Tag Archives: Prayer

answered prayer is knocking

It is rare that I lose my keys, but it does happen. One morning I unlocked an office door and left my keys hanging in the knob as I turned to put several items down. I was going to grab my keys next, but the phone rang. One thing led to another, and my day had launched.

A few hours later I couldn’t find my keys. Searching, I mentioned to someone I lost them.

He said, “No, you didn’t. They are hanging in your door.” There the keys were in plain view.

Sometimes the answers to our prayers are in plain view, but we are astonished so we miss them. Just ask Rhoda, and the others, who were praying for Peter.

They forgot to open the door.

Acts 12 records Peter being put in prison to face persecution, and many of the believers gathered at Mary’s house to pray for him. They are praying, and simultaneously, an angel is freeing Peter from prison. No one expected a rapid answer to their prayers. This causes some confusion at Mary’s house.

Verses 13-16 say, “Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed, she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said it must be his angel. But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Luke paints a humorous scene here. Christians have gathered late at night to pray, and suddenly there is a knock at the outer gate. Rhoda checks and discovers Peter, but forgets to open the door to the answered prayer. She is so shocked the prayer was answered quickly, or answered at all, she runs away from the answer. She runs away to tell others the answer was at the door. Disbelief, shock, and surprise keep the others away from the door. No one is opening the door for the answered prayer.

Meanwhile, Peter keeps knocking. They finally open the door, and there stands Peter. He is the answer to their prayer, and he is standing there in plain view.

Be ready to open the door.

While God always answers our prayers, the timeline is not always so sudden. The answer may come concurrently or it may take a minute. As we pray, are we ready to open the door when the answer knocks? Are we ready to receive the answer at any time? We just never know when the answer will knock on the door.

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Faithful in Prayer

Never stop praying.

Two ladies were discussing their lives as they were at the laundry mat. They were both married, and they had much in common.

While they were waiting on clothes to wash, they were both mending a pair of their husbands’ pants. “Things at home are stressful. My husband is grouchy and always a ball of stress,” the first lady said as she mended the butt of her husband’s pants.

As she mended the knees of her husband’s pants, the second lady said, “My guy is usually in a good mood. Things are going really well.”

It has been said the biggest fear of the devil is our prayers. He fears nothing from prayerless efforts, and trembles at prayer. The Bible encourages Christians to never stop praying.

“Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction.” Romans 12:12 encourages, “Faithful in prayer.”

Faithful in prayer.

Jesus illustrated the power of prayer. He spends a great deal of time praying. The disciples admired his prayer life and hoped they could model it. Jesus prayed about everything.

How do we do? Jesus encourages us to pray and never give up. Remember, the Lord does hear our prayers, and praying is just a conversation with him. Spend some time talking with him today.

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Praying is the Answer

“You got to keep on praying.”

The lyrics say, “Give it back,” and this song is a reminder for the power of prayer.

Back to God by Reba McEntire creatively reminds us to pray.

We may be facing many challenges. The world may be facing many challenges, and the answer can be found in the Lord.

2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Are you lost, confused, scared, or anxious?

Psalm 107 offers hope and help.

Lost, scared, confused, and anxious are emotions described in Psalm 107. It may be easy for us to relate to these emotions.

We are not lost in the desert or being tossed on the open sea by a storm, but we may be lost in life being tossed by many circumstances. I believe we can easily relate to the Psalmists descriptions.

We may be lost in a crisis, not knowing which direction to turn. We may be scared about the future, not knowing what tomorrow holds. We may be anxious about an economic downturn and potential recession. Trade the desert winds and sea’s waves for the worries and struggles of today, and we are easily in Psalm 107.

Psalm 107 records the Lord provided deliverance each time he was called upon.

Verse 6 says, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”

As we find ourselves lost and tossed in life, we can cry out to the Lord, and he will deliver us from our distress. Psalm 107 reminds us scared and lost people have cried out in the past, and the Lord has been faithful to deliver them from their troubles. The same is true for us.

In turn, the Psalmist encourages us to give thanks to the Lord.

Verse 8 says, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

  • Give him thanks for what he has done.
  • Give him thanks for his deliverance.
  • Go ahead and give him thanks for what he is going to do.

To those in distress today, Psalm 107 suggests crying out to the Lord. We should also be sure to give him thanks today.

What take-aways do you find in Psalm 107? Share in the comments below.

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Parenting is Overwhelming

Moses’ parents experienced the struggles of parenting.

Moses’ parents were up against it. They were living at a time Pharaoh had decided the Israelites should have no more boys. The decree was for all newborn Israelite boys to be killed, but Moses’ parents ignored it. They kept Moses hidden for 3 months, and as his parents, they had to make some hard choices to protect his life.

The Bible says Moses’ parents placed him in a basket and floated it down the Nile. Moses is found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. The Lord’s care and Moses’ parents’ choices put him on a path to fulfill his destiny. He became a great leader for Israel. It all started when Moses’ parents had to make some hard choices.

Parenting is consuming.

Parenting is hard; it can be overwhelming. Moses’ mom and dad faced much adversity when he was born. There was the decree, they had a newborn needing care, and they had to keep him hidden. I would not want to be in their situation, but it does illustrate how consuming parenting can be.

As parents, you and I are trusted with a life. This person for whom we are responsible has a purpose, so we don’t want to mess up. Adding to the stress is the fact part of our purpose is to help our child fulfill his or her purpose, so we don’t want to mess up.

Parenting is hard. We worry about everything. Are we too strict? Are we too lenient? Is our child growing and learning fast enough? Is our child growing and learning too fast? When something happens, we worry the opposite should be happening. Parenting is hard.

It can be overwhelming as we worry about everything, but we need to remember as much as we love our kids, God loves them more. As much as we want what is best for our kids, God wants it more, so we should rely on the Lord to guide us in the overwhelming task of parenting.

Lamentations 2:19 encourages, “Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer pleading for your children….”

No matter the situation, when our kids are hurting, we want to come to the rescue. It is easy to bandage a sore and offer a hug, but when the situation becomes more advanced, rescue becomes more difficult. It might even reach a point where we must follow the example of Moses’ parents. Pray and trust the Lord.

The hard choice of floating Moses down the Nile was made in faith. Hebrews 11 says it was by faith Moses’ parents made their decisions. They knew the Lord gave them a child, and the Lord would care for him.

In Fearless, Max Lucado reminds us that before our kids were ours, they belonged to God. And, even as they are our children, they still belong to God. All people are God’s people, even the little people residing in our home. God shares in our desire to do something when our kids are hurting.

Moses parents trusted the Lord with their child. They had reached a point where they were powerless. There was nothing more for them to do than trust the Lord. They were not the only parents who have reached this point.

  • In Matthew 15, a Canaanite mother came to Jesus pleading for help. Her daughter was plagued by an evil spirit. The disciples tried to ignore her, but Jesus didn’t. He heard her pleas, and he provided relief for her daughter.
  • Mark 9 records a boy had been struggling since he was young. The child was possessed by an evil spirit causing much havoc. The boy’s father came first to the disciples, then to Jesus pleading for help. The disciples couldn’t do anything, but Jesus could. Jesus heard the father’s plea for assistance, and he provided an answer.
  • Jairus, in Mark 5, came to Jesus passionately pleading for Jesus to heal his sick daughter. There were individuals who said it was too late. Nothing could be done to heal the girl, but Jesus still did something. Jesus heard the father’s plea and healed her.

When we have reached the end of our rope and there is nothing more we can do for our child, we can pray and trust the Lord. In the doctor’s office, in the hospital room, in the recovery center, in the moments when we see disaster looming, we can pray and trust the Lord. He is fond of our kids, and he wants what is best for them.

I must pause for a moment and say I’ve not experienced every emotion a parent may feel. You, as a parent, may be navigating through overwhelming circumstances I have not experienced, so I am not claiming to have all the answers. I’m only desiring to point you toward a resource. As you are amid overwhelming situations, I hope you are doing okay, and offer the Lord as a guiding resource.

Seek the Lord’s guidance.

Lucado goes on in fearless to tell us God has a heart for hurting parents. After all, he’s a parent too. He understands the overwhelming emotion of being a parent. His child was beaten, mocked, and even died. He was separated from his child. He gets the pain and agony that comes from being a hurting parent.

So, as a parent, take advantage of the resource of prayer.

  • As your child leaves the house, send him or her away with a prayer.
  • As you put your child to bed, cover him or her with prayer.
  • As your child struggles with life, pray with and for him or her.
  • Pray he or she develops a hopeful confidence in this life and an eternal home in the next.

And remember, even when your child is not safe in your arms, he or she is safe in the Lord’s arms.

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Skillful Fishermen

Every occupation has tools which are necessary to get the job done. Fishing is no different. Fishermen have a tackle box filled with various lures and different kinds of bate. Each lure and kind of bate serves a specific purpose, and fishermen are skilled at using the equipment needed for their occupation.

Equipment has evolved, but the skill needed to use the equipment has always been necessary. Fishermen, in Jesus’ day, were skilled at using their equipment.

This is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. They were skilled in using the tools at their disposal.

Like fishermen, Christians have a variety of tools at our disposal. We need to make sure we are skilled at using them. Here are 3 tools and some tips to sharpen your skillfulness in using them.

1. The Bible

We have Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Jesus illustrates how to use Scripture in Matthew 4. Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into the desert for a period of temptation. Satan approached Jesus multiple times trying to tempt him, and each time Jesus responded by quoting the Bible. Jesus used Scripture to overpower temptation.

There is great power in Scripture, and we need to be skilled in using it.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The Psalmist says he placed God’s word in his heart; he stored Scripture in his heart, so he had it to use. The Bible is a powerful tool, and you and I can become skilled in using it by…

  1. Gaining an understanding of the Bible.
  2. Memorizing Scripture to recall in stressful situations.
  3. Using the wisdom within the Bible to guide our life.

2. Prayer

James says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Jesus illustrates how to use this tool. Jesus frequently withdrew to private places spending time in prayer. He prayed about everything.

We have the tool of prayer. It gives us the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with the Lord. The skill comes in using it daily. Prayer is a powerful tool we’ve been given.

3. Community

We are not alone. We have one another, and community is a grand tool for us. Christians are available to each other in all seasons of life.

We celebrate each other’s victories. We support one another in difficult times. We mourn and grieve as a community. We laugh as a family, and work together as a team. We do life together.

Relationship is a valuable tool for us, and we can sharpen our skills by participating. Don’t take on life by yourself. Allow the community to support you, and when your support is requested, be ready and willing to offer it. Community is a tool which can accomplish much for the Lord.

Acting

The Christian toolbox has powerful and effective tools. As Christians, we need to keep our skills sharp. We are more effective if we’re using the tools at our disposal. Take steps today to sharpen your skills. Spend time in the Bible and in prayer. Spend time building relationships with other Christians.

What tools would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.

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Unashamed & Persistent

The preacher thought she was drunk and scolded her for showing up at church under the influence of wine. Hannah quickly explained she wasn’t drunk. She was just that involved in her prayer. She said she was pouring her heart out to the Lord.

You and I have wants and needs. We struggle with the challenges of life. How well do we pray about those needs, wants, and challenges? Embarrassment or fear may stop us from praying, but the Bible reminds us there is no need to be embarrassed or afraid when talking with our Heavenly Father. We can be unashamed and persistent.

An Illustration

Talking about prayer, Jesus tells the story of a man who had an unexpected guest in the middle of the night. He runs to his refrigerator and its empty. He checks the pantry and only finds dust on a shelf. He has no food to offer his guest, so he runs to the neighbor’s house.

He wakes the neighbor at midnight by banging on the door. “Give me some food,” he says. “I’ve had an unexpected guest and have nothing to offer.” The man inside yells back, “Go away!”

But he keeps banging and banging until the man gets up and gives him what he needs for his guest.

Be Unashamed and Persistent

Jesus says in Luke 11:8, “But I tell you this, though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.”

You and I can be unashamed and persistent in our prayers.

Unashamed

The foodless man in Jesus’ story is unashamed to announce his problem. He has no shame in telling his neighbor what he needs. Nothing is hidden. The man lays everything before his neighbor in a shameless way.

Do you approach prayer in a shameless way? Do you lay everything before the Lord?

This can be hard at times. When we do something good, we have no problem talking with the Lord about it, but when we make mistakes, we’d rather not discuss those with our dad.

Talking about imperfections is hard. No one wants to admit he was a jerk. No one wants to admit she was cranky, but the Lord already knows. He knows you and I are not perfect, and he wants to help us grow.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God. We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future, but we know that when Christ comes again, we will be like him,” 1 John 3:2 reminds us.

Nothing is hidden from the Lord. Since he knows everything, you and I have nothing to hide. We can be unashamed in prayer. We can be honest with our feelings and ask the Lord to help us in every situation. Prayer is a safe place. Our Heavenly Dad desires to hear from us and will not be upset if we are unashamed in our conversation.

Persistent

The foodless man did not accept no as an answer. His neighbor told him to go away, but he continued to knock until the man answered his request. His persistence paid off. He received food for his guest.

“Keep praying,” Jesus encourages.

“So, I tell you continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search and you will find. Continue to knock and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find, and whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them,” encourages Luke 11:9-10.

Don’t give up. Our Dad answers prayer in his timing.

Hannah was unashamed and persistent.

Hannah was so emotionally involved in her prayer she was accused of being drunk. 1 Samuel 1 records Hannah having a rough time in life. She was not afraid to talk with the Lord about her problem. She became so physically involved in her prayer it was thought she was under the influence. When questioned, Hannah explained, “I’m pouring my heart out before the Lord.”

Hannah was shameless and persistent in her prayer. How well do we pour our hearts out before the Lord? We do not have to be embarrassed or fearful before our dad in Heaven.

Our intimate conversations with him can be private. In fact, Jesus encourages us to pray in the closet. Pouring our hearts out before God can be a freeing, but vulnerable, experience, so we can do it in a private setting.

Acting

Are you angry? Tell the Lord.

Are you struggling? Tell the Lord.

Are you embarrassed by something in your life? Tell the Lord.

Anything else? Shamelessly tell the Lord. Persist in prayer.

The lyrics of an old hymn say, “What a friend we have in Jesus. What a privilege to carry everything to him in prayer.”

Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.

 

How can I help?

You don’t have to read into the newspaper far or watch the news long before you see someone in need. You don’t have to get far outside your home before you run across a friend or neighbor having a hard time. Sometimes, the person needing help is right inside your home.

You long to help, but you don’t know what to do. The tornado ravaged a neighboring town, but you cannot do construction work. Your friend just received an unwanted diagnosis, but you do not know a cure. Your dad’s health is slipping, but you do not know how to help. Your daughter just had her heart broken for the first time, but you don’t know what to say. The situation is not within your control, but it is within God’s.

You and I can always help by praying, and there are times, that is all we can do. In those situations, remember our prayers are powerful and effective.

We can always help by praying.

Jesus taught the disciples it was good to pray for one another. Notice his words.

“Give us today the food we need,” Matthew 6:11-13 says, “and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sinned against us. And, don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.”

By his choice of words, I believe Jesus is saying, “Pray for each other.”

You and I don’t have to feel helpless when we see someone hurting. We can pray for that individual.

1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge you, first, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”

When the neighboring town is devastated by the tornado, we can pray for the citizens. When our friend needs a cure, we can request wisdom on behalf of the doctors. When our daughter is heartbroken, we can ask the Lord to heal her pain. And, it may not hurt to pray that we’re not overwhelmed by the urge to afflict pain upon the boy who is responsible for the heart break.

Acting

Take a moment to pray for those who need the Lord’s help, and don’t be afraid to ask others to pray for you.

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Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.

 

 

Can you help me?

Can you help me? This was the plea of many people in the Bible. Jairus asked for help to heal his daughter. The beggar who was blind and sitting along the road asked for help. Lazarus’ family asked for help. Many people asked for help, and the Lord never chased them away. He helped them.

In teaching his disciples about prayer, Jesus reminds us it is okay to ask the Lord for help.

Luke 11:3-4 says, “Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”

In other words, “Lord, can you help me?” We have permission to request help.

In an ever-changing, chaotic, imperfect world, we can ask the Lord for help.

When…

When our morning is off to a bad start, we’ve overslept, kids fighting, and waffles burning, we can ask the Lord for help. He will help us.

When we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work, we can ask the Lord for help. He will help us.

When we are forced to decide and every choice seems wrong, we can request the Lord’s help. He will help us.

When we become impatient or angry too quickly, we can put in a change request with the Lord. Our Heavenly Dad knows we are not perfect, and we still need to grow, so he is more than willing to help us.

1 John 3:2 says, “We are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears but we do know that we will be like him for we will see him as he really is.”

When we’re wrestling with guilt from yesterday’s mistakes, we can ask the Lord to take it away. He will help.

Psalm 103:12 says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

When you and I are struggling just to make it through another day, we can call on the Lord, and he will help us.

When we have little issues or life-changing events, we can say, “Lord, can you help me?” He will help us.

The Lord helped David.

King David needed the Lord’s help in his life. We know David made many mistakes and spent much time dealing with adverse situations. He was not afraid to ask for help, and the Lord helped him.

David writes in Psalm 86:1-5, “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer. Answer me for I need your help. Protect me for I am devoted to you. Save me for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”

We can ask our Dad for help. He will not be upset with us for needing help. He will compassionately and graciously help you and me.

Acting

Is there an area in life you could use the Lord’s help? Ask him to help you. Share your experience in the comments.

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Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.

 

Can I ask for what I want?

Clutching his dad’s hand, the wide-eyed boy was walking through the toy isle. He noticed every toy on the shelf and asked for most of them. “This is only $10. Can I have it?” “Wow! Can you put this on my Christmas list?” Trying to convince his dad to buy another toy, the boy said, “We could play with this together, Daddy.” The boy tried all the tricks to get a new toy, but the dad’s response was the same.

“Maybe another day,” the dad calmly replied, “not today.”

This scene plays out in toy isles everywhere. Kids want many things, and they are not afraid to ask for what they want, and parents hear their requests. Likewise, our Heavenly Father allows us to ask for what we want in prayer.

We can ask for what we want.

Prayer is a conversation between us and our dad, and like all kids, we have a lot of wants and needs. We do have permission to ask for what we want.

  • John 14:13-14 says, “You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”
  • “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted,” Jesus says in John 15:7.

It is okay to make requests of God. We don’t have to worry he will become upset with us if we ask for something. God hears and answers us, and his answer always comes at the right time. God answers us in his timing.

God answers us in his timing.

If you’re like me, you pray for something and want it immediately. We didn’t ask to wait. We asked for the answer, but God delays. He does not provide the answer the same day or even the next day. We keep praying and God keeps delaying.

“Is he ever going to answer? Is he ever going to respond,” you and I wonder? We believe it is time to receive the answer to our prayer long before God knows it is time. Jacob’s family can relate.

Jacob’s family can relate.

The Bible records a severe famine causing everyone to run out of food except those listening to Joseph, Jacob’s son. God put Joseph in place before the famine to prepare Egypt and save Jacob’s family. Because of Joseph, Jacob’s family was able to escape the famine in Egypt where they enjoyed a peaceful time until Pharaoh’s death.

A new Pharaoh came to power who did not know Joseph and was threatened by the size of Jacob’s family. Israel finds themselves enslaved to the Egyptians. They are forced into hard labor, so they cry out to God. They cry out to the Lord day after day, but day after day, they are still working for the Egyptians.

Meanwhile, God was preparing Moses to lead Jacob’s family out of Egypt. In his timing, God answered their prayer.

Exodus 2:25 says, “He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”

When It’s Time

God did not answer Israel’s prayer for years, but he did answer. God may not answer our prayers today or even tomorrow, but he will answer. Perhaps the Lord is preparing the answer just like he was for Jacob’s family.

Meanwhile, we keep praying with the hopeful knowledge our dad answers when its time.

Acting

Make a list of requests you are waiting on God to answer. Entitle the list When Its Time and pray often for these requests. God will provide the right answer in the right time.

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Want an Additional Resource?

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado is a great resource on prayer.