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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog is About You

posted by Mark and Jill

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21  

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Faith is exercised continually through the gift of imagination which allows us to envision our future. Humans are the only animal with this gift, but we have a choice as to how we exercise it. We can choose to see that future either through the lens of faith in God or through the lens of fear which gives way to “vain imaginations” – useless, worrisome ruminating over the future.

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Concern over scenarios that haven’t even come to pass can give way to physical manifestations of anxiety. How can we avoid vain imaginations, worry, anxiety, and all the mental instability they bring? A close look at Romans 1:21 gives us two keys.

1. Give God glory through living according to His Word.

2. Express thanks and live each day in gratitude to God.

Then we will have a different outcome; our imaginations will line up with faith in His Word. That faith will give way to living right and experiencing peace and joy. Who doesn’t want that?!

Dear Father,

I take captive my wild imagination today and command it to align with Your Truth – the rock that I stand on and the foundation of my thoughts and imaginations. I won’t allow my mind to wander in fear, envisioning a future that is not according to your Word. Instead, I will meditate on the confident hope I have in you. Forgive me for my wavering faith. Without faith I cannot please you, and my heart’s desire is to bring you pleasure.

In Jesus Name, Amen!

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Jesus Asked for Volunteers

posted by Mark and Jill

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 9:38)

Too much to do and too few volunteers to get the job done. What was Jesus so busy doing when He spoke this prayer request? Two important things:

1. Teaching about the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven

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2. Demonstrating what Good News looks like: healing “every kind of disease and illness”

The Church today does a pretty good job with teaching. It’s accessible24 hours a day on the multiple devices we own. But that second objective is sadly missing in most of our churches. Let’s do it:  pray for skilled laborers who can both teach AND bring the healing power of Jesus out of storage and into operation. Let’s volunteer to be those workers ourselves!

Father,

Your Son asked us to pray for more workers, equipped believers to rise up and change the world. You sent your Spirit and gave us your authority to do the things you did when you walked the earth. I volunteer, Lord. Teach me to know your word, to teach it to others, and to do the things Jesus modeled when He walked here. Let me be an agent to bring Heaven to earth as Jesus did. Please, Lord…

In His Name, Amen

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Close Proximity to the Cross

posted by Mark and Jill

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

Dearest Jesus,

If I were there at the foot of the cross with your beloved Mother and the disciple whom you loved, what would I see and hear? What would I feel? And what would have you said to me there? Did you love John more than the others because you asked him to care for your Mother? Or was it simply his proximity? His availability? Oh, regenerate me so that I will always stay close to your heart, close to your presence. I want to be a friend that is available to love and care for the those who are dear to you, and in so doing, love You. Teach me how. Teach me now. Please, Lord. And thank you. I remember your breaking heart and your broken body today. I will ponder the steps you took to the cross and the victory you found in the tomb. And when you speak to me: “Here is your mother…” may I hear and obey. Like your beloved friend, John. Thank you…

Amen

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A Prayer to Give Extravagantly

posted by Mark and Jill

Why waste such expensive perfume? Mark 14:4

A few days before Jesus was falsely accused, sentenced, tried in a trial that was a mockery, and executed (soon to defeat death and be raised back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit), He was at the home of Simon, a man whom Jesus had healed of leprosy. “While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume…she broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.” (Mark 14:3) It was worth a year’s wages. Judas indignantly asked, “Why this waste?” Jesus defended her extravagant action and graciously received her generous gift. Perhaps the fragrance of that perfume was still on Jesus when he was whipped and scorned and crucified. Perhaps that sweet aroma refreshed his aching soul.

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Jesus still receives rejection and scorn. Fists are raised in defiance to the gift of His love. What can we give Him today that would refresh His soul? What extravagant gift could you offer that would bless Him in His suffering? Those like Judas may criticize you, but Jesus will affirm you. Perhaps it’s a sacrifice of praise, simply taking time to lift your hands in thanks. Perhaps it’s an extravagant gift for the poor, for, “As you do to the least of these, you to me,” said Jesus.

Father,

What can I do to bless your Son today?

What do I have that I can give? 

Teach me to give extravagantly, for He gave everything for me.

Amen.

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