Tag Archives: Seeking God

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

BOOK REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS

I have added a new page to Under the Cover of Prayer called Book Reviews and Interviews. I apologize to my subscribers for the first post – went to post instead of page… and then had a bad link.

I have offered to review books so I am taking on a new role. Hope you enjoy the selection.

Jan

PRAYING OUR LIVES

Praying Our Lives

Twice today in the space of about 15 minutes God reminded me about simplicity. First I met a woman who had a garage full of stuff and talked about needing to get rid of things. She knows the need; now she needs the courage to do it. Next I read a post called “Redefining Simple Living: Enjoying the Things You Love” and can be found at Simple Mom.

These incidents made me think of our prayers to God. Do we feel we need to set aside a time to pray; to say the right things; to speak “holy”; or to be reverent? All of those things are good. But simplifying our idea of prayer might take our communication with our Lord to a new dimension.

What if we learned to just talk – like we do with a good friend or parent or sibling? What if we laid out exactly what is on our minds? Do you think marvelous things might happen? I do.

God says in His Word that we are to come to Him. In Born to be Wild, Ed Underwood makes this clear.

“Then they [the members of a Christian group he had joined] began to talk to God about people, some of the people I knew. I guessed that this must be how they prayed. Didn’t sound like any prayer I had ever heard at Grandma Sister Patrick’s little country church. It was just conversation …” [page 35].

Conversation is the key word here. We simply come and talk to God.

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18, The Message).

Prayer becomes simple when we pray our lives (talk to God all the time) rather than say our prayers.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, help us to open our lives to You. We know that You know all about us, but desire us to talk to you about our lives. Help us to simplify our prayers so that we can pray our lives. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

LITANY OF PRAISE

Litany of Praise

by Judith Lawrence

Sometimes, when I read the scriptures in my morning prayer time, certain words jump out at me and I write them down in my journal before they pass me by and I forget what seemed so important to me as I read the words.

 

When I read St. Paul’s words in Ephesians one morning, “We, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 12 (New Revised Standard Version), I paraphrased them in my journal as, We who set our hope on Christ / Live for the praise of His glory. It came out like two lines of a poem and I proceeded to intersperse them with words of praise to God for all He does for me.

 

In church services, such a prayer is known as a Litany, with the leader making petitions or thanksgivings, and the congregation following each prayer with a fixed response. Not all prayer consists of requests for God to fill our needs. As the acronym ACTS reminds us, prayer can be adoration, confession, thanksgiving, or supplication; and Litanies can be prayers of anyone of these.

 

The following, then, is a Litany of Praise; it has a psalm verse as introduction, the above scripture paraphrase as response, and a few of the things I wanted to give praise to God for on that particular morning. Anyone can write a litany and you may like to do one yourself when you find some scripture words that move you to give voice to prayer.

 

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:1


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.[1]


I will praise the Lord for waking me to this new day

With all its hope and promise.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.


I will praise the Lord for opening my eyes to this new day

To see the sky lighten in the east from whence comes the Son of Man.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.


I will praise the Lord for opening my ears to this new day

To hear the birds sing their morning praise to God.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.


I will praise the Lord for opening my hands to this new day

To feel the textures of creation: the grass and stone and earth.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.


I will praise the Lord for opening my nose to this new day

To smell the scents of nature’s bounty: the flowers and the rain.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory.


I will praise the Lord for opening my mouth to this new day

To taste the nourishment of harvest: water, bread and berries sweet.


We who set our hope on Christ

Live for the praise of His glory,

Live to thank him for His gifts,

Live to thank him for His bounty.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, O my soul!



[1] Paraphrase: Ephesians 1:12

DRIVING ALONG

Driving Along

I find the best time to pray is in my car when I am alone. I turn up my CD with my Christian praise and worship songs and I sing my heart to God.

As I listen to the words I fill my soul with how much I love our God.

Hosanna by Paul Baloche

I listen to what Jesus has done for me.

I’ve been Crucified with Christ by Robin Mark

I feel the pain of others as I listen to Trading my Sorrows by Darrell Evans

What a way to drive! The time goes so quickly.

Sometimes I turn down the sound and pray out loud. God gives me the people to pray for.

I check out the sky – it was glorious the other day – a perfect blue with no clouds. The leaves were sparkling in the sunlight.

I praise Him who made such wonder. And I sing:

Rise Up and Praise Him by Paul Baloche

and That’s Why We Praise Him by Tommy Walker

Prayer:

Father, we thank You for the ways we can pray to you. We thank You for the gift of song. We thank You for beautiful drives in the country. Hallelujah! In Jesus’ name. AMEN

APPROACHING GOD THE FATHER

Approaching God the Father

By T. L. Wiens

I was blessed in life to have a wonderful dad. He demonstrated everything a father should be. He loved me and showed it through his actions. I could count on his praise when I’d earned it and his discipline when needed.

My husband did not grow up with that blessing. His dad is disconnected. The only time I’ve heard the two of them talk in audible voices is when his dad is accusing him of something. There is never any praise or even small talk between them.

The difference between my husband and I has had a deep affect on the way we approach our Heavenly Father. I move forward in eagerness, ready to embrace Him. My husband shies away, afraid of condemnation.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray and likewise, we need to teach those around us coming to the faith the same thing. With the breaking down of the family and the number of absentee fathers at an all time high, I think we need to be gentle when showing them how to approach the Father. Make sure we show Him as a loving God and that involves praise and discipline—not abuse.

I have lost my earthly dad but I know my greatest comfort is that I have my heavenly father to wrap His arms around me in my times of loneliness. He is “a father of the fatherless.” (Psalms 68:5) Let’s make sure those around us find him approachable, ready to take His children on His knee.

PRAYER FOR REVIVAL

Prayer for Revival

One of the first contemporary worship songs I heard was “Revival” by Robin Mark.

Being a new Christian my heart and soul were stirred by these words and the upbeat music. I could picture revival as a train roaring in the distance.

I started to pray for this ‘revival of spirits and of hearts’. I knew little – I wanted much.

Almost ten years have passed since that moment. I have searched for others who feel as I do. I have met only a few.

Then I read Reborn to be Wild by Ed Underwood. He asks the question, “Why has the Jesus Movement [of the 60s, 70s] stopped moving? He talks about what happened during this time period – a time of passion for Jesus.

Although I was not part of that spiritual movement I remember those years. In this book, Underwood takes me though that time looking through his eyes. I notice a similarity of how I came to know Christ in 2000; how I learned prayer is a conversation with God; how I learned to read and actually understand the Bible; how I wanted to talk about Jesus to everyone I met; and most of all how I feel stifled and choked because I can’t find many with my desire to tell others about Jesus.

So where did those Jesus Freaks go? Why have the spiritual revolutionaries of the 60s, and 70s settled for the political safety and shelter of the suburbs?

In Reborn to Be Wild, Ed offers five simple truths that the Jesus Freaks believed and then also tells us what is missing today.

Underwood challenges Christians to lay down the things that steal their focus from Christ and commit to a revival spirit of the Jesus Movement.

His book is packed full of spirit-filled words. Here are some nuggets on prayer:

“Then they began to talk to God about people, some of the people I knew. I guessed that this must be how they prayed. Didn’t sound like any prayer I had ever heard at Grandma Sister Patrick’s little country church. It was just conversation and they weren’t telling God how bad these people were; they were asking Him to help them show these people how much He loved them. They asked God how they could help these people believe in Jesus, how they could tell them about what a difference Jesus was making in their lives.” [page 35]

“Where does revival begin? History teaches us to view revival as God’s powerful response to the heartfelt prayers of His people. The Jesus Movement was God’s answer to the mighty cry of visionary leaders whose hearts were breaking over what was happening to my generation. While others pointed out our evil, these visionary leaders begged God to deliver us from evil.” [page 82]

“As I bemoaned the sorry state of American culture with all my seminary logic and self-righteousness, she [friend Jo] said, “Eddie, if you spent as much time praying for America as you do griping about it maybe God would change something. How do you think you came to Christ? We prayed for the youth of Bakersfield for years before God began to move.” [page 83]

I challenge you to read this book and rekindle the spark that can make this happen. And pray for revival.

Prayer:

Lord, we pray for our writers. Inspire them to inspire us. Help us to know how and what to pray. We know You want a revival too but we also know that You need us to pray. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

CONSTANT COMMUNICATION?

Constant Communication?

I listened to a speaker last night talk about her trips to Nicaragua. She had thought that the “purpose” of the mission is to dig wells. However, she told us that instead of that being the case – they didn’t even get water on her first trip – an important element of the mission  is to grow the missionaries.

The speaker whom I will call BM, travelled with her daughter on her first trip. BM told us that she and her daughter will never be the same. Both of their eyes were open to the love, caring and hope of the Nicaraguan people.

These people had nothing of worldly use but they were filled with God’s love and joy. They were blessed far beyond the North American comforts. God was in their hearts – they are Spirit-filled. They pray without ceasing because they know they cannot exist without His presence.

That’s what I found on my mission trips to Poland. When I left my North American comfort zone I had to rely on God. That led to daily prayers – on-going conversations with Jesus.

Can we do that here at home? Can we live in constant communication with God when we have so many things to distract us from His presence?

I believe we can – with discipline and perseverance.

In Living Prayer, we are encouraged to find our own pattern of prayer to practice different methods until we discover how we can best communicate with God. What time of day is best for you? Do you use interruptions as a call to prayer (being put on hold on the phone, lineups at the store, traffic lights)? Do you follow a pattern (PATH,  ACTS,  SHELTER )?

If you feel you don’t “pray enough”, I encourage you this week to try a few of the above ideas.

Remember that “prayer helps strengthen our “muscles” of faith so we can cope with life’s challenges”. (Upper Room Devotional, Feb. 25. 2006) Prayer helps us work with God to build a life of faith.

Prayer:

With all that goes on here in our lives – the television, the radio, the phone calls, work, play, food, clothes, toys, recreation etc. – we find it difficult to remember to talk to You, Father. Help us to become more disciplined to communicate with you. Help us to find the best way to connect with You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN

THREE INSIGHTS ON PRAYER

Three Insights on Prayer

by Grace Fox, reposted from July 28th, 2010 with permission.

Prayer is a divine mystery to me so I love discovering new truths about it. I recently ran across this passage and found it contained several keys to a more effective prayer life.

“When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.” (2 Kings 4:32-35)

Here are a couple of insights that stood out to me:

  • Elisha didn’t wring his hands or panic when faced with a humanly impossible situation. His first response was to seek God. His example challenges me to evaluate my response in crisis. Do I seek Him first, or do I stew and fret and finally turn to Him only when I’ve reached desperation?
  • Elisha prayed alone. This was an intense situation nevertheless he didn’t run to rally his friends for encouragement. It’s fine when we can share our burdens with others, but this story tells me that God is enough when friends aren’t around. He’s the One on whom we can always call and find dependable.
  • After Elisha prayed, he moved into action. Sometimes prayer alone changes a situation; sometimes we need to do our part to make a change. As our relationship with God deepens, we become more aware of when we need to take action and if so, what that action entails.

Can you identify with any of these insights? If so, which one? Why?