YES. She’d take
YES. She’d take
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. Psalm 119:93
Which of two teachers would you prefer to learn from? Let’s say that the topic to be taught is THE COMFORTING WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The first teacher does a word study on ‘comfort. He cross references well and takes you to many passages and stories where God creatively comforted His children. It’s obvious he has a grasp of the topic and is out to impart information to those who listen. He hopes you take good notes so that you can remember the material.
The second teacher speaks briefly about the text. He, too, defines ‘comfort’ and references some related passages. Then, thoughtfully, he begins to reminisce and speak of a time when he was in desperate need of comfort and companionship. It was not to be found. He was alone in a world of family and friends and wondered how he could make it one more day in his sense of isolation. He pressed into God and experienced the comforting work of the Spirit firsthand. As he told the story, you were unaware of time and the weight of his words fell on your heart.
The first teacher works hard at his faith but it’s mostly cerebral. Like a graduating senior who tries to remember calculus formulas so he can ace his freshman math course in college, this bible scholar files away biblical facts. He approaches the bible like a textbook to be mastered. His knowledge of God is based mostly on what he has read, not on what he has experienced.
The second teacher is not so much aware that he is a student as much as he is a disciple of one he loves dearly. Life’s experiences brought him to the end of himself and his great need of a Savior ushered him into a relationship with Jesus. Anything he studies fills in more blanks about a person with whom he experiences a daily relationship.
How much easier to remember God’s precepts when they are woven into the cement of our experience. When the Word has been life-saving, it is not soon forgotten. I’ve heard it said that nothing we know, do we really know, until it has found its way into application.
Not much of what I know is valuable to me, Lord, unless I find it active in our relationship. Help me teach others through the storylines of my life. Amen
But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Genesis 15:2
Abandoning prayer about anything is a mistake but abandoning prayer for what I’m most in need of is a grave error. Prayerlessness is the result of unbelief. I have concluded that God can’t, or won’t, do anything good for me.
God’s blessings come in the form of natural impossibilities. When I hear the promise, I can laugh, because it is so far out of my reach. God promises Abram an heir – and then descendants as numerous as the sands of the sea. The thought of an heir was ludicrous enough. His only heir was a slave of his household. When God spoke, Abram and Sarah were too old to bear children. Was God serious? But Abram believed and his faith that God could do the impossible was credited to him as righteousness.
I’m amazed at most every prayer mapping retreat how people answer a question I love to ask during breaks. “What are you going to prayer map when you leave here?” Most give me an answer like this. “What I really need from God is _____________, but I’ve prayed for so long and nothing has happened. I’m going to create a prayer map for something less, something safer.” I launch into a very animated response that encourages them to prayer map their deepest needs.
I should be asking myself, “Where have you lost faith in God?” When captivity spans 15 years, when infertility enters the second decade of a marriage, when a wayward child hasn’t called home in many years, when depression has become a way of life, when financial struggle feels normal, when a family experiences a seemingly irreparable breech, these are the things that cause us to lose faith. What we really need to prayer for, we don’t pray for.
I need to hear the voice of the God of Abraham. He lives in Spirit form, right in my own heart. He’s speaking constantly, wooing me to believe, wooing me to hope in Him again. He is the One who does the impossible as He rewards the one who perseveres in prayer.
At this moment, the embers of faith are stirring in someone reading this. Is it you? Tears of relief are in your eyes as you realize that the deep discouragement that comes from resignation no longer needs to be your friend. You can be fully alive to God, fully alive to faith, once again! As you and I look at the sad themes of our lives, are we numbed out to the point of feeling nothing? That is probably the very area where prayers of faith need to live.
I infuse my unbelief with your hope-giving Word. Give me the grit to dig in and pray expectantly. Amen
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, so shall My Word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
Empty (tohu) – chaotic, state of confusion, formlessness
Lord God, I pray for the fulfillment of Your promises. Many words of faith have been proclaimed. Many words of salvation have been uttered into the darkness. Many scriptures have been whispered in tearful prayers. They still beg for a harvest. The words left the mouth of this servant and went into a chaotic and confused heart. Accomplish what it was sent out to do.
You have called me to love. You have called me to plead for the unbelieving and that is a holy thing. You have risen up in me to send Your Word forth to what looked hopeless. I have done it by faith. I know the power of Your words. When watered by Your Spirit, heaven’s seeds bear fruit on foreign soil. Infuse this hope into my discouragement today. Someone I love is still resistant to change. They shun any mention of You. The Word has fallen into their darkness and I see no trace of it. Do not let them run toward their own destruction. Cure their spiritual blindness. Cause the breath of Your Spirit to blow over the carnage of their lives so that they can hear, understand, and then rise up to stand on their feet. I smell spiritual death but I say, by faith, “Prepare to hear the Word of the Lord.”
With these scriptures, enforce the victory of Calvary over the mind and heart of my unbelieving loved one. God, when You shed light, no darkness can overcome it. When You speak, no other voice nullifies it. “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:6 As Elisha prayed, I also pray, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17
Today is the day of salvation. Seal the process of their spiritual decision making by the power of Your Spirit. May it be that “The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” Isaiah 35:5 In Jesus’ name, Amen
Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises. Psalm 9:13-14
Recount (tanah) ~ to commemorate, rehearse
It is lonely to walk in Your footprints, Jesus. In these days, not only am I despised by unbelievers but those who call themselves Your children. My pride is easily wounded and I forget that the friction I feel is a holy one. Why am I feeling shame? This is the cross I promised to carry when I became Your disciple.
It is not Your intent that I should be weighed down by other’s rejection. It is not Your desire that I be crippled by their criticism, though it is hard to hold my head up in the company of those who censure nearly everything I do. They take issue with most of my words.
I realize that this is not about me at all. It is about You and the way I will teach others how to thrive in Your love amidst condemnation. I will be energized to recount how You care for me; how You lift me up when I am cast down. You modeled this journey. You lived amongst enemies and forgave them even though they didn’t ask for it. You didn’t retreat and hide from their anger. You didn’t choose silence because You feared the repercussions of opening Your mouth. You spoke when it glorified Your Father and You withheld language when it glorified your Father. Shame and fear didn’t dictate Your strategy.
Let me learn what I need to learn in this school of contempt. Pride and ego are not mine to manage. You hold my heart in Your hands. I am secure in Your love and held high in Your esteem. For every note of sarcasm directed at me, You are rejoicing over me with singing. Your songs resurrect me from condemnation and I will rise to praise You. I will rehearse the promises You give me in the dark so that others may see Your light.
Through this crucible, You are fashioning me into a dazzling witness of grace. The more I am oppressed, the more I will discover that I am the apple of Your eye and the greater will be my testimony. I am tall and robust in Your light. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. Psalm 119:169-170
‘Give me understanding’ ~ to finally realize, have skill with concepts, perceive with accuracy.
I have a huge decision to make, Lord. I know in my spirit that something is wrong with a certain situation, Lord. I have no peace in my spirit. The weight of indecision is crushing me. When I think about it, I can find what appears to be righteous but is it all a smokescreen? Is it really of Your kingdom or is it all unrighteousness? I know that the evil one is good at masking what is unholy. My discernment can be skewed. May it not be!
God, I cry out for understanding. I need to come to a divine realization about what is really happening. I need to be skillful with the concepts of the kingdom in order to diagnose it correctly. I need to perceive what is in front of my eyes with Your wisdom. Help me see behind all the posturing and pretension.
I am grateful beyond words that my cries are not made in vain. They do not dissipate into thin air. They come directly to You and You listen compassionately. You are vested in every care that concerns me. You love the prayers of Your children. You take pleasure in answering and giving wisdom to those who seek it. I am the seeker today. I am the one pleading for deliverance from what is elusive and obscure.
Let the truth come forth as arrows coming to my heart. Let me rejoice in the relief that truth brings. Melt away the stress of indecision. Put an end to the wrestling that has plagued me day and night. Bring deliverance and then give me the courage to act on whatever truth You reveal. I am bold because I stand as one loved, and as one holy, in Your presence. All because of Jesus.
Let my soul live and praise You, and let Your rules help me. Psalm 119:175 In Jesus name, Amen
Our fathers trusted in, leaned on, and confidently relied on You, and were not ashamed or confounded or disappointed. Psalm 22:5
Lord, let long forgotten vows make their way to my lips. Let me declare what I have not spoken for a long time. Let the deadly routine of what has become comfortable be shaken. Just as you make me holy, make this relationship holy. I am a lover, not a frozen companion. I am a receiver, not a resistant abstainer.
There is no breech that You cannot mend. There is no unspeakable topic that You cannot facilitate. There is no fear that You cannot annihilate. I lay out my heart before You. Though I tremble, nothing is off limits to Your probing of my heart. Bring to mind every single place that needs grace. I will tread upon that which I’d rather forget because Your love makes me strong.
If I declare my love and affectionate words are not returned, I forgive in advance. If my heart courageously opens and another heart remains closed, I know that You hold my heart in Your hands. If I broach a difficult subject and there is no closure, I know that You will reward my obedience. I will give grace where it is not deserved and I will ask for grace where it is not merited. No matter the outcome, Your grace is enough. I feel like a small child as I confront my fear but I am tall, graceful, fluent, and agile in Your kingdom. Imprint this picture on my soul.
I want to finish well. Marriage is a picture of Your love for Your church. You rejoice when my marriage looks like the marriage You envisioned in the Garden. Bless my endeavors. How it needs the wind of Your Spirit. I can see every way this undertaking might fail but help me see that if I do my part, my obedience will be credited as righteousness. In Your eyes, there will have been spiritual success.
Lord, if You come today, I won’t want anything to exist that I regret. I take hold of the hem of Your garment, Your tallit, and ask for an infusion of Your strength. No ground is more intimidating than this but ~ You, Lord, are the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 In Your name I pray these things, Amen