I’m tired of this dirty, tired, and doubting heart. I long for a clean heart filled with love and longing for a deeper walk with Christ.
Just pray. Prayer is a constant conversation with God.
This past week in church, our pastor reminded us to pray. Not just a quickie kind of thing, a real, honest-to-goodness type prayer.
With busy lives, it is so easy to pass on the prayer and gloss over the importance of a chat with God. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to work on talking one-on-one a little more often.
It’s good for the soul.
Someone asked me today to share five secrets about myself that most people wouldn’t know.
My first thought was, they are secrets, why would I share them?
My second thought was…I have a LOT of secrets.
Accordingly, I picked five safe secrets to spew out as a friendly encouragement, which I considered ordinary and not very scandalous.
Secrets are a strange and funny thing; they stay deeply buried and only surface at inopportune times.
To be honest, I don’t like secrets. The mere word denotes some form of covert behavior we only behold in the dark.
Before I received confirmation in the Anglican Church, I was required to attend confession. As I prepared to meet with my Priest, my worry over uttering aloud my “dark secrets” resulted in a physical reaction. I could not stop my knees from shaking. Nausea threatened to overwhelm me. (Side note: I’m not a murderer or anything truly heinous).
That was the only time I have told everything to someone that I deemed shockingly secret and I think I may have surprised my priest although he maintained his “game” face.
I’m glad God knows all secrets. It is burdensome to carry alone. Secrets turned over to Jesus result in transformed lives that move from darkness to light. In so doing, we are freed.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
My precious granddaughter has been struggling lately. It’s hard to be perfect when you are only in first grade.
As a new school year starts, it becomes a challenge for her to earn a daily star for being on her best behavior. School rules are tough for a child who is precocious, charming, lively, and very active. She reminds me of her mother. She reminds me of me.
My daughter suggested we start praying with her every morning and ask Jesus to help her behave in order to obtain a star. The results were superior. We were drowning in stars and accolades.
Yesterday, they forgot to pray before school but my grand-girl came home with a star anyway. At this juncture, she declared that praying was no longer needed since Jesus wasn’t essential to her success. This became an opportunity to explain how much she needs Jesus all the time. There are days when prayers are answered and days when life sends us in another direction. Either way, stopping prayer is not an option.
I learned a valuable lesson from my 6-year old granddaughter. At the core, I am regrettably like-minded on the prayer issue. I am guilty of self-centered thoughts.
I seek God for the trials and tests of this life but give up prayerful communication when all is right with my world. If I need something important, I pray heartily. If I don’t need something, I should remember that someone else does. If I don’t need something, then I should praise God. Regardless of life’s circumstances, prayer is mandatory. Prayer is the glue that holds my life together.
At dinner last night, I asked Lily about her day and she told me about the great report. I applauded her and added that I hoped it would be so because I had prayed for her that morning. I asked Jesus to help Lily have a good day.
And he listened.
He always does.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
There seems to be an on-going debate about what constitutes prayer.
Can prayer be defined by speaking out loud to God, bowing our heads, talking to Jesus while driving a car, or being silent on our hands and knees?
Prayer doesn’t come with a clear form of protocol and no one should tell you so. Prayer is prayer.
It is an active and voluntary communication with God. You can plead, beg, thank, or just be still, but prayer is an individual endeavor with guaranteed results.
A favorite author, Anne Lamott once said, “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.” If this is all you can squeak out…it is enough.
The only thing that is asked of you is to pray.
Lord, hear our prayers.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6
Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Daniel 9:17-18
My parents were faithful members of a country Baptist church. They believed in the power of prayer.
Every Wednesday night they attended a service with Bible study followed by the prayers and petitions of the faithful and sometimes not so faith-filled. There were no time limits. If you needed prayer, they stayed and prayed.
Some nights I sat there astonished at the requests. Yes, they prayed for someone’s boils and another’s warts, but they also prayed for life and death situations and believe me when I tell you…they prayed in earnest. Whether it was what we might consider trivial or life threatening, each prayer was met with sincerity and seriousness.
My Dad used to say, “Not all prayer requests are the same, but all requests are to be considered and lifted to the Lord.”
I like that way of thinking. Too often we believe that the trivial isn’t worth bringing to the Lord but in fact, everything is worth asking God’s help to resolve.
Bring your petitions to God and sit back and watch what happens. It might not be what you expected, but it will be more than you can imagine. I have seen the power of prayer at work.
A little country Baptist church remains faithful to God’s call and someone is comforted.
God is good…
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37-38
Loneliness is a terrible thing. The fear that grows from the despair of loneliness can be difficult to bear.
I have experienced a deep sense of loss and loneliness. But, I have never experienced or could even fathom what Jesus felt that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus counts on His beloved disciples to watch with Him as He prays. They can’t do it.
As sweat turns to blood and Jesus cries out in prayer to the Father, the disciples sleep.
Preparing to drink from the cup filled with the sins of mankind would be beyond human comprehension. It is unimaginable. But Christians believe in the unimaginable. We believe in a Savior who died for us. We could not drink a cup containing just our own personal sins. So, imagine the sins of the world…it is too much to ask of anyone.
But Jesus went on that lonely journey to death for me and for you. He carried the cross, endured the humiliation, the beatings, and the pain for our sins.
Tonight, I watch for one hour. One hour of my time for a lifetime of grace.
I sit and I watch and I am grateful. I sit and I know I am unworthy but I sit and I am glad. I sit remembering His sacrifice and I mourn until I can rejoice again.