Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

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God has a plan for your life – your purpose for being on the planet. Up to now you may have missed that plan, tripping over it, though it was perhaps right under your nose. Others may have meddled with that plan, tempting you, alluring you into schemes that weren’t a part of God’s design. But when we give Jesus our heart, He re-boots His original design – His intelligent design – so that we can discover what it is and begin the joyful journey of living it out.

You are One in a Billion

No one else can fulfill your unique purpose. Not another person living can make the specific contribution you have to offer in the time and space you have been assigned in history. In one of his lectures, Dallas Willard spelled it out brilliantly:

“When you were born, it’s as if God was leading a great orchestra.
And now He said, ‘It’s time of you to come in.’
And you were put in a unique time and place.
And no one else is going to be there but you.
God will be with you.
But if there’s going to be light in that place, you’re it.
You’re it.
And you are suited for it.
And if you’re a friend of Jesus, you better get ready to shine,
because you really are going to shine.”

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Let God Orchestrate Your Life

In the next few blog posts we are going to be praying about how to discover our purpose in life. There isn’t a person in the world without one; we are called to intimacy with God and in that place of friendship with him, we will discover His best plan for our lives. We can walk in that plan, walk out that plan, and fulfill the life He has called us to live. Let’s begin today with a plain and simple prayer:

Father,

Who am I? Jesus knew the answer to that question for Himself when he walked the earth. That is why he was the best leader throughout history: a servant leader. Why am I here? Where can I serve you? I have an inkling as to the answer to these questions, but I want to hear more from You. Please speak to me as I quiet my mind and heart to hear you….

…..Amen

The best part of prayer is listening… Take ample time to speak your heart in your own words and hear His… Journal what you discover, and hold tight to the precious direction He offers you. You’re on a journey towards something very fulfilling.

“Let us hold firmly to what we believe” (Hebrews 4:14b).

Money, opportunities, good relationships, hopes for our future – we have all allowed these things to slip through our fingers. And if we don’t hang on tightly to Truth, if we listen to lies, half-truths, and pander to our doubts, we can lose our hold of it. Some things lost can never be found, but, thank God, His truth is always readily available when we seek it.

Holding firmly to what we believe is possible if we review the truth in the Word and make it our daily charge. If we declare Truth over ourselves, we can hold on to it and it to us, and His Truth will always set us free.

Join us in making this declaration today, straight from the organic, God-originated Scripture.

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins” (Colossians 1:13,14).

A Declaration

Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me from darkness and despair. You beamed me out of a very dark place and beamed me into a Kingdom of love and beauty – the Kingdom of Jesus, your dear Son and my beloved Lord and King! He paid the price for this big change in my life, and he forgave me of the sin that kept me in that place of darkness! Help me today to keep a firm hold of what is true – that I am loved by you, that you have empowered me to love others in my thoughts, words, and deeds, and that, above all else, I will love you and seek your constant, divine presence in my life. Amen!

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” Psalm 42:5.

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“Winter can be brutal on your hands.” So said the ancient 70’s advertisement for dish soap, but it can be just as brutal on your spirits, particularly if you live in the Midwest where the skies are gray for days on end and where everything seems lifeless and colorless like a slow-moving, worn out, black and white film. Sadly lacking sunshine, our bodies can give way to tired emotions, leaving us prone to depression.

Aside from taking our supplements, what can we do to keep our cup of joy full when we’re tempted to climb back into bed until the winter passes, the winds die, the mercury rises, and the birds start singing again?

I’m Just Talking to Myself

Flights to sunny Arizona aren’t necessarily the practical answer, but here’s a solution that seemed to work for the song-writers of Scripture – we can talk ourselves out of a ho-hum attitude and encourage our souls by speaking life and hope to our minds and emotions.

So let’s engage in conversation with ourselves. After all, we self-talk unconsciously all day long. We may as well make it count and build our hopes rather than tear them down. We will borrow the Psalmist’s words and speak them aloud over our souls.

My Pep-Talk

“Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies” (Psalm 43:2b)?

Self, I will no longer allow you to whine and wallow in the doldrums. Stand up, look yourself in the mirror, and say, “Enough!” Enough slothful lying around! Enough complaining about the weather! Enough wishing things were different! Self, your wandering days are over. Your grief is coming to an end today. Oppression is hereby cancelled over you. You are loved with an everlasting love! You are held in God’s loving arms! You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! And His joy is your strength, so rejoice!

My Prayer-Talk

Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy (Psalm 43:3-4).

Father, this is my SOS: shine your light in my direction! Loan me your perspective because mine is sadly misplaced. Once I have secured your illumination and your guidance, lead me into your joyful presence. I will worship you, forget my woes, and focus on the hope I have because of your covenant with me. As I am favored with your company, my joy will return because my joy emanates from you. Amen!

“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:19b NLT).

“The tongue can bring death or life” (Proverbs 18:21a).

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To leave a room better than you found it, is a considerate way to live life. But far more important is the notion of leaving people better than you find them.

How can we do that? Certainly not by brushing dandruff from their shoulders or informing them of the broccoli in their teeth (although, the latter can certainly be a loving gesture). It’s far better to affirm the good in others, rather than notice what’s not necessarily appealing.

Do you have a critical eye? That can be helpful if you’re a quality control sort of person. But in the highest scheme of things in life, it’s preferable to leave your critical eye at the office when engaging with people. Take notice of the good, and call their attention to it as well. Scripture teaches us to leave each acquaintance with a lighter step, enhanced hope, heightened courage, increased confidence, and a growing portion of peace.

Want to be a better friend? A better you? Pray this plain and simple prayer with us today:

Father,

Your Word and the example of Jesus are so very clear: you have taught and modeled kindness and love. When I think of my history and how many times I’ve used my words to criticize people, I wilt with remorse. But, Lord, I turn that remorse into repentance, asking for your forgiveness, receiving it and the cleansing you so generously promise me in your Word. I take your gifts, your generous forgiveness and cleansing, and make a determination to become a person more like Jesus; ready with a word of encouragement to edify the people with whom I come into contact. I realize this prayer requires your part as well as mine – the transformation of my mind. Let it be!

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Want to pursue further steps? Simply ask the Holy Spirit for your next assignment in becoming a better you. Perhaps it’s learning to live above offense and determining to forgive every person that rubs you the wrong way. With His help, we can obey, and by his grace, we can change!

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” ~Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People