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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Praying with Our Hearts

posted by nsymmonds

I was reading an introduction from William Cleary’s book, “We Side with the Morning: Daily Prayers to the God of Hope” when I came across this beautiful passage about prayer, the difficulties some have with it, and what prayer can be compared to.

“Some people tell me they have given up on prayer. Why? It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work for them. And it’s all too impossible to figure out: it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps, in a way, such folks are the wisest. On the other hand, I think it makes sense to pray as long as we realize that talking to God is like talking to your dog. We speak in English to our dog, but he mostly pays attention to our smell. Similarly, we may soar around in the cloud of unknowing trying to talk to God, but God of course is mostly paying attention for the aroma of compassion for those who are lonely and in need, those who are thirsty and hungry, and whom we help with water, food, and housing.”

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William Cleary, “We Side with the Morning” Introduction

What I found most amazing about this quote was the comparison that Cleary about prayer to God being like talking to a dog. Dogs are focusing on our smell while we speak to them. God is focusing on our hearts while we speak to Him. I thought about how we all waste such precious emotional and mental energy trying to come up with the right words to say in prayer to God. We get frustrated when we feel our prayers aren’t verbose enough or maybe when we have plenty to say we feel like broken records. But really, there are no right amount of words that make the perfect prayer. No, it is in the heart of the prayer that God hears. So if we focus our hearts, not our words on God, maybe the message would be delivered more clearly. He wants to feel our hearts. He wants us to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Psalm 139:23)”  

In the next few weeks we will publish a gallery with a compilation of prayers from Cleary’s book, “We Side with the Morning: Daily Prayers to the God of Hope.” Check back soon…

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Praying for Indonesian Earthquake Victims

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Wednesday’s 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which originated in the sea off Sumatra island, has severely damaged the city of Padang, Indonesia. At least 376 people are known dead and thousands more are missing or trapped beneath ruined buildings. Let’s offer a collective prayer for these victims and their families.

“God, the violence of nature shocks us. We don’t understand why these things happen, but in the midst of our confusion we turn toward you, not away from you. We ask for your mercy to be be with the victims of the earthquake in Indionesia. Comfort those who have lost family. Protect and preserve those still in danger. Give rescue workers courage and wisdom and direction to stem the suffering. God, have mercy! Heal and save. We need your hand to work in this case, now. In Jesus…”

 

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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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