Wanna See Things Change? Pray.

Prayer.

Is it a request that we send up to God when we need His help?
Is it a quick thank you for an answered one?
Is it a duty before we take communion or a bite of lunch?

I will be doing a series of devotions on prayer over the next couple of weeks and as I learn more about it, I want to share that with you.  I also want each devotion to have a challenge for the day so that we can begin getting into a daily routine of prayer and quiet time and learn to go beyond the simple requests and thank yous.

I want the daily challenge to be something we focus on together and know that others who read these devotions are praying together in their respective locations.

There’s nothing like troubled times to bring us to our knees in prayer, and I know over the last year there have been a lot of things in my life to pray for and I’m sure the same with you.  If we just start with the issues in our world, country, state, city, school and workplace, we would have plenty of prayers for years.  But I want us to get deeper with prayer.

Jesus gives us a model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 with the Lord’s Prayer:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  (NIV)

That sums it up:
*Acknowledge and praise the Father in heaven.  He is the all-knowing, all-present, Only God.
*Ask His will to be done.  Not our will.  But His will.
*Give us basic needs for the day physically as well as spiritually.
*Forgive us for all the sins we commit outwardly and inwardly.
*Help us to also forgive those who have sinned against us.
*Help us not to be drawn in by the devil’s schemes and give into temptation.
*Keep us away from satan.

I know there are many more avenues for prayer but just for today and the next couple days, let us really focus on just these things when we pray.

  1.  Acknowledge how powerful God is and that we believe He is the Only One.
  2.  Pray for His will in all situations.
  3.  Thank Him for our daily food and needs being met and ask for spiritual growth.
  4.  Ask for forgiveness of our sins and then forgive someone you need to forgive.
  5.  And pray for guidance to not give in to temptations put in front of us.

CHALLENGE:  Using the Lord’s prayer as our model, pray those 5 things above and customize them specifically for you.  Dig deeper than reciting the prayer.  Actually make it for your specific needs.

We can do this.  This journey through prayer will change us.  I know it’s changed me and I hope you will join me on this adventure to see how God will show up and change our lives in a mighty way.  I’m so excited to get started!

Get Out Of My Way!

Bumper to bumper traffic peppered with yellow taxi cabs.  Horns blaring.  People shoulder to shoulder scurrying through crosswalks. That’s the scene during morning and evening rush hours in NYC.

My husband, daughter and I just returned from a vacation in New York City.  We had a wonderful time but man, do those drivers love to honk their horns!  It seems like they honk just to be honking sometimes!

People live by that “New York minute” theory thinking they only have one of them to get from point A to point B.  Everyone had better get out of the way or a customary honk of the horn will greet you to move you right along.

I wonder how many times my “very patient” God has wanted to honk a virtual horn at me.  How many times has He been cruising right along working out issues in His perfect plan and I get in the way?

We have situations in our own lives, pray for God to lead and work it out but when He doesn’t seem to be going fast enough we start driving our own agenda and get right in His way.  He probably just shakes His head and says “I wish she would get out of my way.”

Of course, God doesn’t use a big horn to blow and move us out of the way like a NYC taxi driver.  He is very patient but when He’s had enough and we keep getting in the way, He may steer us in a different lane or use a different route because we have crowded the one He was planning to use.

The good news is that no matter how many times we get in His way, He will use it all to the good of those who love Him to come to the final destination of His plan.  (Romans 8:28).

I know He’s good and His path is better than mine.  Then why do I keep getting in His way?

Are you in His way?  Move over and let Him pass on through.

HONK. HONK.  He’s got work to do.  🙂

 

Where Have You Been?

Where have you been?
It’s a phrase we ask when we feel like someone has been gone too long.  Maybe we are looking for them and can’t find them.  Or maybe it’s just become a normal thing that you see them and then all of a sudden you notice they aren’t there.

My husband, daughter and I took a vacation for a few days to New York City.  I chose not to post much on social media while we were gone and just focus on our fun.  Actually, (don’t tell anyone) but I didn’t even open up my laptop to do any work for my employer!  YIKES!  Although, I admit,  I did check and respond to a few emails from my phone.  It was a true vacation where my mind and body and spirit got to relax.

When we were walking through Newark airport for our return flight, my husband said, “what are you thinking about?  You have been able to let your mind rest but now I can tell it’s churning back up.”

I casually responded with a generic answer but truth be told my mind was starting to wander.  I could feel this anxiety creeping in….back to reality.  Back to stress at my job.  Back to housework and laundry.  Back to routines and cooking and cleaning.  Back to posting and writing and speaking.  And then I realized something.

I love all that stuff (well maybe not the stress of my job but all the other stuff 🙂  ).  I love writing and posting and speaking.  I love taking care of my family by cooking and cleaning and doing laundry.  My house and Indiana were calling my name.  WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

My laptop and my scheduled quiet time were calling my name.  Our daughter’s little dog wondered where I had been.  My in-laws and parents and nephews missed us.  And then I realized something else…

God was asking me the same question.  Where have you been?

Sure I had been reading my devotionals and praying before meals and off and on throughout the day sending up my requests.  But the quiet time was lacking because we were on the go a lot and having a great time experiencing what NYC had to offer.  But I realized that when I wasn’t taking time to write and do my daily morning studies that I had a real void.  I was missing my time with the Lord.

Sometimes we ask Him, “where have you been, Lord?”  We feel like He left us all alone to do this life by ourselves but in reality it was us who went on vacation.  It was me who went away for a while and got caught up in all this fun and forgot to continue with the one daily ritual that sets the tone for the whole day – quiet time with Jesus.  There’s nothing wrong with vacation and fun but for me, I need this hour of quiet time.

Yes, we had a blast and no I didn’t forget about Him.  I still talked to Him and read my Bible.  But I realized that I really did miss this morning ritual of writing and studying and praying deeper.

If you talked to God today, would He ask you where you’ve been?  If so, it’s rhetorical.  No need to answer.  He already knows.  What He’s really happy about though is that you’re back and He can’t wait to spend some time with you.

Waiting Patiently? Really?

Waiting patiently.  I don’t even think those two words go together!  What’s it called?  An oxymoron?  A phrase that combines two words having contradictory meaning.

Waiting………. like:
“The buzzer will light up when your table is ready.”
“Take a number.”
“The next shuttle should arrive in 10 minutes.”
And my favorite:  “the doctor will be RIGHT with you.”

How do you feel when reading any of those examples?  Maybe you’re not like me.  Maybe waiting doesn’t bother you.  Unfortunately, I’m the person who feels like waiting is a waste of time.  I need to be doing something productive even if it is opening my Pinterest® app.

I have such a hard time waiting.  But our whole life has waiting built into it as the above examples remind us.   Waiting is inevitable.  It’s important, though, to note that it is what we do during that waiting period that sets our attitude for what’s to come.

If I am aggravated while waiting for my table at the restaurant, then the whole meal will be miserable, and I can make those with me feel uncomfortable and take away from their enjoyment of the evening.

Being aggravated at waiting on the doctor could cause my blood pressure to go up and give a false reading for an inappropriate diagnosis.

And we all know what being aggravated while waiting at the BMV for the “next number” to be called can do to us! hahaha

While we are in God’s waiting room waiting on answers to prayers; waiting on Him to guide us; waiting on Him to work; we must be patient.  It is during that time that He may be leading us to bigger and better things.  He may want us to learn to be more loving or draw closer to Him.  It may be that He just wants us to learn to sit and wait.

And it is probably during that waiting period that we grow the most.

So I am going to try to be more patient during the waiting times of the every-day events.  And while I am in God’s waiting room, I’m going to try to learn what He wants me to learn.  Maybe He just wants me to read the Highlights magazine.  🙂