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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7 KVJ)

I was walking on the gravel road near our home this morning with our dog, Rhema, and I was praying Ephesians 1 and 3 as I do daily. First I pray it over myself; like an oxygen mask, I put it on before I pray for others, for what good would it do if I pray for their souls and not tend to my own? Today as I prayed, one particular word stood out among the rest: think.

I sensed the Holy Spirit challenging me to carefully sift my thoughts moment by moment, because they are powerful in forming who I am and determining the outcome of my prayers. If I pray one thing and think another, my prayers will most certainly run amiss.

I am asking God to move some impossible mountains in my life, and he turns it back to me and says, “You move them, Jill. You know my word in Mark 11:22-25. You move them!”

God is the best of parents: He won’t do anything for me that I can’t do for myself.

What are you asking God for? What are you thinking? If we ask God one thing and think about different outcomes – the ones we don’t want to come to pass – we are double-minded and, according to James, disqualified from getting anything we ask for (see James 1).

Father,

Once again I come to you asking for grace to manage my thought life. You seem to be saying that I’ll receive not only what I ask, but also what I think about! This puts the fear of God in me, for how often have I left off praying and started worrying…? Oh Father, forgive me. Renew my mind with your Word. Transform my soul so that I become all that you have designed me to be! Thank you for your promise that I have the mind of Christ, an anointed mind, a positive mind, a faith-filled mind, a pure mind, a joyful mind, a grateful mind, and a God-centered mind.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (Colossians 3:2)

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)

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You are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you. (Isaiah 43:4)

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

How do see yourself? What value to you place upon yourself? As in all things, we need to work to acquire God’s perspective on ourselves, as we do with everything else in this world, for it is His point of view that truly matters, indeed that only matters.

What does He say about you?

He says you are precious.
He says you are honored, and therefore honorable.
He affirms that He loves you.

Jesus reiterates the second greatest commandment, and along with that statement is a given, something implied – that you love yourself. Do you struggle with loving yourself? Begin today to repent of self-contempt and to believe in faith what the Word of God says about you: You are worthy of love, for God simply says so, and Jesus made you worthy by giving His very life in exchange for yours.

Father,

I have so often struggled to believe the truth that I am worthy of your love and worthy of self-love. Forgive me for the contempt I often hold myself in. I declare that I am loved because you say so. I declare that I am forgiven, for you have told me so. Please forgive me for believing the lie; I receive your cleansing, and I make a determination to rid my mind of any thought contrary to your Truth.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

“Jesus loves me, this I KNOW! For the Bible tells me so.”

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You were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:25)

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Sheep are dumb, experts tell us. Are ewe? I certainly have been on more occasions than I’d like to admit.

Humans are often called sheep in the Bible; is that an insult, perhaps? Take a look around, and even better, take a look within. How often have you led yourself astray? How often have you made choices without consulting God that have led to pain?

How we need a “Guardian” for our souls – someone watching over our emotions, thoughts, and feelings, so prone as they are to stray from wisdom.

Guardian of my soul,

I choose to follow You today. Accommodating my instincts, my heart, my lusts, and my hunches have not bode well for me. Moment by moment, may I seek your guidance. Task by task, text by text, help me to seek your wisdom. May each conversation be edifying on my part. Speaking the truth in love, help me to fight for others’ good. Above all, please keep me from foolishly wandering off and leading others astray! Keep me within earshot of your still, small voice. Hold me close to your warm and loving heart.

In Jesus, My Shepherd’s Name, Amen

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What is important is faith expressing itself in love. (Gal. 5:6)

Fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

If faith expresses itself in love, then we must become experts at love to become experts at faith. Note the times Jesus applauded the faith of the people he healed and set free. It works that way for us, too. Love is a double-edged sword; it not only blesses the people in our path (not to mention ourselves) but it hones and perfects our faith as well. Let’s become excellent in the gift of loving others and in so doing, become experts in our faith.

Father,

Thank you for giving me encouragement to fight the good fight of faith. It’s a good fight because it’s a battle I win by love – not my love, but the love you give me. Therefore, I choose to love people today by forgiving everyone who offends me. Whenever a painful memory arises from my past, I will once again forgive those individuals who did me wrong saying, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Even if I think they truly did know what they were doing, even if I am certain their actions were intentional to hurt me, betray me, abuse me, or hinder me in any way, I still borrow Your words and issue forgiveness because ultimately they did not know the full extent of the harm they were causing. Hanging in agony, Jesus forgave his murderers, for He knew that resurrection power was right around the bend, and it is right around the bend for me as well! So today I shall walk by faith, standing strong, never wavering, never doubting for a minute. I will walk in love moment by moment, encounter by encounter. I will forgive 70 times 7 times a day if necessary. I choose to be grateful! I choose to focus on Your redemption and take my eyes myself, my trauma, the injustice I’ve suffered, and all my thoughts of victimization. Moment by blessed moment I choose to recalibrate my focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith and on His resurrection power that is at work in me today.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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