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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Praying Jabez’s Prayer

posted by Mark and Jill

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (I Chronicles 4:9-10).

We gag on the “P” word. “Prosperity” masquerades as a forbidden fruit for a genuine Jesus-follower. The very idea conjures up images of white-shoed charlatans fleecing the faithful, and we want no part of that. But why the push back? Why are we hesitant to leverage Biblical precedent for the promise of God’s favor, now and forever? Could it be hidden pride?

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Jabez lived under a curse. Each time his pitiful name was spoken he felt a pang of rejection. Jabez was pain incarnate. But his honor reached out for more. He knew his people had a covenant with a merciful God. Out of pain, Jabez came forward to claim his share of goodness. He believed that God’s character gave him the right to seek and insist on prosperity. He discovered that to accept a cursed life was to curse the God who gave him life. Seeking blessing was a way to bless God. Asking for prosperity is worship!

Jabez appeals to God in four progressive requests.

  1. He asks simply and directly for personal blessing.
  2. He describes his desire – that God would expand his domain of influence.
  3. With more influence comes more responsibility; Jabez asks for God’s strength to govern that responsibility wisely.
  4. He asks for protection to go with the provision so that he may not fall back under his old curse.

Audacious.

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And God granted his prayer. God prospered Jabez.

Response

“Oh Father, that you would bless me. I am your child, not a slave in your household. You  are never offended when I presume on your goodness. It is your ‘good pleasure’ to make my life fruitful. So extend my influence. You put me on earth to steward creation. I’m asking for more authority and responsibility, and I’m specific in my requests. Then increase my capacity to manage these blessings. I need your wisdom and your courage to handle these new opportunities. And finally, keep me on track, so that I do not fall back again into old unbelieving patterns that lead only to defeat and pain. Your desires for me are far greater than I can even imagine. I reach out for your first best!”

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A Prayer When You’re Grieving a Beloved Pet

posted by Mark and Jill

“At your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11b

Father,

I miss my right-hand friend. My darling and beloved companion’s absence is sorely felt in my soul. Would you hold me now? Part of me wonders if I’m making more of this than is reasonable? Then I remember my Creator. You took such care and thought creating animals that have worked their way into our hearts – beings with hearts of their own, with knowing eyes, compassion, and seemingly undying support for their humans. Thank you. I have asked you to hold me, and I feel you now. I’m saturating your holy shoulder with tears of grief. I feel your gentle embrace and your word rings true: You comfort those who mourn. I don’t know for certain what eternity holds when it comes to my sweet pet, but I take comfort from your Word:

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Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)

Perhaps one day when I’m shouting your praise around the throne, I will find there, joining in the throng, my beloved companion. In the meantime, I receive your comfort. And you shall receive my thanks and praise (albeit with tears) for a joyful sojourn with a gift from Your hand.

Amen.

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A Prayer When You’re Wrestling With God

posted by Mark and Jill

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God.…and won.” (Genesis 32:24-28)

Jacob had just escaped an intense scrape, meeting up with his former employer and father-in-law who positively wanted to pulverize him. Then, to make matters worse, Jacob was poised, the very next day, to meet up with Enemy #1: his brother Esau. Jacob, the ol’ dirty, rotten, sneaky fellow had cheated his brother Esau out of everything he held dear.

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Sandwiched between these two conflicts, he was left alone for the night. Or was he?

Someone approaches in the dark. Jacob has so many enemies, this must surely be one of them. Down they go in hand-to-hand combat! Through the night they wrestle, a perfect match. Deadlock. Until the One shows his unfair advantage and skillfully, supernaturally dislocates Jacob’s hip. It’s over. He says, “You have wrestled with God.” The game changed. His name changed.

Are you so uptight today that you might be fighting your Source of peace and your Source of victory? Jacob’s new name was given: Israel, which means “God Fights.” Perhaps it’s time to cease striving and know that God is truly God… He will fight your battles for you…if you let go and let him.

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Father,

I have been shadow boxing everything that moves. My fears have overwhelmed me. I’ve been tormented by the demons of my past, and I’ve not trusted you to forgive and redeem. I surrender! I’m down for the count, bowing to your great strength and love. Forgive my striving! Forgive my manipulating! Forgive my sin and distrust! I receive your grace now. Fight for me, Lord. Have at the spiritual enemies of my soul. You have rendered me weak and crippled from the fight I have initiated. Now, in my weakness, make me strong in your strength.

Amen
P.S. And now please bless me, and change my name from “Scoundrel” to “God Can Do Anything!”

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A Prayer of Desperation

posted by Mark and Jill

The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me.

The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.

But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.

He heard me… my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalm 18: 4-6)

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If you feel like you are slipping down a cliff of despair, here is a prayer for you. When Jonah, David and other men and women of the Bible experienced trauma, pain, and grave danger they cried out to God and found real help and security.

Lord,

I feel as though I am losing my grip and can barely hang on a moment longer. In desperation I reach my hand to you, God. Grab me! Pull me out of this mess! Hear my earnest prayer! I give my life to you today, every bit of it. I’m yours. Help me. Be my God. No longer will I build my life on shifting sand. You are my rock, and with your help I will establish my life on your firm foundation. Deliver me from this pit, and I will praise you. I will tell of your great wonders. I will make known your wonderful ways, steadfast love, and unending power. Thank you! I know you hear me and that you save the humble and contrite of heart. Forgive me for my decisions, actions, and attitudes that got me to this place. I receive your forgiveness and power to change. And as I am forgiven, I forgive each person that has contributed to my temporary defeat, for my victory is at hand. You are here.

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Amen

I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,

    and he answered me.

I called to you from the land of the dead,

    and Lord, you heard me!

I sank beneath the waves,

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    and the waters closed over me.

    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.

I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.

    I was imprisoned in the earth,

    whose gates lock shut forever.

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But you, O Lord my God,

    snatched me from the jaws of death!

As my life was slipping away,

    I remembered the Lord.

And my earnest prayer went out to you

    in your holy Temple.

(Jonah 2:2,5-7)

Previous Posts

Praying Jabez's Prayer
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and ...

posted 2:15:06pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer When You're Grieving a Beloved Pet
“At your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11b Father, I miss my right-hand friend. My darling and beloved companion’s absence is sorely felt in my soul. Would you hold me now? Part of me wonders if I’m making more ...

posted 2:33:45pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer When You’re Wrestling With God
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me ...

posted 11:20:11am Feb. 02, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer of Desperation
The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me... my cry ...

posted 11:55:50am Jan. 27, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer to Believe That You Can Change
As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, ...

posted 1:17:15pm Jan. 25, 2016 | read full post »

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