Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

If You Dare, Make This Your Prayer

posted by Mark and Jill

Here I am Lord, send me. (Isaiah 6:8)

Prayer is a gift, isn’t it?! We connect in simple words to the Creator of creation. That alone is astounding. We stand together to offer up our praise and our needs, and here we discover truly what human relationships are intended for. It’s an honor to pray TO God WITH others.

It’s here we learn that to be in relationship we must first learn to be a servant.

His Servant.

Isaiah came to accept this. It wasn’t easy. As an influential leader in Israel Isaiah served his nation by delivering God’s messages. The role brought him great authority. But one day he actually encountered God’s presence. His certainty about his noble purpose and inspiring vision melted away. That experience realigned his identity. He didn’t own his life any more than he had chosen to be born. All he could do was respond, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

As Jesus would later express it, “Father, not my will but yours…”

If you dare, make this your prayer.

Lord,

Here I am. I am not hiding. Send me on the assignment you choose. I am your servant; you are my Leader. Send me… to speak up at the risk of losing face, to invest my assets for returns I can only cash in eternity, to give away my talents in secret, to lose my life while the battle still seems hopeless. Here I am…

Amen

Before I can be trusted to wield the blessings, authority, power and resources of God – this IS his intent – I must come forward with hands raised in surrender. I’m not first a servant leader; I am first a servant submitting to a Leader.

 

A Prayer for a Renovated Soul

posted by Mark and Jill

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me
now let me rejoice.
Psalm 51:7

The bad news comes before the Good News. It must. But now we turn that corner.

We ask God for blessing, but we first recognize that compromises within us can block blessing. Today we reach out to God to receive pardon and transformation – the Good News!

Psalm 51 has a backstory. It is the prayer of King David after he’s confronted with his guilt as an adulterer and murderer. David had God’s blessing, but his choices crippled his capacity to receive it. When David’s sin was exposed he had a choice: Fight or flight, or fall in submission. He chose submission. Psalm 51 is his plea for a renovated soul and our model for what to do in the face of shame.

Read Psalm 51 as your prayer, with your own backstory in mind. God reveals secrets in our hearts, but he also cures them, when we submit and ask. Take the journey through this prayer carefully. With David’s words as your own go to the place David himself could not: The Cross of Jesus. Carry compromise, habit, addiction, co-dependence, self centeredness, self reliance – whatever your crutch – to the one toxic waste dump of the universe – the Cross.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[
d] from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Psalm 51:10-12.

Ask your partner to join you in this confession. We need to hear God’s will in the voice of another announcing our absolution. So share your confession, then ask them to tell you the Truth, the Good News… “You are free and clear, in Jesus!”

And now that we’ve covered the basics, the fun begins!

 

How Can God Know Us? Search Me!

posted by Mark and Jill

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  
Psalm 139:23-24. 

Nothing hinders God’s love; but I can hinder my own capacity to accept grace. Today we admit this and pray for the remedy. Issues within me can block the gifts that the Holy Spirit has to offer.

How can our all-knowing God choose to know my heart only when I invite him? Jesus warns that one day he will say to some, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”It seems that God gives humans the right to invite or reject intimacy. Our hearts are sealed, unless we open them.

We invite you to pray this powerful invitation, and as you do, pause and wait for God’s response. He will respond. He will shine light on motives, fears, an inclination to preserve life at any cost. Details will come clear.

As they do, take note. Then ask God for yet another blessing: the gift of forgiveness, transformation, and new direction, to “lead me along the path of everlasting life.” 

My Father,

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Amen

University of the Word, Communication 101

posted by Mark and Jill

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thes. 5:11

These instructions from Paul summarize what godly communication looks like. Let’s take these tips to heart and make some necessary changes in how we communicate to those we love and those we are trying to love. This month we are praying about communication in marriage. We take our cues from the Word of God, the manual for marriage and for life. What does this Scripture teach us about communication?

Don’t say anything unless it falls under the following criteria:

1. It promotes the well-being of the one I am speaking with.

2. It boosts and enhances the other person’s attitude, not weighing them down.

3. It makes a deposit, not a withdrawl, into their emotional bank account.

If what I say does not benefit the listener, then I am causing grief, not only to that person, but also to the Holy Spirit Himself. If my words hurt someone, they hurt God, too. Let’s make it a great day for others and a great day for God by speaking loving and positive words.

Father,

Please forgive me for speaking so many negative, critical, ugly and unnecessary words! I commit to obeying this Scripture as though it were the only one you’ve ever spoken to me. I make it my aim in life to speak words that agree with your word and your instructions. But I can’t do this with my own will power! I first need your power to transform my mind, and I submit myself to the process of transformation through renewing my mind by soaking it in your truth, in Your Word, in your presence, in worship, and in your love.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Previous Posts

If You Dare, Make This Your Prayer
Here I am Lord, send me. (Isaiah 6:8) Prayer is a gift, isn’t it?! We connect in simple words to the Creator of creation. That alone is astounding. We stand together to offer up our praise and our needs, and here we discover truly what human relationships are intended for. It’s an honor to pr

posted 1:37:48pm Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for a Renovated Soul
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me now let me rejoice. Psalm 51:7 The bad news comes before the Good News. It must. But now we turn that corner. We ask God for blessing, but we first recognize

posted 8:04:34pm Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »

How Can God Know Us? Search Me!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24.  Nothing hinders God’s love; but I can hinder my own capacity to accept grace. Today we admit this and pray

posted 1:33:43pm Jan. 20, 2015 | read full post »

University of the Word, Communication 101
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and

posted 1:00:21pm Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Restoring the Presence of God in our Marriage
“It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it…” 1 Chron. 13:3 “The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned.” 1 Chron. 13:14 King David realized that the valuable Ark of

posted 10:28:50am Jan. 15, 2015 | read full post »


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