Tag Archives: in God’s presence

IS PRAYER YOUR STEERING WHEEL?

Is Prayer your Steering Wheel?

Corrie ten Boom said:

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”

I have thought a lot about this quote during the week. When exactly do I call on God? I know I should be talking to Him all the time. I have read books and even taught the course on Living Prayer. But when I really ask myself – how often to I talk to God? – I come up with:

During my daily morning devotionals
At bedtime before I go to sleep
During the church service when I sing and when there are prayers
In my weekly Bible study when we pray
Before meals
In my morning reading and prayer for a nation (Operation World).

Other than these regimented times there are other times I am called to pray; it could be for a friend in need; it could be a thought that He puts into my mind; or it could be in the quietness of a walk by myself. I talked about this in Being Called to Pray.

But I know that I could be talking to Him more. Before I start a painting (I do some watercolour) I could take a few moments and ask for direction and inspiration. Before I start to make dinner I could take a moment and ask for help in achieving a balanced tasty meal. Before I go to tap dancing lessons I could stop and focus my mind on God, asking for calmness and the ability to recall the steps and do my best.

These are different times that I thought about when I read this quote. Am I flipping from activity to activity without stopping to thank God, to seek His favour and ask for the Holy Spirit to be present as I go about each task?

When I read Ann’s book, One Thousand Gifts, I remember one part where she feels overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. Instead of stressing over this, she decides to take a moment, reflect on the One who cares about her and be grateful. This slowing down, actually savouring God – is an act of prayer.

So during this week I am going to endeavour to live with Him, seek His guidance and peacefully accept His Presence in all that I do and say. This will be my act of getting to know Him better.

Here is my list from this week’s Gratitude Journal:

8. White egrets perched high in the trees (they come for a few days or a few weeks each winter)

9. Clear blue skies

10. My daily morning time with God

11. Light

12. Breath – to be able to take a deep breath

13. A walk by the lake because my legs carry me

14. Colours that are so many and so varied

Prayer:

Lord, help me to remember to look to You in all I do. Help me to seek Your Presence during my whole day. Help me to know You better and better. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

MUSINGS ON WORSHIP AND INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Musings on Worship and Intercessory Prayer

by Peter Black

Keynote: God moves us to prayer so that He can move through our prayers.

Sometimes it’s a difficulty, some challenging circumstance that our Heavenly Father uses to motivate us to engage or re-engage in a deeper level of prayer.

Take Isaiah, for example, in Isaiah chapter 6. During a very difficult time in his nation’s history the prophet, while in the Temple, was granted an astounding visionary experience of the Lord God.

What was Isaiah doing there? His concern for his people was heightened on account of the death of King Uzziah, so likely, offering up worship and intercessory prayer were main reasons for his being there at that time. If so, then Isaiah’s revelation of God in His resplendent glory came while under the cover of prayer.

In this experience he was given a view into the heavenly realm – a pattern of which was expressed in the design, furnishings, and functions of the Temple. Although his physical being was in the material temple building, his spirit was open to heaven and given a revelation of the Lord in His awesome holiness, enthroned in heavenly glory. Isaiah was alarmed and felt great dread, was deeply convicted of his own sinfulness, and confessed his and his nation’s guilt before God.

Prayer is two-way. It is communion. It is communication.

Our cry to God and His call to us.

Isaiah’s anguished cry was tantamount to prayer (v 5 NIV), “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

The prophet was subsequently assured of cleansing (vv 6-7) as one of the attending seraphs touched his lips with a live coal taken from the altar, declaring, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Next came the call from the Lord Himself (v-8), “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

Isaiah’s response was immediate, “Here am I. Send me!”

This resulted in his commissioning (perhaps more correctly, recommissioning) to divine service in God’s behalf to His people (vv 9-10ff).

When God moves His faithful ones to pray, His Spirit empowers them for this work (Rom. 8:26-27). He brings others under the cover of their prayers in His redemptive plan.


ANOTHER FACTOR IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD

Another Factor in Conversation with God

We have talked a lot about praying to our Father. We have discussed persistent prayer, healing prayer, prayers for our nation and the world, prayers for governments, prayers for strangers, and prayer for revival. We have discussed waiting for God, night prayers, and miracles.

Today I want to talk about the other side of conversation – listening.

From as far back as I can remember I have been taught by my parents and teachers that I have to LISTEN. As soon as I am in a conversation my mind starts to whirl and I have trouble holding back my thoughts and ideas. I want to get my “two cents” worth in. A very bad habit.

This tendency translated over to my prayer life. I talked a lot to God. I told Him my troubles, worries and concerns. I laid down all the intercessory prayers for others. I blabbed and blabbed.

Suddenly I realized that if I never stopped talking to God I would never hear His answer. I had to learn to listen.

To still my mind – and let go of all thoughts, distractions and noise – what was I thinking? How could I do that?

My first “listening session” lasted less than five minutes. But, I was still and during that time of no outside influences I felt a peace (although a quick one).

Over time I have been able to extend this so that now I can sit still doing nothing but basking in the love of God, doing nothing but listening to Him, for a long time.

I know all the excuses. I have used them:

I am too busy.

I get interrupted.

I can’t sit still that long.

Next week I will tell you my secret – what worked for me.

Jan

Prayer:

Father we desire to hear from You. Sometimes we don’t know how to do this. Help us to learn how to listen for Your voice. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

LOSING ONE’S FOOTING

Losing One’s Footing

by Grace Fox (reprinted with permission, Losing One’s Footing, October 8, 2010)

Have you ever felt yourself emotionally, mentally or spiritually slip into a negative space? Have you ever experienced a loss of perspective that resulted in discouragement or despair? I have. Quite honestly, many writers often struggle with this.

We spend hours in solitary confinement writing a message we believe could give direction, bring hope or change lives. We do our homework, researching the best markets for those messages. We attend writers conferences to learn more about our trade. We wrestle to understand and adjust to ever-changing technology and its effect on individual writers and the publishing industry at large. All this while trying to meet the expectations and financial burdens placed on us to market our work due to constraints on our publishers’ budgets. And then we receive the inevitable rejections, the polite no from editors. It’s easy to lose our footing, to grow discouraged, to lose sight of our calling, and to go out in search of a “real job.”

The Psalmist dealt with the same feelings but for a different reason. He’d poured his heart and soul into following God and obeying His commands. He’d done his best to live in integrity, developing and guarding an untarnished reputation. But then he began to question the effort he’d exerted. He wrote, “But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness…” (Psalm 73:2,3).

Comparing his lot as a God-fearing man to the prosperity of those who ignored God’s ways left him frustrated and envious. He asked tough questions such as, “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?” He began slipping into the abyss of discouragement, wondering if his efforts to follow God were worth it, but then he caught himself. He wrote, “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked…Then I realized that my heart was bitter and I was all torn up inside” (vv. 17,21).

What enabled the Psalmist to realize his precarious position? Spending time in God’s presence. Doing so renewed his perspective. It helped him realize the slippery path he’d followed and the lies he’d believed about the prosperity of the wicked.

The Psalmist then regained his footing by reviewing assurances of God’s love toward him. “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand,” he wrote. “You guide me with your counsel; leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever…But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do!” (vv. 23-26,28).

When I, as writer, feel my footing slip…when I allow circumstances within the publishing industry to discourage me…when I begin to question my calling…I must do as the Psalmist did and go into God’s sanctuary. I must withdraw for a time, pour over the Word, and seek God’s face in prayer. Doing so renews my perspective. It helps identify the places in my heart that need revival. And it reminds me that God loves me no matter how many books sell or how many contracts I carry. He holds my hand. He guides me with his counsel and leads me to a glorious destiny. Relationship with Him is to be desired and treasured above success by human standards.

This is where my heart is today. I received a rejection on my latest book proposal last night, and I’m seeking God’s face regarding where and how to proceed from here. If I focus on rejection and disappointment, I’ll surely lose my footing. But if I keep my perspective in the right place, my heart will be strengthened in Him. No matter what happens, God loves me and I am His.

How’s your heart? Have you felt your footing slip for some reason lately? If so, how did you regain your perspective?