Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory. (Psalm 50:14,15)

The Psalmist outlines a fantastic pathway to answered prayer. Are you stuck in some dilemma and your answers seem to be on hold? Let’s ramp up the thanks and the vow-keeping and watch God reach down to save. The end result is the praise and glory we will be honored to give Him as we share our stories of His rescue. Rather than whining and complaining and fretting, let’s express gratitude to God and to others. It’s not easy! But that’s why it’s referred to as a “sacrifice”!

Father,

I choose to offer to you thanks and praise. While I’ve yet to see the solutions, I want to make this sacrifice anyway, for this is the plan you’ve outlined in Scripture. So thank you for being with me in these challenges; you are not the author of these things, but you have certainly sustained me through them. Your promised rescue is on the way. And to expedite that victory, I choose today to offer thanks to you from morning to night!

Remind me of the promises I have made to you; help me to pay up! I know that I have in the past given my word to do specific things for you. Bring those things to remembrance, and I will make good on my promises to you.

And Lord, having done that, I now call upon your help in this time of trouble. Help me, Lord. Deliver me, Father! Rescue your child, I cry out to you!

I now await your rescue. In faith I anticipate the fulfillment of all your promises to me. And Lord, you can count on me for praise and glory as I share with others the story of your redemption in my life. And may my story spur many others on to faith that you are the same God for them as you have been for me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22,23)

Benjamin Franklin set a precedent for leaders after him of soberly assessing his weaknesses in certain character attributes and working on them intentionally over a period of time. We have found it helpful to look over the Fruit of the Holy Spirit that Paul gives us and assess or grade ourselves.

Perhaps there is one in which you are sadly lacking, and perhaps that deficit is impacting your leadership capabilities at home or at work. Pick one, write down your goal on a note card and place it in a prominent place to remind yourself. Jesus said if we ask for the Holy Spirit, we will receive the Holy Spirit. And with the Holy Spirit comes a bunch of fruitful benefits that make life worth living!

Dallas Willard wisely wrote, “Organize your life around character transformation.” Let’s pray to that end! Paul ends his discourse on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit with this amazing promise: “There is no law against these things!” In other words, armed with these attributes, we win wherever we go. (Sure, Eeyore, we will run into trials and challenges most days of our lives, but the Fruit will get us through them over onto victory every time!)

Lord,

Please increase my capacities in all of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you for the strides I am making in [name one you in which you exhibit strength].

In this season of my life I am particularly in need of [name one in which you are weak]. Would you please give me more of your Spirit to fill me to overflowing with this grace and virtue?

I need you. Give me a strategy to grow in this fruit. My first step is self-awareness. Thank you for opening up my eyes to my own weakness. My second step is awareness of your love and power and kindness toward me. I receive your help today.

In Jesus’ Name
Amen

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Luke 11:13)

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For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. (James 3:16)

“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down…. (Hebrews 12:1)

I recently read the popular book written by professional organizer, Marie Kondo, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. What a fun frenzy this has created in our home and what joyous trips I have taken to our nearby thrift store!

Oh, that my soul would be as quick to only keep the thoughts, ideas, words, and attitudes that spark joy and discard all others!

Father,

Teach me your ways. Help me to follow Paul’s instructions to the Philippians to order my thoughts according to your criteria. That is,

whatever is
true
honorable
right
pure
lovely
admirable
things that are excellent
and worthy of praise.

I let the rest go. I bid all negative thoughts adieu! Good riddance to them all!

Instead, I choose thoughts of praise and worship and a grateful heart.

In Jesus’ Name
Amen!

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“But I will reply, ‘I never knew you.’” ~Jesus (Matthew 7:23)

O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:1, 23,24)

Knowing God and allowing Him to know me are two very different things. It was our son, actually, who pointed out this remarkable truth to us recently. I, who love the Word, dive into it daily, talk about it constantly, and memorize it continually with silly tunes I make up, feel pretty comfortable and competent in my knowledge of God. But that alone won’t get me entrance to Heaven. What Jesus is more concerned about is whether He will recognize me when I am ready to enter His eternal presence.

Will he? That depends on me. Gentleman that He is, He will not enter into intimate friendship with me until I invite Him. How do I do that? David gives us the clue: be brutally honest with Him. Invite an intimate search of every square inch of your soul, your motives, your behavior, your conversation, your character, your tactics, and anything else you can think of. In doing so, Jesus becomes acquainted with you.

While I might recognize someone I admire and have read about, that person won’t have an idea who I am unless I have made it my goal to invite him into relationship. Jesus always responds to invitation; he’s never booked, too busy, distracted, or generally uninterested. Let’s pray to be known by Him!

Jesus,

Search deeply into my soul and know me. Help me to know myself in the process. Give me self-awareness. I am so prone to notice the faults in others when I have so many myself. Let’s study me together and make the necessary adjustments in my life according to your precepts.

Point out one by one your recommendations for change and transformation of soul and character. Thank you that you are FOR me! Who can be against me? You certainly are not. And for that reason – and countless others – I praise You today!

Amen

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