Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

“The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”
“I just can’t take it anymore.”
“You’re terminal.”
“There’s no use.”
“It’s too late.”
“I give up.”

These are all popular phrases we hear day in and day out, even in our churches. Unbelief has become the popular mode of the day. Faith preachers are scorned, and “believers” are sometimes the most negative, faithless folks you will meet on any given day. People mistake faith for pride and unbelief for humility.

For Christmas our son gave us the book God is Good by Bill Johnson. In the second chapter he talks in detail about faith, what it is, and why it’s important. He also discusses the dangers of unbelief. Essentially he warns us to guard against any theology that doesn’t require faith.

See if you can follow these double negatives: It doesn’t take faith to believe that my health challenges will worsen. It doesn’t require faith to believe that our financial needs will not be met. It doesn’t require faith to believe that my loved one who is an addict will never recover. And I don’t need faith to see to it that the mountain of adversity in my life stays put!

In short, unbelief is the easiest thing in the world. Just believe in the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy rules simply by allowing the natural process of deterioration to do its good and perfect work – the work of wrecking the world, allowing everything to decline just as it is prone to do.

God, on the other hand, had the notion that His people can fight and win over entropy using His name and authority. He put human beings on the planet to tend it like a garden and to make it a reflection of Heaven itself, bringing order, beauty, and God’s great love to every corner.

How about adding more faith to your faith? How about becoming a believing believer? Just hype, you say? Positive-thinking hogwash? I’m not so sure… Without faith I cannot please God, and that’s the one thing I want to do more than anything – give my Heavenly Father pleasure. Want faith? Pray this plain and simple prayer with us…

Father,

You are Good. And when you made people in your image you said we were, “Very Good.” Lord, I want to have the faith of Jesus Himself. He said that nothing is impossible to those who believe. I want to be in the faith category, seeing opportunities for miracles in every challenge, seeing your great ability superimposed over every hopeless situation. Father, your Word says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Today I will listen to your Word. I open up my ears and my eyes to your Truth. Thank you for modern technology that allows me to listen to your Word all day long and to immerse myself in faith-filled teaching and preaching. Lead me and guide me as I seek to strengthen my faith to the place where I am unmoved, unimpressed, and underwhelmed by anything and everything but You!

Amen!

God’s way is perfect…And He makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:30,32

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

The best definition I’ve ever heard of Love is this:  “To fight for the highest possible good in another.” God is true love in the best sense and definition. Case in point:  He doesn’t keep His perfection to Himself; He shares it with us.

The Hebrew word for “perfect” simply means complete and whole, healthy and unimpaired. Who doesn’t want a journey like that? God’s way is everything good, and His goal for each of us to make our ways just like His. He offers us the possibility of attaining to a divine destiny – a better life filled with greater productivity and fruit. Then we, like Him, can do the same for others.

Like Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8, we can cry out from the intersections we live in, “Hey, there is a better way to live! You oughta try doing life God’s way!” Our motive is not to get some kind of prize or rack up points with God, but simply to lift others up as He has lifted us up. So, pray this plain and simple prayer today, and let’s get our journeys in line with God’s perfect way…

Father,

Thank you that You love me enough to not leave me to myself, my goals, my ambitions, nor my foolishness. You lift me above myself and take me to places I wouldn’t dream of going.

So, I pray the prayer I prayed to you when I first believed:  “Take my life and do something with it.” Yes! Take the path ahead of me, and direct me! Make my life fruitful and wholesome, healthy and helpful for others.

I receive all you want to give me, and I will go wherever you want to take me.

In Jesus’ Name Amen

The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household. Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:11,12)

Oh, the joys of those who…
delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Sometimes people are just in the right place at the right time. Obed-edom was one of those guys, strategically positioned for blessing. He was given the honor of hosting the Ark of the Covenant for David while David figured out some transportation challenges he was facing.

Meanwhile, blessing upon blessing began pouring out all over Obed-edom and his family. It was a blessing in perpetuity, for it continued for generations, rendering his descendants with both great authority as well as great ability, passing along the blessing through their leadership.

I don’t know about you, but I desire the blessing of the Covenant to be all over my household. So what can we learn from this story? Simply this: park the ark at your house. The ark represented the presence of the Lord and the terms of His covenant, all of which were fulfilled in Jesus. So if we are “in” Him, we are joint-heirs with Him and we get the blessing that is rightfully His: namely, everything we need for life and for godliness.

Too good to be true? God is both – Good and True. In every dimension.

So worship God, seek Him, wholeheartedly, meditate on His Word, and the blessing will come to rest at your house. Get in the presence of God and park there!

Father,

Teach me what it means to love you with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. Help me to fix my thoughts on you continually. I long for the blessing of Your presence to rest on my family. How we need you! Help me to imagine with my eyes of faith what our family would look like if we all, in unison, praised and worshipped you together, inviting you into every aspect of our lives, working together as gatekeepers for your kingdom, ushering in many people so that they will discover your blessings in this life as well as the next.

In Jesus’ Name Amen

God had richly blessed Obed-edom. Obed-edom’s son …had sons with great ability who earned positions of great authority in the clan…very capable men. All of these descendants of Obed-edom, including their sons and grandsons…were very capable men, well qualified for their work. (1 Chronicles 26:5-7)

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! (Acts 16:25-26)

But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth quaked and trembled.
The foundations of the mountains shook…
He opened the heavens and came down. (Psalm 18:6-9)

Does it feel like midnight right now even though its daylight? If it’s the darkest time of your life, Paul and Silas have a strategy that did wonders – signs and wonders – and you might want to give it a try. In the middle of their darkest night, wounded and bruised and facing more punishment and possible death, they prayed and worshipped together in the dark.

Find a friend or simply partner with Jesus and determine that you are not going to stop praising God until this long night is over. Turn on your favorite worship tunes and sing from your gut. Then listen for the rumblings… something earth-shattering is on the way, bringing a rescue plan just for you, bringing light in the darkness, strength for the weary, and hope for the hopeless.

Be patient in the waiting and don’t give up. It might not happen immediately, after all, we can’t expect results without mature and highly developed faith. That takes time, as Paul and Silas knew very well. But step by step, glory to glory we are growing in our capacity to believe for the impossible, and the impossible is becoming more and more possible, more feasible, and more imminent every moment.

Father,

In my distress I will praise and not grumble. I will worship and not whine. I will rejoice and not gripe. For you are my God. Your arm is long enough to reach into my circumstances. Your promises are still true, still available, and still in operation. Lord, I give myself to worship you, as you deserve all praise.

In Jesus’ Name Amen