Posts Tagged Prayer

What’s In A Christian Friend?

I was thinking the other day about some non-Christian friends. I wanted to know what it would be like to have friends who believed in God if I didn’t. In fact, I wondered what it would be like for someone to even be my friend if they were not a Christian. As I pondered these thoughts, I realized that many would probably think I’d try to push religion or my view points on to them.

Nope. Being a Christian means that:

I won’t judge them.
I won’t force anything onto them.
I will be friendly and genuine.
I will help them when I can just the same as I’d do for my Christian friends.
I will comfort them when they need it.
I will laugh with them, but not at them.

And the number one thing that I do for my non-Christian friends? I pray.

I pray for them even though they don’t realize it. So, my non-Christian friends…

You have a prayer warrior on your side.

Even if you don’t believe in the power of prayer your Christian friends do. They can’t fix things for you, but they know someone who can. And you can know Him to. Prayer IS powerful.

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"Yeah, God, I’d like to order combo #5!"

There is no question that my brain works overtime. Tonight as I thought, I wondered if we treat our prayers like we are placing an order at the local drive thru. I thought about how as a society we are accustomed to pulling up to a microphone without leaving the comfort of our cars, placing our order for whatever tickles our fancy of the moment (for our tastebuds), and receiving it as soon as we stop at the next window.

Do we treat prayer the same way? Do we look at what we think we need immediately to fix our lives and expect God to deliver it right away? That may sound rediculous, but think about this for a minute or two. Do we not treat our prayers like drive-thru orders at times?

Imagine this scenario. You pull up to a drive-thru thinking, “Hmmm…my life is jacked up. So, I’m going to push the button, talk to God, and sit here and wait for the order to arrive. Oh, and I don’t really want it to cost me anything. I’m choosing to pull straight to the second window in that case. I really don’t want it to cost me anything!”

So, now you are ready to place your order. After all, you’ve got what you think you need to fix the challenges in your life. All you have to do is ask, right? So, imagine this prayer order. “Yeah, um…Hey God. Like I know things are a mess, but I want the combo number three. You know, the one where the kids clean their rooms and don’t fight, the job that pays more money is given to me, and the in-laws move 3000 miles away like as early as tomorrow.”

First, what we would order for our lives would be nothing short of quick fixes. And as I think about this further, what would be accomplished by doing this? Second, would we learn to trust God’s promises? No. We would learn to trust in a bail me out plan and fail to grow, learn, and mature.

Romans 5:2-4 (New International Version)
3Not only so, but we[b] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Now, reflect upon this verse of scripture:

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God has plans for us. And He uses challenges, adversity, set backs, successes, trials, and suffering to produce pereverance, character, and hope in each and every one of us. His plans are to prosper us-not harm us.

Are we willing to ask a fast food prayer for a quick fix combo when He is preparing for us more than we could imagine possible? God has plans for us. God is preparing us to handle and implement the plans He has designated for each of us. We are like tools being sharpened by the Master craftsman. God is the Craftsman and only He knows how we will be used. Thus, He will sharpen us to accomplish the tasks we will be called to.

(If anyone has ever said you weren’t the sharpest tool in the shed this will now become an interesting conversation!)

In our prayers, let’s remember to praise God for growing and stretching us. It may cost our comfort for awhile. It may be a little painful. It may break us. But, He has a plan. And it usually doesn’t involve any combo delivered instantly. Instead of looking at life as a bundled mess, let’s look for the value of each life lesson in each life area. And let’s focus our prayer on finding the value God has intended us to find in them.

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Try It, You Might Like It!

I came across an article that I am going to share. Why? I am compelled to say something. Not much, just a quick response aimed at the Athiest Bus Campaign launched on buses today in London and other cities. The slogan that is plastered on the buses says, “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

One…It states that there’s “probably” no god. What do you mean probably? That’s like purchasing a product that will probably work, but you’re not for certain. There’s probably no god? That indicates doubt that they are even certain that they believe there really isn’t.

There IS only one God, one Author of creation, and without a doubt He is real. I would never say, “he probably exists.” I know He exists, and I can only say this because I tried Him. I don’t buy clothing that “probably fits,” I don’t eat food that “probably tastes good, and I wasn’t going to go through life wondering if a god really existed without calling out, asking for help, and experiencing Him first hand.

The truth is, God fit me like a glove. The Creator of the universe created me with his bare hands. To save me, He created Jesus Christ, which is like the glove that covers me, protects me, and surrounds me.

If you’re reading this and you yourself aren’t sure- would you purchase or buy into something that said “probably?” Are you willing to bet eternity on “probably?”

The God of the universe is always in control, in control of that very bus, in control of how He will use this for His purpose. Worry? No. Pray? Yes! I am praying for the athiest bus slogans and that the God of the universe work his purpose into their lives.

The next part of this campaign reads, “…now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” If you were so certain that god didn’t exist, why would you be worried in the first place? Certainty replaces doubt, right?

What I see in this is a lot of doubt and skepticism. Satan wants us (all of us believers and non-believers) to be tempted by the enjoyment of life now. The instant gratification our society craves and falls so easily for. So, when it reads, “…enjoy life now,” I know that this is exactly were the temptation lies. The hidden truth behind the message is- enjoy life now and pay for it later.

Does this campaign bother me? As a human being who believes in God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, yes it does. Am I worried? Not at all. God is in control. Yes, even of all these buses in this campaign, God is in control.

My last thought is:

If there is someone who doesn’t know without a doubt that God exists, think about this:
How could you possibly know whether someone is real or not without meeting Him? How can you understand without getting to know Him? How could you develop a relationship and experience love unlike any other unless you invite Him into your life and spend time with Him? Are you willing to bet eternity on “probably?”

You can’t say something doesn’t exist, something isn’t real, something doesn’t fit, something doesn’t taste good, or that you won’t like something unless you try it first. Try it, use it, experience it. Then the probably will turn into definately! There DEFINATELY is a God! Start Praying and enjoy your life forever!

I like that…change the slogan! There DEFINATELY is a God! Stop worrying, start praying and enjoy your life forever!

In case anyone wants to read the article on the campaign:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/06/religion-atheist-bus-campaign-national

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House Of Prayer Everyday (HOPE)

I have to admit it. I was driving about 25 miles per hour on my way to church this evening for two meetings and Surge. All of the sudden, I saw the lights behind me inching ever so close to my rear bumper. I wasn’t speeding. In fact, I’ve been driving for hmmm…almost 27 years and have never even had a speeding ticket. So, why was this impatient person riding my bumper? Well, I was so lost in prayer, that I failed to realize that the speed limit was 35mph., and I was slowing people down.

I was thinking about how much I enjoy our Wednesday evening Surge. It has become not just an evening of bible study, but it has evolved into a prayerful study. I am a person who prays a lot. And that is an understatement I guess. I pray while I’m waiting in line at the grocery store. I pray everytime an ambulance goes by. I pray for people who I see sitting in their cars. I really pray for the parents I see with screaming kiddos at Walmart. I pray for people I know, people I don’t know, and I pray for the people that I never see living across the world.

I find myself praying fairly consistently throughout the day. I pray before starting work, I pray as decisions need to be made, I pray for guidance, I pray for the right words, I pray for God’s direction, I pray for help, and I give thanks to God just out of the blue. I have this addiction to prayer. I just cannot go without praying. I know I can’t possibly make it through an entire day without it. Why? Because, if I do, I will rely upon me. I am so faulted as a human, that I will probably make the wrong decision or take the easy road. The only way I can survive and hope to take the path that God has created for me, is to communicate with Him, praise Him, and love Him. That only happens when I pray. And, I do pray a lot!

So, when I left for church tonight and got lost in prayer while driving, I was just poking along, irritating some driver behind me. I thought to myself, “What if I’d been pulled over for driving so slowly?” I wondered if I could’ve used the excuse of driving under the inluence. The influence of prayer. As I sit here writing this, the message has just hit me. When I am praying and actively communicating with God, I am slowing down. I am not rushing. I am not acting hastily. It’s slowing down, waiting, and acting as He guides me to.

Oh, see this is so amazing. What if our communities could build a place of prayer open to the general public, the homeless, the lost, the individuals who have nothing left, nowhere to go, nothing to live for, the desperate, those at the end of their ropes (and that would include me…I get there sometimes, too!) to walk into to find hope through Jesus Christ. There is no place in our community that is open 24 hours. Christ can be received any time of day or night, seven days a week, every single day of the year. The power of prayer doesn’t sleep. Yet, our churches are usually open for services, studies, and meetings.

I read an article on churches several months ago, and it still remains fresh in my memory. The jist of it was summed up as…many individuals who are lost and broken don’t enter our churches to seek help, because they already feel bad enough. Yes, ouch. So what if it’s not a church that individuals can come to for help and prayer…someone to care, someone to listen, someone to witness. And why did I mention hope earlier? H (House) O (OF) P (Prayer) E (Everyday). Every community across the world should have a HOPE-House of Prayer Everyday.

When I got home this evening, my youngest daughter had a card waiting for me with two pictures inside that she drew. She didn’t go to AWANNA, since she wasn’t feeling well. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t go, because I love hearing about what she’s learned about Jesus. I opened the card and there was a picture of me as a baby. She drew Jesus above me with a cross, and it read, “I command you to love this woman.” Isn’t that awesome? (No, not that she feels that everyone is to love me, although it was a funny thought.) We are commanded to love one another as He loves us.

We are commanded to also spread the Good News to those who have never heard it, and we are commanded to help our brothers and sisters through the same love and acceptance that Christ extends to us. That builds hope, and hope is belief. Belief becomes prayer.

I hope, believe, and pray that HOPE (House of Prayer Everyday) will exist in every community across the world. I pray that Seasoned With Salt be a part in building HOPE in each community by providing the funding for such projects. Let’s pray and ask God to guide us.

By the way, if you are looking for a great book to read, read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire-by Jim Cymbala.

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