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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Crashing God’s State Dinner

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The Salahis have chutzpah, you have to give them that. Michaele and Tareq got their 15 minutes – plus – of fame last week when, much to the shame of the secret service, they managed to slink their way into the White House as “guests” at the State Dinner held in honor of the visiting Prime Minister of India. Presumptuous in the extreme.

I scoff at the Salahis’ insatiable need for attention, yet again, I admit I’m curious about – dare I say almost respect – their audacity. Vice President Joe Biden, who posed for pictures with the party crashers later explained, “I just assumed like everyone else they were guests. They acted like they knew everybody in the room, like they were my old buddies.”

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In better days The White House used to be accessible to every citizen at almost any time. Abraham Lincoln supposedly set time aside every week to engage anyone who decided to walk through the door with a question, request or suggestion. No longer. These days visitors are suppose to pass through multiple layers of security, screenings, scanners and ID checks. Obviously something broke down at this event. But the point remains – It’s suppose to be nigh on impossible to get close to the President of the United States.

Thank God the King of the Universe doesn’t have such boundaries around him. The Bible says that God has an open air policy in the “Oval Office” of heaven. Once we’re given a pass – the Bible says that coming to God in “Jesus’ Name” gives us that access – we can waltz in like we own the place. We’re children of the King after all. We do “own the place” so to speak. We can come to God in prayer like party crashers approaching God as if we’re “old buddies.” Chutzpah is good in the posture of prayer!

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There’s a famous picture of three year old John Kennedy Jr. playing under the Resolute Desk in the White House. His Father, John F. Kennedy is busy running the affairs of State, but at that moment Little John felt perfectly at home. The Cuban Missile Crisis threatened nuclear annihilation, but the child of the president played at the feet of his father. He didn’t “crash” the White House because it was his home.  

In my book “The Karma of Jesus” I speak about the amazing fringe benefits we enjoy by having a blood-line connection with God. We are his children with all rights and privileges! That’s the simple “audacity of hope” God offers us in his presence. We can pray confidently in his presence. We can “crash the party” because it’s ours by right. We can come confidently to God. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way:

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“Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4:16 The Message).

Today, barge in like you own the place. Ask and ask boldly. You’re at home. Pray like you belong. You do!

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Advent Prayer: Grant Us Understanding

posted by nsymmonds

By Claudia Mair Burney
Wednesday, the first week of Advent
“Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to Him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for he will save people from their sins.” Matthew 1:19-21, NRSV.

Joseph was obviously a compassionate and deeply devout man with every instinct to protect Mary from public shame, and possibly a stoning. But even with his remarkable qualities, he could not see what God had done. Most of us would have reacted the exact same way. We do so daily in some way or another. The holy and sublime breaks through our ordinary existence, and we fail to see the gift we’ve been given. But all is not lost. God, in His great love for Joseph, simply found another way to reach him.

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Merciful Father,
How often do I fail to understand what You are doing, but You are always sending me help, and even deliverance from my sins. Do not give up on me, good Father, when I am too practical to see the miracles right in front of me. You know how to get my attention. Quiet me, Lord, so that I may hear from you, and see the magnificent gifts you have placed in my life. Help me to receive them, be obedient, and always cry out from the depths of my soul,
“Come, Lord Jesus.”

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Advent Prayer: Jesus, Dwell In Us

posted by nsymmonds

By Claudia Mair Burney

Tuesday, the first week of Advent

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 8:8, TNIV

Few of us think deeply about how Mary’s acceptance of Jesus mirrors our own Christian lives, but all believers are meant to be pregnant with Him. After we receive Him into the womb of our hearts, we allow Him to grow by decreasing so that He can increase. But we can’t do this alone. We need grace in order to even begin to be diligent enough to assure nothing that goes into us that will harm the Beloved Child. Prayer, God’s Word, and Love of God and neighbor all nurture Christ within us, and having thus fed and strengthened Him, we may watch in humble wonder as He is formed in us.

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Gracious Father God,

The humility of Mary, the mother of our Lord, seems so out of reach. She accepted you without hesitation, but when you want to come to me I’m tempted to look at my life first, to determine myself whether or not it’s good enough for you to enter into. Lord, I’m not wise enough to understand where You may wish to dwell, so give me the faith to say like the centurion, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the Word, and my servant shall be healed” And then I will say with great joy,

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

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Prayer for the Families of Slain Police Officers

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Pray for the families of Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards, the slain Washington State police officers gunned down south of Seattle while sitting in a coffee shop. As I write this, police have surrounded a house where the suspect, Maurice Clemmons, is hold up. God have mercy!

Sometimes we pray because nothing else is worth saying, and no one but God can do anything. This is one of those moments. What about this horrible tragedy makes sense? Where is the justice and mercy and hope God promises? These are questions for God alone, and only he is able to make something redemptive out of this senseless tragedy for the families of these peace officers. That’s why we pray… Nothing else makes sense.  

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When horrible human events like this crash down upon us we have two options: We can turn on God or we can turn to God. We can blame and accuse and rail against him and hold him liable, or we can separate his heart from the vileness of those he has created and released to their own actions. In prayer we can make this choice, and ask God, without holding him liable, to do something good in response. That’s a choice we can make and prayer is the way to keep our sanity. Without prayer at such a time as this, I’d find no hope for the world…

Pray with me for the grieving, angry, confused families and friends of these public servants who have died senselessly in the line of duty.

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“God this is your world. You have set the rules. You have created humans with the capacity to love but also to hate. We don’t understand why men and women do such evil, as the man who just gunned down police officers in Washington State. Still, here we choose to ask not ‘why?’ but ‘how?’ How now can you turn this disaster into something good? Through and past the pain  these families are now feeling, reach your hand to show them love and comfort. Draw them toward you and don’t let them turn in anger from the only One who can heal their brokenness and pain. Be present for them. In the emptiness of their sorrow show them steady, faithful kindness. Through this season of hope, give them miraculous hope. We can’t see ‘how’ this can become something good, but you do. You do not will such tragedies, but yes, you can use them. We ask that you would bless the families of the slain police officers Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards. Let your light shine in the darkness. Do not let that darkness overcome your presence! In Jesus name.”

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