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Posts Tagged ‘Power of Prayer’

 

Each time before you intercede,

be quiet first and worship God in his glory.

Think of what he can do

And how he delights to hear the prayers

of his redeemed people.

Think of your place and privilege in Christ

and expect great things!

Andrew Murray

 

We can EXPECT great things?  That news gets my heart beating a little faster. How about you?

I also find Reverend Murray’s affirmations raising important questions–questions like:

 

How do I quiet myself?

 

My thoughts can jump from one thing to another until they’re on another continent from the subject of my prayer. What’s a scatterbrain like me to do?

I researched solutions for that problem a couple of years ago, and six suggestions became a blog post, “The Drift into Distractions.”

Since then I’ve encountered two more ways to still my mind:

 

 

1. One, shut the door.

Sounds a bit silly, I know. But that simple action can alter my mindset, reminding me that unimportant concerns and the ever-present to-do list can wait until later—outside the door.

2.  Two, breathe a breath prayer.

With a slow, deep inhale I might whisper, “My hope is in You, God.” On the exhale I can conclude with, “I am trusting you.”

A few repetitions help focus my mind on the Almighty One to whom I pray and the anticipation of serious, life-changing intercession.

 

How do I “worship God in his glory?”

 

First I need to understand that God’s glory includes all his splendorous attributes: his creativity and power, goodness and mercy, wisdom and love and more.   Taking a moment to remember who my God is, prepares my heart to pray with confidence.

 

 

One such prayer might be:

O Lord, the magnificence of your Personhood renders me speechless with wonder. You are all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful.

You perfectly attend to the immense totality of your creation, and with compassionate love you care for your children.

“Your splendor is above the earth and heavens” (Psalm 148:13b)!

 

 

Why is it beneficial to think about what God can do?

 

Reviewing God’s miracles and wonderful works of the past is like a warm-up before working out. It prepares our faith muscles to pray with conviction and endurance.

 

Does God really delight to hear our prayers?

 

Oh, yes!

“The Lord…delights in the prayers of his people” (Proverbs 15:8b NLT). Can’t get much clearer than that.

 

Why should I consider “my place and privilege in Christ” before praying?

 

First, I am in Christ because I accepted his offer to pay for all my wrong thoughts, attitudes and actions—a supreme, sacrificial payment he made on the cross. God the Father made that exchange possible so I might have the gift of eternal life with him in heaven.

Second, Jesus’ painful sacrifice also provided a place and privilege in God’s family, with access to his presence anytime, anywhere. (Ephesians 3:12).

Prayer is a precious privilege; I’d be foolish to ignore it.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Thank you, Lord Jesus my Advocate. Because of you I can approach our Father, the King of the universe, and receive his mercy and grace to help in my time of need and that of others.

I praise you for all your scripture promises assuring us that high expectations in you are not misplaced.

Help me to wait in patient confidence upon you, the only One who can accomplish great things—even above our expectations.  

 (Hebrews 4:16; I John 5:14-15; Ephesians 3:20)

 

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.pixel.freegreatpicture.com (2); http://www.flickr.com; http://www.picquery.com; http://www.pinterest (2).

 

What helps you expect great things as you pray?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

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Each spring, as the outdoor temperatures finally climb to comfortable levels, we can hardly resist opening wide the windows to allow fresh breezes and full sunshine into our homes.

We breathe deep the pure air and revel in the bright light–until we notice the smudges, dirt, and grime, undetected during the dim days of winter.  Suddenly we’re overtaken by the urge to polish the windows, Swiffer baseboards, reorganize closets, and capture dust bunnies under the beds. We embark on spring cleaning, full sweep ahead!

 

 

Any concerns of how to clean in the fastest, easiest ways can be researched online.   And even the APP Store can help. BrightNest offers organizing and cleaning tips, a personalized cleaning schedule, and reminders. Chore Monster will get the kids to help (so they say).

I can’t speak for you, but there’s another area in my life that needs cleaning. In addition to the dusting, scrubbing, and polishing throughout our home, a little spring-cleaning of my mind will be beneficial, to remove any melancholy, anxiety, fear, and other muck from my thoughts. There’s an A.P.P. for that, too:

A is for APPRECIATION. Nothing wipes away the grime of doldrums like gratitude, because gratitude leads to joy.

 

 

“What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,

to sing an anthem to you, the High God!

You make me so happy, God.

I saw your work and I shouted for joy.

How magnificent your work, God!”

–Psalm 92:1, 4 MSG

 

P is for PRAYER. Sweep up the swirling dust bunnies of worry with statements of trust, based on God’s reliable promises:

  • He will never leave us to struggle through trouble on our own (Deuteronomy 31:6).
  • He will always provide what we need (Matthew 6:25-27).
  • He is a God of infinite power and might, ruling over all people and all circumstances (Psalm 103:19)
  • He is a God of goodness and righteousness, love and compassion, grace and mercy (Psalm 145:7-9).

 

 

P is also for PRAISE.  Polish every day with worship, commending God for who he is and what he has done.

 

“To worship is to…purge the imagination by the beauty of God.”

–William Temple (1881-1944), Bishop of the Church of England

 

 

Notice this A.P.P. of Appreciation, Prayer, and Praise, is all about words that don’t even have to be spoken out loud. Is it really possible that mere words can cleanse away hurtful or disturbing thoughts?

Yes! Words are powerful (Proverbs 18:21). Even self-talk wields great influence, because thoughts produce emotions, emotions produce attitudes, and attitudes produce behavior.

For example:

  • Thoughts of Appreciation, Prayer, and Praise create a clean, positive atmosphere in our spirits.
  • That atmosphere allows the emotions of peace, joy, and contentment to shine.
  • From a contented heart come the positive behaviors of cheerfulness, perseverance, faith, and strength—to name a few.

But just as some spring-cleaning tasks require extra effort, ridding our minds of negative self-talk often requires extra effort as well. Our thoughts too easily get mired in complaining, anxiety, and fear.

 

 

How do we redirect our thinking? We take our negative thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), trapping them like dust flecks in a Swiffer! Then we use our A.P.P (as described above) to add the luster of positivity.

There’s nothing like a good spring-cleaning to increase the pleasure we experience in our homes. And there’s nothing like a good cleansing of the mind to bring supreme pleasure to life.

 

 

“The Lord is a sun and shield;

The Lord bestows favor and honor;

No good thing does he withhold

From those whose walk is blameless.

O Lord Almighty,

Blessed is the man who trusts in you.”

–Psalm 84:11-12 NIV

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.publicdomainpictures.net; http://www.flickr.com; http://www.youtube.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.ourdailyblossom.com; http://www.pinterest (2).

 

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“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity…I have seen with joy how willingly your people…have given to you. O Lord, God of our father Abraham, Isaac and Israel,…keep their hearts loyal to you” (from King David’s last recorded prayer, 1 Chronicles 29:17-18).

On Monday I asked why the Israelites would speak of or pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Perhaps their focus on the patriarchs brought to mind all the ways God had protected, guided, and cared for their forefathers. Just the mention of their names conjured up stronger faith for what God could do in the here and now.

I, too, come from a heritage of faith, my grandparents. I believe in the God of Rachel, Henry, and Clara.

On Monday I gave evidence of the God of Rachel bringing her through very difficult circumstances. You can read her story by clicking on the link above to Monday’s post. Today’s story: The Miracle of Henry and Clara.

Roller skates | Hammonton, NJ

Henry met Clara at a roller rink in Chicago, in 1922, and just nine months later the two were married. She was eighteen; he was twenty.

On Henry’s good salary from the Santa Fe Railroad, Clara settled down to make a home for them. Henry did everything but settle down. He was on the rise through the minor leagues of baseball. In fact, people said Henry had a good shot at playing catcher in the majors. These were the best years of his life, and he wasn’t about to spend them sitting at home every night.

Henry knew he was going to make it big, and started celebrating a little too soon and too much. Alcohol started to get the better of him.

He made promise after promise to Clara he’d stop drinking. Of course, he didn’t. He couldn’t. Over a period of ten years or so, dependency on alcohol became full-blown alcoholism.

He left Clara and his baby daughter, and began drinking his way from town to town, hitching rides on freight trains. An odd job here or there supplied his habit. One day he woke up in a gutter and had to admit to himself, “Henry, you’re nothing but a bum.”

Meanwhile, Clara had no way to support herself and her little girl, Geraldine. They lived with one relative, then another, as circumstances changed in those households.

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When Geraldine was five, Clara contracted tuberculosis and had to go to a sanitarium. Geraldine continued to live with relatives, mostly with Clara’s sister, Hester, who had six children of her own. But to Aunt Hester and Uncle Jimmy, six or seven really didn’t matter. Geraldine was welcomed and loved.

After some time, Clara began to regain her strength, and attended a worship service at the sanitarium. Never before had she gone to church or Sunday School. So the message about Jesus, who offered forgiveness and eternal life, gave her the hope she desperately needed. Clara accepted Jesus as her Savior that very night.

A Bible study, led by Mr. and Mrs. Moore, was held weekly at the sanitarium. Clara became an eager student, and Mr. and Mrs. Moore lovingly mentored her. All three started praying for Henry. In fact, due to the city-wide connections of the Moores, many people all over Chicago began to pray.

One evening, a Dr. Hunt, assistant superintendent of a local mission, came to share with the patients. He explained their outreach programs and mentioned the ministry to alcoholics. Afterward, Clara told him, “If a man by the name of Henry M. should come to your mission, would you tell him his wife asked about him?”

Talk about the laws of improbability. Chicago was serviced by several missions in the 1930s. And most of the alcoholics who frequented the missions preferred to remain anonymous. In addition, how could Dr. Hunt possibly remember the name of one derelict out of hundreds?

But God loves to refute the improbable. He specializes in the impossible. Dr. Hunt replied, “Henry M. came into the mission just three days ago!”

You see, it was November, damp and chilly. Henry had decided to stop in a mission and get warm. Yes, he’d have to sit through some singing and a sermon, but then they’d serve hot soup and give the men warm beds for the night—if they went forward and accepted Jesus.

Rescue Mission

Henry had accepted Jesus many times, in order to get that soup and warm bed. But this night was different. Even though he’d been drinking just before the service, and was in his typical alcoholic stupor, when Dr. Hunt—yes, that Dr. Hunt—put his arm around Henry’s shoulder, Henry’s heart began to respond.

Dr. Hunt lovingly shared that when Jesus gave a man new life, he was a new creation. The old is gone; and new things happen (2 Corinthians 5:17). Suddenly, Henry decided he’d had enough of his old life on the streets. He accepted Jesus into his life–for real this time. To add to the wonder, it was November 5, Geraldine’s birthday.

The story does not end there with a “happily ever after” as Clara and Henry reunited. Henry owed a debt to society for not supporting his family. He spent six months in jail. But during that time and afterward, Dr. Hunt and others mentored Henry. Just like Clara, he became involved in Bible study. And after his release from jail, Henry took a job at the Christian Industrial League, the mission where he had met Jesus.

Meanwhile, Clara still had the hard work of recuperation, even after release from the sanitarium. The Moores invited her to come live with them, and later, Geraldine moved in, too.

Finally the day arrived when the little family was able to live together once more. I can only imagine the joy on Clara’s face to see her handsome Henry, healthy in body and spirit. I try to imagine the joy on Henry’s face, to realize God had not only saved Clara’s soul, he had saved her physical life as well. And I imagine their overflowing gratitude to God, who had worked amazing miracles behind the scenes–before either one of them even knew he was there.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

Even though their faith would be tested again and again, including a house fire that destroyed all their belongings, Henry and Clara remained true to their God.

House fire

The grandma and grandpa I knew were involved—heart and soul—in mission work for over twenty-years. Grandpa even became superintendent of a mission in Atlanta, then another in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He spent his days making a difference in this world—among the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, and the ones needing clothes (Matthew 25:37-40).  Grandpa worked for the least among us, to share with them the hope of Jesus, and to express appreciation for what Jesus had done for him.

Hall House Homeless Shelter Renovation

God of Clara and Henry, I thank you for the miraculous transformation you performed in Grandma and Grandpa. Their story offers further proof that nothing is impossible with you! I thank you, too, for their powerful legacy of faith, characterized by loving kindness, service, and generosity. Unselfishly they gave to family, friend, and stranger alike.

You, God of Rachel, Henry, and Clara, have done great things for our family, and we are filled with joy (Psalm 126:3)!

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