Category Archives: Prayer

Ready

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:35-40 ESV

Holy Father, we come to You because You are the source of all things.  You have invited us to come before Your throne through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through Christ, we have been given all things, for in Him, all of Your promises are fulfilled.  Your ways are amazing, Lord, even though we comprehend so little of all that You have accomplished.

Amazingly, You have allowed us to partner with You in the building of Your kingdom and declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Forgive us, Father, when we forget that our highest calling is to glorify You.  We sometimes turn aside from the calling that You have given to us.  We allow our gaze to shift from what is most beautiful and lasting, and we try to satisfy our longings on the world’s empty and hollow promises.

Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith and to live each day with a desire to glorify You with our thoughts and our deeds.  Give us strength to finish the race running, and not sitting on the sidelines.  We want to be found awake and ready when our Savior returns.

What a glorious thing to consider that when He returns, Jesus will serve us.  This is just one more example of how You bless us beyond our ability to comprehend.  Help us to hold fast until the end.  Thank you, Father.  Amen.

Together for His glory…

Do Not Be Anxious

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’” Luke 12:22-34 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, we come to you as the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  We praise You because You have blessed us with many good things, always providing what we need.  You are the sovereign and all-powerful God and there is nothing too difficult for You.

Forgive us, Father, when we doubt Your faithfulness and become anxious about the present or the future.  This always happens when we take our eyes off of you and start relying on our own strength and wisdom.  As You have promised, please provide us with the things that we need to accomplish all that You have called us to do for Your purposes and Your glory.

And Father, You know that we have many hopes and dreams for our future and for those we love.  Bless us with the desires of our heart.  However, where the desires of our heart are outside of Your perfect will, please lead us into the path of greater blessing for us and for the greater glory for Your holy name.

Give us wisdom and strength to appreciate and enjoy Your gracious gifts and to use them for the building of Your kingdom.  Help us to hold fast to the enduring hope that we have in Jesus Christ, trusting You to provide for all of our tomorrows, from now until eternity.  Amen.

Together for His glory…

Walking in a Manner Worthy of the Lord

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14 ESV

Our Father in heaven. You are holy and righteous. There is none like You. You possess all strength and wisdom. You are truly worthy of our worship and praise.

Forgive us Father, when we, who You have rescued from the domain of darkness, choose to walk in our own ways instead of the wisdom and strength which You so graciously provide.

We pray that You will fill us with knowledge of Your perfect will, granting us wisdom and understanding to grasp the wonder of Your gospel and to walk in Your ways. We need You, O God. Be our strength, our sustenance, our peace, our hope, and our joy. Empower us by Your Holy Spirit.

We know that we will have times of trial and struggle in this life. Help us to keep sight of eternity and the glorious inheritance we have in Christ, with all of the saints. Help us to remain faithful to follow You in obedience, in the steps of our mighty Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to finish our race with joy.

We thank you again for the rescuing us from ourselves and from the kingdom of the evil one, and transferring us to the kingdom of Your beloved Son, through whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.

Together for His glory…

I Can’t Hear You

It is a very windy day in St. Louis. As I sit in my office, I can occasionally see my curtains move, and the window is closed. A while ago, my wife called me. She was outside when she called. She said the wind was blowing so hard that it almost knocked her down a couple of times. But that was not the worst part of it. The noise of the wind in the phone was so loud that I could barely hear a word she said. Finally, she was able to get into the car and I could understand what she was saying. By then, though, we were both frustrated because it had been so hard to communicate. What should have been a simple conversation became virtually impossible.

It reminds me of a movie I saw once. Someone came to a friend’s house and was trying to talk to them. However, the music from the stereo was so loud that they could not hear what each other was saying. The visitor screamed, “Can you turn the music down?” to which their friend shouted, “I can’t hear you. The music is too loud.”

In this life, and especially in America, there seems to be a lot of noise. Sometimes, it is hard to even find a few quiet moments. As in the examples above, it can be very difficult to hear or be aware of things that are important. It can be hard to hear the voice of God. However, when we are having difficulty hearing the voice of God, I am not sure we can always blame this on the world we live in.

Don’t get me wrong. Satan and the world will not do us any favors when it comes to hearing the voice of God. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But I think that there are many times when they don’t have to do anything to pull us away from hearing God. We do it all by ourselves.

We don’t leave time for the Word or prayer. We neglect meeting together with the church, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to encourage and build each other up in the faith. We spend so much time on things that are not eternal and will, ultimately, do nothing to help us know Christ better. We fill our minds with the junk spewed out from the world’s self-focused, godless void.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not against all entertainment and art. I have sometimes been moved to deep thoughts about God and thankfulness and joy because of music, a movie, or a presentation by someone who is not a Christian. I think this is because God reveals Himself through His creation, even through people who don’t acknowledge Him and in spite of their efforts to deny Him.

However, we need to guard our hearts and minds. We need to know the voice of the Shepherd. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice (John 10:1-18). But it is hard to hear His voice when we are blasting the noise of the world in the same room. Jesus is saying, “Listen to me,” and we are screaming back, “I can’t hear you because my TV is too loud.” It could be anything. You fill in the blank. It could be friendships or relationships that pull us away from God. It could be music and entertainment that fill our minds with ungodly images or content. It could be our career or pursuit of money. It could be that we are just too busy.

Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). He wants us to know Him and to hear His voice. If I can’t hear Him, maybe it is not because He is not speaking. Maybe I just can’t hear Him over all of the other noise in my life. The Shepherd is calling. I just need to be still and listen (Psalm 46:10).

Together for His glory…

Trusting When the Way is Unclear

“I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

This was the cry of a father who had brought his child to Jesus for healing and to have an evil spirit cast out of the child. The disciples had been unable to accomplish this. Now, that father had turned to Jesus. He explained the situation to Jesus and asked Him to have compassion on them, if He was able to do anything. Jesus said, “’If you can!’ All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23

I wonder how many times God responds this way to our requests of Him. We come to Him with our needs and desires, asking Him to bring them to pass. But in our hearts, we don’t believe that He can or will. Or at least that is what our life demonstrates. As I look back on my life, there are many things that I have asked of God over the years. Down deep, though, I wonder whether I will receive the answer I am looking for. There could be a number of things at the root of this unbelief.

Maybe I don’t believe I deserve it. Do I wonder whether it is actually the will of God for me? Am I wanting instant relief and not willing to wait for God’s best, which might be something different than what I asked for? Do my circumstances overwhelm me to the point that my focus is on them and not on God and His promises? Do I really trust God and believe that He wants the very best for me, no matter what? Regardless of the reasons, the ultimate solution is not in figuring it all out. The answer lies in trusting the Almighty God.

God has the power to accomplish anything. Throughout history, God has been reminding those He has called that He is able to accomplish what He says He will do. When God promises, God fulfills. There is no limitations on His abilities to accomplish His purposes (Numbers 11:23; Isaiah 59:1). It is not dependent on our abilities, amount of faith, or our worthiness. Ultimately, we don’t deserve anything from God except the wrath of His judgment. Anything besides or beyond that is a gift of His love, mercy, and grace (Ephesians 2:1-10). And God delights to give good gifts to His children. Jesus told us this (Matthew 7:7-11). God wants us to find our greatest hope, joy, and satisfaction in Him. And He can and will do this in our lives.

God will accomplish anything that is according to His will. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) God has said that if we will delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). When I delight in God, my ways are transformed to reflect His character. My desires and actions become more like those of Jesus, my Savior. As a result, my prayers and requests will begin to come in to conformance with His will and purposes for my life. Even still, all that I ask from God may not be what I receive, in the end. And that’s a good thing.

What is best for us is not always what we ask for from God. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) Martha said this to Jesus, when he arrived in their town after Lazarus had already died. She believed in Jesus’ ability enough to know that He could have healed her brother. However, Jesus delayed His arrival, on purpose. In the end, his delay would bring them even greater amazement and joy. God would be glorified. But it was not what Mary and Martha intended when they had called for Jesus. God does not always give us what we ask for. Sometimes, He withholds what we request so that we have something greater. He always wants us to have what is best. His wisdom is perfect. He knows what is best, for every person and in every circumstance. But when we don’t know what is going on, it can be difficult.

We may not be able to see the way clearly, but God is always worthy of our trust. God sees the beginning to the end of all things. His knowledge of history past, present and future is perfect. That includes our personal history. And His wisdom regarding our circumstances and needs is flawless. He will never miss anything. He won’t forget. He will never misjudge a situation. He will work all things for the good of those who love Him, every time (Romans 8:28). That is His promise. If we place our trust in Him, God will always lead us in the right direction and to the best possible results.

In my life, there are many things that I do not understand. There are situations that I wish would change. I have life goals that I am yet to obtain, and as the years roll by, I wonder if they will ever be obtained. However, I have been around long enough to see some of the things God has done behind the scenes. Things, that at the time, seemed either mundane or that I even viewed as failures. Yet, those events have been used to build a foundation on which future opportunities would be presented. If I look closely, these moments in time go back through my very early years, as much of them as I can remember. I could have never foreseen what God was going to bring to pass. Everything from meeting my wife, choices of schools and studies, struggles of faith, and career and ministry opportunities. People that God put in my path. Things I heard on the radio. The birth of our children. There are so many things that I can, at this point in my life, say that God ordained for His glory and my joy.

God is not random. He never stumbles into anything. His wisdom and purposes are flawless. He desires the absolute best for us. And if we will place our trust in Him, He will lead us safely and joyfully home to Him. Even in this confusing world we live in, in the midst of trials and failures, God can and will work in us and through us, bringing joy and blessing to our lives and the lives of others. Though the way may seem unclear, God is worthy of our trust, always.

Together for His glory…