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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer to Gain Your Mountain

posted by Mark and Jill

“Now give me this mountain…” (Joshua 14:6-15)

Caleb was an 85 year old man when Joshua led Israel into Canaan. (Read his story in Joshua 14:6-15, 15:13-19, 63, and Numbers 14:24.) Joshua and Caleb had been prayer partners for 40 long, wilderness-laden years. Moses had sent 12 tribal representatives to scout the Promised Land. Ten returned spreading fear. Only Joshua and Caleb took God at his word. Fear prevailed. That cost Israel 40 years in the desert. But because of their faith, God promised that Caleb and his family would one day inherit the region of Hebron, a piece of land Caleb had seen and longed to settle.

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Caleb held that promise for forty long years until they were once again back in Canaan settling a new generation of Israelites into their allotted territories. On that day, Caleb pulls up his ancient promise and asks, “Now – today – give me my mountain!” Joshua recognizes Caleb’s claim on this land and agrees with God’s promise to his faith-friend. “Go get it!” Joshua tells him. And Caleb and his family set off and claim in battle what had been theirs in promise for four decades.

It’s my day to say, “Give me my mountain!” I’ve been holding that promise, keeping it alive in the hollows of my soul day after day. Today is the birthday of that vision. Today I ask, and then set off to fight to enforce what is rightfully mine!

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Reflection

You have a vision. You heard God’s voice and caught a glimpse of a land of blessing. But time has passed. Days have come and gone. Perhaps you have adjusted your expectations. Perhaps you have settled and have nearly forgotten your dream. It’s time to dig it up and dust it off and to approach God and claim, “Give me my mountain!”

Caleb’s story is a great template. Follow the pattern:

  1. Remember the facts from the past. 
  2. Remember the promise you heard from God.
  3. Admit the challenge – you’re older now for one thing but strong nonetheless.
  4. Push aside those challenges and ask for the promise.
  5. Receive the blessing as a given.
  6. Step out and fight to make it real for you and the next generation.
  7. Finish the job.

Response

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“Father, you know the desire I hold. I’ve brought this to you many times. I’ve protected this vision through years of waiting and disappointment. Time is passing. I’m tempted to settle for less and to negotiate down my expectation for my future. Give me first the resilience to believe again, to desire again, to know again that in spite of the time lag, your words are always true. Today I’m taking the stand to come and ask, “Give me my mountain!” I know this is mine by promise. I want it now in realtime. Give me a nod of affirmation, and I will march up and put my hand to the sword and fight to see my inheritance won! In the name of Jesus, who has fought ahead of me, Amen!”

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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!”

Previous Posts

A Prayer to Gain Your Mountain
“Now give me this mountain...” (Joshua 14:6-15) Caleb was an 85 year old man when Joshua led Israel into Canaan. (Read his story in Joshua 14:6-15, 15:13-19, 63, and Numbers 14:24.) Joshua and Caleb had been prayer partners for 40 long, ...

posted 8:15:45pm Feb. 10, 2016 | read full post »

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 »

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