Category: FAITH

how to pray when you don't know how

How to pray when you don’t know how

Haven’t you all been there?

You don’t know how to pray.

There is so much going on, where do you begin?

If ever there was a week like that, it’s this one.

When I woke up to the news Monday morning about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, I was momentarily shocked. How could someone do this? What in the world possesses someone to literally “mow down” innocent people? People he’d never met. People he had no grudge with.

I seldom agree with our President, but this time I did. It is true evil. There is no other explanation. Even if you count mental illness, it’s still evil.

So how do you pray about evil, other than pleading for its eradication?

The short answer is, you don’t.

You pray for the victims and you pray for yourself.

I prayed especially for the spouses, parents, and grandparents of the deceased and wounded. I prayed for some sort of comfort for them. I prayed that even if they didn’t believe in God, they would have awareness of his presence.

And I prayed for myself. That I would always demonstrate prove love and kindness to whoever crosses my path. That I would represent hope to those who have none.

I prayed nothing profound but I prayed from my heart. The simplest prayers are often the best. We can’t control situations with our prayers any more than we can control people. But I believe that when we pray from the right motives, our prayers can have a powerful impact on behalf of others.  I even believe that the prayers I’m praying for these victims and their families are making a difference.

Can I prove it?

Nope.

But no one else can prove that they aren’t making a difference, either. Plus, I have the creator of this world behind my prayers. I like what Andrew Murray said: (Andrew Murray, pastor and author, has written many books on prayer during his lifetime. I highly recommend his works. )

“....prayer is so simple that even the feeblest child can pray, yet is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which man can rise. It is fellowship with the Unseen and Most Holy ONe. The powers of the eternal world have been placed at its disposal.”

Prayer is simple and profound at the same time.

Yesterday I mentioned our prayers needn’t be long to be effective.  That doesn’t mean that extended seasons of prayer aren’t also necessary. Let’s face it, life has its ebbs and flows. Sometimes, everything is going along smoothly and our prayers can then focus outside of our immediate network of family and friends. Then there are other times, like this week, when our prayers are focused way beyond ourselves and our personal lives.

These are challenging times. They are particularly challenging times for followers of Christ. But God is waiting to hear our pleas. Remember, many of those affected by this tragedy probably have no prayer warriors in their corner. You can be the one. There are all kinds of interviews being conducted on TV, and all kinds of “stories” across social media. Pick one of these people and keep them in your prayers for the days and weeks ahead.

Each of us can play a “healing” part of this tragedy.

God bless.

how long should we pray

How long should we pray?

That is such a great question.

Do you know why?

I think it’s a great question because it’s a question everyone wants to ask but no one does.

I mean, “Have you ever asked someone how long they pray?”

Has anyone ever asked you?

We don’t ask because it’s a rude question. And we shouldn’t ask because it’s too personal.

So, of course, having said all that, I have no answer for you. At least not about the number of minutes, hours, etc.

But I do have some ideas.

This post came about because my husband and I had a conversation with friends recently and this subject came up. Not the specifics of the length of time but more in general conversation. We all agreed that our time with God each day had greatly evolved over the years. We all four were in agreement that we read and studied more now than we actually prayed. We also agreed that the studying and reading and praying all kind of overlapped now. It’s more of an integrated approach. It’s seamless.

First of all, we don’t have to consider prayer a one-time event each day. Once we come to that place in our lives where we realize prayer doesn’t have a greeting and salutation like a letter, we get a better grasp of what prayer is supposed to be.

So far me, I don’t look at the clock. I don’t time myself. I don’t feel bad if my prayers are short because other days they are long. I pray as long as I need to cover what I need to. But then I’m praying throughout the day as well.

Isn’t that the point of prayers? To pray for people in our personal world, to pray for situations throughout the world. to pray for our own needs. It just needs to take the amount of time it needs to take. (A caveat though. There is a lot in this world that needs prayer.)

We don’t earn any stars in our crown for the number of hours we pray but for how sincerely and regularly we pray.

I don’t know if I this prayer thing “right” or not.

I know I read a lot about it. I study the subject a lot. I read the prayers in the Bible. We’ll talk about those prayers tomorrow. Until then:

God bless and have a good day.

Praying specifically

Why don’t we pray more specifically?

I Chronicles 28:19

New International Version
“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”(referring to the plans for the temple that his son Solomon would build.)

Just a quick question and couple of comments based on my scripture reading this morning.

Why don’t we, like David, ask for specific guidance about what concerns us? Is it because we think that if we do it’s too easy to know whether our prayers have been answered or not?  In other words, we can’t really be disappointed if we keep everything pretty general, right? Shoot at a flock of birds all the time and you’re bound to hit one.

Let me explain that better.

I sometimes we Christians pray too “general”. You know, like bless this, bless that. Bless this person and bless that person. We ask for guidance. But how many of us ask for specific things?

“Lord, I need your help in picking out paint colors today. I don’t want to make a mistake and spend more money correcting that mistake.”

“Lord, I’m looking for a dress for my nephew’s wedding and I don’t want to spend a lot”. Yet there are countless examples throughout scripture where God gives detailed answers and explanations. God is interested in the specifics that concern us as well.   

Here’s a little excerpt from a number of years ago that reinforce this.

“The details of this blog get prayed about every day because this is such a steep learning curve for me. Just today I asked for detailed guidance about a specific issue. It has already been provided.”

Don’t be afraid to be specific. Yes, when we pray specifically, it’s easier to get disappointed. It’s easier to know whether our prayer has been answered or not and in the way we want. But when that happens, we just go back to the drawing board. We think through what we prayed. Maybe we change our request, maybe we don’t.

If I don’t feel secure about a paint color, maybe God wants me to reconsider my decorating idea.

If I don’t find that dress, maybe it turns out I can make do.

I’ve just learned over the years I can trust God with anything and everything in my life.

Be brave today. Ask for what you want to matter how specific. I’m not saying you’ll always get it but that’s not the point. The point is the asking.

I mean that. The point really is in the asking. Why do you suppose that is?

There have been all kinds of answers that people have given over the years. But I think the only answer is so simple it almost feels too easy.

Because Jesus said to pray.

That’s it. It’s that simple. We pray because we are told to pray. We pray because Jesus did.

We learn so much about ourselves when we pray. I pray aloud as you know if you’ve read my past posts. When I hear my words spoken in my voice, it reveals a lot to me about me.  I can hear the selfishness in my voice. I can hear the whining. I can hear the desperation.

Don’t be afraid to trust God with the details about what concerns you.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

God bless.

scared about the future

Do you ever get scared about the future?

Do you ever get scared about the future?

All the “what ifs”?

What if “this” happens?

What if “that” happens?

I have to be honest. Even though I’ve been a Christian most of my adult life, if I allow my mind to project into the future far enough, I get scared, really scared.

I fear losing the people I love. Not necessarily through death but in any way that takes people away from me. I wonder how I would survive.

Would I survive?

And yet I have. While my mom’s death continues to make me sad, while it has brought to light some areas I need to focus on, I have survived.

And when I feel that way, I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m looking into the future and not accounting for the fact that God is already there. When the time comes,

He will provide.

He will equip.

He will sustain.

It’s what I wrote about last week when I said that sometimes we live so much in the present we forget that the future we worried about yesterday, is here today. And God has been there right along, in the past, the present, and will be in the future.

Said another way, “Today is the future I worried about yesterday.”

I have such great admiration for people who step out and move in faith without having a clue what the future holds.

Anyway, if you are fearful about tomorrow, I’m not going to tell you not to be. We probably all have reasons to be afraid of something. Don’t berate yourself for your fears. Talk them over with God in total honesty and let God direct you.

Much more about talking to God honestly tomorrow.

For now, God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

 

 

laboring on Labor Day

Happy Labor Day and that’s just what we’re doing

Don’t know what you’re doing today but we are living up to the title, we are “laboring”. We came home from the cabin for a couple of days last week to regroup.

Friday the electrician came and wired the room so we moved the bed into our official new bedroom. We had the windows replaced in the rest of the cabin and are now painting the trim on the outside. Lots of clean-up in the yard as well.

It will be a while before I have the bedroom the way I want, I’m sure. After all, that’s half the fun, right?

We decided we would start doing some work inside the cabin as well. I’m getting tired of the paneling so we are going to paint over it. Not even going to fill in the seams as we want that same look anyway. Who knew it would be back in style?

We are going to see what the floor looks like under the carpet and are probably going to replace it with carpet tiles.

Lots of “tweaks’ are going to take place. Which brings me to this.

I wonder if God “tweaks” us. What do you think?

I kind of think He does. And it hurts sometimes as well. They feel like little “pinches”. Those places we say “ouch” because we know we need to grow some more. And growing is almost always a little uncomfortable.

Last week, I started to feel very melancholy. I thought about some of the people I pray for and I thought my heart would break with concern. Do you get like that? Burdened, really burdened, for the people on your prayer list? You feel like your prayers have been going nowhere. You see no change.

I don’t fight those times though. I think times of deep reflection and real soul-searching are good for us. However, we can let reflection and soul-searching get the best of us at times, so we should proceed cautiously. We are never to become so burdened for others that we lose ourselves in the process.

God wants us to look inside ourselves to be sure, but He never means for it to go so far that we bring ourselves down. And it’s very easy to do.

So after a period of thinking hard, I knew it was time to stop and let God take over.

Easier said than done, of course.

That’s why “laboring on Labor Day” will be good for me.

Hope you have a wonderful day whatever your “labor”.

God bless.

ps. I have a post later this week that goes into more detail about our prayer life. It’s title, “Pouring out our heart. Is it OK?

 

 

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