Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

The Path of Peace – Taking Steps Toward Intimacy with God

posted by Mark and Jill

Psalm 95
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

(NLT)

I (Jill) read this Scripture today and decided to try to follow it. It was a blessing because in the end, God gave me a strategy and some important wisdom for a challenge I was facing. I think there is a progression of blessing when we follow these principles. No, it’s not how we gain love from God! His love never changes for me. It’s not based on my performance! I get that, and I hope you do as well. But as Dallas Willard says, “Grace is opposed to earning but not to effort.” There are things that we can do to gain intimacy with God just as there are things I can do to gain intimacy with Mark. Just as I must put effort into my marriage if I want it to succeed, I need to take initiative in my steps towards God in order to know Him and enjoy Him more fully.

Try this today and see what God speaks to you! Follow the steps outlined in Psalm 95:

1. Sing. It’s always music to God’s ears, no matter what you think about your performance! I had a kid who had no sense of pitch when she was little, but boy, did I love hearing her sing! God’s just like that with you! (By the way, now she sings like an ANGEL!)

2. Shout joyfully to God. (I did this when my teenage son was still sleeping this morning. I’m pretty sure he slept right through it, but his dreams might have had a jolt.)

3. Offer thanksgiving. There is just so much to be grateful for. When we follow gratitude our whole perspective changes, and it is contagious to those around us.

4. Praise with Psalms. The KJV says “Make a joyful noise”. The Hebrew brings out the tone of a battle cry. We will face battles today. But as we do, we enforce the victory that Jesus has already won on our behalf.

5. Worship.  This denotes prostrating yourself. It’s face time –as in on-the-carpet — where I recognize how BIG he is and how little I am.

6. Bow Down. Reverently bow as you would to a king, in humility and love.

7. Kneel. Bless Him and adore Him.

8. Listen to his voice. Now that you’ve reminded yourself of who He is and what He has done for you, quietly sit at his feet and hear what He wants to tell you today. It will be encouraging, loving, challenging, and always redemptive.

9. Enter into His rest! He so wants us to establish our lives with peace. May you be unhurried and full of his serenity as you enter this new day. As the Psalm indicates, this will be impossible if we do not follow His leadership, but if we do, we will find the Blessing Jesus died to give us.

A Prayer to Maintain the Mind of Christ

posted by Mark and Jill

“The Lord knows people’s thoughts; he knows they are worthless.” Psalm 94:11

A Penny for Your Thoughts… Most of our thoughts aren’t worth a nickel.

The Lord knows our thoughts, and unfortunately most of the time we must bore Him silly. Our thoughts are often uninspiring; they are often untrue, often fearful, often negative. But we are becoming Word people – people who study God’s Word and adapt our lives to reflect what He instructs us to do. The Word spells out a very specific critieria for valid thoughts. We can use this list as a sieve, a purifier of sorts for each thought that attempts to take root in our minds:

“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.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

First on the list is true. Is this thought true? If not, out it goes.

Is it honorable? Would it bring honor to you, to God, or to others? If not, out it goes.

Go down the list with each one and watch how many thoughts are eliminated when we disqualify subjects that don’t meet the criteria. When we get ahold of our thought life and when we let the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts, our whole lives change. We become positive people, confident, and strong even when we face the toughest battles. Let’s pray for the mind of Christ.

My Father,

I am often plagued by thoughts that are negative, uninspired, and discouraging. My thoughts often descend to the lowest common denominator. That is not your plan for me. Help me, Lord, to arrest every thought and make it obedient to you (2 Corinithans 10:5). I choose to direct my thoughts to You, turning away from the darkness into Your bright light. I will think thoughts that are true, honoring to you , myself, and others, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In fact, I will do my best to think about Your love for me all day long. 

In Jesus’s Loving Name. Amen

 

 

 

A Workday Prayer

posted by Mark and Jill

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” ~Colossians 3:23

My Father,

Give me grace to engage my heart in my work today. You wouldn’t have me merely go through the motions of getting my work done so I can pick up a pay check; your expectation is that I would work wholeheartedly as if You were my boss, for ultimately, Lord, You are!

Grant me favor with my co-workers. Help me to walk in love with each one, forgiving them as you have forgiven me for all my grievances big and small.

Give me discernment, wisdom, understanding and insight to do my job well and thoroughly, constantly improving and honing my skills with every opportunity.

Make me teachable, open to input and correction, humble enough to receive both affirmation and criticism.

Put a guard over my mouth that no negative or unkind word would pass my lips.

Keep me grateful today and place a song of thanks in my heart as I go about my duties.

Thank you for providing a job for me. Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do according to Your best plan for me.

I love you, Lord.

Amen

Welcome to Your New Life

posted by Mark and Jill

“…Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Paul’s life before meeting Jesus on a dusty road, getting thrown to the ground and blinded by His light, was messy and mean. He was a dirty rotten scoundrel who thought he was Really Something. When he met Jesus all that changed. He went off the radar for while, turned his life around, and started doing the exact opposite with his life and purpose that he had been doing previously. Instead of killing Christians, he became one, and he began teaching and training and leading fellow believers into more truth about the greatness of Jesus and the exciting calling they had on their lives. So Paul, who said this about becoming a new human being wasn’t kidding. His life took a 180 degree turn. A new life began for him.

This can be a new day for you, too. Are you sick of your life? Then determine to follow Jesus. Read what his Word says, and put it into practice. Watch what He will do with you! Pray this prayer and twirl a 180 like Paul:

Jesus,

I don’t like the trajectory of my life. I started going my own way thinking it would be best, but I’ve hit so many dead ends and lost my sense of direction and got jolted by so many potholes that I’ve come to see that this can’t possibly be the Right Way. I give you what’s left of me, and I ask you to take my life and Do Something with it. I’m Yours. Lead on. Be Lord of this life of mine.

Amen

Now dig into God’s Word! You might want to start by reading about Paul’s life in the books of Acts and then read his letters. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand. Get into a great church that believes and teaches the ways of Jesus. Welcome to a NEW YOU!

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