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The Rewards of Being God’s Friend

An Introduction to Psalm 27

This is one of the famous Psalms, well quoted and well sung – for good reason. It’s got great soundbites, and twitter-able quotes. Many of us know some of the lyrics of this song of David and our hearts resonate with the themes. In heaven, I imagine, that each line is just the title of a whole library in God’s house. David’s intimacy with God shines through. His insight is inspiring to our spirits. His confidence is exemplary; we want to know the Lord like David knows Him.

Psalm 27 ConfidenceJohn Wimber, at his conferences, would sometimes say, “Many of you would like to have the same authority as I do, but none of you wants to go through what I’ve had to go through.” The same could be same for David. We all want what he seems to have, but none of us want to go through the pressures and trials that he went through.

The most likely event that David wrote this song was during his exile at the hands of his own son, Absalom. Continue reading

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The default setting is: Pray

I have often wondered how when Jesus is so amazing – his life, his power, his wisdom – and yet most of my life I have struggled to spend time with him in prayer. I want to enjoy him, but my own brain and experience seems to keep me at a distance. It’s also easier to do things for God than to partner with Jesus and to spend the time needed in prayer.

Guilt. Shame. Hard work. Failure. Boredom. These are the words that often accompany the description of my life in prayer, maybe you Continue reading


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Is there a point to waiting?

Dear friend,

As we prayed last night for the end of your season of waiting I thought that perhaps this is a bigger topic I need to reflect on.  Yours is just one of many stories of waiting that I’ve come across lately.  It seems that the Lord allows us to go through something and then uses it to bring help to others.  I also feel like my brief encounter with intense waiting has given me confidence that God is present in waiting.

write down what God has promised

Write down what God has promised

 Every season is a season of waiting

I walked into the post office to see if anything had arrived for us from Belgium.  It had been our 2 weeks stretched into 5 with no firm end, just empty promises.  Now Rosenort is a small town’s small town, you can’t go anywhere anonymously.

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Four disastrous beliefs that hold us back from enjoying Jesus

I remember many years ago being asked to speak at my parents’ church and to fit into the preaching schedule as they were going through the book of Colossians – lucky me, I got to talk about the 2 most guilt inducing topics in the church – prayer and evangelism.

Of course, we don’t all feel guilt about prayer or evangelism, some of us have just gotten so discouraged or put off that we are calloused to the call. Here’s what Paul, the missionary pastor, expected of his congregations:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-
that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Can I suggest that we (the list comes from my own experience and errors) have believed dangerously wrong ideas about prayer that keep us from enjoyable times of interceding? Which of these have you fallen into?

Do you trust God like you trust slot machines? photo by Yamaguchi先生

1. Prayer is God’s slot machine. We put prayers in and hope that we get what we want out of it. Prayer is unpredictable but we just keep hoping that we’ll hit the jackpot.

2. Prayer is a magical language. We try to get our words just right, our theology perfect, use words we never use in conversation and even copy the inflection and hand movements of our favourite “power pray-ers”

3. Prayer is like yoga. We use God and prayer as a relaxation technique. Not that it isn’t restful, but that’s not the purpose.

4. Prayer avoidance. Many of us just leave prayer to the intercessors. We’re “not very good at it,” so we avoid it. We’re not convinced that it does much good even though we are happy to have someone else praying for us.

One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” – John Piper

Time has never been the most significant reason that we do not pray.

What if there was another reason that pastor Paul calls us to pray? What if this was more than a religious exercise and an opportunity to join God in his work? Prayer is the work that Jesus is doing right now, at this moment and he joyfully invites our voluntary partnership.

Song of Solomon 2:10 “My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.”
– Jesus is calling you and me to rise up and do what He is doing

Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
– And Jesus is living to make intercession for us.

My response:

1. Stop believing disastrous things about prayer.  Repent to God and move on.

2. Decide to dig in and ask God to help you enjoy prayer.

3. Schedule it.  For today and tomorrow and the next day.


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“Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.  We think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for God’s work.  In the teaching of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me which produces the miracle of redemption in others by the power of God.”
– Oswald Chambers

What is my work in the life of prayer?  Even the things that I must do in prayer require the grace of God, so with God’s grace, there are 3 requirements of me to live a life of prevailing prayer.  Here’s my alliteration: To pursue passionate prevailing prayer I must practice and pursue patience, purpose and power.

Patience:

Here’s what I want to remember in growing in patience, I am a waiter, not just waiting.  I am God’s servant, towel over my arm, eyes on Him, ready to respond to what my Lord requires.  I want to quickly and easily do what I’m called to do.  Patience in prayer is taking the role of waiting on the Lord – learning the rhythm of His grace.


Honesty in prayer (Pinocchio had an advantage)

Three things I desire quoteTruth. You’d think it was reasonably easy to figure out!

When it comes to truth and lies Pinocchio had a bit of an unfortunate problem (a nose that grew every time he lied) but I think it would be so helpful I had his nose. If every time I lied my nose grew I’d be very motivated to be truthful; but it doesn’t seem to work for me like this. I can tell lies and get away with it or not even know it. In the same way I can pray with great sincerity but not be honest with God.

Maybe you know someone like me.  Here are some of the lies I say in prayer (thanks Oswald Chambers):

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Faith and Work in Prayer

“The point is not–‘will you believe?’ but ‘will I, who know Jesus Christ, believe on your behalf?'” Oswald Chambers

As I think about prayer, faith and work are 2 seemingly opposite but very complimentary values needed in having a life of prayer.  (Now, many of us simply pray in life – maybe at meals, perhaps at bedtimes, in crisis we cry out and at holidays we give thanks – but it doesn’t take much faith or much work to pray this way.)  If we’re trying to live a life of following Jesus, it seems to me that we should be praying in the ways that Jesus demonstrated – both in faith and with diligent hard work.

This reminds me of the story of Jesus healing a man (who had been paralyzed for 38 years) – very exciting but he did it on a Sabbath.   Continue reading