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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Got Fear? Get Faith! Here’s How

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-9).

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Got fear? Get faith. Here’s how…

 

Background: God has just given Joshua a commission to lead Israel from the desert into the Land of Promise. Joshua is scared because he knows he can’t succeed on his own. The situation is really a crisis – a million people to feed, enemies on every side, no experience to lean back on… Sound like any situation in your life?

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But God doesn’t leave Joshua alone with his problem. He gives him PROMISES that work like a superenergy source for his faith. These promises become a prescription for dealing with his fear; and this prescription becomes the outline for securing the miracle he desperately needs. God tells him “meditate on the scriptures day and night…”

 

Faith works the same for us. The Bible says “faith comes by hearing the word of God.” Miracles begin by first packing our minds with God’s truth… There’s a sequence here:

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·         To succeed we must be stand “strong and courageous,” mastering our feelings with God’s promises. 

·         To master our emotions (to “be courageous”) we must do what God says – motion creates emotion.   

·         To do what God says we must change our thinking by meditating on and speaking about God’s promises.

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In practice this process looks like this: We meditate on God’s promises à We think differently à We act differently à We feel differently à We believe differently à The miracle comes. 

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Have fear? Get faith. Here’s a line of action:

·         Identify your challenge (finances, sickness, loneliness, family crisis, global turmoil)

·         Identify a promise from God’s Word that counters this challenge.

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·         Meditate on that promise, writing it on a Post-It Note and repeating it. 

·         Hold to that proomise until your actions line up with the promise.

·         Keep acting until your emotions line up with courage, and “faith.” 

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·         Sustain your courage until you have realized victory. 

·         Tell somebody!

 

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pray4jobs

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The U.S. unemployment rate has hit 9.6%. Ouch. The recession now has a personal face, with these numbers representing the names of real people, real families, with real stress, real fear, and sometimes real despair.

Does God care? He does.

Jesus promises us in his “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5 and 6 that God is a father who knows what we need even before we ask, and that we can trust him to respond and meet our needs before we ask. We’re challenged to ask for our “daily bread” and to trust that if he cares for the “lilies of the field” and the sparrows that don’t spend their energy fretting about the future, he will also care for us.

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The caveat: we are asked to ask. “Ask and you will receive,” Jesus says. God wants our participation. Asking is not manipulating God; asking is God’s way of including us in his sovereignty. I believe it was Pascal who said (something like): “Prayer is God’s way of granting us the dignity of causation.” In prayer we become “players” is a big bad world that otherwise rolls on chaotically and out of our petty control. With prayer we “invite” God to act where we cannot. It’s the divine mechanism for allowing us the royal honor of participating in miracles. This is why Paul says in Philippians, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”

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Today the bloggers on Beliefnet are banding together to initiate a wave of prayers for this issue of unemployment. Check out http://bit.ly/pray4jobs. Prayer does make a difference because God makes a difference. Prayer moves God’s heart and that moves his hand! So let’s join together and pray for the many, many families struggling right now with the crisis of financial need!

“God, we trust your promises and appeal to you to honor your word to meet the needs of those who need employment and financial provision. Bring opportunity, creativity, stamina, hope, and miraculous provision to all those in financial need to look to you for help. We ask this in Jesus’ name…”

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Prayer for American Samoa Tsunami Victims and Hawaii

posted by nsymmonds

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 hit the American Samoan islands earlier today. This earthquake triggered three 5-foot tsunamis which caused damaged and killed an undetermined number of people. Hawaii is currently on tsunami watch. Please join us in prayer for the victims of the American Samoa tsunami and those in Hawaii.

Heavenly Father,

We pray that you would protect your people in Samoa and in Hawaii. While there has been some structural damage and there have been lives lost on the American Samoa island, none of this is far from your hand of restoration. I pray that you would restore the damaged portions of the island to better than they were before. Breathe life into that which was claimed for dead. Regenerate the faith of those who may be losing their faith right now. Be a comforter to those who have lost their loved ones. Be an encourager to those who are in Hawaii hoping for the best, but preparing themselves for the worst. I pray that they would fear nothing and be anxious about nothing, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, let their request be made known unto you and may you, the God of peace, keep them in perfect peace and safety. You are the God of all creation. Rest, rule, and abide in the hearts of the people that they may fear no evil, nor natural disaster than threatens to come upon them. Heal your land. May all hearts turn toward you in prayer.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen 

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A Christian Prayer for Yom Kippur 2009

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Today marks the climax of the holy Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur, the traditional Day of Atonement – the chance for forgiveness and for God’s great, merciful gift of holiness. Christians too honor this heritage introduced to us by our Jewish forbearers. We also recognize God’s unbending standard of rightness, our inability to keep that standard, and our need for God’s merciful grace to avoid his judgment of our failures.

 

Yom Kippur represents an opportunity to “reboot” our lives, to make a clean slate, as God himself covers our failure and pays the debts we cannot meet. Christians believe that Jesus himself is the “completion” of Yom Kippur. In fact we understand the crux of our faith, the death of Jesus on the cross, against the backdrop of this holiday.

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Next month I will release a new book dealing with this very topic called “The Karma of Jesus.” Here’s an excerpt that touches on the way Christians assimilate Yom Kippur into our understanding of Jesus and of God’s grace.   

            Jesus saves?

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Ancient Jews anticipated the possibility of total and complete salvation. Every Autumn Jews celebrated Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Many still do. Like many religious ceremonies Yom Kippur originally involved the slaughter of animals. Ancient people believed that life resides in blood. By ritually killing animals they believed they could exchange its life for the debt they had incurred by their own moral failures.

On Yom Kippur Jewish priests sacrificed one goat and used its blood to cleanse sin. They then imposed a very different destiny on a second goat. Instead of killing it, the lead priest placed his hands on the creature’s head and began to recite – in detail – all the failures the entire nation had committed in the previous year. Imagine a public reading of the “naughty” ledger of Santa’s list.

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This confession, they believed, transferred their corporate guilt onto the poor goat – their “scapegoat.” Once they completed the ritual, they drove the poor beast into the desert symbolically bearing their load of shame and blame out into desolate places.

Could it be that Jesus took up both roles, the sacrificed life that paid for the dire consequences and the “scapegoat” that carried them in himself and out of reach of the rest of humanity?

Are you in need of God’s pardon? Working harder at being perfect won’t suffice. Consider Jesus, and the gift of forgiveness and holiness he offers. Here’s a Christian prayer for Yom Kippur:

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“God, I cannot meet the standards of purity and rightness you have established. I recognize that Jesus has met those standards and that he offers to exchange his perfection for my imperfection. I accept the promise you have made to me (I John 1:9) that if I confess my sin, you will forgive me and cleanse me from all impurity. I do this now. And I thank you that I can, here and now experience a true day of atonement, standing right before your eyes, not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done, on my behalf.”

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