Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord,

    a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.

You are a refuge from the storm

    and a shelter from the heat.  (Isaiah 25:4)

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Are you in the midst of a spiritual battle that is real and relentless? There is a bomb shelter available for you; it is the presence of the Lord. 

In Scripture God is often called the Lord of Hosts, otherwise translated, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” He has for Him purposes an army of angelic hosts fighting on behalf of those who pray. As we do, He commissions His angels into active spiritual warfare, fighting the enemy of our souls who is continually seeking to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us (John 10:10a).

While the battle rages in the heavenlies, how do we access the presence of the Lord – our safe place?

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. (Psalm 89:15)

Worship is the key to staying in that safe place. The Psalmist talks about the Lord as a high tower, but since warfare has changed so drastically in the past century, it might behoove us to refer to His presence as a bomb-shelter, for in His presence we are completely hidden from enemy reconnaissance.

If you are bombarded today by the enemy, if he is seeking to destroy you or your family, get into your safe place – the safest place in the universe:  the presence of God. Access that space through simple words and songs of praise. Here is a plain and simple prayer to get you started; keep it going all through the day…

Father,

You are my bomb shelter, and when the relentless outpouring of the enemy’s wrath and destruction beat down hard on me, You lift me up, and You save me! You reach down and take me higher! Above the noise, above what destroys. I find peace in Your throne room, the place where Your glory dwells. May the angels who surround Your throne know me on a first-name basis as I frequent Your presence. I will seek You constantly, even while I sleep, for I need Your hosts, Lord ever so desperately!

I praise You, my rock! My high tower! My bomb-shelter! Fortify me in Your presence, strengthen the core of who I am, and cause my voice of praise to be heard in Heaven throughout this day.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

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When the going gets tough, the tough repeat this phrase over and over (or a variation thereof): “Give thanks to God for He is still good in spite of these circumstances, and His faithful love will endure longer than this suffering.”

Read Psalm 136 in it’s entirety and note the declaration, “Give thanks,” is repeated a dozen times, and the statement, “His faithful love endures forever,” 26 times time – one time in every verse in the chapter.

Needless redundancy? Not by a long shot. When things get difficult, and they will, and they do, instead of moaning and crying in self-pity, we need to declare that God is good. Then we, like the Psalmist, start declaring what He has done in our history.

Psalm 136 goes into detail of Israel’s history of being miraculously released from slavery. They were up against the most powerful force in the world: Pharaoh and his magnificent kingdom. Still God took these poor slaves, beaten and down-trodden, their children ripped out of their arms and murdered ruthlessly, given unreasonable workloads, and generally not appearing in any way shape or form like God’s Chosen People. On the contrary, no one would want to be in their shoes, if they had any, which I doubt.

Read the Psalm and note the celebration of God’s strength, how He created a pathway through an impossible situation, how He convinced the hardened heart of Pharaoh to let His people go, how He made a dangerous path safe, a dark path illuminated by miraculous light, and while it wasn’t a cake-walk by any means, He made a long and laborious journey manageable for people who often made it difficult for Him, perpetually complaining as they did.

There were giants standing in the way of God’s promises to Israel, giants that these former slaves could in no way manage to subdue, but with God’s help, they gained victory. From large issues such as help from powerful enemies to small issues such as meals and sustenance and even food for their pets and animals, God was their Provider in a desert. That’s why they were able to give thanks.

The phrase, “Give thanks,” is actually the Hebrew word yadah which means to lift your hands in praise and thanks. It’s a command to do so. So as you read through Psalm 136 today, lift your hands each time. In addition to being an excellent triceps workout, you’ll find yourself crawling out of self-pity and right on top of that mountain that is trying to crush you.

The mountain is real; there is no doubt. But God’s goodness is “real-er” and much more powerful than the enemy who seeks to defeat us.

So let’s not give up! Write down what God has done for you in your history. We have done this exercise for ourselves, and re-written the Psalm to suit the challenges we face. You do the same. In the meantime, feel free to borrow a bit of ours. This is our plain and simple prayer today, a declaration of truth that God is good, always has been, and always will be.

I will give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good!
Your love never stops!
You have delivered me from challenges in the past!
Your love never quits!
You have made a way of escape from traps the enemy has set in my way!
Your love never rests!
You have given us provision when we have been broke!
Your love always wins!
You have healed our bodies when we have been broken!
Your love never ebbs!
You have redeemed our relationships when they were hopeless!
Your love always flows!
You have helped me move mountains before; You will do it again!
Your love endures forever!
I give wholehearted thanks to You, my God, for You are still good in spite of these circumstances, and Your faithful love will endure longer than this trial.
Your love always comes through for me!
That is why I will never stop giving You thanks!

Amen!

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I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

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Coulda, shoulda, woulda… Those words (though they aren’t real words) plague us often. Certainly our regrets can be valid, and we would very much like to go back and re-do errors in our past. But the fact is we cannot.

We can’t undo what has been done. So do we just make the most of it? That’s one approach, but Jesus provided a much better one:

Repent and believe the good news.

The art of repentance is twofold. First is it recognizing where we missed the mark, acknowledging and owning precisely where we were at fault. It is as though we plead guilty in God’s court for a specific crime. The devil accuses us, we go before the Judge, and in some cases, we have to acknowledge that the accusations are valid. We’ve messed up. Blown it. Done the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or the right thing at the wrong time. Or didn’t do what we were called upon to do… Sins of commission and omission.

But repentance is a good deal more than just being or saying sorry. The second step of repentance is a heart and mind alteration. We literally ask the Lord for a renewed mind that won’t get us in the trouble we find ourselves in presently.

That’s where the beauty behind repentance begins: we reach forward to believe the Good News. What is that good news? That Jesus absorbed all our “stuff” on the cross, he paid not only the fine I accrued through my sin, but he took the sin itself so that from God’s perspective my slate, my record, is totally wiped clean.

God is so good.

Once we have repented and believed the Good News – the news that our sins are forgiven and wiped away – what’s next? Move forward! Lesson number one in driving a vehicle is keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. If we over-focus on the rear view mirror, we will miss what is in front of us and find ourselves in even more pain and trouble. As difficult as it is to forget our sin, we are told to focus instead on the path God has marked out for us, our destiny and purpose in Him.

Feeling stuck in the past and regret? Pray this plain and simple prayer with us today.

Our Father,

May Your name be praised! You have made a way for me to be forgiven. Jesus took all my sin upon Himself, and I get to go free.

It’s not fair. It’s not just. It’s just grace.

I throw myself at Your mercy today for all You have done for me and all You have won. You have cleared the path of my rubble and given me a second chance at a strong new start on life.

Upon repenting of my sin, I choose to believe the Good News. That news declares that I can change bad habits and sinful patterns through Your power at work in my heart and mind and soul.

I choose to leave the past in Your dumpster, and pick up where I left off, only this time hand-in-hand with the One who loves me! The only One who can help me! The One who will never leave me or forsake me.

The One who forgave me!

Holy Spirit, be my constant guide, dearest friend, closest confidant, truest companion, my source of strength, and all the supply of grace I need to overcome the enemy’s temptations and accusations.

I choose to forget what’s behind me and reach forward to You, with You! Pressing ever onward to the prize for which You have called me.

I love You. I celebrate Your grace at work in my life today. This is truly the Good News and it’s the Best News!

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen!

 

 

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Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. (Deuteronomy 33:12)

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Who knows how many souls you cross paths with today will be in a crisis? How many will be in pain, physical or emotional? Let’s ask the Lord to give us hearts of compassion that will instill in us the urgency to pray for those who are hurting, to lend a helping hand and an uplifting word or two to sustain them in their battle.

Someone dear to us who has suffered a recent family crisis received this beautiful prayer in a text from a mutual friend. With their permission, we share it with you. We invite you to pray it over your friend in need today…

Heavenly Father,

I come to you with my precious friend. I pray that your strength and peace would wash over her heart and help her to trust again. Oh Father she is feeling the sting of disappointment and needs hope to rise within her. So I say: Hope, rise up! Fill this tender one! Gently turn her face and her eyes towards your radiant light. Help her to see your promises; may they may be as bright and hope-filled as a rainbow after a storm.

Let your banner of love be over her! I speak, “Peace be still,” to her body in Jesus name! May the courage of Christ fill her up and the counsel of the Holy Spirit be spoken in her ear. Hope again, daughter of God! Your God’s arm is not too short that it cannot save! He is so creative and knows how to reach the hardest heart. He will not stop in His pursuit!

Now I break off of my friend every evil and painful word that was spoken. In place of those words, I declare the truth. I declare that she is precious in your sight! She is beautiful and so strong, kind, and brave! She is a light in the darkness. She is valuable and loved! She has a heart like Jesus.

She can breathe again. She can rest again. She can eat again. Because you are Hope! You live in her. You are hers and she is yours. She can be secure in your love for her. Peace to her mind. Peace to her heart. Love from you floods her heart today and washes every wound and calms every raging storm.

Amen.

 

 

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