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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Jesus Asked for Volunteers

posted by Mark and Jill

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 9:38)

Too much to do and too few volunteers to get the job done. What was Jesus so busy doing when He spoke this prayer request? Two important things:

1. Teaching about the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven

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2. Demonstrating what Good News looks like: healing “every kind of disease and illness”

The Church today does a pretty good job with teaching. It’s accessible24 hours a day on the multiple devices we own. But that second objective is sadly missing in most of our churches. Let’s do it:  pray for skilled laborers who can both teach AND bring the healing power of Jesus out of storage and into operation. Let’s volunteer to be those workers ourselves!

Father,

Your Son asked us to pray for more workers, equipped believers to rise up and change the world. You sent your Spirit and gave us your authority to do the things you did when you walked the earth. I volunteer, Lord. Teach me to know your word, to teach it to others, and to do the things Jesus modeled when He walked here. Let me be an agent to bring Heaven to earth as Jesus did. Please, Lord…

In His Name, Amen

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Close Proximity to the Cross

posted by Mark and Jill

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

Dearest Jesus,

If I were there at the foot of the cross with your beloved Mother and the disciple whom you loved, what would I see and hear? What would I feel? And what would have you said to me there? Did you love John more than the others because you asked him to care for your Mother? Or was it simply his proximity? His availability? Oh, regenerate me so that I will always stay close to your heart, close to your presence. I want to be a friend that is available to love and care for the those who are dear to you, and in so doing, love You. Teach me how. Teach me now. Please, Lord. And thank you. I remember your breaking heart and your broken body today. I will ponder the steps you took to the cross and the victory you found in the tomb. And when you speak to me: “Here is your mother…” may I hear and obey. Like your beloved friend, John. Thank you…

Amen

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A Prayer to Give Extravagantly

posted by Mark and Jill

Why waste such expensive perfume? Mark 14:4

A few days before Jesus was falsely accused, sentenced, tried in a trial that was a mockery, and executed (soon to defeat death and be raised back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit), He was at the home of Simon, a man whom Jesus had healed of leprosy. “While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume…she broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.” (Mark 14:3) It was worth a year’s wages. Judas indignantly asked, “Why this waste?” Jesus defended her extravagant action and graciously received her generous gift. Perhaps the fragrance of that perfume was still on Jesus when he was whipped and scorned and crucified. Perhaps that sweet aroma refreshed his aching soul.

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Jesus still receives rejection and scorn. Fists are raised in defiance to the gift of His love. What can we give Him today that would refresh His soul? What extravagant gift could you offer that would bless Him in His suffering? Those like Judas may criticize you, but Jesus will affirm you. Perhaps it’s a sacrifice of praise, simply taking time to lift your hands in thanks. Perhaps it’s an extravagant gift for the poor, for, “As you do to the least of these, you to me,” said Jesus.

Father,

What can I do to bless your Son today?

What do I have that I can give? 

Teach me to give extravagantly, for He gave everything for me.

Amen.

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A Prayer for Anger Management

posted by Mark and Jill

So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples… When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”  (Mark 11:11, 15-17 NLT)

All four of the Gospels tell the story of Jesus angrily driving out the money changers in the Temple. What was meant to be a place of sacred worship became a business enterprise, yielding huge financial gain for slimy salesmen, looking to earn a quick denari at the expense of honest, godly worshippers who traveled far to celebrate Passover. Some people have used this rare display of anger by Christ as an excuse to be an angry person. But there are several important reasons to differ with this assumption.

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Firstly, Jesus slept on it. This was not divine road rage. He came into the temple on Palm Sunday of Holy Week, observed the injustice, but didn’t respond just then. It was the next morning that he returned and overturned the tables and disrupted the sales event. He thought this through first. And, being Jesus Christ, He could handle anger. We, on the other hand, cannot.

No where in Scripture are we encouraged to display anger. In fact, quite the opposite. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.”  And in Colossians 3:8, “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior…”  Paul gives this strong warning in Ephesians: “For anger gives a foothold to the devil.” There are many more Scriptures that instruct us to set anger aside. Anger is not a right we hold. We must arrest it and reject it like any other temptation.

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Father,

Without your help I will never win this battle with rage. But your Word says that, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I am counting on your strength to help me ward off anger. I renounce it in Jesus’ Name. I repent of holding on to anger and giving the devil a foothold in my life and relationships. I am determined to follow your Word, to study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and declare it until you have renewed my mind, giving me the mind of Christ – a mind at peace with God, at peace with myself, and at peace with others. This is possible only through the shedding of your blood, the atoning of my sin on the Cross, for which I am eternally grateful. I submit myself wholeheartedly to your grace and forgiveness. Teach me to be your disciple. Give me godly leaders to follow and a Church Body to walk alongside. I receive from you the ability to put away anger!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 

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