"I will not let go unless you bless me."

Genesis 32:26
Jacob wrestled with God and won.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Informal Prayers: or please don't let him bite me

One of the most memorable prayers I ever prayed was when I was walking home from the library one evening in summer.  I am not a speed walker but what I lack in speed I make up for in endurance.

I decided to go a different way than usual and walked through a residential section of town, as opposed to the little shops and offices I usually pass.

Suddenly a snarling bull dog lunged toward me, showing its prominent teeth.  I called out to the only One Who was listening, "Oh, please Lord, don't let him bite me!"

Suddenly the dog stopped in its tracks, snorted, then turned and went back to its own backyard.

Coincidence?  Is anything coincidence?  Read about Balaam and his donkey in Numbers.  It just may be that God sent one of His angels to scare the bull dog and send it home with its tail between the legs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When I Just Don't Feel Like Praying

I am unemployed, so I have a lot of time, but have a lot of trouble concentrating on my prayers sometimes.  It helps to know that God judges our prayers less severely than we ourselves do.

Sometimes it helps to read the Psalms in the Bible.  David was subject to depression--a good friend of his, King Saul had become insanely jealous and was trying to kill him.  David took all his emotions to God, bad as well as good.

Another psalmist, Asa, wrote a famous passage in the Bible about how wicked people seem to get away with what they are doing.  As he wrote the Psalm, he confessed to being in the wrong.  It is only when we are not afraid to tell God (and ourselves) how we feel that sinful attitudes can be revealed to us and repented of.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Celebrate Thanksgiving all Year Long

I really dislike the commercialization of Christmas.  The worst part is that with all the Black Fridays, the carols of Frosty and Rudolph and decorations that leap immediately from Halloween to Christmas or "Holidays" (That sounds so much more P.C.   Apparently the people who insist on "Happy Holidays" are too stupid and ignorant to know that holiday means holy day in their desire to de-Christianize the world.)

What I dislike is the way Thanksgiving gets left out in the cold.  To me, Thanksgiving is a much more Christian holiday than Christmas or Easter.  It was founded by Christian men and women who wanted to worship God as they chose and though half their number had been lost, they worshipped God and had a day of feasting.

Remember to thank God for all your blessings.  Don't go to Him merely as a consumer, shopping list in hand.  Let thanksgiving be a part of your life all year long!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advantages to Living Alone

51% of all Americans are now single.  So I feel justified in addressing this particular group today.

In I Corinthians, Paul says to some early Christians that just as married people should not try to become single, singles should not try to become married if they were single when they came to Christ.  Obviously, this is not meant as anti-marriage, but pro-singleness.

Because I don't have a husband and children to worry about, I can pray at virtually any time I don't have to be somewhere else.  Being single doesn't mean you have to lead a life of self-indulgence like too many people do today.  Being single gives you more time to read your Bible, fast, and pray.

Married people may have more opportunity to be conformed to the image of Jesus, but we have more opportunities to become prayer warriors.  If you live alone, try turning off your TV and spend at least an hour a day in Scripture reading and prayer!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Group Prayer, Anyone? Part 2

For when you are called on to say the prayer out loud, whether in a small group or large, you must take the feelings of others than God and yourself into consideration.  Now isn't the time to try to berate a brother or sister by praying for him or her in front of other people!

Good articulation and projection are important too.  The Lord will know why your head isn't bowed as low as it could be if you're in an auditorium and the microphone isn't working.

My dad likes to tell the story of a church leader who bowed his head low and mumbled when he prayed.  When people complained that they couldn't hear him, he would say, "I wasn't talking to you anyhow." 

If you pray in a group, don't use King James English and big, fancy words to impress people.  Especially if you don't normally talk that way and wind up using flowery words and phrases you can't understand yourself!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Group Prayer, Anyone?

Since today is a Sunday, group prayer seems like a good topic.

With the prayer closet, you only have yourself, God, and the spirit world as your listeners.  With group prayer you have other humans listening in, and adding their own silent prayers to yours.

If you are the listener, you should do your best to follow along and add your own silent thoughts and affirmations to the prayer being spoken.  An occasional "Amen!" or "Yes, Lord," can be added out loud, but excessive amounts of that can be distracting and detract from the prayer being said.  You might ask yourself whether or not (only God and you know) you are adding such phrases to glorify God and edify fellow worshippers or show off how spiritual you are.

I will address the topic of saying a group prayer out loud in the next post.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Take time to be Holy

"But I'm not a morning person," I can hear you protest.

Go to bed one hour earlier.  If at first you can't sleep at that time, you'll simply adapt the way you do during daylight savings time.  Then you will have an extra hour each morning before your spouse and children get up to pray, read the Bible, and meditate.

If you go to work at 8:00 and it takes half an hour to drive to work, an hour to perform hygiene, eat breakfast and get the kids ready, and you still want to take an hour to pray (don't forget your early morning walkf for half an hour!) you need to rise at 5:00 at the latest.

Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions.  As for me, I would prefer to exercise later in the day and sleep till 5:15, then make myself some coffee before I start reading my Bible and praying.