Tag Archives: prayer

Intimately Knowing God

One of the things I’ve loved since I was a kid is trivia games, especially Bible trivia. My parents couldn’t afford to send us to camp when we were young, so they took us to every Vacation Bible School in town. I got a head full of knowledge about the Bible from going to all of those. When you combine that with my ability to memorize things, I won a lot of prizes when it came to Bible Trivia. The only downside to having all that knowledge is that for years, I thought I knew God because I knew a lot about Him. However, knowing about someone and knowing them are two very different things.

When David was old, he was preparing to hand over the kingdom to Solomon. Like any parent, I’m sure he saw great qualities in his son. He wanted to make sure that his son didn’t just rely on who he had heard God was, but wanted him to intimately know Him the way he did. In 1 Chronicles 28, David was giving Solomon instruction for ruling, for building the Temple and for living well. In verse 9, he said, “Learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (NLT).

There is so much wisdom in that one verse, but I want us to simply focus on that first part today. Learn to know God intimately. It’s good to learn about Him, but it’s more important to learn to know Him intimately. Knowledge about God comes from Scripture, but knowing Him comes from spending time in prayer and being still in His presence. All of the Bible is about this one thing: God wants an intimate relationship with you and He’s willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. The problem is it takes two to have a relationship. God has done His part. Will you do yours and spend some alone time with Him today listening to His voice?

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Nothing Is Too Difficult

When my mom was in the final stages of her life, she was in the ICU at M. D. Anderson hospital. On one particular day, I got to spend the whole day with her. She must have seen the worry on my face because she said, “There’s nothing too hard for God you know.” She then spent the next few hours telling me of all the times in her life that God came through in impossible situations. She then said, “I have no doubt that God knows what He’s doing. I have peace in whatever He chooses.”

That day was one final lesson from her that God is in control, and that there’s nothing He can’t do. Just because she didn’t walk out of that hospital completely healed and cancer free, doesn’t mean that God’s doesn’t have the ability to heal. For whatever reason, He didn’t heal her the way we were praying. She knew that was a possibility so she reminded me, and herself, of all the times God had performed miracles in her life.

I don’t know why God answers some prayers and not others. I don’t know why He shows off in great form in some instances and not in others. What I do know is that He has the ability to. Jeremiah felt the same way. He was locked up while Jerusalem was under siege for prophesying that Jerusalem would be under siege and lost the battle. While He was in prison, God told him that his cousin would come sell him some land. I’m sure Jeremiah laughed. Why would someone in prison need to buy land? Because God was going to do the impossible and set him free one day and return him from captivity.

When the deal was done, in Jeremiah 32:17 , he prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you” (GNT). He reminded himself, like my mom did, that there’s no situation too hard for God to intervene in. There no whole so deep that He can’t pull you out of. There’s no sickness too far spread that He can’t heal. There’s no life so far gone that He can’t rescue. Whatever you’re facing today, know that there’s nothing too difficult for God to handle.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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God Listens

Have you ever been talking to someone only to figure out they were only looking at you, but not listening? It’s frustrating. You’re going through the emotions that you feel, describing each detail to them and they aren’t even paying attention. Would you go back to that person the next time you needed the support of a listening ear? No! You wanted someone to listen and to help you, and they weren’t even giving you the respect of listening.

Have you ever felt like God was that way? Have you felt like you poured out your heart to Him in prayer, but it was like He wasn’t listening? It’s frustrating to be in prayer and to feel like your prayers aren’t escaping the room you’re in. Maybe you’ve tried praying louder or just sat there weeping in that place crying out to God for mercy. In any case, God is not like us. He does not have selective hearing. He hears every prayer, even those that seem to fall flat on the floor.

In Psalm 116:1-2, the Psalmist wrote, “I love the Lord, because he hears me; he listens to my prayers. He listens to me every time I call to him” (GNT). God hears every prayer you’ve ever prayed from the silent ones that you could barely muster the energy to say to the loud “can you hear me” prayers. When you and I pour out our heart before God, we have a guarantee that He hears us and listens to us.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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The Great I Am

I’ve grown up hearing the different names of God in church. I’ve even been to churches where they’ve had banners up proclaiming those names in bright colors with beautiful artwork. Jehovah Jireh my provider. Jehovah Rapha my healer. Jehovah Nissi my banner of victory. The Old Testament people would write a descriptive name for God after He did something miraculous for them. It was a way to remember and share with others that God could do anything they needed. When the writers of the Old Testament recorded these names, these names endured for generations giving hope and encouragement along the way. These names are ways for you and I to use as we pray and believe.

There was one name though that God gave Himself that was always tough for me to understand growing up. In Exodus, as God was speaking to Moses through the burning bush, Moses began to disqualify himself from God’s calling. He started giving God excuses as well as to why he couldn’t lead Israel out of Egypt. He didn’t think they would believe him if he told them God sent him. He wanted to know what name he was supposed to tell them if they asked what His name was. God responded, “I Am that I Am”. I always wondered if Moses was as confused as I was until I began to learn what that meant. God was saying He is who we need Him to be and will be who we need Him to be as the other names suggest. In this case, He would be their deliverer.

Jesus used that same phrase many times. “I Am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) telling us why He came. He also said, “I Am the Bread of Life” (John 6:41) revealing He is our sustainer. In John 8:12 He said, “I Am the Light of the World” letting us know that we have light in our darkest times. He told the disciples, “I Am the Gate for the sheep” (John 10:7) to encourage us that nothing can get to us without passing through Him. He also said in John 10:14, “I Am the Good Shepherd” meaning He would lead us and guide us. When Lazarus died, He said, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25) to prove He has power over death. Finally, He said, “I Am the True Vine” (John 15:1) to tell us that if we remain attached to Him, He will be our source. God is who you need Him to be in this very moment. Call out to Him and ask Him to be who you need Him to be. He has not forsaken you, forgotten you or abandoned you. Call out to Him today. He is the Great I Am.

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New Year’s Prayer 2023

Each year, I like to start off with a prayer you can pray and personalize.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all you did in my life in 2022. You helped me to grow and walked me through change. You never left my side. I may not see your plan fully, but I trust you completely. You have never failed me yet. I pray that in the coming year, you will continue to lead and guide me. Give me the strength and courage to walk through places where I don’t understand, and help my unbelief when my faith feels like it’s wavering.

For 2023, I pray that you would let your peace that passes all understanding reign and rule in my life. You are the Prince of Peace, I invite your peace into my mind, my heart, my home and my life. Bring your holy order to the areas of my life that are experiencing chaos. Help my mind to rest and to focus on you and your promises. Let me experience your peace this year.

I also ask that you restore the broken places in my life this next year. Make me whole in body, mind and spirit. Complete the work that you have begun in me. Take the broken pieces from my life and make something beautiful from them. I know you aren’t finished working on me and in my life. I give you control to bring restoration this year. Help me to be more like you and to love others like you do. Use me to help others find their wholeness and restoration in you.

Next, I pray that this would be a year of healing for me. Help me to touch the hem of your garment in faith so that your virtue flows into my life bringing healing where I need it. Your son was beaten and whipped so that I could be healed in my body, my mind and my spirit. I receive that healing today. Whether you heal me instantly or through a process, I ask that 2023 would be the year I look back on as a year of supernatural healing in my life.

Finally, I ask that you would open up the windows of Heaven and pour out blessings I can’t contain this year. Bless me and my family. Bless the me in my work. Expand the territory of my influence so that I can be a blessing to others. I receive all that you have for me. Help me to become the person you created me to be and to reach the potential you see in me. Let this be a year of growth and blessings in my life where I see your goodness overflow. Thank you for all you’re going to do in my life in 2023.

In Jesus’ name I pray for all these things.

Amen.

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Investing In Prayer

A few years ago I left corporate America to be self employed. My 401k money was sitting there and I needed to roll it into an IRA. I did it in January of 2020. They put everything into a money market account until I chose what funds to invest in. After a few weeks, I made my choices and moved the money into them. The next week the markets began crashing due to Covid. My money was shrinking at an alarming rate. I called my advisor in a panic wondering if I should put what was left into the money market. He reminded me that I was in it for the long haul. Then he encouraged me to keep investing even when times were bad. In facet, I’ll get the best return on my investment when I buy funds at their lowest.

Jesus was a person who invested. No, he didn’t invest in a stock market. He invested time in prayer. You’ll constantly read in the Gospels where Jesus withdrew to a quiet place to invest in prayer. Almost every time you read that statement, major miracles occurred. You can also read how on the night He was betrayed, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was constantly making deposits in prayer. He understood that no matter what was going on in His life, He needed to be investing time in prayer. He didn’t panic or even look for some to blame. He looked for God’s presence instead.

Ephesians 6:18 says, “With all prayer and petition, pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people” (AMP). It’s always a good time for us to invest in prayer. Nothing in your life will pay greater dividends than spending time in God’s presence. If you’re facing adversity, invest more time in prayer. If you want to do greater ministry, invest more time in prayer. If things are going well, invest in prayer. You will on,y receive dividends according to what and where you invest. Prayer is something that pays dividends now and throughout eternity.

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What God Wants

I’m doing a 40 day prayer challenge with a friend. We both made visual lists of the things we want to pray over daily. As we were discussing them, he mentioned that he wants to pray God’s will into his life. I thought it was a great idea, and I added a blank page to my visual. I pray over the things that are near and dear to my heart, but then I pray, “God, these are the things I desire for my life. What do you desire to do in me? What do you want to write into my life? I give you permission to do what you want.”

I’ll be honest, that’s a dangerous prayer, but I believe it’s a necessary one. We all have our own ideas about what’s important to us, and we have things we pray over. At the same time, there are things God is trying to do, and we need to submit to His will. I feel that many times the things we pray for are more our will than His. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us how to pray in these instances. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want”(GNT).

We can ask God for the things we want, but I believe it’s import to turn around and give God permission to do what He wants. It’s not so much about giving Him permission as it is that we are submitting to His will. God answers the prayers we pray that are in accordance with His will. He also has great plans for your life, but we have to learn to submit to them instead of insisting we get help accomplishing our own. Prayer shouldn’t be just about what we want. It needs to be about what God wants too.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Listen With Intention

Almost every one of us are born with the gift of hearing. While we are able to perceive sound, not all of us listen. Hearing is passive while listening is active. I’ve spent many years training people on how to listen. It requires removing or blocking distractions. It also demands that you give your attention to the one speaking. Listening is not an easy task. It’s one of the greatest ways you can show someone that you value them. When people don’t listen, it causes a breakdown in the relationship. When they listen intentionally with the intent to understand, it causes the relationship to grow. All of us could get better at listening.

In John 10, Jesus was talking about the Shepherd and the sheep referring to Himself and to us. In verse 14 He said, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]” (AMP). It’s important to note that Jesus points out that His sheep have a relationship with Him. Because of that relationship, He listens to us and we listen to Him. He went into say in verse 27, “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” We must be alert daily to hear His voice and to listen in to what He is saying so that we may follow where He leads us.

God is always speaking to us, but we are not always listening or hearing. We have such busy lives that are full of distractions, it’s hard to hear or listen in. This isn’t just a phenomenon of our modern world. Throughout history people have failed to be intentional with their quiet time. That’s why Jesus told us to go into our prayer closet to pray. Your prayer closet is simply a place where you can get alone, free of distractions to hear God’s voice. You must be able to hear Him before you can listen to Him. If it’s been a while since you have heard Him, find a quiet place today, free from distractions and interruptions so you can listen with intention. It won’t be easy because you will also have to learn to quiet your mind. When you are intentional about listening to your shepherd, you will have a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.

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Watering Seeds

For the past few months we’ve been driving to Dallas. Along the way, there is a stretch of farmland where people are growing fields of corn. As the summer has progressed, some of these fields went from green to having some brown spots to turning yellow. The drought did a number on some fields. In a few instances, we’d see a dry field next to a green one. We would be sad about them losing an entire crop, but also see that the neighboring crop was full. They both went through the same drought, but one farmer watered their crops and the other didn’t.

Through the New Testament, Jesus often referred to us as farmers and seed spreaders. He talked about our return on those seeds as well when it came to harvest time. However, there may be some fields you’ve tilled and planted without seeing a harvest yet. I’d like to encourage you to take the step of watering them. 1 Corinthians 3:7 says, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow” (NLT). Watering is part of the process many of us forget about. Seeds don’t grow to maturity and crops don’t produce unless they’re watered regularly.

Years ago, I heard Doug Stringer with SomebodyCares.org say, “Prayer is water for the seeds you plant.” In Jewish tradition, after Passover, they pray for dew to cover the ground where their crops are planted. Then as Sukkot passes, they pray for rain at harvest time. These festivals were created by God and remind us that we need to pray for God to water your seeds and to cause them to grow. He’s reminding us that our work isn’t done once we’ve planted seeds. If you’re waiting on a harvest from seeds you’ve planted and are wondering what’s taking so long, start watering them through prayer. Your seeds are not dead. They could be just waiting on some water.

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Driving God Crazy

I love how Luke 18 starts out. “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up” (NLT). Jesus knew that not only would they give up after praying for something for awhile, but so would we. He didn’t want us to stop asking just because it’s been a while. I wish I understood why some prayers are answered immediately, some take a while, and others are never answered. No matter what though, Jesus didn’t want us to give up.

He told the story of a widow who was suffering injustice from someone. She went to a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. When she didn’t get her justice, she went back to court begging him fir it over and over. Finally, in verse 5 the judge says, “This woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

When our answers come slowly, we can take courage from this story. We can bombard Heaven with our requests until we drive God crazy. I heard the story recently where Leonard Ravenhill told a friend of mine, “God doesn’t answer prayers. He answers desperate prayers!” When we seek God desperately for an answer, the way this widow did, we can expect answers. And just as the woman believed that the judge would respond, we need to believe that God I’ll respond.

Jesus finishes this parable out just as strongly as He opens it. In verse 8 of The Message, Jesus asked, “But how much of that persistent faith will the Son of Man find on earth when He returns?” That’s our challenge. We live in a world where we can get same day deliveries on things we buy online, but God is looking for a persistent faith. He’s looking for people who will call to Him in prayer the way they would to Amazon if they didn’t deliver their package. He wants us to drive Him crazy and never give up.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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