Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man, 
    who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners,
    or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
     and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
     which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
      Whatever he does prospers. 
Not so the wicked!
     They are like chaff 
     that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
     nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, 
     but the way of the wicked will perish. 

Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners,
or sit in the seat of mockers-

Father, God;  You have established a way that is good.  You have designed and created a way that gives LIFE, and does not rob it.  Your way of life breathes peace, relief and freedom.  Anything else breeds contempt, jealousy, lust, insecurity- in short, not-life.  Death.  Father I desire to LIVE.  Keep me from temptation and deliver me from evil, that I might LIVE, and not be dead.  

***

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

Father, turn my heart to your words.  You are plainly visible to the one who looks in to see you.  Remove my agendas.  Remove my ambitions.  Remove all the veils that keep me from experiencing you in your words.  I desire to know your language.  I desire to lean on you, and know you as ‘papa’, not just “Father.”  

***

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Almighty God; I desire to be the person you made me to be.  I desire to do what you purposed me to do!  You have planted me near your stream- given me your word.  Now I draw near to drink up your word.  I ask that you use it to nourish me, and grow me.  Make me healthy on the inside.  Make my leaves green on the outside, looking beautiful, and spreading health.  Make my fruit heavy and prolific.  May I produce the fruits that you have planted me to produce.  You have grafted me into your tree- make me a fountain of your fruit. 

Help me, God, to trust in your timing.  I desire fruit now.  I ask you for fruit now.  But I must wait for you to open the buds, to feed the blossoms.  To bring the bees and add to the pollens, that the fruit is perfect and good.  God, feed me, rest me, pollinate me, and harvest the fruit!

***

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

Righteous God- no one who plants desires to see waste among His produce.  God I plead that my life would be one that is fruitful in a satisfying way.  I thank you that you have created a path in Jesus for me to be acceptable in your presence.  May I serve as a light and a path, that those around me can come to stand in the judgement along with Jesus.  

Teach me to see wickedness in my life, and to be happy and satisfied to watch it blow away, separating itself from the good things of my life.  Teach me to hand all things up to you, and allow you to separate the fruit you desire to keep from that which you do not.  

***

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Holy God, you watch over the righteous and the wicked.  Thank you for your wisdom, care and provision.  Thank you God for the promises you have made, and kept to restore the ways of LIFE that you designed in the beginning.  Thank you God that You care for that which You have made and that you are destroying wickedness and death, and each heartbeat brings us closer to the day when the final victory is won.  Amen.

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Genesis 24:

12 Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
 15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.

Sounds like a match made in Heaven, eh?  Do we bend God?  Do we have the power to affect God’s will?  Is prayer the easy button?  

What’s the point of prayer?  If we can affect God’s will, is He really sovereign and reliable?

In Genesis 24, there are many stars.  There’s the aging Abraham pleading with a chief servant to go back to his family’s land and find a woman for Isaac, the child of the Promise.

We have Abraham’s chief servant, who appears to know God, and appeals to him with prayer, but doesn’t seem to really own his relationship to God, always naming him with deference to Abraham, as God of my Master.

Then there’s the beautiful woman who we learn is Rebekah.  Generous, attractive, and hospitable.

God seems to be playing an offstage role.  Frequently mentioned, never really seen.

But we have this highly detailed prayer.  We have Rebekah, showing up “before he finished praying,”  as though cued from off camera.  Was she prompted by God, to appear with the jar and her manners, because the servant prayed?  Did she suddenly and inexplicably feel the urge to grab her jar and hurry to the well?

Or did God move in the servant to pray his prayer to match God’s intention of bring Rebekah and Isaac together?  Maybe the prayer didn’t tune God into what the servant wanted.  Maybe the prayer tuned the servant into what God wanted.


I wonder if by submitting to God in a moment of need, God answered the need not by having an answer to the prayer, but by giving the prayer he had an answer for.  Maybe the prayer was the answer!  Would the servant have recognized Rebekah as Isaac’s future wife had he not prayed so specifically?

I have been taught over the course of my life that prayer was a lever that I pulled when I needed something.  I think of a slot machine.  You win some and you lose some.  Come up cherries and bang, you got it.  If you were good, cherries.  If you were bad, mixed bag.  No dice.

But I’m learning that it’s not just a requisition box.  It’s more than a jackpot.  It’s more like a two-way comm’s device.  Now it’s more like a police sting, with an operative and a control system.  Think “24”.  Jack is on the inside, with the earpiece, and Chloe is hacking NSA and satellites and altering the reality for Jack.  And then she tells him what she’s doing so he makes the right choices.

Prayer is a way to align ourselves to the way God desires His creation to operate.  He made it to work this way, and not as much that way.  Through prayer we open our will to instruction through inquiry.  And through prayer God directs our inquiry to instruct us.  And, I think, by praying in obedience, God’s Spirit communes with our own, and mystically, our will, our needs, our voice- becomes, morphs, transforms, from our will to His will, from our perceived needs to His given provisions, from our broken wills to His perfect words.  Our minds join more cohesively with His.

We do not manipulate the circumstances to fit our desires, our desires are purified and tested to fit the purposes of God for our lives.

I think this also frees us from what we’ve been taught about how we pray, and what constitutes prayer.  Fold your hands, close your eyes, bow your head, and repeat after me: Dear God, in Jesus Name, Amen.  But we live in a stream of communication with God.  He is Transcendent, but He is Immanent.  The more we commune with His written words, the more we subject ourselves willfully and with discipline to His authority through the authority of our teachers and mentors in life, the more readily we are able to discern His voice in theirs.  Our prayer is the actions of our submission.  I think this is what James, the brother of Jesus, meant when he said that faith without works is dead.

Works are the motion of live faith.  Submission to God’s Spirit is the action of man at prayer.

God sets us up to pray.  He puts us in the place, and then says, pray, so I can speak.  Pray so you can hear.  I will give you the right question, and I have the perfect answer.

This is my experience of God.  He desires to set us up to sail.  Our failure slows us down, puts us into a headwind.  Sometimes it will capsize the boat.  This is not God’s will.  But he will teach us to better heed him through those events, causing “all things to turn out for good” for those whom He loves and who seek His face.  He is not cloy, nor is he uninterested.  My problem is more that my ears get stopped up by my voice rather than His.

Maybe Rebekah is standing right in front of me and I’m looking for the wrong thing.

Have you ever found yourself looking for one thing, and then finding the right thing after a careful prayer?