Monday, August 28, 2023

Weekly Prayer Prompts: Drawing Closer to God

 

This week the prayer prompts designed to help you draw closer to God as you learn to rely on His love and guidance. Each day, I have provided you with a unique prayer prompt to guide your conversations with the Lord. I want to encourage you to take a few intentional moments each day to reflect, pray, and connect with God.

Monday: Surrendering Worries
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7

1. Begin your prayer by acknowledging any worries or anxieties you're carrying.

2. Surrender these concerns to God, trusting in His love and care.

3. Pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding to fill your heart.

Tuesday: Gratitude for Blessings
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." - Psalm 106:1

1. Reflect on the blessings you've received in your life.

2. Express your gratitude to God for His goodness and provision.

3. Thank Him for specific blessings that have touched your heart recently.

Wednesday: Praying for Others
"Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16

1. Take time to pray for the needs of your family, friends, and community.

2. Lift up specific requests for healing, comfort, and guidance.

3. Ask God to work through your prayers to bring about positive change.


Thursday: Seeking God's Will
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." - Matthew 6:10

1. Quiet your heart and seek God's presence in your prayer.

2. Ask God to reveal His will for your life and guide your decisions.

3. Pray for the strength to align your desires with His purpose.

Friday: Confession and Forgiveness
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9

1. Reflect on any areas where you've fallen short or made mistakes.

2. Confess these sins to God, seeking His forgiveness and cleansing.

3. Meditate on the depth of God's grace and thank Him for His mercy.

Saturday: Gratitude for Creation
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1

1. Spend time outdoors or visualize the beauty of creation.

2. Offer a prayer of gratitude for the wonders of the natural world.

3. Pray that Christians will take seriously the stewardship and care of the earth.

Sunday: Renewal of Faith
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

1. Reflect on your journey of faith and growth in Christ.

2. Pray for a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit to renew your heart.

3. Ask for strength to continue following God's path with renewed commitment.

 My prayer for you this week is for this experience of prayer will be a source of inspiration and spiritual growth for you. Remember that prayer is a conversation with God, and He delights in hearing your heart's desires and concerns. As you use these prompts, open your heart to God's guidance as you become more confident with your relationship with Him.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Step Away From The Lies

 

The first step toward God is a step away from the lies of the world. It is a renunciation of the lies we have been told about ourselves and our neighbors and our universe.
Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 29

Have you ever stopped to think about the world we live in?

This world is filled with tons of messages that seek to shape who we are, what we believe, and how we see ourselves and others. Our constant exposure to media in all of its variety to the enticing whispers of advertisements, makes it feel like we're caught in a web of deceit.

And you know what?

These lies not only twist our perception of reality, but they also mess with our hearts. The messages we receive from the world of make us feel inadequate in our effort to follow Jesus and disconnected to God.

Let's not lose hope!

Peterson's wisdom, from his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, reminds us of the way forward. We need to take that intentional and bold step away from the deceptive narratives that surround us.

Yes, it starts with a choice. Picture it as turning away from the unhealthy and cancer causing food that have held you consumed for too long.

The Bible, provides many examples of people who have embraced this pivotal step.

One person is the prophet Isaiah, whose profound encounter with God is recounted in chapter 6 of the book that bears his name.

The vision Isaiah witnessed unfolded before him—a scene of God seated in Heaven on a throne, enveloped by spiritual beings. The sheer awesomeness of this revelation overwhelmed Isaiah, prompting him to exclaim:
“Woe is me for I am ruined
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Armies.” (Isaiah 6:5, CSB)
Isaiah's response was profound in its authenticity. He confronted the truth about his own sin and acknowledged the shortcomings of all of Israel.

Rather than succumbing to despair, Isaiah took that crucial step towards God. He openly admitted his transgressions and laid them bare before God. In response, an angel purified his lips with a burning coal from the altar, declared:
Now that this has touched your lips,
your iniquity is removed
and your sin is atoned for. (Isaiah 6:7, CSB)
Isaiah's story reveals a fundamental truth: that first step toward God starts with breaking free from the world's lies.

It means throwing away those distorted beliefs we have about ourselves, our neighbors, the world we live in, and even God Himself. I won't lie—this process will probably involve facing uncomfortable truths about ourselves.

Like anything worth doing, this process is hard, but the result is worth it. That is why Eugene Peterson called this journey a long obedience in the same direction. It's the journey that involves repentance, change, obedience that moves us to forgive, serve, and love.

As we walk this path of faith, we need to draw inspiration from the trailblazers who've gone before us. We need to be like Isaiah and all those other heroes of faith who have chosen to step away from the shadows of deception. We need to let go of the chains and weights of deceptions that have held us back and embrace the truth that will ultimately set us free.

In this process it is crucial to remember: with every step we take, we're not alone.

The Holy Spirit walks beside us, using Scripture, our prayers, and the Church to guide us closer to the heart of God.

With this in mind let's step forward with unwavering obedience and trust, knowing that this journey is leading us to a deeper relationship with the One who loves us beyond measure.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Weekly Prayer Prompts: Be Grateful


Prayer is God’s gift to His people so we can connect with Him, seek His guidance, and find comfort in His presence. Each week, I will provide you with prayer prompts to help you to be more intentional with your prayer time as you seek to follow Jesus. Set aside some quiet time, find a comfortable place, and let these prompts assist you in your prayer time

Monday: Gratitude and Praise
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." - Psalm 100:4

1. Begin your prayer by listing five things you're grateful for today.
2. Reflect on God's goodness in your life and offer Him sincere praise.
3. Thank God for specific blessings you might have taken for granted.

Tuesday: Seeking Forgiveness
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9

1. Spend time in self-reflection, acknowledging any areas where you've fallen short.
2. Ask God for forgiveness and strength to overcome your shortcomings.
3. Pray for the wisdom to make amends with those you might have hurt.

Wednesday: Intercession for Others
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people." - 1 Timothy 2:1

1. Create a list of people who need your prayers—family, friends, colleagues, global issues, etc.
2. Lift up each person or situation in prayer, asking for God's guidance, healing, and comfort.
3. Pray for those who may be struggling with faith, that they may find strength in God.

Thursday: Surrendering Control
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." - Proverbs 3:5

1. Reflect on areas of your life where you're holding onto control.
2. Pray for the faith to surrender those areas to God's will.
3. Ask for God's guidance in making decisions and seeking His plan.

Friday: Strength in Difficult Times
"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

1. Think about a current challenge you're facing and bring it to God in prayer.
2. Ask for strength, courage, and resilience to navigate through the difficulty.
3. Trust in God's promise that He is with you every step of the way.

Saturday: Growing in Faith
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7

1. Pray for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
2. Ask for a thirst for His Word and a hunger to know Him better.
3. Seek opportunities to serve and grow within your faith community.

Sunday: Communion with God
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." - Matthew 6:7

1. Pray for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
2. Ask for a thirst for His Word and a hunger to know Him better.
3. Seek opportunities to serve and grow within your faith community. 

I hope these prayer prompts are helpful as seek to be more consistent in your prayer life. Remember, prayer is a personal and heartfelt conversation with God. Use these prompts as a starting point, but you need to give room to let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts and words. May your journey of faith be strengthened as you seek God's presence through prayer. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Sunday Prayer: Longing for God’s Presence

 


Dear Heavenly Father,


I come to You with a heart that's longing for something more. Just like a deer seeks water, my soul thirsts for Your presence. In the midst of life's busyness, I find myself wanting to be close to You.


You are the beginning and the end, the One who created the universe, yet You're also right here with me. It's overwhelming to think that You care about my worries and cares. The mountains, the oceans, all the beauty around me, they remind me of Your greatness, but what I truly desire is to walk through this life with You.


I admit that there are times when my worries and doubts get the best of me. Please forgive me for those moments. Help me refocus my heart and renew my devotion to You. Your presence is what my heart craves, and I want to seek You above all else.


When life gets tough, when darkness creeps in, I want to remember that I don't need to be afraid. You're my comfort, my guide, always providing for me. Your presence is the light that drives away my fears.


I want my life to be a reflection of Your love. May my words, my thoughts, and my actions all bring glory to Your name. I want to live in a way that shows the world I am a citizen of Your kingdom.


Lord, You are my Rock, my Refuge, my Savior, and my God. I ask that You let me experience the joy of experiencing Your presence every day. Let Your light shine on me, and may my heart find eternal joy in You.


In Jesus' name, I pray,

Amen.

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Path of Surrender




"A life of absolute surrender has its difficulties. I do not deny that. Yes, it has something for more than difficulties: it is a life that with men is absolutely impossible. But by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, it is a life to which we are destined, and a life that is possible for us, praise God! Let us believe that God will maintain it." 

Andrew Murray, Humility and Absolute Surrender; p. 72

Surrendering our lives to God is not easy, but it is the only way we can become the people God created us to be. Andrew Murray, a South African writer and pastor (1828-1917) taught about this theme of surrender quite often. He recognized that surrendering was not a natural thing to do, and therefore it would not be easy, but that it was an essential part of our discipleship.

In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." 

Here Jesus taught that surrendering to God requires denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following him.

Living a life of surrender means that we hand over the control of our lives, our plans, and our desires to God. To surrender our lives means acknowledging that God knows what is best for us, even when God’s will goes against our desires. Total surrender to God requires a level of humility that is hard to achieve in a world that values self-reliance, self-promotion, and personal achievements above almost everything else.

Surrendering to God will also require us to go against the cultural expectations of society, to make choices that are unpopular, and to have morals and values that seem odd the people around us. This can lead us to face criticism, rejection, and even persecution for our faith. 

When we surrender we will also need to give up some of the activities and pleasures that we once thought were essential to our happiness because they do not align with God’s will.

Despite the challenges, living a life surrendered to God is not impossible. As we walk this path of faith, we will need to trust that God will sustain us and guide us every step of the way. 

To do this we need to stay connected to God through prayer, reading the Bible, meditating on the truth of Scripture, reorienting our lives through worship, and spending time with other Christians. What this means is that surrendering to God is a daily decision, a constant giving up of ourselves to His will.

So today, let us make the decision to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus. It is crucial for us to remember to trust in His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit as we live a life of surrender to God.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to surrender ourselves completely to You. Give us the strength to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. Help us to trust in Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit as we walk this path of surrender. Amen.

Prophetic Revelation and the Gospel

  1 Peter 1:10-12 (CSB) Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and careful...