Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. (Psalm 61:2,3)

As humans, we live in three dimensions: we are spirits, we have souls (which straddle both the spiritual and physical realm), and we live (temporarily) in bodies. When our bodies wear out, our spirits live on. What happens next is mysterious and not the subject of this brief blog. But while in our bodies, our spirits can still access God here and now. There is an altitude in the Spirit of God that the enemy cannot access; if he could access it, the spiritual elevation would kill him. While God’s arm is long enough to reach us wherever we go, not so the enemy of our souls. Let’s pray to enter that place of safety today.

Father, I need to be hidden from the enemy’s cunning schemes. He works night and day to bring discouragement, depression, and demise to my life’s purpose. Lead me to You, my Rock of safety. His scrawny arm cannot possibly reach me there. I shall stay today – by your grace – in a blessed place of worship and trust and continual dialogue with your Holy Spirit, receiving all the wisdom, courage, and joy that I need today to love You and to love others well. Give me grace to speak only words of faith, not giving the devil a foothold in any area of my life, family, marriage, or work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock. (Psalm 27:5)

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there. (Psalm 139:7,8)

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“Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all?” (Mark 8:17,18)

Financial stress can burden a marriage. Mark and I can attest to this first hand. At one particular season not long ago we left a handsome salary in a large church and stepped out to do full-time ministry with Youth With A Mission, firmly believing it was God’s plan. Just then my appendix burst and our newly acquired health insurance covered less than expected: $10,000 gone… Within a week, we purchased a car that had been totaled, cosmetically fixed, but proved to be unfit for driving: $12,000 down the proverbial toilet… Furthermore, we tried and failed to sell our house at the worst possible time in recent history: $Oodles slipped away… One thing after another went wrong and one set back after another prevailed. We were broke and very, very discouraged.

That discouragement gave way to much strife in our relationship. After knocking heads one too many times, we knocked some sense into those heads and determined what we should have known: that in times of severe stress, we absolutely must stay united! Our prayers depended on it, for Jesus taught us that prayer involves agreement. If we were at odds with one another we simply couldn’t agree in prayer. So we agreed to agree! We strengthened our relationship and started to get some traction moving forward. It took some time, some effort, and a whole lot of Dave Ramsey, but God walked us through to victory and delivered us from debt and restored joy to our marriage. We thank God!

Father,

I give you my financial stress and mess. I refuse to allow strife to hinder my agreement with my spouse. We will cling to you and your wisdom! We will cling to your promises! And we will cling to each other until this storm passes.  In Jesus’ Name Amen

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? …You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong.” (James 4:1,2,3)

“If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” (Matthew 18:19)

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Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! (Psalm 118:15 NIV)

How I (Jill here) wish I could say that shouts of joy and victory were all that one would ever hear from my “tent”. Alas, there were many years – before I learned the hard lesson of guarding my tongue – that I said everything I felt like saying and said it exactly how I felt like saying it. If I was stressed out, you’d hear about it. If I was sick, you’d hear about it. If I was angry, boy, you’d hear about it.

I knew all the Scriptures about the tongue and could quote half of them, but I must confess I hadn’t applied them to my life. It hurts to admit that. What was I thinking? I still had so much toxic religion in my soul from which to get free. That’s where trials came in – tough circumstances to make me seek God, to ask hard questions of myself, and to start to apply the Word I professed from my lips but didn’t take to heart in all areas of my life.

Thank God for confession and thank God for repentance and for forgiveness! If you want the blessing to be operating in your life, then take a tip from me: shut up. Stop talking negatively and start saying the things Jesus said. Jesus Himself didn’t say anything the Father didn’t inspire him to say. We are called to do no less.

Father,

I confess that my confession has been at best fruitless and often even damning to myself and others. I receive your salvation from the curse in every area of my life. My eyes are set on you and my ears are tuned now to your voice. I choose words that agree with Your Word. I choose to “call things that are not as thought they are,” words of faith and not fear. Today I will shout joyful things like: “This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it!” and, “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” If my neighbors hear any shouting from our home, it won’t be arguing or strife or frustration. It will be joyous sounds of praise to You.

Amen!

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Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
He will send help from heaven to rescue me,
disgracing those who hound me.
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 57:1-3 NLT)

David penned this Psalm in the light of a torch in a dark, damp cave while hiding from King Saul who had made it his highest priority to do away with his young, talented upstart. In that dark place, cold, hard, and uncomfortable, though outnumbered, over-powered, and unjustly hounded, he imagined something quite different. More than just imagined, it was Real. David imagined his God like an eagle caring for it’s young, covering, warming, comforting, and protecting him completely with His wings. His faith turned a dismal place into a place of hope for his future.

Are you in a dark place today? Prayers yet unanswered, yet your faith is growing? Feel and believe (imagination is a gift when used in faith) the warmth and love of God covering you like a luxury down comforter from head to toe. He is protecting you today, encouraging you, upholding you, fortifying you, and giving you His promises to sustain you while you wait for deliverance. Make David’s words your prayer today.

Father,

Cover me today with your feathers. I find protection there from the storm and from the cares of this dark world. May I stay in this place of comfort and may I offer it to others who have not yet found their hope in You.

I Love you.

Amen.

He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection. (Psalm 91:4)

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