Is This Prayer? Vocal and Silent, Raw and Active – This is Prayer!

“Is this prayer?” is a question frequenting my thoughts lately. Moses’ powerful public prayer was birthed in intimate face-to-face encounters with God. His life demonstrates the qualities and benefits of this deep relationship. Though I enjoy a personal relationship with God, He has been challenging many of my paradigms of prayer. 

Moses, unlike any other person, experienced God in unprecedented ways. He heard God’s audible voice. He received detailed instructions on how to bring unity to a nation not yet nation, as well as how to build and organize a worship center for over a million people. His dependence upon God was evident,

“Then Moses said to Him,
‘If Your Presence does not go with us,
then do not send us up from here.'”
Exodus 33:15

Difficult Times

Perhaps, nothing forces us into the Presence of God quite like difficult circumstances. Moses faced more than his fair share of struggle. A posse of grumblers confronted him and his leadership. Dathan, Abiram and On were their self-appointed leaders. They boldly aired their grievances unaware of their own pride and disrespect!

“(They) became insolent
and rose up against Moses.
With them were 250 Israelite men,
well-known community leaders
who had been appointed members
of the council.”
Numbers 16:1-2

Such descension came not from a renegade group of has-beens or back-benchers, but from “well-known community leaders.” These men were “appointed members” of council! 

Envision the scene for a moment. Two hundred and fifty strong, angry, powerful recognized leaders shouting their demands!

“They came as a group to oppose
Moses and Aaron and said to them,
‘The whole community is holy,
every one of them, and the Lord is with them.
Why then do you set yourselves
above the Lord’s assembly?'”
Numbers 16:3

Silence

What would you do? What would I do? Would the first instinct be to fight, flight or fall? Moses prayed. Although the word “prayer” might not fit our preconceived notion of what prayer looks like.

“When Moses heard this
he fell face down.”
Numbers 16:4

Have you been in a situation so volatile, uncertain, and beyond reason that words won’t come? Any utterance falls insignificantly short. After prostrated silence, Moses would speak, but not now. Now was the time of waiting on the Most High, being still in His Presence, and listening for His voice. Hearing always precedes speaking for the wise of heart.

Is silence prayer? Can prayer be wordless and still be prayer? 

Raw

The conversation Moses had with God was raw, audacious and vulnerable. 

“Then Moses became very angry
and said to the LORD,
Do not accept their offering.
I have not taken so much as a donkey from them,
nor have I wronged any of them.'”
Numbers 16:15

The sting of injustice and angry retaliation oozed through Moses honest interchange with God. Is that Allowed? Is emotional venting prayer?

***

She sat across from me confused, disappointed and unable to understand the situation that seemed to threaten her. Raised in a Christian home, she had attempted to honour God at every stage of her life. Purity was high on her expectation list both for herself and her spouse. 

Past sins and secrets were recently disclosed by the man she loved. She fully submitted her marriage to God. Yet the sense of betrayal remained — not only by her husband but by God.

She was stuck in the dilemma of nicety. “How do you tell God your angry?” Such transparency seemed risky.

Slowly, she began to articulate her grief, pain and the depth of loss she felt. Gradually words started to break from the inner dam of disbelief and mistrust.

Afterward, she sensed God acknowledge and even thank her for her authenticity and courage to admit and honestly voice the pain of her heart. Perplexed she wondered why God welcomed the exchange. Slowly she began to realize God’s love covered her unconditionally. He desired genuine relationship with her.

Many people might ask, “Is this prayer?”

Standing in the Gap

Perhaps, Moses’ next exchange with God pictures more clearly our perception of prayer. 

“But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out,
‘O God, the God who gives breath
to all living things,
will you be angry with the entire assembly
when only one man sins?'”
Numbers 16:22

This is intercession at its finest. God stands ready to vindicate Moses and Aaron once and for all. Instead of saying, “Yeah! It’s about time! Do it God!” They stand in the gap by falling on their faces. Instead of applauding God’s justice, they plead for His mercy.

Only a few verses before, Moses laid silently face down in the dust. Again, He falls to the ground. This time with deep wails that would not be silenced. 

“What difference does the prayer of one person make?
You will never know until you pray.”
– Anne Graham Lotz

Which one is prayer?

Action

Can action be prayer? 

The grumbling in the camp rose in unceasing waves. No sooner had God dealt with one group of complainers and mutants, than another pushed their way to the forefront.

God’s patience ran low! His love would not restrain correction any longer. When Moses and Aaron saw the sudden appearance of “the cloud” covering the tent of meeting and “the glory of the LORD,” they knew time was running out.

“‘Get away from this assembly
so I can put an end to them at once.’
And they fell facedown.”
Numbers 16:45

Falling facedown in prayer almost seems synonymous for Moses. But this time, face to the ground prayer led to a completely different response. Quickly, via Moses’ instruction, Aaron “ran into the midst of the assembly” with a censer and burning incense.

“He stood between the living and the dead,
and the plague stopped.”
Numbers 16:48

Is running and standing prayer?

It may feel outside our traditional prayer paradigm when God spurs us to obedient action. The results will speak for themselves. 

More than one prayer warrior I have talked to has sensed God instruct them to stomp their feet or aggressively dance in warlike fashion as a declaration of freedom and breakthrough for others. Each of them testified to a distinct shift that enabled a restoration of relationship with a prodigal son or daughter. Their prayer acts somehow created a “gap” between the dead destructive choices while opening “paths” for the life of Christ to flow.

The bound were set free,
the lost found their way home, 
the plague of sin and shame broke.

Obedient actions when directed by God carry the sweet incense, the aroma of prayer, to the throne room of heaven.

Is this prayer?

Is This Prayer?

Yes, beyond a doubt, as Moses demonstrated, it is prayer. Prayer at its deepest level — sometimes silent, often raw, gap creating, active involvement initiating prayer. Prayer beyond words. 

This is the prayer that releases God’s authority and His mercy. Prayer that enables true and ever-deepening authentic relationship between God and man, Father and child, Redeemer and redeemed. 

It is the kind of prayer that refuses to abandon, pleads for mercy and seeks another way. Prayer reaching to the perishing. Prayer staying the hand of justice and soliciting mercy. Life being ministered to the lost and broken through the partnering of God and man.

 

God Seeker – Seeking God With All Your Heart

There appears to be a distinct difference between a “nominal” Christian and a true God seeker — the one who pursues God with all his or her heart! This passionate pursuit of God’s heart and His Presence forms an umbilical cord powerfully nurturing life to those who seek Him with diligence. 

Becoming a God seeker requires tenacity. We can effectively do any number of Christian activities without major disturbance. Begin to prayerfully seek God and life turns into a battle ground!

First, there is an unexpected knock at the door. Then the phone rings, random thoughts flash rapidly through your mind, the kids fight, the dog needs to be let out, the smoke detector beeps, hunger pangs grip, and on it goes.

Have you been there? It can feel like a game of “Hide-and-Seek”, except God isn’t hiding and few people are seriously seeking. 

Finding God

“Then you will call on me
and come and pray to me
and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 29:12-14

Hiding place

It can be fun playing Hide-and-Seek with young children. One can’t miss the blanket hump that giggles, the plump statue-like body behind the pole lamp, or curled bundle under the table. 

Does God “hide” from us in similar fashion? Whispering our name, He invites us to find him while He “hides” in plain sight. Yet, complacency quickly turns wasted days into years of neither “seeking” nor “finding” the One who begs to be found by us.

God’s promise remains! If we seek Him “with all (our) heart, (He) will be found!”

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.”
Isaiah 55:6

But why is seeking so important?

God Seeker

Suzanna Wesley is a remarkable example of a God seeker. She was the mother of 19 children, although ten died in early childhood. She was largely unsupported by her husband.

Suzanna took every responsibility seriously! Homeschooling her children included far more history and mathematics. She laid a biblical foundation in the lives of each of her children. In her spare time, Suzanna gave leadership to a small congregation of about 200 others. 

How did Suzanna carry such a heavy load? She consistently pushed aside every distraction, spending a minimum of two hours daily in prayer. On a chair into the middle of her kitchen she sat with apron over her head. No one dared interrupt! Momma Wesley talked with God. God spoke to Momma Wesley!

Susanna, a true God seeker, is recognized as the mother of the Methodist Movement, with four of her sons becoming pastors.

Hide and Seek

In Suzanna’s dedicated time with God, her spiritual senses were awakened, giving her divine insight, biblical understanding, and practical strategies to equip her children and hundreds of others to live victorious, godly lives.

Seek the LORD, all who are humble,
and follow his commands.
Seek to do what is right and to live humbly.”
Zephaniah 2:3

The Choice

Such God focused seeking prayer comes with promise! Not only does God guarantee He will “be found”

“and (I) will bring you back from captivity.
I will gather you from all the nations and places
where I have banished you,” declares the LORD,
and will bring you back to the place
from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:14-15

God welcomes back His wayward sons and daughters — prodigals whose disobedience had drawn them far from Him. They were refugees — slaves held captive in a far off land!

Such bondage may not be as literal in our lives, but real nonetheless! Without God, we are all wanderers gone astray in a lost world. 

“I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.”
Proverbs 8:17

Sheep hiding

Our cry is never too far from His hearing. The choice is ours! Will we turn back to the God who loves us?

Time with God is never wasted! Here we gain wisdom and understanding, see our own waywardness and rebellion and discover the path of grace to find our way home.

Love and Goodness

God’s promises are all inclusive! When we choose to seek His face, we will find Him. He will “gather” us and “bring” us “home”. Back to His Presence! Back to the place of love! God is ready to welcome us, restoring us to freedom, security and purpose.

“God did this so that they would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him and find him,
though he is not far from any one of us.
‘For in him we live and move
and have our being.'”
Acts 17:27-28

Unfortunately, God’s desire for relationship with us is much more intense that our craving to connect with Him. Our seeking ranks lethargic! His pursuing intentional!

Frog hiding

“He is not far from any one of us!” 

Let the reality of those words sink in! “He is not far!

God has not moved! Each step we take toward Him reveals another attribute of His character and awe of His being. It is in those quiet times of His Presence that we find a greater sense of His love and goodness. His promises await those who choose to seek.

Intimacy

Scripture tells us that David was a “man after God’s own heart”. His psalms reveal his seeking heart:

One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.”
Psalm 27:4

David desired one thing — God’s Presence!  What about me? What one thing would I long for? Am I like David or am I distracted by lesser things

“One thing above all else,” David declared, “the one thing I desire is You, Lord!” God met David in his seeking.

Peeking

David hungered for a divine intimacy found only with God. No other relationship compared! In the seeking and finding, bearing himself in raw transparency before Holy God, David developed a deep childlike trust, an unquestionable knowing that he was welcome and accepted.

The door of intimacy remains open for each of us, too.

One Thing

God seekers are “one thing” people!

“You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.”
Psalm 63:1-2

There is power in the Presence of the All-Powerful One. However, displays of power never satisfy a God seeker. Miracles, signs and wonders reveal God’s glory, but are cheap substitutes for one moment with Him. 

God continuously provided for David’s needs, fulfilled every promise spoken, and brought him supernatural victories in battle. Yet, nothing compared to time with God.

Like David, Suzanna and generations of others, it is essential to purposely set aside time, ignore distractions, and seek after God. It will require a heart fully devoted to “finding” Him!

Hiding!

Indescribable unlimited benefits abound!

“But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you…”
Psalm 70:4

Seek and Find

I am no better at “hiding” from God, than my grandchildren are at hiding from me. Even when I see them clearly. I keep “searching”, waiting for them to make noise or movement to draw me close. Patiently, I allow them to hide as long as they want. 

The game with my grandchildren always ends with giggles and exuberant cheers! The “lost” is found! My “little ones” have ceased from hiding! 

God’s welcoming embrace awaits those who delight in both seeking Him and being found by Him. In the seeking and finding, man with God in prayer, God with man in whispered invitation, is reciprocated joy! Here alone dwells abiding peace and security!

**********

Further Reading:

The Prodigal Returns, Prayer Answered! Running no More!

 

 

The Prodigal Returns, Prayer Answered! Running No More!

The Prodigal Returns

I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18

Early Days

I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.

Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.

A Prodigal’s Rebellion

I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.

David Wicks - the Prodigal

I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.

As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove  to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.

However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.

Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!

No Surrender

The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!

Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.

“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way…
you should pray,
and God will give that person life.”
I John 5:16

About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.

The prodigal - alcohol, drugs and parties

I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.

While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!

A Prodigal’s Breakdown

Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.

All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.

In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.

Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.

Broken marriage

Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.

We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.

I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9

A Prodigal’s Breakhrough

In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesick melancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”

Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
Psalm 17:6

A prodigal cries out, "Lord please help me!"

A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!

When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy.  That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.

For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!

I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”

Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6

Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.

She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.

Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!

**********

Pastor of Pastors

Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.

Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.

They are champions in the faith!

Running for the Lord not from Him!

**********

More Reads:

Rebuild the Walls! Fight for Your Families, Your Sons And Your Daughters!

Intercession – Releasing The Power of The Cross Through Prayer

Intercessory Prayer

Prayer plays a strategic role in the life of every believer; intercession is only one dimension of that prayer. It is a critical tool in the spiritual arsenal available for us. Yet, it is perhaps the least understood!

“I urge, then, first of all,
that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people…”

I Timothy 2:1

Paul urges Timothy to utilize four distinct types of prayer because

“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
who wants all people to be saved
and to come to an knowledge of the truth.”
I Timothy 2:4

Intercession

Perhaps one of the best books written on the subject is “Intercessory Prayer” by Dutch Sheets. It is worth both a read and a study. I’ll just scratch the surface and leave the deep theological stuff to the pros.

The word Paul uses here for intercession is (1783 Strongs) énteuksis. It means intervention or more literally “to strike, hit the mark or the bulls-eye“.

Intercession - Strike The Mark

1783 /énteuksis (“Spirit-directed intervention“) refers to the petitions (intercessions)
of believers as they “fall in line with” God’s will –
revealing how the one intervening should get involved after drawing near to God
and agreeing with His revealed will. True intercession
(1783 /énteuksis) seeks to act only as the Lord directs,
i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended (cf. 1 Jn 4:17).

(  copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.
For complete text and additional resources visit: TheDiscoveryBible.com)

Intercession is the faith prayer joining God’s will in heaven and His perfect desire on earth. The mystery is He chooses to use His people as the conduit through which His power flows.

The Waiter

Therefore, the first posture of the intercessor is on our knees waiting to hear and to know what God’s perfect will is in a situation.

Waiting

In the midst of a fast paced culture where identity often rests on results, this can be a difficult position to assume. First, it requires the laying down of our own desires and longings. Then it demands perfect trust in knowing we can hear the voice of the Shepherd clearly.

My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10: 27

God’s voice will always line up perfectly with His Word. His word reflects His heart and character. Just as in any relationship, the only way to truly know His heart is by spending copious amounts of time with Him.

The Warrior

Jesus led by example when confronted by the chief of adversaries. To every attack He used the word of God as His only weapon! It is obvious that the devil also knows the word of God and from the beginning has used it in a variety of twisted and distorted forms.

¹²For we have the living Word of God which is full of energy,
and it pierces more sharply than a soldier’s sword…”
Hebrews 4:12 (Passion Translation)

Warrior

Paul commands,

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

The sword is part of the armour to be employed daily. It is interesting to note the word of God is our only offensive weapon. Intercession, more than any other type of prayer, is a precise instrument for offensive attack on the enemy’s onslaughts.

To know the word, here meaning the written word (logos), of God is imperative to our ability to wield the sword hitting the mark.

The Worshipper

Sometimes impossibilities become possible simply through spoken praise, adoration and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favourite passages of scripture is 2 Chronicles 20. The enemy was fierce! King Jehoshaphat goes to the temple, the place of divine strategy, and lays out the situation before God. At the Lord’s command they

Take up your positions;
stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 
Go out to face them tomorrow.” (vs 17)

That sounds familiar! But what is surprising is that he appoints singers to lead!

“to praise him for the splendor of his holiness
as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever.’
As they began to sing and praise,
the LORD set ambushes against the men of Moab and
they were defeated.” (vs 21, 22)

Worshipper

How many volunteers would we get for that choir today? The strong guys with weapons were in the rear! Now that is faith in motion!

Under the Cross

As an intercessor, one simultaneously and interchangeably assumes all three roles: waiting on the Lord, warring on His behalf, and worshipping and adoring Him alone. Positioned under the finished work of the cross of Christ, the intercessor stands in the chasm between heaven and earth releasing the will of the Father towards the children of man.

Though God can work independently of humans, He has chosen to limit Himself to work through us by Holy Spirit. We have no ability to set captives free, but we call upon the One who has paid the ransom for freedom for all. We have no power to heal, but we seek the Healer to move bringing alignment of afflicted bodies into heaven’s order. We stand on Christ the Rock and in the authority of His Name expect

the release of the demoniac,
soundness of mind to the tormented,
restoration to the oppressed,
chains of bondage broken over captives,
eyes once spiritual blind to see the Light of Life.

Soldiers take your positions! Strike the mark!

 

Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward
Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward

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Is there a Wrong Way to do The Right Thing? Attitude Makes All The Difference

Attitude

There is never a right way to do the wrong thing. There are, however, wrong ways to do the right thing. This is sometimes the manner in which we can step out of God’s will. Attitude makes all the difference!

My thoughts go back years ago when I was in the middle of a difficult situation, like the Monkey-In-The-Middle.

A wise friend advised, “You know the right thing to do. Be careful you don’t do it the wrong way.”

I have thought of this advice many times over the years and have passed it on to others. Unfortunately, I sometimes struggle with this tripping point. I’m not alone.

Presumption

Abraham clearly received a promise from God.

“Then the word of the LORD came to him:
“This man will not be your heir,
but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”

Genesis 15:4

Presumption

Sounds clear enough! But Abraham was already a senior citizen and his wife, though very beautiful, was barren and beyond childbearing age. Time wasn’t just running out; the clock struck midnight and the battery was dead.

So Abraham and Sarah reasoned that God must need help with this one. Through Hagar, they clearly tried to the right thing, but in every wrong conceivable way. (Pun intended!)

Pride

Prayer is a good thing! A really good thing! Jesus gives us an illustration of how we can even pray in the wrong way.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:9-14

Pride

You would think in this place of prayer we could at least get things right! Attitude makes all the difference! Pride may work for the master rooster guarding his brood, but not much further.

Anger

The Samaritans rolled up the welcome mat before Jesus could cross the border to make entry. Even the disciple known as the Apostle of Love wanted to BBQ them on the spot!

Fire From Heaven

“When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
Luke 9:54

Surely defending the Lord Jesus is worthy of drastic measures, right? Well, maybe not!

The Right Attitude Leads the Right Way

Fortunately there is also a right way! When we are walking in the center of God’s will with godly attitude there often develops an ever widening circle of influence and blessings.

Attitude

Even in the most difficult of situations, when we seek God’s heart and His wisdom, He will give direction.

“… the people who know their God will display strength and take action
Daniel 11:32

“When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.”
Matthew 10:19

Staying in that sweet spot of favour can be incredibly scary and amazing all at the same time. Who knows what paths might open up, if one is willing to do the right thing in the right way!

 

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If you want to read more try these?

Revival, Faith in Christ Without Compromise

The Tomb is the Womb of the Resurrection

 

Prayer – A Personal Invitation None Should Refuse

There can be huge gaps between our knowing and doing when it comes to prayer. I hope we are like Jesus’ disciples honestly asking Him to teach us in this area.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1

The disciples were not unfamiliar with praying. After all, these were Jewish boys. They would already have been taught principles and patterns for prayer. Some were originally followers of John who also taught on prayer.

So what made the prayers of Jesus so different from every other prayer they had heard to this point?

That remains my question, too!

Humble Beginnings

When I first became a Christian I wasn’t allowed the privilege of a bible or the liberty to attend a church. Without these two key elements in my life, prayer became my sustaining force. I had no “spiritual” mother or father to pattern from or teach me.

I knew God was real. Not just real from a distance, but real in my life. Instinctively I knew He wanted to be involved and connected to every part.

The Father’s Love

I heard someone say once, “The steadfast love of the Lord is your compass point.” His unfailing love is the “true north” that is the guiding light for all disciplines.

No one loves as deeply as the Heavenly Father!

The Father's Love

“Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself,
“The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.
(Lamentations 3:22-23).

In the Lord’s prayer Jesus is giving us more than a verbal pattern. He is demonstrating that prayer is to be in the context of relationship to God as a loving Father and Friend. (Luke 11:1-13)

Two Ways

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself? I have! Gets boring really fast!

Prayer is simply conversation with the Father. That means there are moments of both listening and speaking when we pray. Prayer has two directions, us to the Father and the Father to us.

Listen Speak

As with most conversations, it is helpful if I listen first and speak second. Listening begins as I mediate on The Word of God. Faith rises as a scripture comes to mind and I sense Him nudge me, “Try this one“.

“For God does speak–now one way, now another – though no one perceives it.”
Job 33:14

I guess I’m not the first one to have trouble with this two-way conversation thing of prayer!

The Holy Spirit

I’m so thankful the Holy Spirit is there to help us in learning process.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Romans 8:26

Many times we can be uncertain to know just how to pray…

when words don’t come easy or thoughts unravel,
when the heart aches
as you circle a mountain of despair
one more time…
Holy Spirit steps in both for us and with us. We’re not alone.

God Answers Prayer

I know what I have written is only the beginning concepts of prayer – simple grounding principles. Another fundamental to be added is an assurance that God delights to answer.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Luke 11:9

My first prayer for you today is for you to have a new confidence to hear and receive from God. The second is that prayer would become so filled with special prayer moments that your life becomes a continuous flow of listening, talking and receiving from God. Lastly, may prayer become an amazing opening into a new adventure with The One who longs to spend time with you.

Prayer

Today may you hear Jesus say to you, “Come!

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Normal? What Does It Mean To Be Normal Christian?

Normal

Normal in one sense would identify every part of my life; yet in another way, normal could never label who I have been or now am. What does it mean to be a normal Christian?

What defines “normal“?

 “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
occurring naturally

Who Defines Normal

If normal means imitating Christ, we need to examine His normal? What occurred naturally to Jesus? These traits then are to mark our definition of living “normally”.

“…the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does….”
John 5:19

Father and Son

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness….”
Matthew 9:35

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed…”
Luke 5:16

“…Having loved his own who were in the world,
he loved them to the end…”
John 13:1

Friendship

“Then Jesus went up a hill and called to himself the men he wanted.
They came to him,
and he chose twelve …
“I have chosen you to be with me,” he told them.
“I will also send you out to preach,
and you will have authority to drive out demons…”
Mark 3:13-19

Jesus the Example

Like the “true” north, this then is our “true normal”! Jesus was a living picture of how we also may live:

in such close communion with God that He saw
what the Father was doing and teamed together with Him
to do the same;
teaching at every opportunity,
sharing the good news of salvation,
healing every disease and sickness;
one on One communion in prayer;
loving friends and enemies completely and continually;
living in community with others,
passing fully the mantle and anointing to others.Prayer

Normal is a Decision

This is not my normal yet, but it is the life I am reaching for. These are the distinguishing marks of the gift of life we now possess, because He dwells in us.

When I might doubt it is possible, I can read about the lives of believers who walked with Him for those three short years following the example of Jesus. They stepped into opportunities to follow this pattern with confidence and boldness, even if imperfectly!

Down through the ages of history, multitude of others set their hearts, minds, finances and abilities to the same goal. They influenced nations and transformed cultures, redirecting the course of church history – affecting and effecting people and communities on every continent through faith in Jesus Christ.

It is still the heart of the Father to see the world transformed. He is looking for NORMAL men, women and children who will believe for such a way of life. When we do, we too will be astonished with the difference Christ’s normal makes!

Hand in Hand

There is no “normal” apart from Christ; it requires a relationship of daily walking hand in hand doing as He did. Normal living disconnected from Jesus is abnormal for any who choose to follow Him. Challenging? Yes! Reachable? Absolutely!

“… whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,
and they will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father…”
John 14:12

How else will Christ be seen in me and God be glorified? Normal is never boring or predictable! Come! Let’s see where “normal” takes us.

Final Thoughts

What marks your walk as a Christian? I  encourage you to allow this gift of life to generate every part of who you are!

Further Reading:

Meeting God in the Ordinary – From Common to Holy

Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith Is”

 

“The Tomb is the Womb of the Resurrection!” Jesus is Alive!

Tomb Resurrection - Jesus is Alive

I honestly cannot remember when I first heard the phrase, “The tomb is the womb of the resurrection!” However, the thought never grows old with me! JESUS IS ALIVE!

When death has won
and ALL hope is gone…
When impossibilities loom large
and odds are so slim they cannot be measured…
When the dullest day lengthens
into the blackest night
RESURRECTION COMES!

As if resurrection isn’t enough in itself; follow it on the heals of Friday and the contrast sets hearts to soar and feet to dance. Who would have imaged? Who could have comprehended?

Resurrection

Though Jesus foretold his death and resurrection many times, even those closest to Him did not grasp the truth until it happened. That’s where we join hands with the followers of biblical times. It is often in the looking back that everything becomes clear.

“He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.”
I Timothy 3:16

Who is unchanged when touched by the resurrection? The final hold out, death, has been defeated! The enemy of all has been brought down!

Death Defeated

The resurrection shouts, “Jesus is the Son of God! He has dominion over all! Because He won, we win!” Yes it is shouting time., “He is ALIVE!”

 “Death has been swallowed up by victory!”
I Corinthians 15:54

So what is the “tomb” you are facing? What has drained you of all hope and shut the light far from view? It’s alright – name it:

abuse, bankruptcy, cancer,
depression, extreme fatigue,
great hostility, injustice, jealousy…
the list is longer than the alphabet!

The Name of Jesus is higher than any other name! Why? Because of the death and resurrection! His life was powerful, His death greater still, but His resurrection is the crowning glory!

“I want to see Jesus get the glory for all He paid for on the cross.”
Chris Gore

Answered prayer

From the Tomb – Resurrection! Jesus is Alive!

In my little life I have witnessed the resurrection power of Christ in a many ways:

  • migraines disappear never to return
  • cancer removed
  • legs grow out
  • deaf ears opened
  • bell’s palsy instantly healed
  • allergies gone
  • ovarian cysts removed
  • one young woman experiencing numbness in her face and ringing in the ears after being hit by a baseball bat 3 years prior completely healed
  • one man had constant back pain for 12 years following an accident – pain instantly and completely gone
  • one woman who had several vertebrae in he spine fused together with medical rods now could bend and move with freedom – a man with rods in his foot and couldn’t walk normally or run at all instantly began to walk with a smooth gate and run around the parking lot
  • a teenage who slid headlong into the boards while playing hockey compressed his entire spine and was in constant excruciating pain, then immediately pain free
  • more than one couple restored after going through separation and divorce

All these and more are an answer to prayer! The list is far shorter than what I could tell! There is no end to what Jesus can and will do! Though all prayer is not answered the way I hope, I believe for the resurrection power to bring Jesus the glory He paid for and deserves.

We pay God great honour by asking large. Let us not ask small!

It is time to celebrate, “Jesus is alive!” Death can not defeat him; the grave can not hold him. Jesus is alive and active even today!


 Come Lord

Lord we welcome you!
We know You are here already,
reveal your goodness
your power and glory in our day!
Show your love and favour
to those who need your light and
your life to filter into their
difficult and hopeless situations.
May the power of your resurrection invade
breathing the possible into our impossibilities.
We celebrate your life!
We proclaim your victory!