How Should I Pray?

As Christians, we’re called to pray. But do you ever struggle with prayer? I know I have, and still do at times: how to pray; what to pray; when to pray.

Most Christians are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. The first two words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”, are significant. But many people have difficulty associating God as good since He is called “Father”. God, however, is not only good, He is also a good and perfect Father who is good to His children.

I am enjoying my pastor’s current series on prayer. You may listen to Cliff Purcell’s podcast here: “A Family Conversation – Week 2.” (Scroll down to “Media Archive”, January 14, 2018.)

Have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

Unshakable Hope

My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who appears to have died from suicide on Tuesday. Although I didn’t know Tyler personally, he’s remembered on campus for his sunny disposition. Tyler was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. He made some key contributions in eight games this past season, including leading his team from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State University 47-44 in triple overtime.

(Google search)
What Is Salvation?

I don’t know anymore about Tyler’s situation, but it’s disturbing to hear of anyone taking his/her life. According to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression, one out of every 12 college students makes a suicide plan and 7.5 students per 100,000 kill themselves.

This incident is a wake up call for me to be more aware of those I encounter and be more intentional to connect with people. Although I’m a proponent of social media, it shouldn’t replace personal relationships. I admit, I cherish “likes” and thumb’s up, but we all need face-to- face time.

For believers, it’s also a good reminder to always be prepared to share the hope we have in Christ Jesus. A hope that can’t—or shouldn’t—be shaken when we’re grounded in Him. It’s the only hope I held onto when I experienced an episode of depression throughout my college years. I don’t want to make this post about me, as I know many people fight this battle, but if it helps someone better understand depression you can find my story here: My Lifeboat.

I feel that some Christians think believers should be immune to this struggle. I know at the time that I felt guilty for even having this struggle. But as none of us are immune to physical ailments, why would there be an exception to mental ailments?

Moving on to a lighter note and following last week’s theme, “God Interruptions”, I bring you Heisman Trophy winner and professional athlete, Tim Tebow. Although most of us aren’t called to be platform athletes or speakers, God still uses us in ways beyond our comprehension when we yield to His promptings, however small they may seem. Although Tim could have easily dismissed what God laid on his heart, he chose to yield to God’s prompting instead. I really enjoyed his story of how God blessed his seemingly small act of faith and trust you will too!

God Interruptions

Oh, I’m sorry . . . Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?” – (A funny interruption quote found on imgfave.com)

I thought I’d share what God has been teaching me lately. But first, how is January going for you? Are you tackling some of your New Year resolutions? I have always been goal/task oriented, which often lends to frustration when my plans don’t pan out. Do you relate to this? I think God is probably smiling as I begin a new Bible study venture by Priscilla Shirer. He knows I have some growing up to do in this area. Although I’ve never been swallowed by a fish—nor wish to!—I hope to learn from Jonah’s mistakes. (Any local women want to join me in this study? You are welcome as we’re just beginning. Let me know.)

We all experience daily interruptions. Most are unwelcomed, right? Unless we’ve just won the lottery or something similar. But what about when God interrupts your life? As in Jonah’s case. Jonah—a successful prophet who served God in a comfortable manner—received the inconvenient instructions from God to go to the wicked city of Nineveh and tell them to repent.

But Jonah wasn’t the only Bible character who experienced God’s interruption. Consider Moses, who lived the royal lifestyle; David, a young shepherd boy called to be Israel’s king, but first had to dodge King Saul’s spears; and what about Sarah (Abraham’s wife)? Can you imagine birthing a baby at the age of 90? No thanks!

And the list goes on.

In fact, all believers have God interruptions. Why? Because His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways our ways (Isa. 55:8). But our ultimate example of One who experienced an interrupted life is none other than Jesus Christ. Unconstrained to the limits of time and space—sharing His Father’s glory in heaven—He followed His Father’s will by coming to earth as a vulnerable baby. Talk about major life disruption! “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  (Phil. 2:6-8, NIV)

Love compelled Jesus to follow His Father’s directives. Love strong enough to endure the unfathomable agony of carrying the world’s sins on His shoulders as He lay down His life. Through shedding His blood, He pardons us from the wages due us—eternal separation from Him—for those who believe on His name and follow His will. He not only made possible our freedom from sins’ bondage, but also identifies in our weakness, offering victory in our temptations.

I’ll admit, I’ve ran from God before. Maybe not physically, but inwardly through my attitudes and/or just not following through with His directive. Can you relate? So how is a believer to view a life interrupted by God? When we get a new view of who God is—the One true God—who desires to speak to us and use us for His kingdom purpose(s), we gain a new perspective on God interruptions. Priscilla Shirer writes: “The first two miracles in the Book of Jonah are found in the very first verse: The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Aittai saying (Jonah 1:1) . . . . 1) God spoke; 2) God allowed a mere human to hear His voice.” What a privilege!

Would Jonah have ran from God if he could have seen the end picture? Often the greatest revivals are a result of one person obeying God after having his/her schedule interrupted.

Just as Jesus’ interrupted life ushered in something new—as His ways didn’t fit into the old rigid legalistic mold of religion—God also challenges us to follow His lead. Am I prepared to look at people in new ways and serve them in new ways? God often sends us into dark places to shine His light and spread His hope.

It is both significant and a privilege to be interrupted by God, to be called and used for His purpose(s). How many of us hunger for a life of significance? A life couldn’t be more significant than a life that yields to God, which includes interruptions from our plans.

So now that I’ve shared this, I’m sure God has a divine interruption around the corner. Hopefully I’ll have a new perspective. 🙂 How has God interrupted your life lately?

New Year Habit

(Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory,” Psalm 63:2, NIV.

See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” Isaiah 40:10-11.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” Psalm 139:7-10.