Friday, December 21, 2007

Father, Give Me a Good Kick

Father, in the abundance of your blessings, you give me opportunity. Opportunity to serve, to love, to share, to give, opportunities to bless others. But, so much of the time, my fervor to serve, to love, to share, to give, and to bless wanes. I am so preoccupied with my own concerns, needs, activities, and ambitions. With the opportunities you give me, grant to me also a willing heart, motivation, give me a good kick and move me out of my comfort (or my rut) so that I may be about your business, your concerns, to share the blessing of your love with others.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Try So Hard

O Lord, You know, I try so hard
To be like You everyday;
But one thing, Lord, I truly know,
Is You gave Your life away.
To be like You, and all You are,
Well that's a lot easier to say.
O Lord, You gave Your life for me,
And I'll give You mine today.

(By Lydia Weathersby)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Like a River

Like a river rushing down to the sea
Like a rushing wind You blow into me
Like the falling of the snow
Like the blood that makes me whole
Is the love of God that flows into me

Like a river You come flooding
Thru the desert fo my heart
And like the wind, You come rushing
Blowing life thru ev'ry part
And like the snow, You're falling
On me with the blood of Your Son
And like the sun, You come shining
Making darkness run

Like a river flowing down to the sea
Like a rushing wind You blow into me
Like the falling of the snow
Like the blood that makes me whole
Is the love of God that flows into me

Like a river You come pouring
Out Your love upon my heart
And like the wind, You bring
Harvest down to take Your yeild, and
Like the snow, You come to winter
Touching hearts and making warmth
And like the sun, You raised
A mighty light to calm the storm

Like a river flowing down to the sea
Like a rushing wind You blow into me
Like the falling of the snow
Like the blood that makes me whole
Is the love of God that flows into me

(A song/prayer by Dennis Jernigan, c. 1982)

Monday, December 17, 2007

In the Shelter of Your Wings

God, hear my cry;
listen to my prayer.
I will call to you from the ends of the earth
when I am afraid.
Carry me way to a high mountain.
You have been my protection,
like a strong tower against my enemies.
Let me live in your Holy Tent forever.
Let me find safety in the shelter of your wings.

God, you have heard my promises.
You have given me what belongs
to those who fear you.

(Psalm 61.1-5)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Create In Me

Create in me
A clean heart, O God
Let me be like You
In all my ways
Give me Your strength
Teach me Your song
Shelter me in the shadow
Of Your wings
For we are Your righteousness
If we die to ourselves
And live to Your death
We shall be born
Again to be blessed in Your name

(by Terry Talbot, inspired from Psalm 51)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In My Life, Lord

A simple song, a powerful prayer:

In my life, Lord,
Be glorified, be glorified.
In my life, Lord,
Be glorified today.

In my home, Lord,
Be glorified, be glorified.
In my home, Lord,
Be glorified today.

In your church, Lord,
Be glorified, be glorified.
In your church Lord,
Be glorified today.

(Song by Bob Kilpatrick, c. 1978)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank You for the Snow

Lord, what a beautiful morning! Your world, all clothed in white, is a most wondrous view. Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow. Thank you for this special gift.

You are the God of renewal, of new beginnings, of taking the old and transforming it into the new. The sparkling snow reminds me of this, and I praise you. I praise you for your hands of love as the mold and shape me into the one you want me to be. For your patience, as you chip away all that is unsightly and useful for naught. For your love in seeing me through difficult times and foolish moments, for leading me to the place you want me to be.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow. Father, thank you for the blanket of white on a landscape barren and dry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Have a Boy to Bring Up

Lord, I have a boy to bring up.

Help me to perform my task with wisdom and kinness and good cheer. Help me always to see him clearly as he is. Let not my pride in him hide his faults. Let not my fear for him magnify my doubts and fears lest I make him doubting and fearful in his turn.

Quicken my judgment so that I shall know how to train him to think as a child, to be in all things pure and simple as a child.

I have a boy to bring up.

Give me great patience and a long memory. Let me remember the hard places in my own youth, so that I may help when I see him struggling as I struggled then.

Let me remember the things that made me glad, lest I, sweating in the toil and strain of life, forget a little child's laughter in the light of life.

I have a boy to bring up.

Teach me that love that understandeth all things, the love that knows no weakness, tolerates no selfishness. Keep me from weakening my son through granting him pleasures that end in pain, ease of body that must bring sickness of soul, a vision of life that must end in death. Grant that I love my son wisely and myself not at all.

I have a boy to bring up.

So guide and direct me that I may do this service to Your glory, O God, the service of my country and to my son's happiness.

(Author Unknown; Adapted)

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Feet Stand on Level Ground

A prayer attributed to David (Psalm 26):

Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Test me, O Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.
I do not sit with deceitful men,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I abhor the assembly of evildoers
and refuse to sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, O Lord,
proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of your wonderful deeds.
I love the house where you live, O Lord,
the place where your glory dwells.

Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes,
But I lead a blameless life;
redeem me and be merciful to me.

My feet stand on level ground;
in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Little Prayer

A little prayer in the morning
Gives the day a better start
Because it seems to open up
Windows of the heart.
And like a ray of sunshine,
Faith comes beaming in
To brighten hopes and wishes
As each new day begins.

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Father, Open My Eyes

Father, open my eyes. I want to see as you see. I want to see clearly, without the cloudiness of prejudice, without the confusion of personal comfort and desire, without the blinding of pride, bitterness, and self-concern. Help me to see clearly, to see through eyes of love, concern, mercy, and humility.

Father, help me to see as you see. Let me notice the one who is crying, the one who is hurting, the one who is in need. Let me see, and let me care, and let me move to make a difference, to provide a firm shoulder to lean upon, to give a helping hand, to act in love.

Father, open my eyes. You are light. Your light dispels darkness. You bring sight to the blind and hope to those that are lost. Father, help me see as you see.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Father, THANK YOU!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

James, On Prayer

The words of James 1.5-8:

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Parent's Prayer

The picture comes from the Japanese Space Agency. It is a high-resolution photograph of the earth from the orbit of the moon . . . "Earthrise." God is awesome!
Dear Lord, help me to be the person I want my children to be. May they see Christ in me, especially when I am tired and rushed or when things haven't gone my way. Help me never to be too busy to stop and listen to them without interrupting or contradicting them. Let me answer their questions kindly.

Lord, guide me so that I will have no habits that I would not want them to have. May my daily life show that honesty produces happiness. may I never tempt them to lie or steal by my actions. Help me to be fair in granting them all their wishes that are reasonable. But give me the courage to withhold a privilege which I think would not be best for them. Lord, I want to encourage and praise them when it is due, and discipline and correct them when it is needed.

Let them see that the Christian life is the greatest life on earth.

Lord, what I want more than anything else is to love them and care for them as You love and care for me.

Thank You for being my loving Father. Help me to be their loving parent.

(Author Unknown)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Father's Prayer

Give me, O God, the wisdom that I need
To mold the tender lives within my care;
Give me the power that I may subtly lead
Them into righteousness--true joy is there.

I ask for them no rainbowed path of ease;
I ask for them no store of wealth or fame;
I only ask that by their lives they please
Thee and the world with an untarnished name.

I know that man is weak, and life is strong,
And sometimes honest roads look very drear;
That winning laurels often takes too long
And luring vistas from all sides appear.

But while my young are still beneath my wing,
God, help me guide them right in everything.

(Author Unknown)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Father, May I Be Satisfied

Father, may I be satisfied in the bounty you bring. As your Son, Jesus, prayed, let me simply say, "Give us this day our daily bread."

Father, I become so dissatisfied. Despite all that you give, I long for more. I want what the world calls better and newer, fuller and greater. But, Father, what is better will become surpassed, what is new will become old, what is fuller will become empty, what is greater will become lesser. You, O Lord, know all and see all. You, O Lord, made me and gave me life. You, O Lord, know what it is to be. You know what is necessary for life, what is beneficial, what is truly to be desired. Father God, give me this knowledge, show me your peace, fill me with what is truly great. May I trust your provision and be grateful.

In the blessed name of Jesus, your Son, my Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, "I have prevailed"; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thank You For This Sink of Dirty Dishes

(This prayer has circulated around the Internet for the past several years.)

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat. Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of good clothes to wear. And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels, and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient. Thank you for this finger-smidged refrigerator that needs cleaning inside and out. It has served us faithfully for many years and has enough food in it for several meals. Thank you, Lord for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today. It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing and the lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard. Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming door; my kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says that you have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What Prayer Is Not

Lionel O'Neal was a great man of prayer and one of those giants of faith that I have been blessed to know. I still remember the eloquent and passionate prayers he offered for the Green Lawn church when I was a child. He wrote a rather thorough curriculum on prayer. In it he offers this listing, "What Prayer Is Not."

1. Prayer is not a means of informing God and scolding men. We need not, in our prayers, to try to tell God all about the universe. He knows all we know and more than we shall ever know.

2. Too, we should not be scolding men while we pretend that we are talking to God. Prayer is too sacred to be abused in such manner.

3. Then, too, we should not feel that prayer is a means of ministering to our selfishness. James said, "Ye have not because ye ask not." Then, the reason we do not receive when we ask, is because we are selfish in our petition. "Ye . . . receive not," says James, "because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it is your pleasures." God has not promised to answer our selfish prayers. It is very difficult for us to spearate our selfishness from our requests.

4. Prayer is not a means of getting out of doing what God requires of us. Prayer will not set aside God's laws. God's laws are immutable. The laws of God cannot be changed by calling upon Him. God requires his servants to obey. Many attempt to use prayer as a means of getting out of doing the will of God. In the Great Commission, Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," yet many will try to avoid being baptized by falling down on their faces and praying. Prayer will not set aside the command to be baptized. The Lord says, "Belive and be baptized" and ye shall be saved. Some preachers say, "Belive and kneel down by your radio and TV and pray" and ye shall be saved. Prayer is not a substitute for baptism nor for any other direct command of our Lord. Prayer does not supplant giving. Prayer is not a substitute for the Lord's Supper. Jesus demands that his disciples meet upon the first day of every week to break bread. For us to fall down on our knees and cry out in prayer will not change this law. In fact, Jesus will not hear the man who fails to meet his requirements. Our Lord said, "Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" That is, "Why pray and do not do what I say?" God will only hear the man who hears him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?

But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him him.

When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, "O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, o Lord!" You have put the gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Monday, October 1, 2007

No Greater Comfort

If in early life we seek Him

We will always find Him near

Always there to guide and comfort,

Guilding us through early years.

When we reach life's busy noonday

What a blessing when He's near

Just to know we are in His favor

And can go to Him in prayer.

When life's evening sun is setting

And we are nearing heaven's shore,

There can be no greater comfort

Than to go to God in prayer.

(Author Unknown)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

For Whom Do We Pray?

I love the description of Epaphras given in Colossians 4.12 by Paul. Paul says Epaphras "wrestled in his prayers to God" for the church at Colossae. Epaphras was a man of prayer, and in his prayers he kept the Christians of Colossae in mind. He was diligent in his prayers for them. He was persistent. He was passionate. May we share his spirit as we "wrestle in our prayers to God," keeping in mind each other . . . our needs, concerns, thanksgivings.

For whom do we pray? Consider these examples from prayers and teachings in Scripture.

We should pray for ourselves (Luke 18.9-14).

We should pray for one another (1 Thess. 1.2-3 & James 5.16).

We should pray for the lost (Romans 10.1).

We should pray for the sick (James 5.14-16).

We should pray for our rulers (1 Timothy 2.1-2).

We should pray for our enemies (Luke 6.27-28).

We should pray for our children (1 Chron. 29.19).

We should pray for our elders (Acts 20.36).

We should pray for preachers (Ephesians 6.19-20).

We should pray for the church (Philippians 1.9-11).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No Time for God

You've time to build houses, and in them dwell,

And time to do business--to buy and sell;

But none for repentance, or deep earnest prayer;

To seek your salvation you've no time to spare.

You've time for earth's pleasures, for frolic and fun,

For her glittering treasures, how quickly you run;

But care not to seek the fair mansion above,

The favor of God or the gift of His love.

You've time to take voyages over the sea,

And time to take in the world's jubilee;

But soon your bright hopes will be lost in the gloom

Of the cold, dark river of death and the tomb.

You've time to resort to the mountain and glen;

And time to gain knowledge from books and from men;

Yet no time to search for the wisdom of God,

But what of your soul when you're under the sod?

For time will not linger when helpless you lie,

Staring death in the face, you will take time to die.

Then, what of the judgment--pause, think, I implore!

For time will be lost on eternity's shore.

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Do You Believe?

Do you believe that one day years ago a man just like you and me was ablt to change the rainfall cycle of a who nation just by praying?

Do you believe that a dying man added 15 more years to his life because he prayed to live?

Do you believe that a previously barren woman became able to conceive and bear a son because she talked to God about her problem?

Do you believe that twice in history a man's prayer was all that was needed to stop the normal movement of the solar system so that "the sun stood still," or, in one case, went backwards?

Incredible as these stories may sound to us today, they are recorded in the Bible as actual fact.

Maybe that explains why some of us get so discouraged. When our troubles pile up so heavy that we're ready to throw in the towel, we are usually coping with situations too big for us to handle by ourselves and we have not thought of asking God to handle them for us.

Christ recommended prayer as an alternative to depression. He taught that we "ought always to pray and not to lose heart." Too often we try every possible situation to some problem except praying about it, and then we despair because things aren't getting any better. Only God can move some mountains; trying to move them without asking His help is foolish and frustrating.

(Author Unknown)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fear Not, You're Not Alone

Have you ever feared driving over a high bridge? If so, you're not alone. In fact, some people are so afraid of bridges that they will drive hours out of their way to avoid them. Others try to cross but have a panic attack in the middle of the bridge and can't go on. They block traffic.

Because of this the operators of some of the longest and highest spans in America now offer a driving service. On request, one of the bridge attendants will get behind the wheel and drive the car over the bridge.

For example, on average, each year, Michigan's Timid Motorist Program assists in the neighborhood of 1,000 drivers across the Mackinac Bridge, which is five miles long and rises two hundred feet above the water.

Bridges aren't the only things causing fear in people's hearts. In any terrifying situation the way to get over the paralysis of fear is to do like these motorists--turn the wheel over to someone else. Turn the situation over to God and then trust him. You have to cross that bridge, but you're not doing it alone, and God is the One in control.

1 Peter 5.6-7: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Faith that Moves Mountains

The promise of Jesus, from Matthew 21.21-22:

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Break Thou the Bread of Life

Break Thou the bread of life,
Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O living Word.

Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,
To me--to me--
As Thou didst bless the bread
By Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease,
All fetters fall;
And I shall find my peace,
My all in all.

Thou art the bread of life,
O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth
That saveth me;
Give me to eat and live
With Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth,
For Thou art love.

(Author Unknown)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Where Should I Pray?

Where should I pray?

I should pray when I am alone. Personal times of prayer and devotion to God are so important. Jesus prayed alone. Luke's Gospel is particularly good at pointing this out. In Lk. 11.1, we are told that the disciples noticed Jesus praying and asked him to teach them how to pray. We must have this eagerness to learn to pray and have a commitment to make personal prayer an important part of our life.

Designating a particular and specific time each day to pray is a good practice. The most disciplined we are, the more committed we become. Certainly, there is adanger of making prayer merely a ritual, and there needs to be a certain amount of spontaneity in our practice of prayer, but a schedule can help to keep us focused.

A prayer journal is a good resource to help us become more disciplined and focused in our prayers. A prayer journal can either be a verbatum record of our personal prayers to God, or may simply be a place to jot down those requests and concerns we wish to bring before God; a prayer journal can also be used to preserve our thoughts and feelings during and after times of prayer.

I must pray together with the church. The early church provides countless examples of times of corporate prayer. Acts 2.42 says, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."

Prayer needs to be emphasized as the church comes together. Public prayers must not be relegated to an afterthought or as a transitional element of worship or simply offered because they must. Public prayer is the congregation of believers speaking, through the agency of a leader, to the Father. As such, the leading of public prayer is an awesome responsibility and honor. Those who lead public prayer need to understand this, but must never forget that prayer is not about eloquence, it is about honest and forthright communication to God.

Sadly, the contemporary church has largely forgotten the power of "Amen!" "Amen" is the public declaration of the congregation that the prayer offered publically is a prayer offered by the community of faith, and not solely the one saying the prayer. "Amen" declares "This is OUR Prayer! May God hear our words!" Thus, public prayer is meant to be participatory, not passive.

I must pray together in my family. A praying family is a faithful family. A praying family is a family that loves each other and loves God.

How often does your family pray together? It should be a daily exercise, and not just a ritual before meal time. Families should set aside time in the morning and evening and pray together. These times do not have to be lenghty, a simple one sentence prayer can be effective and meaningful.

The words of Alexander Campbell are worth repeating. What scene on earth is more transcendingly interesting than a whole household gathered around the family Bible and paternal hearth, to listen to the living word of the living God; and after the oral instruction of a Christian parent, male or female, and the hymn of thanksgiving, falling down upon their knees before the Lord of heaven and earth. . . . Surely the destiny of such a family, both in time and ternity, may be expected to differ much from that of a family left, without such parental care and tenderness, to follow their own impulses or customs of an apostate world.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nearing the Ford

A prayer by Dwight Edwards Marvin:

Kindle, O Lord, along the way

Bring guiding torches, lest I stray;

For I am near the ford.

Take Thou my hand, clear Thou my sight

Amid these brooding clouds of night:

Kindle the torches, Lord.

The mists are falling o'er my eyes

And darkness robes the dripping skies

As I draw near the ford.

Strange voices whisper in my ear;

Strange thoughts surcharge my mind with fear:

Kindle the torches, Lord.

The waters raor, I cannot see

And tremble with anxiety,

Now I am near the ford.

Light the lonely path I tread;

Take from my mind all doubt and dread:

Kindle the torches, Lord.

Behold, one cometh on apace,

A radience gleaming from His face,

He calls, "Fear not the ford."

His garments are as white as snow,

And on my path there falls a glow

Brighter than torches, Lord.

I cannot suffer harm or loss

When I the rushing waters cross;

For He is at the ford.

Soon I shall go through portals bright

To walk with Him in realms of light

And need no torches, Lord.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

In Our Own Words

(This is an article by John Fischer, found in Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers.)

I have a bad habit. When my children tell me about something they've learned for the first time, I often act as if I knew that. Even worse, sometimes I tell them how the same thing happened to me years ago.

When my wife hears something "new" from the kids, her mouth drops open and her eyes widen. It's as if she has never heard this kind of thing before. The kids' faces brighten, and they feel as if they have actually enlightened their mother.

I used to think my wife was just acting and sooner or later the kids would find out and feel lied to. Then I realized it isn't an act at all. Though she may have already experienced what they are trying to tell her, she's never experienced it through them. Their personal "revelations" are entirely new.

It's the same with God. As all-knowing and sovereign as he is, I'm sure he's still eager to hear our prayers because he has never heard it quite the way we say it. We are all unique. We have our own signature attached to all we do and say. Our lives, our experiences, and our faith expressed to him are never old.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Gathered Around the Paternal Hearth

Alexander Campbell said this about the importance of prayer in the family:

"What scene on earth is more transcendantly interesting than a whole household gathered around the family Bible and paternal hearth, to listen to the living word of the living God; and after the oral instruction of a Christian parent, male or female, and the hymn of thanksgiving, falling down upon their knees before the Lord of heaven and earth. . . . Surely the destiny of such a family, both in time and eternity, may be expected to differ much from that of a family left, without such parental care and tenderness, to follow their own impulses or customs of an apostate world."

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Nurse's Prayer

Ruth Winant Wheeler has written this prayer:

Because the day that stretches out for me

Is full of busy hours, I come to Thee

To ask Thee, Lord, that Thou wilt see me through

The many things that I may have to do.

Help me to make more tempting every tray.

Help me to sense when pain must have relief.

Help me to deal with those bourne down by grief.

Help me to take to every patient's room

The Light of Life to brighten up the gloom.

Help me to bring to every soul in fear

The sure and steadfast thought that Thou art near,

And if today, or if tonight, maybe,

Some patients in my care set out to sea

To face the great adventure we call death,

Sustain them, Father, in their parting breath.

Help me to live throughout this live long day

As one who loves Thee well, dear Lord, I pray;

And when the task is done, and evening stars

Shine through the dark above the sunset bars,

When weary quite, I turn to seek my rest,

Lord, may I truly know I've done my best.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Keep Your Head Down

Alan Smith wrote the following. It was published on his "Thought for the Day" E-mail.

The story is told of a preacher who took a vacation and decided to make it a golfing holiday. He went to a golfing resort, and on his first day out on the course he learned that Arnold Palmer played the course frequently.

The toughest hole was the 17th, and as the preacher approached the tee his caddie said, "When Arnold Palmer plays this hole he uses a 3 iron and says a little prayer."

"I'll give it a try," said the preacher. He prayed and swung, but the ball landed in a sand trap. "Ah, well," he said, "I gues the Lord didn't hear me."

"He probably heard you," said the caddie, "but when Mr. Palmer says his prayer, he ususally keeps his head down."

We would do well to remember that prayer doesn't relieve us of our responsibilities. We pray that God will provide us with "daily bread," but we don't stay home from work waiting for him to do it!

Prayer should not motivate us to do nothing. Rather it should motivate us to do even more as we turn our lives over to God to use. Take your requests to God in prayer today, but don't forget to keep your head down!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No Time for Prayer?

I knelt to pray, but not for long,

I had too much to do.

Must hurry and get to work

For bills would soon be due.

And so, I said a hurried prayer,

Jumped up from off my knees;

My Christian duty now was done,

My soul could be at ease.

All through the day I had no time

To speak a word of cheer,

No time to speak of Christ to friends;

They'd laugh at me, I feared.

No time, no time, too much to do--

That was my constant cry;

No time to give to those in need--

At last 'twas time to die.

And when before the Lord I came,

I stood with downcast eyes,

Within His hands he held a book,

It was the "Book of Life."

God looked into His Book and said,

"Your name I cannot find,

I once was going to write it down,

But never found the time."

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pray A.S.A.P.!

Have you ever wondered about the abbreviation A.S.A.P.? We often interpret it to mean "As Soon As Possible," just another term that underscores the stress most people operate their lives under. Perhaps we should attach another meaning to A.S.A.P. Doing so will help us better deal with the stress we confront each day.

There's work to do,

Deadlines to meet;

You've got not time to spare,

But as you hurry and scurry--


Always Say A Prayer!

In the midst of family chaos,

"Quality time" is rare,

But do your best,

And let God do the rest--


Always Say A Prayer!

It may seem like your worries

Are more than you can bear,

So slow down

And take a breather--


Always Say A Prayer!

God knows

How stressful life is,

He wants to ease our cares;

And He'll respond,


Always Say A Prayer!

(Author Unknown)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Calmness in the Loudness

The world can be a loud place. Our days are filled with the constant clamoring of voices, nature, media, street sounds, and the thoughts that fill our minds. Don't we all long for a few moments of quiet reflection, times when we can withdraw and feel at ease?

God knows our need for serenity and he has given us prayer. You have witnessed how effective a few moments of prayer can be. In those moments spent with God calmness comes when there was stress, reflection when there was confusion, and peace of mind when there was frustration. Even when we come to God and pray at times of crises and despair, these moments spent with the Father offer clarity to the situation and bring comfort. We may not know when the end of our troubles will come, we may not immediately know the solutions God will offer, but we do know that our Father is listening and that he is acting and that he is present.

How wonderful is the gift of prayer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Cannot Say . . .

I cannot say our if I only live for myself.

I cannot say Father if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child.

I cannot say who art in heaven if I am laying up no treasure there.

I cannot sayhallowed be Thy name if I am not striving for holiness.

I cannot sayThy Kingdom come if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful event.

I cannot say Thy will be done if I am disobedient to his Word.

I cannot say on earth as it is in heaven if I'll not serve him here and now.

I cannot say give us this day our daily bread if I am dishonest or an seeking things by subterfuge.

I cannot say forgive us our debts if I harbor a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say lead us not into temptation if I deliberatly place myself in its path.

I cannot say deliver us from evil if I do not put on the whole armor of God.

I cannot say Thine is the kingdom if I do not give the King the loyalty due him from a faithful subject.

I cannot say the power if I fear what men may do.

I cannot say the glory if I'm seeking honor only for myself.

I cannot say forever if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by time.

(Author Unknown)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Solomon's Prayer

Solomon's prayer from 1 Kings 3.6-9:

"You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

"Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours."

The response of God to Solomon's prayer (1 Kings 3.10-14):

"The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, 'Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both riches and honor--so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Our Prayers Can Be Hindered

We must understand that our thoughts and actions can hinder the effectiveness of our prayers.

In James 4.1-3, we are told that when we pray with impure or selfish motives, God does not hear our prayers. James writes, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

In 1 Peter 3.7, we are told that the ill treatment of one's spouse may hinder one's prayers. Peter writes, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

In 1 Samuel 28.18, King Saul is told that his prayers were not heard by God because of Saul's disobedience. Samuel tells him, "Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today."

In Isaiah 58 the people of Israel wander why God has not heard their prayers and answered them. The gist of God's response to this charge is that the people have come to him very insincerely and full or arrogance and self-interest and not in humility and worshipful reverence. God, through his prophet, says, "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."

In Matthew 6.5-8, Jesus says, "And when you pray do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. . . . But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Let us approach God with himility, sincerity, transparency, and a deep-abiding faith.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Prayer to the Lord of the Church

In Ephesians 6.18-20, Paul asked, "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

The prayer of Edward Osler:

Lord of the church, we humbly pray

For those who guide us in Thy way,

And speak Thy holy word;

With love divine their hearts inspire,

And touch their lips with hallowed fire,

And needful grace afford.

Help them to preach the truth of God,

Redemption through the Saviour's blood;

Nor let the Spirit cease

On all the church His gifts to shower:

To them, a Messenger of power,

To us, of life and peace.

So may they live to Thee alone,

Then hear the welcome word, "Well done!"

And take their crown above;

Enter into their Master's joy,

And all eternity employ

In praise and bliss and love.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Power Was There All the Time

Herbert Jackson tells the story of when, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push.

After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave his car running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.

Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the swtich, and to Jackson's astonishment, the engine roared to life.

For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting the power to work.

J. B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1.19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God." When we make our firm connection with God, his life and power flow through us."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reflections on Prayer

Francis de Sales: "He who prays fervently knows not whether he prays or not, for he is not thinking of the prayer which he makes, but of God, to whom he makes it."

P. Y. Forsyth: "Not to want to pray is the sin behind sin."

E. M. Bounds: "To pray is the greatest thing we can do, and to do it well, there must be calmness, time, and deliberation."

Edward J. Farrell: "The penalty of not praying is the loss of one's capacity to pray."

George H. Gallup, Jr.: "Any revitalization of faith in this country will have to start with prayer, in which we gain a sense of the living presence of God."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Prayer to the God of My Life

The prayer of Psalms 42 & 43 (NIV):

As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Where can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night,

while men say to me all day long,

"Where is your God?"

These things I remember as I pour out my soul:

how I used to go with the multitude,

leading the procession to the house of God,

with shouts of joy and thanksgiving

among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;

therefore I will remmeber you

from the land of Jordan,

the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep

in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,

at night his song is within me--

a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,

"Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I go about mourning,

oppressed by the enemy?"

My bones suffer mortal agony

as my foes taunt me,

saying to me all day long,

"Where is your God?"

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him.

my Savior and my God?

Vindicate me, O God,

and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;

rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.

You are God my stronghold.

Why have you rejected me?

Why must I go about mourning,

oppressed by the enemy?

Send forth your light and your truth,

let them guide me;

let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell.

Then will I go to the altar of God,

to God, my joy and my delight.

I will praise you with the harp,

O God, my God.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Resurrection Prayer

(A prayer by Francis Ridley Havergal)

Oh, let me know

The power of Thy resurrection!

Oh, let me show

Thy life in clear reflection!

Oh, let me soar

Where Thou, my Savior Christ, art gone before!

In mind and heart

Let me dwell always, only, where Thou Art!

Oh, let me give

Out of the gifts Thou freely givest;

Oh, let me live

With life abundantly because Thou livest;

Oh, make me shine

In darkest places, for Thy light in mine;

Oh, let me be

A faithful witness for Thy truth and Thee.

Oh, let me show

The strong relatiy of gospel story;

Oh, let me go

From strength to strength, from glory unto glory;

Oh, let me sing

For every joy, because Thou art my King;

Oh, let me praise

Thy love and faithfulness through all my days.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Comments on Prayer

Henri Nouwen: "As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer."

Abraham Lincoln: "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

Eugene Peterson: "In prayer, we are aware that God is in action and that when the circumstances are ready, when others are in the right place, and when our hearts are prepared, he will call us into the action. Waiting in prayer is a disciplined refusal to act before God acts."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Prayer & Spiritual Warfare

During Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqi war machine was overwhelmed by the Coalition Forces' ability to strike strategic targets with never-seen-before accuracy. Unknown to the Iraqis, the Allied Supreme Command had dropped Special Operations Forces (SOF) deep behind enemy lines. These men provided bombing coordinates for military targets and first-hand reports on the effectiveness of subsequent bombing missions.

To avoid unintended targets, pinpoint bombing was often required. A soldier from a SOF unti standing on the ground would request an aircraft high overhead to drop a laser-guided missile. Using a handheld laser, the soldier would point at the target. The missile would hone in on the soldier's target for the hit.In much the same way, the prayers of Christians focus the attention of the spiritual forces on high.

(Written by Steve Schertzinger, in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching.)

Do You Believe In the Power of Prayer?

When a nightclub opened on Main Street, the only church in that small town organized an all-night prayer meeting. The members asked God to find a way to shut down the club. Within a few minutes, lightning struck the club, and it burned to the ground. The owner sued the church, which denied responsibility.

After hearing both sides, the judge said, "It seems that wherever the guilt may lie, the nightclub owner believes in prayer, while the church doesn't."


Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Teacher's Prayer

A prayer by Ralph S. Cushman:

I do not ask

That crowds my throng the temple

That standing room be priced;

I only ask that as I voice the message,

They may see Christ.

I do not ask

For churchly pom or pageant,

Or music such as wealth alone can buy;

I only ask that as I voice the message,

He may be nigh!

I do not ask

That men may sound my praises

Or headlines spread my name abroad;

I only pray that as I voice the message,

Hearts may find God!

I do not ask

For earthly place or laurel,

Or of this world's distinctions any part;

I only ask when I have voiced the message,

My Savior's Heart!

Friday, August 10, 2007

What Is Prayer?

Prayer is a conversation with God. A conversation requires at least two parties engaged in shared thought and expression. Prayer occurs within a context of God speaking to us through his word, history, other people, and his creation.

Prayer is a product of faith. Prayer is predicated on the belief that someone is listening. In Matthew 6.5-8, Jesus condemns two falso approaches to prayer: (1) religious ritual for the show of it, and (2) calling on God out of habit and custom. Prayer must be passionate and come from an active faith that God is the Father who loves his children.

Prayer is an act of humility. We come before God acknowledging that he is the Creator and Sustainer of life. In Matthew 6.9-10, Jesus prays, "Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is done in heaven."

Prayer can be spoken or unspoken. Prayers do not have to be articulated, they can be thought. And, in Romans 8.26, Paul says, "We do not not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

Prayer can be private or public. We should have a daily habit of personal prayer. We should pray regularly with our family, friends, and the church.

Prayer can be temporal and unceasing. We pray at isolated moments, but prayer should envelope the whole of our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 5.17, Paul commands, "Pray continually (without ceasing)."

Prayer can be self-centered or focused on others. We should pray for ourselves and for others. Paul's description of Epaphras is beautiful: "Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured."

Prayer must be a work in progress. Like our faith, we must grow in prayer. Our understanding and practice of prayer must progress and mature during the course of our lifetime. If we are saying the same prayers at 65 that we said when we were 25, something isn't right.

To the righteous man, prayer is effective. James says, "The prayer of a righteous man is pwoerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (Jas 5.16-18).

Prayer is a blessing. The psalmist praises, "I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live" (Ps 116.1-2).

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thoughts on Prayer

Phillips Brooks: "Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish you had made it larger. Pray not for crutches but for wings!"

R. A. Torrey: "We are too busy to pray, and we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results."

D. L. Moody: "We honor God when we ask for great things. It is a humiliating thing to think that we are satisfied with very samll results."

Teresa of Avila: "Souls without prayer are like people whose bodies or limbs are paralyzed: they possess feet and hands but they cannot control them."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Prayer for Boldness

Acts 4.23-31 (NRSV)

After [Peter and John] were released, they went to their friends (the church) and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said,

"Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.' For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The People's Prayer

A prayer by Amos R. Wells:

God bless our dear United States,

Preserve the land from evil fates,

Lift high her banner fair and free,

And guard her bounds from sea to sea.

From foe without and foe within,

From open shame and hidden sin,

From boastful pride and greedy store,

God keep our nation evermore.

Forever may her friendly hands

Receice the poor of other lands

In kindliness of sisterhood,

And fill their arms with ample good.

Assailed by battle hosts of wrong,

God help our country to be strong,

Assailed by falsehood's crafty crew,

God help our country to be true.

God hold the nation's aim sincere,

God save her heart from coward fear.

God prosper her in true success.

And crown her head with worthiness.

God bless our dear United States,

Preserve the land from evil fates,

Lift high her banner fair and free,

And ever guard her liberty.

Monday, August 6, 2007

As We Pray . . .

As we pray, our faith should allow for God's answer to come at a time and in a manner in which we may not expect. God sees the big picture. His sight is not limited by the things that hinder our perspective. His wisdom goes far beyond our capacity. He knows of answers that surpass our longings.

As we pray, our faith should allow us to realize that God's silence is often intentional and that "unanswered" prayers are still heard by God. God may be silent to test the maturity of our faith, or to cause us to reevaluate our prayers in the light of his will. And, God's silence may be his answer.

As we pray, our faith should motivate us to be persistent in bringing our petitions before God. God is not hard of hearing, but in our persistence our trust in God's response is affirmed and our prayers may become refined through the repitition in which we offer them.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Michael Irvin's Prayer

Did you hear Michael Irvin's Football Hall of Fame acceptance speech? It was powerful. In it, he included a prayer for his sons. He prayed, "I say, please, help me raise them for some young lady so that they can be a better husband than I. . . . Help me raise them for their kids so that they could be a better father than I."

What a beautiful prayer.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Prayer to the God Who Sees

Father God, help me to see as you see, or at the very least to realize and be comforted by the fact that you see all when my vision is often very limited. My perspective is often quite small, Father. My sight is obstructed by time and place, by the limitations of my physical presence, by my intellect and understanding (which are both quite human and not omniscient like you), by my prejudices and hangups, by my sin and stubbornness, and by the sin and deception of others. But, you, Father, can see past through all of these things to see the Big Picture. Thus, I must trust you and depend upon you . . . to accept the guidance you give. I get so impatient. I want a resolution now to the trials I experience. But, you are the one who sees, and I will trust in you to see me through.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Prayer of Jabez

1 Chronicles 4.10

"Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!' And God granted what he asked."