When I need some distraction from thoughts I cannot run away from; when I want a companion who doesn’t judge and just let me listen because at times I have no words left to say; when I want perspectives and life-lessons given me without even the hint of trying hard and or justification – I pick up a book and read. And I am always amazed at the things I get out of it. The things speaking right at me, telling me what I need to hear. That when I put down one, I have the sense of a renewed mind and spirit.
The books we read, that we pick up, matter. And it is as important to pray for those that we read as praying for other necessities in life. Because what we read affects us, influences us, changes us. May God lead us to more literature that will help us become better and not bitter, at peace and not tempted, joyful and not depressed, informed and not deluded.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
So you should pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debts to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.”
– Matthew 6:9-13
And this is how we ought to pray. Not by memorizing the Lord’s prayer but by truly understanding what it meant.
To declare His glory and to make known His love; to submit to His will; to ask not only for the daily provisions of life but for the bread of life as well – the Word of God, the presence of Jesus in our lives; to forgive others and acknowledge that we are sinners and humbly lay down our sins at the feet of the cross; to pray for strength for we know that our flesh is weak; to acknowledge our salvation.
When we find it in our hearts struggling to submit to His will, or to forgive – let us pray for these struggles because we are weak and He is strong. Let us not depend on our strength but rely on His. And in times we do not know what to pray, or when we even cannot utter a single word to pray, a tear drop is a prayer that the Lord fully comprehend. A deep sigh from a tired soul, a silence, a sob from a broken heart – all these and more the Lord sees and hears as our prayers.
The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our heart knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
– Romans 8:26-27
Pray, and listen. The Lord delights in speaking to us when we pray.
How often have we knelt down and prayed for God to give us this and that, to grant us our desires and wishes? And how often have we judged God’s faithfulness base on whether He has given in to our desires and wishes? Do we ever realize that most of our prayers, if not all, revolve around asking God to do things for us and grant our wishes, like He is some genie under our command? It is good to realize that, and it is good to stop ourselves whenever we realize we are doing that. Praying with our flesh will lead us to pray for things to satisfy the flesh, but praying with the Spirit will lead us to converse and communicate with God and to pray for things that God desires for us.
Today, there is a prayer/sayings of Agur from the book of Proverbs that moved me.
“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. ~ Proverbs 30:5-8
To ask God for what is needed for the day, enough for the day. More than that, I am moved by his awareness of his human nature – the frailty of our nature because of carnal desires. To have enough – no more, no less. Let us pray for our daily bread, DAILY – enough comfort, enough trials. And be led by the Spirit to ask God for His will, to work His will in to our hearts, to attain true peace and joy. (:
I posted before an entry about asking, seeking and knocking. It talks about praying, asking God and working with Him. Here’s another one about praying that we all must be aware.
I’ve heard it often – “I’ve been praying but it’s not being given. I’ve been asking and knocking on God’s door but He’s not answering me…” – something along those lines. I’ve even heard worse, that God is not just, that how could God allow such evil and not hear his prayer of justice, that how could God let the wicked triumph, to the point that some would mock and ridicule God’s goodness and mercy. It’s painful to hear when people question God’s authority and talk like God can be right or wrong in His decisions just because what a person want was not given to him.
I would often reply with silence, with a smile or a simple phrase – “in God’s time.” And only God knows when that is. Safest answer, I guess. I’m not very much into debating with people about God’s purpose in their lives, but I can write about it, I’d write them letters if that’s a way to get through them.
In the letter of James, Continue reading
Having this theme, Exile, for the second time makes me appreciate it even more. To have God’s Word laid out in front of me is such a treasure. If the first time I swam in it, this time I’m diving in to it. There is so much more to reveal, to know, to proclaim, and so much glory found in His Works, His Plans.
Lord, sustain me, sustain us! Cos, we can become tired and then lazy to move after a day’s work… sustain us to move our butts, lift up that book, the Bible and the pen, and read into Your message. And prepare us, the group, for all that You are going to reveal in this theme.
Confession: I am struggling to keep my eyes open as of this writing… so my mind’s debating whether lunch break is for nap time or reading. 😛