Archives For Prayer

clocksad

Every now and again, I wake up in a bad mood, not wanting to face the day at all. I’m sure you have experienced the same thing in your life as well. I guess we all have those kinds of mornings. It is the human experience.

I’ve noticed if I don’t quickly turn my attitude around, it will be the filter for the whole day ahead of me, and that’s not a healthy thing.

We are blasted with news that is negative at almost every turn. There are times I take that negative to bed with me and sleep with it on my heart and mind. Not only does the night become a wrestling match, but I’m convinced that is part of the problem of waking up feeling bad, or in a bad mood.

All hope is not gone. You can turn your day around before you get to far down your daily walk.

Below are a few things I’ve found that help me.

1. Give it to God

If something negative is on my mind before going to bed, I take it to God. I give it to God before closes my eyes to sleep. The sunny day ahead is tied to going to bed with all my troubles placed into the hands of God.

2. See the sunrise of tomorrow

As I’m drifting off to sleep, I visualize the hope of the sunrise in the morning. It is going to be a new day and a good day. His mercies are new every morning. I speak that into my soul.

3. Pause before I start

When I first wake up, I sit on the edge of the bed for 5 minutes and think positive about my day. I think on good things. I focus my life and thoughts on Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

4. Stand up after the pause with a positive attitude

Now my first steps are positive steps. I can now fully walk in the promise of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Prayer

There are times in my life that prayer gets so commonplace that it becomes more of a daily checklist than actually meeting with God in new and creative ways that are fresh.

 

If you’re like me, you could use a facelift on your prayer life. After all, God is fresh in the way He approaches us, and we need to keep it fresh in the way we approach Him.

Here are a few ways I give my prayer life a facelift

 1. A past reminder

Often, I like to go before God in prayer, and take a great memory from the past, and remember it with God again.  It helps me to remember God’s goodness, and faithfulness. I especially like to do this when I feel like I’m not hearing from God. It always refocuses me on the fact that God does hear me, and will answer me in His own beautiful timing.

2. Write a prayer

You would be amazed at what will flow out of you when you write a prayer. You can do it on paper, or a word processor. No matter which you choose, you will be blown away at how God uses this exercise to draw things out of you. There is something special about having to seriously think about what you are going to write or type. You think about the words more deeply.

3. Pray a Psalm

This one is one of my favorites. I love to go to the book of Psalms and choose a Psalm to pray through. You will be amazed at how when you are praying through a Psalm, God is working the Psalm through you. You begin to experience God at a deep level. When you pray the Word of God back to Him, you are praying God’s word, and God’s words are the most powerful words of all words.

I hope these tips help you. What are some other ways you have found that help? Leave a comment and share with others.

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decision-making-processes1
Decisions sometimes are easy but lets fact it, that’s a rarity. Decisions, most of the times are difficult. The process of deciding what to do can become overwhelming if you don’t have a way to walk through the decision-making responsibility. Trying to figure out what the will of God is on a decision can be life altering for you and your family. So, what are you to do? Below are some things that have helped me over the years. I hope they will help you also.

1. Identify All The Options

I know this sounds elementary but try and think through all the different choices you can make and write them down. Write down what the likely outcome of each of them might be. If they pop into your head and heart, then they just might be worth writing them down. This list will help you with the next step.

2. Talk With A Friend

Run your thoughts by someone who is your friend and that you respect. They might have a few more thoughts that you can write down and might shed some new light on the problem. After, making your list and talking with a friend, take it to God in prayer.

3. Prayer Is Your Connection To God

Take your list, your heart, and your thoughts to the Lord. I know He might have a different plan when it’s all said and done, but God loves to hear your ideas. He loves you and gave you a brain to think with. Pray has a way of removing fear from the decision making process. Prayer gives birth to faith, joy and the power of God’s love connecting with you on a very personal level. Pray you list and thoughts out loud to the Lord…they can become clearer that way.

4. Communication With God Filters Out Moral Issues

As you pray, God will reveal to you, and show you, the moral or non-moral areas of your thoughts. Be prepared to get rid of anything He reveals to you that doesn’t line up with His heart or His Word. If any of your thoughts go against a biblical command, then the decision is an easy one…OBEY His Word.

5. Embrace God’s Decision As You Decision

God will show you and speak to you the right thing to do when it’s the right time. It is essential that your will is submitted to God’s. In order to be submitted, you must be humble enough to accept His decision as your own. Sometimes it will be a combination of your thoughts and His, but more often, it will be different and even better. He is the author and the finisher of your faith. Trust that fact.

moretime

You have more time than you think.  If you are like me, you have a list of things to do and time seems to be in slim supply. Fear not! There are ways to find a little more time in your day if know where to look and what to do.

Below are seven ways to find more time

1. Take an inventory

You must know where your time is going before you can adjust it. Trust me, you have more time than you think you do. Grab a notepad and keep up with your time for a day or two. Write down what you do in time intervals. Once you take an inventory, you will be able to see where your time is really going. You will be amazed at how all the things you do can be consolidated. For instances, look for and discover on your list a few things that can be done together instead of spread out through you day.

Example-Want to read that book but don’t have the time? Then try reading when you are in the bathroom. I know that sounds funny but hey, everyone goes to the bathroom. 🙂

2. Little adds up

Some goals in your life are big and take a lot of time. They are so big, many times you might find yourself giving up altogether. Guess what? You don’t have to. Why? The reason why is because little adds up.

Example-Do you want to write a book that is 50,000 words? Then write 500 words a day. In 100 days you will have that book.

3. Don’t disregard small increments of time as having no value

You would be amazed at what just 5 minutes given to a project or goal in your life will do. Sometimes people don’t work on a goal or project because to fully complete it that day would take an hour. Guess what? You can divide that project or goal up into 5-minute increments and it will get done eventually. It might be slower than you wanted, but never forget…the snail made it on the ark -even if he was the last one on. 🙂

4. Capture a weekend

There will be times that 5-minutes will not be the best choice for you. That’s okay. Just look at your calendar and find a weekend that must be yours and plan to use that weekend to get the task done. You would be amazed at what can happen with a whole day with no one to bother you. Let’s face it…we waste a lot of time on weekends recovering from the week. Take one weekend and own it for your goals. Don’t let anything social get in the way and steal that marked off time.

5. Cut the radio off

When you are driving, cut the radio off. You will be blown away by how it clears you mind and allows you to think. I almost always drive without music. I love to write and of course I write sermons for each Sunday. Many times in my truck I think of great thoughts. I simply grab my iPhone and record my thoughts to listen to later and work with. (Note: This one can be dangerous. Keep your eyes on the road and do this one at your own risk)

6. Get up earlier

This one is simple. Get up 15 or 20 minutes earlier and use that time. Do it!!!!!!

7. Pray longer than normal

I know this one sound crazy but you would be amazed at how spending extra time with God will give you more time. I’ve learned, that many of the blocks in my writing will go away when I’ve prayed more. It seems that God blesses me with fewer roadblocks, and what would have taken an hour to do, often ends up taking just 30-minutes.

stress 2

Life is complicated and therefore brings stress often to the doorstep of the Christ follower. Stress is part of the human condition but God has the answer for that condition. God is the author of our life. He knows the beginning and the end and will give us peace that passes all understanding as we submit and trust Him completely. When stress dominates our walk; you can bet that somewhere along the way our trust in God has faded just a little.

Stress often attacks us with circumstances that are out of our control. Stress comes in all kinds of forms, but no matter what form it takes, trusting in God is a major key to winning the battle. Don’t misunderstand me…living a stress-free life isn’t easy to obtain. However, there are a few things you can do that will keep you heading in the right direction when you feel stress staring to take over.

Here are a few tips that have helped me over the years

Practical Tips

1. Get in a bar fight (Okay, that’s not true. Just wanted to make sure you were pay attention)

2. Sleep (You must get enough rest. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night)

3. Take a look at your diet (Are you eating healthy? Is your weight were it should be?)

4. Exercise (You don’t have to go crazy but walking after your evening meal will do wonders)

5. Work and Family (Do you work more than have family time? Change that NOW!) (Balance it!)

Spiritual Tips

1. Prayer (Give your stress to God by telling Him all about it. Then, leave it with Him. Trust Him)

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

2. Praise Him (God inhabits the praises of His people. Sing to Him and watch what happens. Try it!)

Praise will take your mind off of self, and refocus your mind on God.

Psalm 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

3. Stay in the Word (Read God’s Word and let it read you)

Matthew 11:28-30
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

What are some ways you have found to be helpful? Leave a comment.

At A Crossroad?

August 16, 2012 — 3 Comments

crossroad

Travel most any road and sooner or later, you will come to a crossroad. Once you reach the crossroad, a decision has to be made concerning direction. Which way will you go? Crossroads are not complicated, they are simply a place of choice. I’m convinced that the best way to make the right choice at a crossroad of life is to listen to God’s voice and then obey.

John 10:4-5.“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

I have often wondered and asked myself, “What would happen if we would listen to God more than we talk to God?”

Would we grow more? (YES)

Would we grow faster? (Yes)

Would we learn more about Him? (Yes)

I’m amazed and humbled God wants to speak to us at all, but most of the time we don’t care to listen.

We only care to talk.

We like to talk.

We like to be heard.

We equate our ‘spiritual bank account’ value by how much we talk.

What if we stopped talking for about a week and just read the Word of God, and listened to what He had to say about life, family and ministry for our lives?  I know He would speak, and then all we would have to do is obey, instead of guessing as to what He would have us to do.

Listen and He will tell you.

Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

In order to do what God is telling you, you must learn to listen and then obey.

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

— John Bunyan

 

What are your thoughts? Share we others. Leave a comment.

bed2

“Pastor Steve, I have a prayer request.” I heard him say it loud and clear. I had seen him a few times in our Sunday morning service, but this was his first time in our new believers class. Without missing a beat, I jumped way ahead of his request and began to interject what the request might be. You see, at this time in my life I was the pastor of a church in San Francisco and most of our people were very low-income and many were homeless. It was a wonderful time in my life that shaped who I am and I am thankful to have been a pastor in the inner city for over 13 years.

Anyway, back to the story. Because I had dealt with the homeless for many years at this point I made a lot of assumptions about what his prayer request could be. I threw out a few can’t miss things. I said, “Do you need us to pray you can find a job, a place to stay or to help you get off drugs?” He looked at me bewildered for a moment and then said, “No, I don’t think you understand. I’ve been coming to church here for a few weeks and you have really touched my life through your messages. I’ve been listening and recently I gave my life to Christ. That’s why I’m here in this new believers class.” “That’s wonderful” I said.

He continued. “I’ve lived behind a dumpster for many years and I’ve been sleeping on the sidewalk for all of those years also. I’ve recently got into a drug program and I’ve even found a part-time job. Things are starting to turn around in my life.” What he said next blew me out of the water!

He dropped his head a moment…holding back tears and then slowly raised his head making eye contact with me. “Pastor, I can’t sleep at night in a bed. I’ve not slept in a bed in many years and each night I end up on the floor. When I sleep like that it causes me to remember the past and I want to go back to that life. It’s a life I know how to control.”

I had missed it big time on the prayer request and I was holding back tears as he went on to finish his request.

“Pastor, do you think God can teach me how to sleep in a bed?” He began to cry. That was his prayer request!

I went to where he was and got on my knees in front of him and held his hands. I looked him in the eyes and said I was sorry for jumping ahead of him. I called the rest of the class around him and we prayed a prayer over him that God would teach him to sleep in a bed at night. It was a strong prayer and everyone in the room could feel God moving. Over the next several weeks that prayer was answered mightily. Sleep finally came to him the way he wanted.

 

What’s the take away?

When it comes to making disciples we should start where they are and not where we think they should be. We should never jump to conclusions about the lives of those God sends our way. We need to listen first and find where God is working and then join Him. You might just be surprised at where God wants to work in their life first.

 

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them. Share with us. Leave a comment.

 

prison-bars

Can you pray and sing praises to God when there is nothing to pray and sing about? I can…but it hurts getting started. It doesn’t feel right but I know it is right.

Psalm 145:3 speaks to us and says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”

1. Great is the Lord (no matter how bad something truly is in your life…He is Great)
2. He is Greatly to be praised (no matter how sad you are, He is to be praised greatly anyway)
3. His greatness is unsearchable (His greatness brings healing and that healing is deep and endless…unsearchable)

God Inhabits The Praises of His People (Psalm 22:3 tells us)

Acts 16:23-26 “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: (24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. (25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Their Condition Was Bad (but God was good)

1. Had many stripes upon them (the sting of persecution was present)
2. They were cast into prison (hidden away from everyone)
3. Their feet were in stocks (helpless to do anything)

But They Were Not Altogether Helpless

1. At midnight they prayed and sang ( their tongue couldn’t be shackled and neither can your tongue)

God Steps Forward

1. Suddenly (Nuff said! I just love that)
2. All doors opened (That is the product of God and the result of prayer and singing)
3. Every One’s bands were loosed (Others in prison were blessed and freed by Paul and Silas praying and singing through their pain)

What About you? Can you pray and sing through your prison time? Share thoughts with us.

I love the word Piehole. I picked it up many years ago back in the 1980’s when my cousin graduated from Marine Boot Camp. He said that the drill instructor used it on them all the time…however, I deter. Allow me to get back on subject.

Let’s face it…complaining feels good. It feels good because it’s a short term fix to our frustration. Most of us complain all the time. We complain in big ways and in small ways. In fact, statistics show that most people complain at least 15 to 30 times per day. Complaining just simply seems to be born into us but that doesn’t mean we have to be held hostage by it.

Complaining falls into two categories.
1. Things we can’t change
2. Things we can change

So, how can you navigate these two categories?

First, you need to deal with things you can’t change.

1. What you can’t change get it off your brain. (e.g. take it to God in prayer and LEAVE it there)

2. If it can’t be changed then don’t let it become a drain on you. (e.g. Look at open doors in your life and not the closed doors)

Second, you need to work on the things you can change

1. Don’t complain about what you have the power to change. (e.g. Change it with actions…you must act on it or it will act on you)

2. Don’t allow complaining to be the solution for your frustration. (e.g. If there is an answer…step through that door)

LEAVE A COMMENT
What are some things you find yourself complaining about most often? How have you dealt with complaining successfully?

When I feel frustrated, I know deep inside, where my proverbial freight train, (without brakes) will it end up. I (my train) will react by dumping my explosive, held-back emotions, on others I care about the most. Trust me…it’s not a pretty sight. It’s like you can see the train in slow motion leaving the tracks because it took the turn to fast. It begins to tip over (No Superman around to help) and clears the landscape of anything in its path. At this point, the only thing that can stops it is nothing. It just simply and finally comes to a stop all by itself. Everyone who sees what just happened can’t believe what they just witnessed. Noting is left to do now but try and recover any good that remains.

I can’t speak for you but I’ve been there many times in my life. Those moments you wish you could take back. Moments you wish you had never caused or been part of. But alas, moments of train wrecks occur from time to time and such is life. What could have been done to avoid the crash? Can we (I) ever avoid not having another derailment? I know these question have answers, though they possibly could be answered in many different ways. I’m not here to say I have the answers for you but I truly desire to find the answers for me and my life…for the sake of others…those I love and respect.

For me, I simply trace the trail back to the begin and look for where I could have done better maintenance. I look for wounded moments that I left unchecked, thinking they will never surface from my secret hiding place! I say to myself, “I can handle these wounds alone, they will hurt no one else.” However, I Know deep down that all I’m doing is simply lying to myself, they will hurt others if I don’t do something with them.

What then should I have done with the wounded moments that can grow into destructive seeds with the potential to destroy a city block? Are you ready for the answer? Well then, here it is and trust me…it’s not complicated at all. In fact, it is so simple, it is missed often in my life and maybe, just maybe…in your life as well.

The answer is a 5 minute prayer before you go into a meeting, before you go through the door of your home at the end of the day, before you meet with a friend (or anyone) that may have hard news for you to hear…whatever it may be, 5 minutes of prayer can and will keep the train from going off the tracks. I like to call it a A PACT with God. A prayer pact can save me and perhaps you a lot of heartache. I hope this helps. God bless all of you and to those I have ever wounded, please forgive me.

A Pact (The Prayer)
1 minute of Adoration- worship Him
1 minute of Penitence- ask God for forgiveness
1 Minute of Acknowledgment-that God alone is your answer
1 minute of Control-surrender all of yourself to His Lordship
1 minute of Thanksgiving- give Him thanks for a prayer He will surely answer