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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

August 2009 Archives

More on Learning how to Pray – from Kids

posted by Mark Herringshaw

A nun once asked the students in her class to write a letter to God.  Here are some of the results. Lessons in honest and simple prayer:   Dear God: If you watch me in church on Sunday, I’ll show You […]

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Learning from Expert Prayer Coaches – Children

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Children are not instinctively religious. Once when a preacher’s sermon dragged on beyond supposed 12:00 noon scheduled close one little girl leaned over to her mother and whispered, “Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?”  […]

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If and only if… part 4

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Jesus makes bold and audacious promises about the power and effectiveness of prayer.  If we ask, we will receive. But in the process of making claims Jesus also connects specific conditions to these promises.  Here’s one final dangerous “if/then.”   […]

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If and only if… part 3

posted by Mark Herringshaw

There’s a third Biblical condition to answered prayer. Jesus lays down amazing promises about the power of asking things from God. He promises to answer. You can check out Thursday’s post if you’d like to see a few of those […]

When the Goin’ Gets Tough… Pray Like Jesus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Weariness can kill the practice of prayer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided to get up early in the morning or stay up a bit later at night to spend time talking with God. All the best […]

If and only if… part 2

posted by Mark Herringshaw

There’s a second Biblical condition to answered prayer. Jesus makes some amazing promises about the power of intercession, then attaches some contingencies. You can check out Thursday’s post if you’d like to explore this more. Bottom line: God has put […]

Enough is enough, but not enough is never enough…

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Enough is enough, but not enough is never enough.  On paper my income should be sufficient.  I get a steady paycheck every month.  We don’t spend what we have recklessly either. My wife Jill shops at garage sales. We’ve paid […]

If and only if… part 1

posted by Mark Herringshaw

We pray behind some remarkable promises from Jesus about the power of prayer. You can check out yesterday’s post if you’d like to see a few of those commitments. Essentially, the founder and CEO of the universe offers to put […]

Telling the Voices in My Head Where to Go!

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I’m not a schizophrenic, at least I haven’t been diagnosed. But I do hear voices in my head.   I don’t think I’m alone. I bet you do as well. I hear my own voice of course, what some people […]

Promises, Promises…

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Jesus’ “Lord’s Prayer” serves as a kind of jazz chart for intercession.  He lays down the melody line, the rhythm, the key and the basic chord progression. Then he invites us to improvise with variations of individual expression.    This […]

Ted Kennedy, “A Man of Quiet Prayer”

posted by nsymmonds

As the nation mourns the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, many are coming to find out about parts of his personality that were otherwise hidden or overshadowed by his political personality. In a WCVB-TV Boston Channel story, Kennedy was described […]

Praying in the Middle of Misunderstanding

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Sometimes words don’t work. Sometimes the harder we try to make ourselves understood and to understand in return, the more clumsy and confused we become in our relationships.   I had one of those experiences today. I needed clear communication […]

Deliver Us from Evil

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one…”   According to Jesus the world, as we know it is not the world God intends.  The prayer tenet “your will be done on earth as it is […]

Forgiveness – the Caveat

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Forgive us our trespasses…” Then Jesus in his great prayer adds one line of fine print to this too-good-not-to-be-true offer: “…As we forgive those who trespass against us.”      Hmmm. Strings attached?   Evidently, if we ask for release from […]

No Fear Here

posted by Mark Herringshaw

There’s a particular taste to fear, somewhere between bitter and fire-hot. Scientists could probably explain this, something about the adrenaline rush that hits the blood stream the moment of terror. Whatever the rational explanation, the fact remains: fear makes us […]

Carrying Everything to God in Prayer

posted by nsymmonds

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,Oh, what needless pain we bear,All because we do not carryEverything to God in prayer! “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” By Joseph Scriven I was reminded of this hymn this morning when one […]

Stunt Double for Jesus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Maybe it’s the stereotype white shoes and plastered hair that rubs me wrong, but I admit, I sometimes have negative reactions to television faith healers. This is hard to admit, because these guys are on my team. Honestly, I believe […]

Dumping the Debt

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Forgive us our trespasses…”   Newton was half right. To every action there is at least one equal and opposite reaction. I say, at least because usually one reaction grows into two and those into 200! Simple events have a […]

Jesus Tames Chaos

posted by Mark Herringshaw

My garage has a mind of its own. I’m not particularly sentimental, but it seems to like to collect things I otherwise don’t know what to do with. Chaos wants to reigns there and plots to put things out of […]

Praying-in Breakfast

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Give us today our daily bread”   What’s for breakfast? That’s an important question, one of the most important questions in our family, and probably in yours too. Jesus said we don’t live by bread alone – we also need […]

Raising He…aven on Earth

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”   Minnesota is not heaven, I assure you, especially in February. Even now, in August’s green, lush, heavy and humid dog days, it’s a far distance from paradise. […]

“Jesus Guns Down Sin”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

We don’t like the word “sin” anymore. Call them “mistakes,” or “Karma,” or “disabilities,” or “disorders” – anything but “sin.” Well, a rose by any other name smells as sweet, and a portable toilet by any other name smells as […]

Pray and Believe

posted by nsymmonds

“So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 I have been living this scripture for the last few weeks unlike I have ever lived it […]

“Jesus’ Weapon against Deception”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

  How do I battle the lying tongue of my enemy? The devil is called “the father of lies,” and he deserves the title. Here’s how Jesus dealt with this threat and I can model his strategy.   “Be quiet!” […]

To God on a First Name Basis

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Hallowed be your name”   God our Papa has a name. Actually, he has several, and the Bible tells us what they are. Today parents name their children based on the sound or popularity of the word. Parents in the […]

The Wonder Words of Jesus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

  “Be quiet!”   “Be clean!”   “Be still!”   “Be free!”   “Be unafraid!”   “Be opened!”   “Be careful!”   “Be yours!”   “Be alert!”   Words of Jesus from The Gospel of Mark   Explore more in […]

“Papa God”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

We call it “the Lord’s Prayer.”  Actually, it is our prayer, taught to us by Jesus: a beautiful template to guide our conversation with our Creator.    Jesus begins with the two most radical words in human history: “Our Father.”  […]

Jesus Copycat

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I learn best by modeling. I’m too old and too soon gone from the planet to learn all I need to know by trial and error. I’ll mimic my Master, and live by his experience. I’ll copy Jesus.   When […]

Prayer for Hurricane Bill and Hurricane Season

posted by nsymmonds

Hurricane Bill is not projected to do any real damage in the United States, but I still feel compelled to send up my prayers to those who may be in the midst of the storms that may ensue because of […]

Winning the War of Words

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Today I’m walking uphill against the wind. I’m exhausted physically, my mind is skipping circuits, and I have the motivation of the banana slugs I used to collect as a child in the mountains above Santa Cruz. If I look […]

Muttering to God

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Every day in great Cathedrals, in automobiles, restaurants and school libraries millions upon millions of people around the world recite “The Lord’s Prayer.”  I said it myself this morning. It is perhaps the simplest, most direct, most encompassing prayer ever […]

When Jesus Didn’t Pray

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Jesus prayed, but not always…   Jesus stayed constantly connected with God, his Father. This proved the source of his life and power. But Jesus didn’t always pray when facing challenges. Sometimes he just spoke words directly, and let the […]

Jesus’ Template for Talking with God

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And […]

Does Prayer Make Me Smarter?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Check out this story: Andrew Newberg argues in his new book “How God Changes Your Brain,” that meditation alters our gray matter, strengthening regions that focus the mind and foster compassion for others, and calming those areas linked to fear […]

Putting “Play” in “Pray”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I have a new spiritual director: the four year old daughter of a friend who confides her heart to God the way she whispers to her Teddy Bear and the way she giggles when her father whisks her off her […]

The Sex Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Last week writer Matthew Paul Turner dedicated a week on his blog, “Jesus Needs New PR” to talking about sex. He calls it “Sex Needs New PR.” Jennifer Schuchmann, my co-writer on Six Prayers God Always Answers, and Nine Ways […]

A prayer for anyone with a broken heart

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).   The image of heartbreak describing the devastating emotional pain of a broken relationship transcends culture and is expressed in the same way in […]

God, the Jilted Lover, a Friend of Jilted Lovers

posted by Mark Herringshaw

  Love hurts. Last night I sat and listened to a young woman, a friend of Jill, my wife, tell the devastating story of her recent breakup with her boyfriend. I listened, then prayed that God would heal her wounds […]

For God’s Sake, Say Something!

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I grew up with an image of Jesus as a meek and mild saint.  But when I explore the gospels I see another side of him: Jesus the warrior.  This may not be popular notion, but it is undeniable.  Jesus […]

Catching God’s Virus

posted by Mark Herringshaw

There’s a lot of talk these days about flu bugs and pandemics. Is God contagious? If we get close, can we “catch” whatever he has? Here’s a bit from my book, Nine Ways God Always Speaks. Beware.   Getting close […]

Know God; Knowing Justice

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I want to know God.  Paul said the same thing: “I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” Knowing God means sharing God’s pain. In Six Prayers God Always […]

A prayer for people who have suffered abuse

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.  He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression to violence he redeems their life; […]

To God, There’s No Such Thing as Petty Injustice

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Can God be bothered with the minor issues in our lives, those small offenses we suffer and sometimes inflict on others?  Does god care about that stuff? In my book Six Prayers God Always Answers I argue that he does.  […]

Jesus Delivers the Goods

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Early in his ministry Jesus outlined his mission in a kind of mission statement.  He quoted the Prophet Isaiah promising that his presence and activity would result in certain outcomes.  His influence would have impact.  And the impact would be […]

A Prayer for People Held Captive

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“God, you are a friend of the oppressed.  Jesus said that he came to release the oppressed.  We believe this, and as Jesus followers we carry forward his mission with our prayers of faith.  We appeal to you, our God […]

God as the King of Torts

posted by Mark Herringshaw

  I am beginning a prayer experiment today.  You’re welcome to join me.    I read again this week Jesus’ story in Luke’s gospel (chapter 18) about a widow who comes to a judge asking for justice. The judge – […]

What Does God Want from Me? Justice, Mercy, Humility

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I often make life – and particularly my relationship with God – much too complicated.  I imagine an endless list of obligations, “shoulds,” and “musts.”  But really walking with God is simple and straightforward.  One Old Testament prophet named Micah […]

Provoked to Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The title Six Prayers God Always Answers is someone audacious, I admit. But I truly do believe that God does always listen and always respond.  We simply need to learn to pray expected, and listen for his hand.  In the […]

A Prayer for the MercyMe Bus Crash

posted by nsymmonds

Early on Saturday morning, a MercyMe tour bus going through a greenlight collided with a car that suddenly made a left turn. Three of the passengers in the car, Barbara Schmucker, 17, her boyfriend Dario Boutte, 19, and the baby […]

The Smell of Injustice and the Incense of Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

  In Six Prayers God Always Answers, Jennifer Schuchmann and I argue that pleas for justice are one of the appeals that always move God to action.  We sometimes imagine that God values passive self deprecation.  Wrong!  In the Bible […]

Angry Prayers: The Bible Gives Permission

posted by Mark Herringshaw

There is nothing stoic about the Psalms.  As a collection of Israel’s worship songs the Psalms capture the heart of the Jews’ heart for God.  The Hebrews do not separate their thoughts and theology from their passion.  Their worship is […]

Prayer as Anger Management

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Last week a friend sent me a link to a website featuring articles about “anger management.”  I’m not sure if he felt I needed this information, but he did ask what I thought about the approach.  I had to tell […]

A Prayer for Eunice Kennedy Shriver

posted by nsymmonds

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Ted Kennedy has been hospitalized. She was listed in critical condition but has since stabilized. Join me in prayer for this woman of strength. Heavenly Father, I pray that just […]

God Talks Too V

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Does it ever seem as if God speaks in riddles? Do you ever wonder why he doesn’t just come out and write words across the sky for us? In Nine Ways God Always Speaks, we wonder too, and we speculate […]

Friends with God: Psalm 143:10-12

posted by Mark Herringshaw

David was God’s friend. God was David’s friend. This intimate Psalm written three thousand of years ago outlines for us what we can expect from God in this relationship. Prayer is based on the certain facts we know about God. […]

A Prayer of Augustine: “Be the joy of my heart”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Here’s another simple and simply beautiful prayer from St. Augustine. In his role as Bishop (pastor) for the church in Hippo, North Africa, Augustine became a great defender of right doctrine and right practice of Christian faith. All this theological […]

Prayer for Lonely People

posted by nsymmonds

As news continues to unfold about George Sodini’s struggle with loneliness, I can’t help but think there are so many people in the world just like him. People who live reclusive lives not because they want to, but because somehow […]

God Talks Too IV

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Are there ways we can increase our likelihood of hearing God speak? I think so. In Nine Ways God Always Speaks, I offer the following: What’s the difference between those who hear him and those who don’t? It’s as simple […]

Friends with God: Psalm 143:8-9

posted by Mark Herringshaw

King David banked everything on his friendship with God. God was everything to David.  Here’s how he describes that relationship in Psalm 143:8-9.  Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,      for I am trusting you.   Show me where to walk,      for I give […]

A Prayer of Augustine: “You are My Health”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

St. Augustine didn’t trust his physical body. Prior to his conversion to Christianity Augustine had lived to please and indulge his own appetites. For the rest of his life on earth he considered his “flesh” as the enemy of his […]

A Prayer for the George Sodini’s Victims and Family

posted by nsymmonds

Yesterday, George Sodini entered a Pittsburgh L.A. Fitness gym aerobic’s class, turned off the lights and opened fire. The 50 rounds of bullets killed three women and injured 10 other people. Sodini then turned the gun on himself and killed himself. Sources […]

To Pray or Not to Pray, Part 2

posted by nsymmonds

So I’ve gotten quite a bit of response–both on this blog and off–from “To Pray or Not to Pray“. I’ve heard from alot of you that you think it is ok to continually pray about a situation, in my case, praying […]

God uses “heart recognition software”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

New experience: I am writing this post using the voice recognition software in my computer. I’ve never used this feature before and it is a weird experience.  When I first began to write from a keyboard it took time for […]

God Talks Too iii

posted by Mark Herringshaw

In Nine Ways God Always Speaks, my co-writer, Jennifer Schuchmann and I relay this fascinating story about hearing God shared with us by our friend, writer, Cecil Murphey.   My brother was maybe five feet two and weighed around one […]

Friends with God: Psalm 143:5-7

posted by Mark Herringshaw

David’s friendship with God was based on what he knew about God; what David knew came by observing God’s past actions. David was able to lay everything on the line in prayer because he knew God’s character was dependable. His splendid […]

A Prayer by Augustine: “Our Hearts are Restless”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

In his spiritual autobiography, Confessions Augustine tells the story of his wandering, painful quest to find true peace. He searched in philosophy and religion, in self indulgence and in self effacement. He found peace finally only when God found him. […]

A Happy Birthday Prayer for President Obama

posted by nsymmonds

Today, the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, turns 48-years-old. I just wanted to take a moment to wish President Obama a happy birthday and ask that you join me in praying for him today and continuing to […]

God Talks Too ii

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Yes, we talk to God in prayer. Does God talk back? Here’s the introductory paragraphs to Nine Ways God Always Speaks, my second book, co-written with Jennifer Schuchmann. Some things are too good to be true: living to be 101; […]

Friendship with God: Psalm 143:2

posted by Mark Herringshaw

God invites honestly from his friends. We can be – must be – transparent. And God not only tolerates us shooting straight, he honors it. When we know where we stand with him – as intimate friends – we can […]

Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Augustine was Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in the 4th-5th century. Except for the writers of the New Testament, no one has had more influence than Augustine in establishing Christian belief and practice. This prayer to the Holy Spirit […]

To Pray or Not to Pray

posted by nsymmonds

On Saturday morning I was talking to my mom about life and how I am tired of the single life. At hearing this my mom said, “Well, have you been praying for a mate?” To this I rolled my eyes, let out […]

God Talks Too i

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Prayer is just half of the equation. A relationship with God – a “friendship” as I’ve been defining it – requires communication. And communication must be two-sided. We talk with God in prayer. God hears. We believe this; that’s why […]

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

John Wesley, along with his brother Charles founded the Methodist Movement in England in the 18th century. Wesley preached open-air sermons and followed up by encouraging his converts to join small groups for prayer, study and moral accountability. Wesley’s “Covenant […]

Friends with God: Psalm 143:1

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Prayer is based on an assumption: We believe God hears and is able and willing to respond to what we say. Prayer in its purest form assumes a relationship. In its best form, it assumes a relationship of friendship. Friendship […]

Previous Posts

A Prayer to Elevate Your Thought Life
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Phil. 4:8 NLT "For as he ...

posted 12:03:15pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

It's a Wonder-filled Life
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. Psalm 16:9 My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Psalm 57:7 Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s ...

posted 10:50:50am Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Shut Up Or Shout
“Do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” Joshua 6:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10 The Israelites had messed up God's plan and suffered the ...

posted 1:10:57pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Win the Race
"...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects ...

posted 11:11:33am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Stop Judging
"Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. You think you're better than I am..." ~ Job (Job 19:4,5) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged." ~Jesus (Matt. 7:1) "God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has ...

posted 3:46:41pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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