Prayers for the Parched: Getting Dressed

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Let Us Put On the Full Armor of God Every Morning to be Ready for Whatever Comes Our Way

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13

 

Oh Lord

I am putting on my spiritual battle clothes today

Let these protect from the fiery darts of the enemy

Let these serve your purposes today

 

I put on the helmet of salvation

I put on the breastplate of righteousness

I put on the belt of truth

I pick up the shield of faith

I take your word with me as a sword

I put on the shoes of peace

 

I’m ready for the day

Let’s go together


Fresh, Flourishing, and Bearing Fruit in our Old Age

God Designed Us to Flourish in our Old Age

God Designed Us to Flourish in our Old Age

When do we get old?  At what age do we get categorized as old?  My pastor John Ortberg asked the congregation last week, “Who thinks they are old?  Please raise your hands.”  Some people raised their hands.  Then he asked “Who thinks they are young?”  More people raised their hands. What do we do if we are neither? Is there a category for this? Or at least I don’t feel “old” yet.

It didn’t help that latter that Sunday I went to get my nails done and a shy 6 year old girl was walking around the shop while her mother was getting her toes done.  She wanted to show me a photo of her “way older,” who is 16.  I asked her if she thought I was old.  She froze at the question at first, and then studied my face.  She looked at my eyes and pointed to where there are lines on the outer edges.  She started to nod slowly. Then she smiled and said it was okay.  I didn’t have very many lines.  I thought, “Wrinkle creams are worth every penny.”

The Bible has a few things to say about growing older. Consider Psalm 92: 12-15.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

I really like the verbs in here.

I’m starting to declare this out loud, “I will flourish in my old age.  I will bear fruit in my old age.  I will be fresh and green.  My youth will be continually renewed like the eagles.”  Amen.

 


Prayers for the Parched: Desiderata

The  Desiderata is Etched in Stone at St. Paul's Church in Baltimore Maryland, 1692

The Desiderata is Etched in Stone at St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore Maryland, 1692

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  1 Corinthians 12:7

 

Go placidly amid the noise & haste, remember what peace there may be in silence.  As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others even the dull & ignorant; for they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.  If you compare yourself with others you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.  Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection.  Be neither cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.  Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.  With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be careful, strive to be happy.

 

St. Pauls’s Church, Etched in the stone, Baltimore 1692

 


Prayers for the Parched: The Harmony of Two

Starting Life Together in Prayer Adds God to Create a Threefold Cord that is Not Easily Broken

Starting Life Together in Prayer Adds God to Create a Threefold Cord that is Not Easily Broken

“Again, I tell you that if two or you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 18:19

Father God,

I don’t know what Mary’s prayer for herself  is

But you do

I pray for the courage to pray it, especially on days when it’s tough to say the words and in seasons where it’s dry

I stand alongside my friend in prayer

We are two

We pray together in harmony

You promise that “it will be done”

Thank you

Lord,

We agree to believe this, no matter how long it takes will we see it

Thank you for the results we can recognize…

To 5 minutes of praying

To 7 days of praying

To 21 months of praying

To 40 years of praying

We will keep praying steadfastly

Even when thoughts and emotions try to tell us it’s foolish

We will continue to hold up the request

And hold fast to our confidence

You are at work on the issue

The victory is sure

Your love is relentless


Does It Matter If We Repent for the Sins of the Land?

The Prayers of a Righteous Man are Powerful and Effective

The Prayers of a Righteous Man are Powerful and Effective

Last week  in our Home Group we talked about the concept of repenting on behalf of the state of our nation.  We discussed the rise of sexual activity outside of marriage without being conscious of God’s thoughts about this. We lamented churches that are not exercising their voice to wake up the people in the church or ouatside the church.  We observe how our TV shows actively use foul language and show sexual acts on the screen. We express dismay at the level of occult that is creeping into society teaching people how to curse, hold grudges, welcome vampires etc. We are appalled that lying is becoming expected, and in fact coached, at all levels of life including excuses to not do what an employer wants.  We aren’t even surprised that politicians get compromised from their campaign promises once they reach their elected office.

In Bible Study yesterday, I asked the question at how to repent over the sins of our land.  Does it really make a difference?  How do we pray for our leaders? Can God reclaim territory of what is right and wrong to a conscious level?

One of our members added that we do need to pray about our fallen human leaders. He said,  “I think God likes it when we pray for our country and tell God we don’t like what we see.  I’m not pleased with the people’s hearts toward God.”  What was the prayer of one righteous man – Lot (hardly perfect) before God?   What was his cry for Sodom? What is our cry in these times?  How do we repent for the sins of the land?

It still gets back to individual decisions.  I can still serve the land by picking up the trash on the ground that people littered. I can care for the homeless, the afflicted, the impacted. I can speak praise to God, even when no one else ever cares what God might think, I can strive to live by the truth of God’s laws.

Yes, our prayers matter.  He hears every one of our prayers.  I think our prayers of frustration draw us closer to Jesus.  Jesus lived on earth as a man ad saw the injustices of His times politically and religiously.  Expressing our concerns in prayer connects our heart with His heart.


Prayers for the Parched: Guard My Mouth

Lord, Set a guard over My Mouth Today

Lord, Set a guard over My Mouth Today

Guard My Mouth

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;  Keep watch over the door of my lips.  Psalm 141:3

Guard my mouth, O Lord

Let me not say anything against your purposes

Even in my frustration, let me not speak against you

Teach me how to work out my salvation and growth

While keeping my words in check

Let my words be blessings to all who hear them

 

Teach me how to love people with my words

Let me speak truth in love

Let my words be honoring of people

Whether they are present or not

 

Thank you for the privilege to praise you with our words

 


Prayers for the Parched: Graduation Blessing

Congratulations to the Graduate

Congratulations to the Graduate

Graduation Blessing

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.  Isaiah 54:13

I declare fearlessness for these graduates

I declare courage for them

Put your hand upon their heads and give them life

Put your word upon their heart

Give them the desire to pursue your will

When the enemy comes, they will Stand!

They will stand and lean into you

Anoint their feet

…To walk in your pathways

…To walk in your steps of righteousness

…to not walk in any compromise

Compromise is to the past, while victory is to the future


Prayers for the Parched: Spirit of Gratitude

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:7

Lord,

I pray for a spirit of gratitude

Develop in me an attitude of gratitude

I pray for a willing heart to say thank you

Forgive me for my grumblings and murmurings

Teach me to speak in thankful terms at all times

Help me change my heart so I can change my words

 

Lord, it is your goal for me to be firmly rooted

You are instructing me on how to be established in Christ

In all things, I am learning to give thanks

Thank you for the privilege of giving thanks

May you be glorified in this process


Prayers for the Parched: Reverential Fear and Awe

Who Makes the Clouds?  Who Makes a Cloud Give Rain?

Who Makes the Clouds? Who Makes a Cloud Give Rain?

He will bless those who fear the Lord – small and great alike.  Psalm 115:13

 

Lord God Almighty

What a a privilege it is to come before you

Your holiness produces in me reverential fear and awe

Forgive me when I lose perspective of your glory behind the familiarity of friendship with Jesus

May I not forget the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice as I bask daily in the benefit of relationship

Restore unto me the balance between walking in your grace and love and walking in reverential fear and awe.

Amen


Prayers for the Parched: Pressing into the Heart of God

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Let us join the Heavenly Hosts on Praising you

Pressing into the heart of God is the whole goal of worship.  It’s about getting into alignment with God’s heart.  Learning about God’s heart and learning about this nature is to worship.  To know who he is, and his heart to trust him.

For me, trusting God comes even before loving him.  I believe, trust, and love.  This is the rhythm of faith.  These are the primary colors of our walk with God.  Being more focused o facts and logic as my natural gifts, I need to know God is believable and trustworthy before I can love him.  As my trust and confidence grow in his ways, my love deepens.  Out of this flows a natural and committed obedience.

Other friends are more in touch with their emotions about things.  They may be more aware of God’s love first and then work toward trusting and believing God.  Much like singing a hymn or praise song in church or on the radio, sometimes we respond to the melody that stands out and replays in our minds, and sometimes we’re captivated by the lyrics that jump off the page and into our hearts.

Putting time aside for the purpose of worship allows us to make God the centerpiece of our lives and not us.  It Matt Redman’s Intimacy DC, the chorus of his song “The Heart of Worship” starts with, “I’m coming back to the heart of Worship, and it’s all about you, all about you, Jesus.”  Worship time, either along or in a group, allows us to reprioritize.  It’s about him, and not just our needs.

September 11, 2001 reminded us that we’re vulnerable despite our carefully laid out lows and defined systems.  We seek church during these times to gain a divine perspective on the events in our lives.  Worshiping together lets us glimpse that we are part of a divine plan for the world.  Acknowledging that there’s something larger than ourselves at work in our world puts perspective in our lives.  In short, we see reality more clearly because we reach another reality.

Worship is about getting in touch with God’s heart.  Knowing God’s heart means our prayers can be prayed in accord with God’s heart.  Our thinking and our actions start to be aligned with God’s heart.  His goals for us are better than our own goals for ourselves

Therefore, we can put ourselves in the center of his path for our lives.  This means we an stop running so hard because we’re already there.  We’re at the heart of the matter when we’re in God’s presence.  Being with him is what matters. Spending time in his presence changes us.  Our heartbeat joins his eternal heavenly brother.