Tag Archives: prayer

PRAYING FOR OTHER PEOPLE.042518

Latin Teenager Praying

My relationship, my spiritual relationship, with God is based on the six great themes of the Bible: love, humility, gratitude, trust, obedience and service; all of which are founded on the underlying concept of surrender.  All the themes, one way or another, are brought to life, they’re empowered by surrender, to God and to other people.  In a supernatural way, this is the attitude of Jesus that flows through us when we surrender to Him.

When I pray, I usually begin by ‘praying through the themes’ one at a time, as they relate to me and my relationship with God.  Every time, I see something new about how I should love God; humble myself before Him; be thankful for all the ways He blesses me; renew my trust in Him as it relates to all my other relationships, my cares and my troubles; confess my failures in obedience and renew my commitment to do His will and not mine, to have His attitude and not mine; and as my act of service, to deny myself, die to myself, and follow (surrender to) Him; so He can use me for His purposes in this world today.

So I was praying for my son today, my youngest son Ian, who is a freshman in college and is going through some major, life-changing events and decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life.  It is a challenging time, but a truly exhilarating time, to be alive in his world.  He has asked me to pray for him, which I am always happy to do.  I do pray for him every day anyway.  Today, I started a new practice, of praying for Ian the way I pray for myself.  It opens all kinds of new doors for me to think about in praying for him; not just about what he should do or not do; but also about all his relationships, with God and with others, that I can meditate on and consider how God is moving and working in Ian’s life and the lives of those around him. (They may need a little prayer too!)

There’s a limited amount of time to ‘really’ pray (like this) for all the people that are close to me; so I think I’ll need to spend more of my ‘unstructured’ time (formerly known as leisure time, ha!), when I’m driving down the road, or waiting in the doctor’s office, or waiting for an appointment, praying in this way for others.  God only knows what the results might be, for them and for me.

 

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SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS.110915

Group Of College Students Sitting And Talking Together

Where I come from small groups (especially ones for Jesus) are a relatively new phenomenon.  I guess when I was younger, we had small groups, but nobody called them that, and most of us didn’t recognize the benefits that arise from being members of one.  My first introduction was when I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, and they talked about being a member of a “Reunion Group”, which was defined as: 3-5 people who meet together once a week to review how they’re doing in their walk with Jesus; to answer one or more of seven questions about things like: 1] Closest moment to God; 2] Discipleship denied, 3] Discipleship confirmed, and a few others.  They called it an “accountability” group.  That always sounded like you had a list of things you were supposed to be doing, and the other members of the group were supposed to hold you accountable, if you fail to live up to your duties as a Christian.  I almost didn’t join a Reunion Group because of the crushing weight of being held accountable.  However, it turns out to be a lot more about love, and a lot less about accountability.

I’m a member of three “small groups” now.  Two of them would loosely fall under the umbrella of Emmaus Reunion Groups.  The other one I’ve been having with my daughter (and a few others) early on Saturday mornings for more than 10 years.  Now that group includes my favorite son-in-law. It’s the best of the lot, even though the others are truly a blessing as well.  Continue reading

SHARING YOURSELF.103015

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeAwhile ago we started talking about what it means to be a “Practicing Christian”.  We suggested that a “Practicing Christian” is one who practices the fundamentals of Christianity, which include focusing on God every day; making Jesus the Lord of your life; having a quiet time which includes reading the Bible and some devotional, praying, meditating and listening to God (every day); and sharing yourself, your life and your knowledge of God with others, through prayer and share, Bible studies, Church and Christian activities (every day).  You notice I’m stuck on the part about ‘every day’.  That’s what Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would follow Me [be My disciple, My student, My follower], let him deny himself, take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me.”

So today we’re talking about sharing yourself.  After you’ve spent a little time focusing on God and doing the things that are listed above, you’ll see that your relationship with God is beginning to develop, and without even trying you start feeling the urge to say something to other people about what’s happening to you in your heart.  (It’s that change that the Greeks call metamorphosis, sometimes translated into English as “transformation”.)  It’s the same thing that happens when a caterpillar changes from a worm into a butterfly.  That’s us, when we start to spend time focusing on God.  Paul talks about it Romans 12:2. Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND.100115

Handsome man playing guitar. Close-up of young man playing acoustic guitar while sitting in front of the window

Been stressed lately.  My main source of income dried up.  Had way too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Not getting enough rest.  Not enough exercise. Heck, I don’t even have time to talk to my one kid still at home.  He’s too busy too.  Long days and short nights.  Need a little relief.  What can I do?

Well, I can think a little about God.  Max (Lucado) says, “When you’re down, think of all God has done.”  Oswald (Chambers) says, “We think everything should be turned into useful teaching.  In fact, it is to be turned into something better: character.” Charles (Stanley) says, “When you need help, thank God for all He’s done.”  Alistair (Begg) says, “All God has done for us should be saved and remembered, to bring honor and glory to Him.” Wow!

And I can pray and tell God I love Him.  I really do thank Him for things He’s done for me, both long ago and in the last few days.  I’m thinking about how I could use a little relief; a little peace and quiet; a little rest.  Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? 052115

[This is an excerpt from a Kairos Talk: Tomorrow]

Bible Group Praying TogetherCan we be changed?   Yes, but not by ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”  To be changed, we must accept the gift of God.  We must realize how badly we need Him, and then give our whole selves to Him, and trust Him to take care of us, because we finally figured out we can’t take care of ourselves.

The guys at your family table are your brothers.  Christ’s challenge to you is to take care of them.  To stick up for them.  To meet regularly with them for prayer and share group. Continue reading

OOTB10 . 062014 . PRAYER AND SHARE

Image          I’m sure there are many versions of ‘prayer and share’ groups out there.  Often these are called by different names.  Sometimes they are practiced along with and under the guise of ‘Bible Study Groups’ or Sunday School groups, where there is some teaching and discussion of Biblical principles.  But the really important ingredients of prayer and share groups are the following, a few people, seldom more than five or six, often as few as two or three; who meet once a week for about an hour.  Everybody gets to share about what God is doing in their lives; what is happening to them and what they are doing about it, in the Lord. There is an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality in which people can be open and be vulnerable (call it unconditional love).  The prayer and share groups I am aware of are usually just men or women, not both; that way there is more vulnerability and more openness.  When people share about their lives in the Presence of the Lord, there is a supernatural amount of understanding and healing; a sense of unity in the Body of Christ that you just don’t find anywhere else.  Having a small group is an important factor.  If the group is too large, say 10-15 people, most are reticent to share what’s really going on in their hearts and lives.  (But there are exceptions to every rule!)

Prayer and share with a small group of Christian brothers or sisters has a way of drawing you closer to Him and to them in a way that is qualitatively different from other Christian experiences I’ve been involved in.  It is a sense of being a member of the family of God that I hadn’t known before I became involved in one.  This really is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “Where two or three of you are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst.”   [Notice I didn’t say anything about praying.  We always pray at the end, and sometimes in the middle when we feel a push from the Holy Spirit.  By the way, you’ll know.]

What do you think?  .   .   . What do you do?

1] Are you involved in a prayer and share group that meets regularly; say weekly?

2] Would you like to be?

OOTB6, 061114, Daily Quiet Time 2:

The best times I have getting to know God better are the times I’ve taken the time to

1]   Read the Bible and a devotional and let it soak in a little;

2]  Read the prayer requests that I have received and think them over; both about the physical needs requested and about the spiritual needs that are represented by those requests; and then

3] Kneel before God; tell Him how much I want Him and how much I need Him in my life; about how thankful I am that He loves me and is taking care of me; about how much I love Him and how much I want to be more like Him and less like me, how I want to die to myself so He can live His life in me; and then I

4] wait; (and while I’m waiting),

5] I try to think about the needs in the prayer requests and how they relate to the Bible reading and the devotional, and vice versa.  I am truly astounded at how God speaks to me and helps me focus on the issues that are most important, and understand and discern a] the meaning of His message(s), b] exactly what to pray for; and c] what He wants me to do about the prayer requests.  And in the process I develop a better, closer, more intimate relationship with God.   When I think about the morning quiet time in that way, I’m astounded at the things that God tells me, and the sense of God’s Presence I feel. 

            This must be what Mother Teresa was talking about when she had an interview with a reporter who asked about her prayer life.  He inquired, “You must pray a lot.  What do you say when you pray?”  She said, “I don’t say much, mostly just listen.”  He said, “Well, if you mostly just listen, what does God say?”  She replied, “He doesn’t say much, He mostly just listens.” The confused reporter asked, “If nobody is talking, what is the point of praying?” Mother Teresa calmly indulged him, “If you don’t understand, I’m not sure I could explain it to you.”

What do you think?  .   .   . What do you do?  Do you deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Jesus?  What do you do to show God how you feel about Him?

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