Posts Tagged With: prayer

Be Still and Know

Cross in Clouds

Be Still and Know

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am the Creator of heaven and earth.

Be still and know that I knit you together in your mother’s womb.

Be still and know that I discern your thoughts from afar.

Be still and know that I am the God who heals.

Be still and know that I am the God of comfort.

Be still and know that I am steadfast and abounding in love.

Be still and know that I am slow to anger.

Be still and know that I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Be still and know that I am a refuge in times of trouble.

Be still and know that I forgive your sin.

Be still and know that I have a plan for you.

Be still and know that I am sovereign.

Be still and know that

Be still and know that I am God.

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Fasting and Praying

Fasting and Praying

In continuing the series on observing a holy Lent, today we will look at fasting and praying. Biblical fasting is going without food. Both the Greek and Hebrew words for fast mean a voluntary absence from food. There are many people in both the Old and New Testaments who fasted. Fasting is always associated with praying, the two are interconnected.

Ezra 8:21

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.

Nehemiah 1:4

As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Matthew 4:1-2

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

“Fast and pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship. In fasting we are not trying to get something from God, but seeking to realign our hearts’ affections with His. In fasting we can more readily say, “We love you, Lord, more than anything in the world.” Lust of any kind is perverted worship, but fasting enables us to cleanse the sanctuary of our hearts from every other rival.” (International House of Prayer – Fasting)

Lent is the perfect time for us to seek the Lord through fasting and praying so we can better align our hearts with the Lord and seek His will for our lives. There are many ways to fast but one of the easiest ways to start is to fast from after dinner on one night through the start of dinner the following night. It requires you to skip breakfast, lunch and snacks. It is a very doable fast and when it is accompanied with prayer can really help us seek the Lord in a powerful way.

Look at your calendar this week, what day can you set aside for fasting and praying? Mark it on your calendar, begin praying to the Lord about your fast today and then follow through with it. May the Lord bless your time of fasting and praying and may it help you draw even closer to Him.

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Join me on a Lenten Journey

Keeping a Holy Lent

We are in the season of Lent. It is the 40 days, not including Sundays, from Ash Wednesday until Easter. It is a time of self-reflection, recognizing our sinfulness and repentance, or at least it is supposed to be. We are currently 12 days in, how is your Lent going?

Some may have started off with the right attitude and a desire to use Lent as a time to preparation to really be able to celebrate Easter. However, many of us get distracted and busy with our lives and get off track. Some may have the desire to keep a holy Lent but don’t really understand how to do that.

The Book of Common Prayer’s Ash Wednesday service has a beautiful invitation that is said prior to the imposition of ashes. It not only invites us to observe a holy Lent, but tells us exactly how to do that.

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.” (BCP 1979)

First of all, it is an invitation and like all other invitations, we can accept or reject it. If you chose to accept this invitation then you need to do what is necessary to observe a holy Lent. A holy Lent includes self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting, self denial and reading and meditation on God’s Word.

Looking at this list may seem overwhelming but it is very doable. For the remainder of Lent I will be describing what each of these things are and giving practical examples of what they look like in your life. It is not too late to start. Will you accept the invitation for a holy Lent?

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At a Loss for Words

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Have you ever sat down to pray and found yourself at a loss for words? For those of you who know me, it may seem impossible that I would ever be at a loss for words. However, there are definitely times when I sit down to pray and find myself with not much to say or not able to find the right words to say.

Sometimes this is because we find ourselves overwhelmed with our circumstances and sometimes it is because our prayer life has become dull. Whatever the case, the Word of God is a great place to find the words. Parts of Psalm 69 came up in both my Bible study this week and again at church. There were a couple of verses that really struck me.

Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.

    At an acceptable time, O God,
    in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.

What struck me was how simple and powerful these words were and how I could use the words of the psalmist as my own prayer to God. This verse emphasizes that our prayer is to the Lord directly. It acknowledges the sovereignty of God by putting the timing of His answer to our prayer in His hands. It is a beautiful reminder of His steadfast love for us and his faithfulness. God is faithful even when we are not.

Psalm 69:16

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
    according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

This particular verse wasn’t part of what I read in Bible study or what was read in church but as I was following along with the reading in church, my eyes were drawn down a few verses to this verse. I love it when I open the Word of God for myself during church and what God has for me is just above or below what we are reading that day. It is one of the reasons I think it is so important for us to follow along with readings in our own Bibles even if the verses are being read aloud or displayed on a screen.

This verse along with verse 13 make such a powerful prayer. It is crying out to the Lord by acknowledging not only how good His love for us is but reminding us of the steadfastness of His love. It is asking the Lord to turn His attention to us so we can experience His mercy. Notice how His mercy is described – abundant. His mercies are new each day.

Lamentations 3:22-23

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

If you find yourself at a loss for words or feel your prayer time has become a little dull, open His Word and use it to pray. There is tremendous power in His Word. Maybe it is just the power you need to tap into today.

Isaiah 55:11

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

  • Picture by Master Isolated Images at www.freedigitalphotos.net
  • Scripture from www.biblegateway.com

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Be Inspired

Sunrise

I was reading a Facebook post of a dear friend last week. I was inspired by what she wrote. The anniversary of her husband’s successful liver transplant was upon them and while she praised God for this miracle, she did something even more amazing. She asked for everyone to pray for the family of the person who donated the organ to her husband. As her family was celebrating an anniversary of joy and blessing, she knew on that same day another family was suffering and remembering the loss of a loved one.

This post inspired me because it was such a great reminder to think of others more than ourselves. Throughout her husband’s illness and long wait on the transplant list while his health declined, she clung to her faith in God. She placed her complete trust in the Lord and chose to see where He was working in the midst of a very challenging time.

She was a constant inspiration to all who walked through this journey with their family because she chose to trust God, look for where He was working and share with others what He was doing. Sometimes it was something as simple as a smile or a gentle hand on her shoulder. It is amazing what a smile or gentle touch can do to show someone you care. Because she was bold enough in her faith to share what God was doing and how He was using others to minister to her and her family during this time, others were inspired and encouraged and their faith was strengthened.

In a time when you would think she and her family needed inspiration and encouragement, they provided it for others because of their amazing faith in God. It is not easy or natural to inspire others when you are suffering but if you are able to put your faith and trust in God and allow Him to work in and through you, you will bear fruit that will benefit others.

In the midst of the waiting she had an encounter with the Lord. One night as she was praying for her husband, the Lord impressed upon her to pray for the donor and his/her family. It was a moment that forever changed her perspective and the perspective of those around her. It was an immediate change of focus from herself, her husband and what they were facing to earnestly pray for the one’s who would be providing the answer to their prayers.

I vividly remember talking to her late one night about this and was immediately convicted myself for not looking beyond my friend and her situation. The Lord put a burden on my heart to pray for the family that would be providing the answer to the prayer. Many began to fervently pray for this family and the sacrifice they would be making, the suffering they would be facing and ultimately the blessing they would be providing.

The friend has had no contact with the donor family but still prays for them and praises the Lord for their willingness to give the gift of life through their sacrifice. She prays the Lord will continue to comfort them and give them peace and most of all that they would know and love him the way she does.

It would have been natural to celebrate the anniversary of a successful transplant and only focus on the good that came from it, but instead my friend decided to focus on those who made the ultimate sacrifice for her husband. Take some time today to look around and put someone else’s needs above your own. Pray for someone, encourage them and ask the Lord to work in and through you so you might inspire someone else.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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