October 13 -That’s Why We Pray

Luke 11:1-3 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread.”

We watched a movie the other night about a little boy going through a serious trial.   Everyone told him to pray. He heard the word “pray” over and over, but it didn’t really make much sense to him. So, instead of trying to figure it out, he decided to write a letter to God. He began to write Him a letter almost every day. He talked to Him like He was a friend who cared and someone who could help. He then began to develop an amazing sense of peace to which others were drawn. He began to see answers to his “prayers.” His confidence grew and everyone around him was affected by his trusting demeanor. Lives were changed because this little guy decided to talk to God.

 

I think prayer is a perplexing thing for most of us. It is one of those very important things that nobody knows much about. Yet, we talk about it all the time. “Pray for me, I need to get a job.” “Oh, we really need to pray for so-and-so, their mother is in the nursing home.” It can almost be an overused catch-all word that translates “Help me!”

 

Jesus talked about prayer many times. The Bible has hundreds of references to it. When Jesus taught the disciples the answer to their question about how to pray, He basically says, “Talk to Me. Get by yourself. Listen part of the time or you’re monopolizing the conversation. Be thankful for the everyday things. Talk to Me like you would a trusted friend, a friend Who has the power to change the circumstances. Most of all, be ready for Me to change you!” The next time someone says “pray for me,” or you need some prayer yourself, try writing your thoughts in a letter to God. Put a date on it and refer back to it. Be real, but be respectful. Cry if you need to, He hears that too. Most of all, get that Bible off the shelf and read. He’s been talking to you all the time, it’s all there in black and white.

That’s why we pray. “The greatest tragedy in life isn’t unanswered prayer, its unoffered prayer.” (quote by Adam Clarke)

Jennifer

Biblical Meditation: Psalms 54:2 Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.

 

August 12 – On Your Mark

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP

I love track and field. My favorite events to watch are the sprint races, and the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Everything is so quick and the margin of error is minute.

A few years back, I was watching the Olympic Games on television and was excited about one of Americas female hopefuls. She was amazing and definitely one of the favorites. In all the preliminary rounds, she had handled the competition like a pro, poise and fluidity in motion. But for some strange reason, when the starting gun sounded in the final race, she miss- stepped. It was literally just a split-second bobble, but she never recovered. Needless to say, it would be another four years (or maybe never) before she would get another shot at bringing home the gold.

The way I start affects every single part of my race. Whether I work at the factory, run my own shop, play on a sports team, or am a parent. If I start well, I will run well and nine times out of ten, I will finish well. But if I bobble the start, I may finish the race, but it’s next to impossible to recover the lead. That’s when you pray for grace!

For me, the “running a race” metaphor depicts the spirit of this Proverb. “Fear” in this particular context denotes focused reverence and respect that specifically promotes a certain outcome. To win or to run well in life, it’s not enough that I have knowledge. On the contrary, I have to apply the very best part of that knowledge. Sacrifice is understood here. And in every area of life, the judge and standard maker is God, so it stands to reason He must be the center point of my sacrificial offering.

If you talk to any of the “old time” life champions out there and you will find confirmation to this wise saying. They will attest that when they set their sights on honor and respect toward the Giver and Keeper of life’s race, winning became a by-product of a well-ran race from start to finish.

August 11 – Word To The Wise

Day One

The wise will also hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]. Proverbs 1:5 AMP

Proverb n. a short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice.

It’s cute to me when a tiny tots starts to discover they are capable of more than just crawling around. They start pulling up on stuff and doing the side-to-side wobble. Oh yeah! You know then, it won’t be long now before they take that first step.

But that is also when training takes on a whole new dimension. The moment they start walking, they seem to start getting into things at a high rate of speed. And you start putting locks on cabinets, little safeties on doorknobs, the works.

And depending on the personality of the child, the whole season of “no” either falls on receptive ears or in the case of the “strong willed child” gets pushed to the limit. All in all, this stage of development is the building block of how that little one will fare in life.

Wisdom is always present, yet according to our will, we benefit or stumble beneath its truths and advice.

I personally find the book of Proverbs a most important constant in practical advice for living as well as spiritual revelations from heaven. It all depends on what my personal need is at the moment.

Regardless, this promise found in the very first chapter of Proverbs in verse 5 is worth mulling over today and mining out some keepers. If I want wisdom, I first have to be found listening. Simple, yet hard to do when life’s cares are swirling all around you. But the next nugget makes the challenge worth pursuing. And that is if I will pay attention to wisdom, understanding will come and then I will know what to do no matter what the situation might be.

So today, wherever it finds you, if you want to know what to do, just the fact that you are reading a devotional right now puts you in a position to hear wisdom speak. Therefore, you need not worry, because at just the right time, understanding will come. And then you will know the “way” to go and “what” to do!