Tag Archives: Bible prayers
Rattling off ominous predictions of imminent doom, John warned that Jesus’ advent would mark the end.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire — Matt. 3:10, 12 NIV.
Jesus failed to live up to his billing. The meanest thing he ever did was overturn the tables of the money changers in the temple. When it came to violent confrontation, he meekly handed himself over to death — hardly the expected judgement.
But no, John didn’t miss the mark. The threatened judgement DID fall, and the wrath of God DID execute implacable justice.
It’s just it didn’t fall on the guilty. It fell on Jesus.
That horrible death of Jesus. The ax fill on the root, on the root of Jesse. The burning scorched Jesus.
Jesus was the soldier who threw himself on the hand grenade to save his buddies, you and me.
My brother made fun of us when he visited our mission church in Guatemala. Too many padlocks, he moaned.
But one extra little padlock saved us from getting completely robbed.
The thieves sawed through an iron bar to enter at the window probably at 2 a.m. They served themselves leftover coffee and ate breads. They were in no hurry. Guatemalan police are overrun with crime and work fewer shifts at night. No neighbors would interfer; they could get shot for that.
They took our keyboard and a few other things. But one small padlock on the outside of the door kept them from walking off with our school’s computers. I
guess they ran out of time because the $1 Chinese padlock was no formidable security. What they took had to fit out the upstairs window.
Sometimes, it’s the itty bitty things that save you. That little prayer — unaccompanied by fasting, with no fancy language — will make the difference. Don’t skip it thinking it’s a mere nothing. However short it may be, however unadorned, speak it to God with sincerity. That small “cheapo” prayer may be the single factor preventing the thief (the devil) from running off with everything.
- How to pray?
- Prayers from the Bible
- Prayer optimization
Recently, a close friend was broken. His ex was possibly dying from cancer, and even though she was an ex, heart strings were tugged. He came with me to prayer and poured out his heart to God asking for her healing. She’s better now. God answered from grace. Even though God answered, my friend still is not coming to church for gratitude, for commitment, for anything.
God’s grace is the greatest thing. You don’t earn salvation, and He doesn’t deny your prayer request just because you’re not attending church. You cannot earn a positive response from God.
But it seems to me like we’re not optimizing our prayer life when we treat God only as 911. We call Him only in emergency. It seems to me that we actually optimize our prayers when we serve Him faithfully. It’s an insult to God when we treat Him as unimportant 364 days out of the year and only remember Him on the one day we have a crisis. Still, He answers out of His grace, not out of our merits (because even when we’re somewhat faithful, we have not merits).
I don’t pretend to fully understand this. I’m only describing a tension that deserves to be rectified. There’s no mathematical formula for when you will get an answer and when not. God’s grace overrides any formula.
Maybe the best way to describe this is to say, treating God only as an Emergency Service in Heaven, is not cool. How to pray? Don’t be uncool.
- Bible prayers and motivation.
Sweat haters loathe the treadmill, the Pilates class and weight machines. Because their doctor twisted their arms, they’re at the gym, counting down the minute to the end of the torture session, which they often skip and only do to stave off the heart attack.
I can’t relate: I love the endorphin release of the gym. I’m hooked on the good feel of health. At some point in life, I figured out the tradeoff: you either delight your tongue for a few minutes daily — or your delight your body 24/7.
(Of course I believe in Heaven, but I’m in no hurry to get there — like soda-imbibers. Passing the last days of my life in the hospital does not appeal to me.)
And church captivates me. No, the minutes don’t pass in intolerable boredom (well, most of the time). I’m passionately into everything good for you — and God is good for you!
So is prayer good for you. If you eschew prayer in favor of reality T.V., you’re missing out on some good returns available only to those who invest. Not every prayer session is just sweet communion with my Lord. But I keep at it, even when it’s hard, just like the gym or vegetables. I’ll keep praying Bible prayers.
How to pray? Bible prayers.
Joshua mucked up by not praying . He basically authorized terrorists (Gibeonites) to live among the Israelites by failing to consult God before striking a deal. Lesson: To avoid failure, we ought to pray (the subject of my last post).
But I don’t want a downer. Who hasn’t tripped up? According to George Barna, approximately 100% of Americans fail significantly at some point in their life. Actually, I’m lying. That’s not a George Barna statistic. It’s a Rom. 3:23 statistic. And it’s experience. How many times have I failed? At least a zillon. And that’s just counting starting in 2013.
Here’s the takeaway to the bummer story. Joshua owned up to his mistakes and turned them into a winner. When fellow Canaanites realized the Gibeonites had “sold out” to the invading Israelites, they ganged up to lynch them. The Gibeonites, with a contract whose ink wasn’t even dry yet, cashed in on their new alliance and asked the Israelites to defend them. Joshua set aside his smarting and used his smarts: he vanquished all the other Canaanites. The Gibeonites had tricked him, but he used his embarrassment to his advantage.
God’s power promptly materialized. Not only did they utterly smash their enemies, the Israelites witnessed the third most extraordinary miracle confounding the laws of nature (#1 Jesus walked on water, #2 Moses separated the Red Sea): On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” — Josh 10:12 NIV.
This gave them time to continue winning the war. The enemies couldn’t escape in the dark of night.
The upshot: prayer turns failures into successes!
- How to pray?
- Bible prayers.
- Use of prayer.
Perched on a warship’s side, the U.S. Navy’s potent anti-missile Gatling gun Phalanx CIWS spews out 3,000 armor-piercing tungsten 20mm rounds per minute that down rockets flying at Mach 3 straight towards a ship. Guided by radar and computerized systems, the Phalanx bullets blunt incoming attacks.
What was the “design flaw” of the Phalanx?
In order to work, it had to be turned on.
So too, prayer, in order to work effectively, must be turned on. It must be used. We must pray for it to work. Too many Christians leave prayer on “standby” only. And when incoming missiles head towards us at Mach 3, we don’t have time to react.
Prayer is meant to be used, not ignored.
- How to pray?
- Bible prayers
- Persevering in prayer
I’ve long lamented being a plodder: lack of panache, short on genius, without the glut of talent and personality that some people have.
Last night I learned the plodder wins the day. The IQ-overflow, overconfident swashbuckler doesn’t want to work. He expects everybody to do everything for him just because their enthralled with his personality. Persistent Igor blindsides him. Whoop!
The plodder goes to prayer. He patiently, persistently, perseveringly goes to God, day after day, not making “vain repetitions,” but continually assailing the throne with desperate needs until the glorious answer materializes. If you’re slogging through the mud, rejoice! The answers coming!
Everybody loves the heroic moment: David downs Goliath, Elijah makes fire from Heaven, Moses opens the Red Sea. The special effects are exciting. But we must realize that hours, days, weeks, months and years of prayer go into the making of that moment.
While the disciples slept, Jesus prayed. (While Jesus slept, the disciples fretted.)
- How do I pray?
- Bible prayers
- Faith and perseverance
Or is it “try, try, try again?”
My heart goes out to atheists, agnostics and struggling Christians whose experience with prayer has been negative. Typically, they gave it a try, and nothing happened. No answer. Just silence.
I wish to gently suggest that in many cases, nothing went wrong. You just need to keep praying. The Bible talks directly and indirectly about persevering in prayer.
Now, if your loved one passed on, I don’t want to sound trite. I want to give you a hug. I don’t know why prayers “didn’t work.” The Bible says that God knows what He’s doing. Many times what we want doesn’t correspond to what He wants. Forgive me if this “answer” doesn’t “answer” your legitimate hurts. I am not criticizing or making fun of your efforts or experience. Some people cannot assimilate old age, sickness and accidents in a fallen world, and plain old mortality. Why is God blamed?
In other cases, you simply need to keep praying. God hasn’t responded negative. He just hasn’t responded as quickly as you would like. In Luke 18 tells of an unjust judge. What’s extraordinary about the story is that most parable don’t have an explanation; it’s open to your interpretation. But this one says: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up Luke 18:1 NIV.
The judge accepted bribes, but because a certain poor woman demanded daily justice, she wore the corrupt judge down. Just to get her off his back, he ruled in her favor.
The parable works by contrast: how much more so will the Just Judge in Heaven rule in our favor? But we must continue to pray.
Prayer is about breaking bounds set by secularists, who want to limit Christianity to pious crying.
The day after the April 15 Boston bombings, Christians held vigils for the victims, and the worldly applauded. But the dead stayed dead. Mourning didn’t change our country.
Trying to constrain Christ to a reduced role of “acceptable” activities is nothing new. When Jesus saw his dead friend Lazarus, he cried. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” — John 11:36 NIV. Crying was acceptable. Raising him from the dead was not. From that day on they plotted to take his life. — John 11:53 NIV. Jesus was taking their thunder.
It’s impossible for Christ to remain benign. His followers should not cower either. If you only want to lament the demise of this world, wring your hands. But if you want to see Christ transform this world, get in contact with resurrection power now — through prayer. I am the resurrection and the life, said Jesus (John 11:25 NIV).
Break out of the limitations they set on you. (They don’t conceive supernatural power.) Work in prayer for miracles!
You would think they would have rejoiced at Lazarus’ resurrection. To the contrary, it made them furious (because it meant their loss of political power). But Jesus didn’t play their game. He used power. And that same power is available to us today.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing prayer vigils and mourning for victims. I would have participated, had I lived in Boston. What I’m saying is that we Christians can’t limit our activities to religious actions devoid of real power. We must pray for our countries, for our cities, for our neighborhoods, for our churches, for our families.
I’m also not talking about being obnoxious. Is there anything worse than a shrill “Christian” scolding the world for its worldliness? No, I’m talking about crying out to God and making impact, not being a self-appointed moral policeman for people who don’t have slightest idea about morality. First, let’s bring people to God, then teach them the way.
The world is eroding. We must resort to prayer.
- Our Father – not impersonal, unfeeling, but loving family; not an amorphous force field.
- Who art in Heaven – not only inside us, not a human projection, transcendant, above all in power and in person
- Hallowed by thy name – ultimately we serve Him, not He, us
- Thy kingdom come – ultimately the purpose is reaching others for Christ, not filling our whims
- Thy will be done – ultimately, it’s about His will, not ours
- On earth as it is in Heaven – obviously there’s a great lack of perfection here on Earth that we want to realize, just like Heaven is perfect
- Give us this day our daily bread – notice the redundancy (hence it is important to God) or our provision
- Forgive us our trespasses – we humans daily miss the mark of God’s required perfectness, hence we ask forgiveness
- As we forgive those who trespass against us – it is critical for us to forgive others!
- Lead us not into temptation – yeah, good idea to steer clear of that stuff!
- Deliver us from evil – may we not fall prey to merciless destructiveness
- Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory – it’s all His, not ours
Pray along these lines and you’ll do well! The Lord’s prayer tells you to whom you are praying and for what you ought to pray! I think it’s best to use your own words. Keep in mind the start off: He’s our compassionate daddy, not a cruel tyrant or stone-faced taskmaster.
How to pray? Bible prayers. Answers to prayer.
If you want logical explanations, you will most likely surmise the futility of prayer. But if you want results, then you will pray.
An atheist can scorn my prayer times. He can dismember its logic: “If God knows everything and is already motivated by compassion, then why does He need us to pray?” Good argument.
So why do I pray? Plain and simply, it works. (It doesn’t reason.)
If you want powerful reasons, become a philosophy major or a lawyer and feel proud of your rhetorical capabilities. If you want powerful results, pray and don’t fret about the anti-God hubbub.
I have seen answers to prayer. I cannot deny healings, salvations, turnarounds, miracles of money. My marriage is happy. Three times God healed my back (from separate injuries).
When it comes to prayer, why? is more important than what? when? where? and how? If you don’t know why, you won’t pray. But if you pray, what, when, where and how are all secondary because God looks mostly at your heart.
- Make faith grow
- How to pray?
- Prayers of the Bible
Actually, Gideon didn’t start out with a lot of faith. He doggedly doubted God. A splendorous vision of a heavenly angel didn’t sway him. A supernatural calling didn’t impress him. He argued with God. Then, he tested Him with a fleece. The first night, he asked it be saturated with dew and the ground dry, the second night the fleece dry, the ground wet.
God patiently built up his faith.
Don’t stress out about “lack of faith.” Just ask God to build it. Don’t strain trying to conjure faith. There’s no magical incantation to muster faith in the human heart. Faith comes from:
1) Reading your Bible and hearing it preached (Rom. 10:17)
2) Praying and experiencing God’s answers (John 4:48)
3) Focusing on what God has done in the past to encourage yourself on what God will do in the future. (Phil 4:8)
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head — Mark 4:28-29 NIV.
You don’t make your faith grow. You can only provide optimal conditions for the seed — soil, sun, water, protection against plague and erosion. It’ll grow all by itself.
- Pray powerful prayers
- How to pray?
- Bible prayers
- Pray more effectively
- Pray with faith
We fail to realize the power within our reach. Because we don’t realize (mentally), we don’t realize (physically in a miraculous manifestation) an answer. Prayer without faith is pretty pointless. But with faith, it has explosive power. What kind of power? Resurrection power.
Is there anything more impossible than to bring someone back from the dead? Medical science can revive someone whose heart has stopped. It can revive comatose people. But once the person is really dead, doctors are really lost as to what to do. Call the mortuary, that is all.
But God, showing His power, raised Jesus from the dead. And that’s the power we have access to.
His incomparably great power for us who believe … is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead Eph. 1:19-20 NIV.
Your financial need is nothing compared to death. If God could resurrect His Son, He can resurrect your finances!
Moving music and exhilarating scenic photos combine with scripture to remind you about God’s creation, His power, His majesty in this inspiring video by http://www.PositivePrayers.com
I’m a big believer in getting inspired to pray. I find my prayer life becomes vibrant when either scripture or prose or praise lifts my spirit first.
Prayer is not a matter of saying the right words but having the right attitude. When your spirit soars on wings of eagles, it seems you pray overcoming prayers that make an impact.
Here’s an inspirational nugget to jumpstart your prayers:
A firewall limits the passing of fire from one building to the next, if we’re talking architecture. If we’re talking computers, a firewall prevents cyber attacks and spam. But if we’re talking Bible, a wall of fire saved the Israelites from being annihilated by their Egyptian pursuers.
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Pharoah had a change of heart (again!) and raced after them with his chariots and horsemen. In front, the Red Sea blocked. Behind, the world’s most feared army closed in. The Israelites were dead ducks.
Just before the Egyptians fell on the helpless Jews, the guiding cloud (which by night turned into a pillar of fire) settled in between the two, separating them and protecting the Israelites. It was a wall of fire that saved God’s people from the ravenous horde.
Pray for God’s firewall to protect your finances, your health, your family, your children. For some reason, “hedge of protection” is a buzzword in Christianity. You can have a hedge. I’ll go for the “wall of fire.” The devil can’t touch you, when God covers you.
Verses to fuel your prayers:
- Job 1:10 NIV (Satan, discrediting Job’s faithfulness, complains to God) Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
- Psm 34:7 NIV The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
- Psm 91:7 NIV A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
A reminder to pray, read you Bible and journal your dynamic walk with Christ.
Prayer is also about the powerless seizing power. When in this world, you have no means to deliverance, to health, to change lost friends or relatives. You only have prayer. You feel helpless to do anything, and you turn to God, who CAN do everything.
No power structure, conserving its privilege, is going to be able to subvert God, the Power over every other power. Don’t just stand idly by, wringing you hands, woefully wishing things were different. Seize power and change your world: pray today. God has 100% of the power.
The motorcycles caught us 5 miles away from the bank. As one of four guys banged the window with a pistol demanding our bags, I had no doubt that it was the bank teller who tipped them off. He had changed our check to cash. Because all our information was in our bags, I figured they’d come back for a kidnapping, so we had to return to America, our 16 years as missionaries in Guatemala at an end.
God does an inside job too! Don’t bother to make external changes in yourself — they lead to (false) religiosity. Instead, surrender to His Holy Spirit in prayer daily, and let God transform you from the inside. Once you are saved, you are forgiven, you are new creation, but then God begins a work of perfecting you that will continue for the rest of your life. But it’s on the inside.
In regards to prayer, remember:
- A little bit is better than none, but God wants to work on us daily, so pray daily.
- A little bit more will increment value and power to prayer.
- The best prayers are ones inspired by the Bible or simply taken from the Bible. Jesus dismisses “vain repetitions” — mumbling by rote words penned by another. But there is much to learn and apply from the experts, the Bible heroes.
- The Big D (that’s Devil) constantly bombards you with thoughts that prayer is useless, a waste of time, meaningless, etc. He does this because he knows how effective it is.
- As you pray for others, God also is transforming you — from the inside out.
- Enjoy prayer! Think of it as a romantic date. You are spending time with your Lover, God.
With confounding feet, Leonel Messi fired out of a throng of Milan defenders high into left corner at minute 5, leaving Goalie Christian Abbiati looking like a tree planted in the ground, his vision blocked by his own defenders.
Just before the half, Messi again caught Abbiati wrong-footed with a low torpedo through defender’s legs that sank Italian hearts. A third curling goal from David Villa marked victory, and a lung-bursting sprint from Jordi Alba, picking up a cross from Dani Alves, made it four.
With brimming reason, Messi has been named an unprecedented four times best world player. But first, Barcelona had to invest in him.
At 11 years of age, the Argentine showed early promise but suffered from growth hormone deficiency. His dad, a poor steelworker, could not afford it. The legendary Argentine team River Plate recruited Messi but balked at the $900/month treatment.
With consistent admiration from coaches, players and commentators around the world, Messi is perched atop the pyramid of soccer prowess. Any team would love to contract him. They would be willing to pay multiple millions of dollars. But Messi remains loyal to the Catalan kings because he’s grateful: when he was needy, they were there for him.
First you must invest to reap a harvest of blessing. Invest your most precious commodity: time. Pray.
If you lose millions of dollars, you can get it back. If you lose your health, you can get it back. You can get back just about most anything. But the one thing you can never get back is t-i-m-e.
Many things we think are a “waste of time” are not. Those things we hold to be a best use of time, actually are a waste. Time will run out into the ocean of eternity one day and will stop marching forward. On that day, you and I will be in either Heaven or Hell. What we do here on earth in favor of eternity is the best use of time.
Have you hugged your family yet? Have you hugged God in prayer today?
No sooner had we remodeled our home in Guatemala than we fled to America. A run-in with criminals forced us to leave. The trauma of the robbery at gunpoint took the foreground; the irony of our “lost investment” sat in the background.
The stylized ceiling and modernized kitchen seemed like a good investment. We had lived in Guatemala for 15 years and did not foresee leaving our beloved missionary life. The threat of kidnapping changed that abruptly. The money already spent proved pointless.
Our stay in Guatemala was NOT permanent. It was temporary. So too our life here on Earth is short. Moses called his son Gershom, which means foreigner, because he felt like he didn’t belong in Midian. Peter says we’re only sojourners here on the globe. Our true home is Heaven.
Was that what God was telling me? Whatever you do for eternity — even if it’s only five minutes of prayer today because that’s the best you can do — stands forever. We are here only briefly, so if all your effort is focused for this earth, try to enjoy these fleeting moments as much as possible. My recommendation: Work for eternity.
Jesus and Peter had to pay the temple tax but had no money. So Jesus sends Peter back to his old vocation, fishing. Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours — Matt. 17:27 NIV.
If you are in His will, God will provide for your need. Prayer means getting the supernatural into the natural. If you’re working, you won’t have to change your routine, just request the dosage of God’s blessing upon your natural labors.
They call this miracle money, and after 33 years of being a Christian, I have seen God answer like this over and over, in my own life and others. It especially happened when I pastored in Guatemala, particularly when we bought a property and had huge mortgage payments.
SEOs battle to rank for Google’s first page. You have to jump through hoops to discover the inscrutable indices of Google’s bots to get a 3, 4, or 5 that can land you on the first page of search. After months of ingenuity and sweat, you may get it. All this for the attention of the consumer.
To get God’s attention is much easier. As a matter of fact, you’re his page-one top hit. It doesn’t require months, nor weeks, nor days. Not even hours. Just 30 seconds of prayer
is enough to have His undivided attention. In the Kingdom of God, everyone ranks a 10 because God is omniscient — He knows everything all at the same time.
Actually, it is God who is vying for your attention. He’s doing everything in His power, but you rank Him waaaaay down on search page 157 — or lower. Stop playing hard-to-get, and let God rise in your ranking of things clamoring for your attention.
As soon as you pray, you’ll pop up on His screen. Sooner.
It is so small that even a child can do it — without much effort. It’s so huge because tectonic plates are moved in the Heavenlies, which we habitually underestimate.
Well, it does require a lot of effort, but not because it’s like looking for the Higgs boson. What’s hard is to push out the raucous crowd of activities that clamor for our attention. For some people, 15 minutes of prayer seems like an eeee-t-e-r-n-i-t-y. For me, it is hard to find over an hour.
Nevertheless, when I do pray, I always savor it, I always marvel at the results.
I swear I’ll never give it up. But then the next day the disgusting boisterous crowd of leather-clad activities roars in on Harley Davidsons and refuses to be dislodged. Can somebody come over here and clear these ornery thugs out? I need to pray.