.” Which is why God teaches us to pray. We are on the planet to learn conversational dependence. I love the simple prayer of Pastor Morris Vaagenes: “I can’t. You can. Please do. Thank you.”

When we admit our “bounded rationality” he shares his “boundless rationality” with us. Paul’s claim is actually audacious: “…For we have the mind of Christ.” No, my thoughts cannot be God’s, but His can be mine! I have the mind of Christ. I can pray for his way of thinking, his perspective, his attitude, his insight, his creativity, his logic, his memory, his forgetfulness, his common sense, his strategic foresight – ALL OF HIS MIND – to pervade me.

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Wow!

Jesus, you are brilliant and wise. When I give you access to my life you give me access to yours. Today I need your way of thinking. I have a challenge or two before me that are beyond my pay grade. I can’t think fast enough or clearly enough. But you can and do. Do so now, in me. Amen!

Now you are thinking!

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A Prayer for Excellence in Business

posted by Mark and Jill

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

Years ago Tom Peters published a popular business leadership book titled In Search of Excellence. Perhaps you read it. Peters set out to define excellence in the marketplace and then to identify enterprises that met that standard. It was not an easy search. More recently Jim Collins has picked up the quest. In his books Built to Last and Good to Great, he has not only set the benchmark metric for excellence, he outlines a roadmap to match that quality ourselves. 

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How to get to excellence? The Bible has another route: Prayer. 

Our human efforts always end in failure. Eventually we find we are not strong enough, smart enough, nimble enough, or persuasive enough to neither create nor sustain excellence. God has made the world this way. As Jesus puts it, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)

Paul’s brilliant prayer is packed with power. We can borrow his words and make it our prayer for our work and business. Let’s do that today. 

Pray for love. Love is not a concept, a feeling or a choice. Ultimately, Love is a Person… Love Himself… Pray for more Love, to be passionately engaged with your calling and with the people in your spheres.

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Pray for knowledge – the “smarts” to grasp the nuances required to master your responsibilities: good memory, clear logic, quick assessments. Under-standing means, literally that matters “stand under” my mastery.

Pray for discernment – a miraculous capacity to distinguish truth from illusion. God can install his “truth detector” beyond knowledge. Ask for it!

Pray for excellence and the capacity to build, recognize and reward it! God loves what is “good.” When he created, he stepped back and said, “Very good!” Pray for the same, to be able to generate works of excellence and to step back and call it “good!”

Love… Knowledge… Discernment… Excellence. Let God bless the “work of your hands” by borrowing these words in prayer over the specifics of your spheres of responsibility. As you do, monitor your own heart and circumstances. What happens? 

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Prayer for a Good Work Ethic

posted by Mark and Jill

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  (Colossians 3:23 NLT)

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

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Father,

I will listen and obey your Word today, working diligently at the job you have given me to do in this season of my life. I will give myself to these responsibilities as though you were my manager, for You are! At the end of the day, may I look back with joy and pleasure and pride, receiving as my reward Your smile of approval for a job well done. Please let me hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

Amen

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A Prayer for Perspective

posted by Mark and Jill

Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” 2 Kings 6:17. 

Things looked bleak. Israel was under siege by the mighty army of Aram. There seemed no way out. Elisha the Prophet and his servant both recognized the same real problem; but they had opposite reactions. The servant froze hopeless in fear. He saw the crisis as it appeared, faced facts and drew a logical conclusion: “We are doomed!” 

Elijah too faced facts. By the numbers God’s people couldn’t prevail. But Elijah saw truth beyond. “Do not be afraid… Those who are with us are greater than those who are with them. There is “seeing” and “seeing.” 

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Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’  Higher facts trumped the obvious. Angels, part of God’s second created order and pledged to protect his children surrounded those who surrounded Israel. Power was at hand!  

This “second sight” as it is sometimes called took a second look, and a miracle answered to Elisha’s prayer. This same “invisible” reality swirls around you, your family, and your business. Ask to see it! The facts of this world matter; the facts of another realm matter more. Ask God for vision and two things come clear. First, you will become intensely aware of what’s happening, literally, here and now, down to earth. Second, you will “sense” the reality of the other world also down to earth. 

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We humans are amphibians, living in two atmospheres, earth and heaven. Prayer focuses our eyes to detect reality in both spheres. As you pray today, expect this, especially for your work and business. It may be new to you, but open your eyes when He does!  

Father, open my eyes today. May I see the world from Your perspective, not mine. Amen.

“The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire”

Previous Posts

A Prayer for God's Thoughts
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8). For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these ...

posted 12:18:27pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Excellence in Business
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10) Years ago Tom Peters ...

posted 10:46:38am Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Prayer for a Good Work Ethic
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15) Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but ...

posted 10:39:27am Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Perspective
Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” 2 Kings 6:17.  Things looked ...

posted 10:24:35am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Servant Leadership
“Here I am Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).  “Father, not my will but yours be done…”  ~Jesus Before I can be trusted to wield the blessings, authority, power, and resources of God – and this is certainly His intent– I must come ...

posted 12:17:30pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

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