Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

What The IF

posted by Mark and Jill

IF you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today…” (Deuteronomy 28:1).

That’s a big IF… 

God’s promises are overwhelming. He has vowed to enrich your life here and now, beyond imagination… IF…

The condition is significant. And when you dare read the second section of Deuteronomy 28 you will see the dark side – the horror – that happens IF (that is WHEN) we fail to “fully obey.” The bad news: not one of us can claim to have met this condition “fully.” As a result, we know we don’t deserve abundance, and that doubt dulls our faith to believe God will answer these prayers.


 So we hedge and protect ourselves with caution. 

You know what I mean. We’ve all blushed at the thought of asking and expecting big things from God. But expecting is exactly how we must pray. The good news: Jesus has met this IF condition. “He has fully obeyed… all his commands” and can claim to deserve the blessings. Further good news: Jesus gives us his same position. On the cross he took our failure to obey as his curse and gave us his holiness as our blessing. That’s an amazing deal!

Today, again pray through Deuteronomy 28 – the text from yesterday. This time, read it with Jesus in mind. Ask him to take each specific blessing and hand it to you. He will do this if you ask.

So ask… with the IF dealt with for you! 


A Prayer of Blessing From Deuteronomy 28

posted by Mark and Jill

Today, we are reading the first portion of Deuteronomy 28 (below). Be warned, you will find these words almost impossible to believe. “This can’t be for me…”

But do not trust your skepticism. Instead. Pray as you read, line by line. Pray, “God, do you mean this? Is this too good to be true, or too good not to be true? I believe, but help my unbelief” Read slowly, pause, pray for faith, listen, then read on, pause and pray again. Make this text a conversation. Don’t hurry. In fact, we will park on this amazing part of the Bible for a couple more days…

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.


You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:

Your towns and your fields
will be blessed.

Your children and your crops
will be blessed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be blessed.

Your fruit baskets and breadboards
will be blessed.

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
you will be blessed.


The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!

The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.

The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 28).

Amazing! Believe it…


A Prayer for Business Competitors

posted by Mark and Jill

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:43-48.

Let’s contextualize Jesus’s words for businesses. He might say today, “Love your competitors and pray for those who steal your market share.” Really? 

As an engineer knows his machine, God knows how we humans function best. He says “pray for your competitor” because bitterness is poison. When we judge, our criticisms boomerang, and the troubles I wish on the competitors return to my head (Matt. 7:1). I’m better off blessing!


Of course, not all competitors have “persecuted” us. But nonetheless, it can be hard to wish them success. The answer: Don’t listen to your feelings; listen to Jesus!

You may be saying, “So when do I begin to pray for my success?” Not yet. Not today. Today, let’s do something only Jesus would think up. Let’s pray for our competitors! Perhaps you don’t have direct competitors in your job. Okay, but you do recognize the tendency to compete for advantage. Audit your relationships and pray for the person you tend to compare your life against… That’s often a good indicator. 

Dare you…


Take a drive by their office, or look up their website, or go buy their product; take their product, or find some other tangible way to represent who they are and what they do. From there, ask God to bless this person and their labors. Perhaps read a favorite promise from the Bible as a prayer for them.


Blessing is not a zero-sum game with God. He can bless you and someone else in a win-win way. There’s plenty of goodness to go around! Give it away! 


A Prayer for God’s Thoughts

posted by Mark and Jill

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8).

For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (II Corinthians 2:16)

I am not smart enough. Don’t smirk; neither are you.

Researchers say we possess “bounded rationality” which means we all make decisions with only limited information and very limited brains. And yet, God trusts us with massive responsibilities: a wife or husband, children, a business and employees, homes, cars, retirement portfolios, and visions and dreams for a preferred future. Knowing what you know about yourself, do you think this was a good idea? But God loads us down with blessing, so much in fact we can’t possibly manage it completely.


We are not smart enough and life is a set up for failure. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.” Which is why God teaches us to pray. We are on the planet to learn conversational dependence. I love the simple prayer of Pastor Morris Vaagenes: “I can’t. You can. Please do. Thank you.”

When we admit our “bounded rationality” he shares his “boundless rationality” with us. Paul’s claim is actually audacious: “…For we have the mind of Christ.” No, my thoughts cannot be God’s, but His can be mine! I have the mind of Christ. I can pray for his way of thinking, his perspective, his attitude, his insight, his creativity, his logic, his memory, his forgetfulness, his common sense, his strategic foresight – ALL OF HIS MIND – to pervade me.



Jesus, you are brilliant and wise. When I give you access to my life you give me access to yours. Today I need your way of thinking. I have a challenge or two before me that are beyond my pay grade. I can’t think fast enough or clearly enough. But you can and do. Do so now, in me. Amen!

Now you are thinking!

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