Prayer, Plain and Simple

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)

Oliver Twist

I love the redemptive nature of Charles Dickens’ novels. Oliver Twist is a favorite, and the moment when Oliver gets coerced into asking for a bit more gruel (it being a futile as well as doomed prospect) is a classic moment in classic literature.

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

Mr. Bumble shames and humiliates Oliver as if it were the cardinal sin, a capital offense.

How unlike Mr. Bumble is our God! He glories in giving us both what we need as well as desire.

Particularly generous is He with certain specific requests. Wisdom is one example. James encourages us to ask freely, for He gives it liberally to those who ask without wavering in doubt.

Jesus encourages us to ask for more of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a prayer He is bound to answer without delay.

Mr. Bumble-like church leaders and their denominations might tell you that you have and deserve all the Holy Spirit you’re going to get and that you best be content and grateful. But Jesus seems to indicate that the Holy Spirit’s presence, His fruit, His gifts, and His anointing in our lives can indeed grow and that He is available for you in greater measure simply for the asking; it’s not a one-time fix, but a continual well that we can drink from everyday, all day.

Revivals in history were opportunities to drink from the fire hose of the Holy Spirit; bodies were healed, souls delivered, and people born again into an incorruptible, eternal loving relationship with God.

Currently, one such revival is happening near us, and we are taking every opportunity we can to delight in the Holy Spirit’s sweet presence, as we rejoice with people of all ages who are getting healed of cancer and other incurable diseases in the presence of the Holy Spirit.*

Are you hungry and thirsty for more from God? Ask to experience more of the Holy Spirit in your heart and life, and you will receive, for it is a prayer worth praying, and it is a prayer God always answers.


I am hungry for more. There is within me now a godly dissatisfaction with my life. I just want more of what Jesus promised. I long to do the things–the greater things–Jesus said I could do. I long for more involvement of the Holy Spirit in my everyday world.

Please grant me more. Increase my hunger and thirst for You, Holy Spirit. Thank You that You never leave me nor forsake me. You came to live in me when I made Jesus Lord of my life, but I long for more anointing to do the things God is calling me to do.

Holy Spirit, take on a greater leadership role in my life. Break off every hinderance that would inhibit Your power working through me. Free to follow You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

In Jesus Name
*Join the meeting online here:


Photo by Biblioteca General Antonio Machado on / CC BY

If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
you calmed me down and cheered me up. (Psalm 94:17-19)

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31 NIV)

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Storms come. We can count on them. God never promises us a challenge-free, trial-free, pain-free path. It is up to us to learn how to navigate in stormy waters. The Bible is our manual for doing just that.

The Bible is full of instruction and stories of people who tried and succeeded in the storms and those who tried and failed. We can learn from both.

Let’s look at the disciple Peter. Jesus sent the disciples on ahead in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was after a long day, and Jesus needed time alone on the mountain to pray. John the Baptist had just been brutally murdered.

As the disciples reached the middle of the sea in the middle of the night, a big storm came up and blew them about fearfully. In this fear-filled state, suddenly they saw what they thought to be a ghost coming upon them, and they panicked. Jesus immediately comforted them telling them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

Peter thought he would test this “person” coming to them. He challenged Him, “If it’s really you, call me to come to You.” The voice said, “Okay, Peter, come on then!” A ghost wouldn’t call him by name, so out of the boat he went. And he walked on the water towards Jesus!

It was when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and on to the waves that he “started to sink.” Sinking generally is instantaneous, but in this unusual experience, his sinking was gradual and resulted from fear. He cried out to Jesus; Jesus immediately grabbed him, saved him, and gently rebuked him for losing faith.

How does this apply to us? If we are to stay afloat in our faith and not drowned in the challenges that will inevitably come our way, we have to determine to make it a habit to keep our focus on Jesus, His Word, and His promises.


Teach me what it means to fix my gaze on You. Help me moment by moment to draw away from my own point of view, and simply look to You.

I look to You for all that I need, for the sustenance of my spirit, soul, and body.

I look to You for wisdom in every circumstance.

I look to You to know Your love that sweeps away every fear I face.

I look to You for forgiveness, both to receive it and to give it away as a gift to those who do me wrong.

I look to You for joy in this life, for nothing else nor no one else ultimately satisfies.

I look to You for the gift of great fellowship with You as well as with those You have given me to love.

I’ll keep my eyes on You through every day so that I can stand strong when the storms of life come crashing in my direction. You are a good God, and You will sustain me through them all.

In Jesus’ Name

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. (Psalm 18:16)

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1,2a).

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We’ve been discussing Scriptures pertaining to pruning and purging unnecessary things in our lives in this new year.

We have looked at Jesus’ approach of clearing out, cleaning up, and gathering up only things that bear good fruit in our lives; that is, only things that promote the character qualities of Jesus Himself. This pertains to activities, relationships, and stuff of any kind.

Paul also chimes in with his thoughts on disposing everything that doesn’t enhance our relationship with Jesus. This involves taking a good look at everything in our lives and asking ourselves the important question:  do I need this, Lord? Does this item/relationships/activity promote my growing into the character of Jesus?

The writer of Hebrews also has something to say about weeding out and letting go of–literally, trashing–unproductive things in our lives. His (or her) criteria is to throw away anything that holds us back from running our race effectively. If something in your life–again, it can be an item, activity, commitment (notice I didn’t say covenant), or relationship–that is a distraction from the call of God.

The enemy isn’t dumb. In fact, he’s as clever as they come. His main goal is to distract us in small or large ways from doing the top tier activities that get us closer to Jesus. He uses people, social media, illnesses, chaos, you-name-it, he’ll use it to get us off our course. Our job is to evaluate our lives and what we do with our time, asking God to help us prune things back and throw things away that are sent to distract us from why we’re here. 

Dallas Willard said it so very well:  “Organize your life around spiritual transformation.” Change doesn’t happen magically. And while we are not saved by works, becoming like Jesus takes some effort. Change, like anything worthwhile, involves exercising some muscles and getting down to business.

Let’s pray to that end!

My Father,

You created me for a reason. Above all else, I want to realize Your purpose in my life.

I ask for forgiveness for allowing distractions to hinder me from the things You’ve called and ordained me to do.

Give me wisdom to prune and purge everything out of my soul, heart, mind, body, home, office, and life that holds me back from running my race strong to the end.

I wait on You now for clarity and direction…. Speak, Holy Spirit, my ears are wide open to hear Your still, small voice of instruction and clarity.

In Jesus’ Name


P.S. Did God speak clarity to you as you waited on Him? He did to me! Please leave us a comment below, and we will agree in prayer with you!

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).day-planner-calendar-organizer-schedule-monthly (1)

Our last blog post discussed Jesus’ approach to purging or pruning things that do not bear fruit in our lives. Today we’ll look at Paul’s strategy.

Again, it is a simple one, for our Gospel is always simple, unless we muddle it up with our own interpretations. Paul’s pruning process asks one question: does this activity/object/relationship enhance my intimacy with Jesus and His anointing on my life? If the answer is no, then in the garbage bin it goes. Anything we give up in order to know Jesus is well worth the sacrifice.

If there is a relationship in your life that leaves you with less peace and more agitation, then consider changing the nature of that relationship. If there is an activity that might be of interest at the time, but afterwards leaves a sour taste in your mouth, throw it in the trash bin.

If we want to take seriously our commitment to making Jesus the Lord of our lives, we have to be ready to discard everything that doesn’t enhance His Lordship.

Take time in this new year to evaluate your rhythms, schedules, habits, and literal stuff asking Paul’s question: does this enhance my intimacy with Jesus? If not, get rid of it. You probably won’t miss it one bit!


You are my Father, and I come to You for Fatherly advise. You are all-wise, all-knowing, and all-loving, as well as all-powerful. What a wonderful Resource of everything I need!

Abba, would you grant me wisdom as I reevaluate my life and my goals in this new year? Would you please help me to see things I am currently blind to? Would you give me a keen sense of self-awareness to know the things that are holding me back from truly knowing You and Your Son, and from fully enjoying the Spirit’s life that lives within my spirit?

I need Your wisdom. Thank You that You invite me to ask for this. I want to rid of my life of anything that does not promote intimacy with You. I receive this wisdom in faith, not wavering a bit, for I know Your character: You are the best of Fathers, and I count on You for advice and direction. My ears are open. Lead me with Your still, small voice. Lead me with the peace that You give–or don’t give. Lead on; I will follow.

Give me courage to toss anything and everything that doesn’t enhance Your presence of joy in my life. Even if this means spending less time with nominal Christians and more time with those who don’t even know You exist so that I can bring Your simple gospel of love to them.

Give me grace to throw out anything in my theology that isn’t True, any theology that does not require faith, any theology that says You are anything but Good!

Give me courage to dispose of appointments in my schedule that impact my faith negatively. I say, “Yes” to You and, “No” to everything else.

I am all Yours, God.

In Jesus’ Name



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