i pray: trust

iprayi pray

short podcasts to bring the sacred into your everyday

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Show Notes

Today we are praying about trust. Perhaps like me, you may sometimes have a problem fully trusting God because of current or past hurts and troubles. You’re afraid of being hurt again. And, when we’re honest, we wonder why God allowed these things to happen in the first place.

This world is a beautiful, messed up place, and both beauty and evil spill over into our lives. Let’s use scripture to help us pray through our brokenness and healing — and our place in God’s plan to redeem the world.

Today we’re going to pray through two scriptures:

  • Psalm 9:8-10
  • John 16:33

To pray with us, just click on the arrow below. Feel free to leave a comment or your own prayer as you process the issue of trusting God.




What Is One Prayer?

One Prayer

I don’t know about you, but I often feel overwhelmed by the daily news. But one prayer can make a difference.

Whether it’s in my community, the state, our nation, or the world, the amount of evil out there is just plain disturbing. I know that many good things are also happening, but those are often overshadowed by what isn’t.

To counteract this helpless, hopeless feeling, Mary and I thought it would be helpful for us to focus our prayers. Even when an event seems so horrific that we despair of being able to do anything to help, we need to remember that prayer is the powerful antidote to evil. Let us not ever forget that. The enemy wants us to be overwhelmed and ineffective. That is not what the Bible says.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

The Greek word for powerful in this sentence is Ischyo.  Are you ready for its definition? It means “to be effective, capable of producing results.” Wow. Our prayers are capable of producing results —  even when ISIS is on the move, even when the diagnosis is cancer, even when aborted baby parts are being sold on the market, even when refugees are backed up on a country’s border.

To help us focus our prayers, several times a week, we will select a person, issue, or topic for us to pray about. The reminder will be short, perhaps just a sentence or two in the sidebar of our website OnlyByPrayer under the heading One Prayer. Please add your one-minute prayer silently or aloud to the collective praying we will all be doing. If you’d like you can tweet that day’s prayer focus using #OnePrayer.

Let’s stop sticking our heads in the sand and take advantage of the very real power of prayer. God did not make us helpless but bestowed upon us the gift and responsibility of prayer to bring about real change in the world.

Pray on!

Resources for the Current Prayer Concern

8-5-20 Beirut Explosion

7-17-20 Coronavirus Prayer Resources

7-17-20: Prayers for our Leaders

7-17-20 Prayers for First Responders

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Holy Week Devotions-Saturday: Grumbling to Gratitude

bigstock-Young-woman-standing-in-yellow-19498895“And do not grumble as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.” 1 Corinthians 10:10

We’ve almost made it to Easter! Today we are looking at the following stanza of the True Lenten Discipline poem.

FAST from discontent; FEAST on gratitude.

(Here is the full poem of True Lenten Discipline. Here are the devotions for MondayTuesdayWednesday,  Thursday, and Friday.Here is the link to the True Lenten Discipline Podcast.)

Today we will start out by looking at how seriously God takes our attitudes and obedience to Him. Our verse in 1 Corinthians is referring back to Numbers 16 when the Israelites were on their journey out of Egypt. Three men, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, became insolent and were sinning by complaining against Moses and Aaron. They were of the Levite tribe and felt that they should be part of the priesthood too. Their attitudes were spreading to those around them. A dramatic standoff occurred and what happened is that these men and all that belonged to them were swallowed up by the earth.

The next day the entire Israelite Community grumbled against Moses and Aaron blaming them for the deaths, and God was so upset with the rebellious camp that he started a plague. Aaron made atonement for the people’s offense by offering incense, but not before 14,700 people were killed. This plague is what the the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:10 is referring to.

Phew. This is a sad, scary story, but it shows us the importance of our attitudes and obedience to God. God was serious about weeding out evil from the camp, because He knew how fast it spreads. Today, as Christ followers, we have Jesus standing between us and God, making atonement for our sins, but God still takes our attitudes seriously.

The word for grumble is goggyzo, and it means “to murmur, mutter, say anything against in a low tone, of those who confer secretly together, discontentedly complain.”

It’s all to easy to fall into complaining when life doesn’t go the way we want it to, isn’t it? Thoughts of “my life would be better if ….” echo through my mind. The stanza of the poem redirects our thinking to gratitude, to being thankful for what we have, where we are right now. Mary Kane often refers to the illustration of Daniel in Daniel 6:10 as a person who offered thanks even in the midst of dire circumstances.

At the advice of his satraps (who wanted to trap Daniel), King Darius had issued a decree that for the next 30 days, no one could pray to anyone or anything but King Darius, otherwise the person would be thrown in the lion’s den. Verse 10 says that when Daniel heard this, he went home and prayed, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before. Now if anyone had cause to grumble, it would have been Daniel, but instead he chose to count his blessings and thank God. God protected Daniel from harm when he was thrown in the lion’s den.

The word for gratitude is charis, and it means “joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, lovliness.” When we dwell on these things in our lives, it lifts our spirits and puts our focus on God. Let’s cultivate that habit and redirect our focus. When we start to complain about something, let’s stop and mentally list one thing we are thankful for in our life. And the first thing we can be thankful for this Easter is  Jesus’ atonement for our sins, which has given us abundant life.

Application: Today let’s leave behind the “My life would be better if … mentality, and put on the mantle of gratitude and thanksgiving by acutally making a list and counting our blessings. We’ll be able to clearly see God at work in our lives, even if we’re in the midst of a difficult situation.

Prayer: Lord, we do thank you that you loved us so much that you sent Jesus to atone for our sins. Thank you for the gift of eternal life in heaven and the life you have given us to be lived out on earth. Help us to focus on our blessings. Amen.

 

 

 

 




Holy Week Devotions-Wednesday: From Darkness to Light

ID-10051657“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18 (NIV)

For out third devotion this week, we are looking at stanza three of the poem:

FAST from apparent darkness; FEAST on the reality of God’s light.

(Click for the entire poem and for Monday and Tuesday’s devotion.)

In this stanza, we have the contrast between darkness and light, which stands for evil and good or Satan and God. As I was meditating on darkness and light and therefore good and evil, the question popped into my head, “There’s such an obvious difference between good and evil. Why do so many people get drawn into darkness?” But then God sent the thought back to me, “Is it really so obvious to others? Remember this verse in 2 Corinthians 11:14, ‘And no wonder, for Satan masquerades as an angel of light.'”

I had forgotten about that verse. So many times Satan makes sin or darkness look like fun. I can remember many times when I was a child and wanted to do something that my parents would not let me do; I thought they were being overprotective and just didn’t want me to have fun, when in reality they could see something I could not: the inherent danger or darkness in that situation that they wanted to protect me from. As a child, I did not have the wisdom or discernment to see that; as older, wiser parents, they did. Satan often makes sin appealing, so that we will yield to it. Then the next time, it’s easier to say yes to a more egregious sin. Before we know it, we are on a slippery slide to doing all kinds of things we never thought we would do. We can see now how someone can commit an obvious sin, like murder. Probably in most cases, a person who commits a terrible crime has a long history of saying yes to lesser offenses, which lulled their conscience to sleep and set the scene for greater sins.

So in this Holy Week, we can see much darkness involved in Jesus’ crucifixion. The forces of evil thought they had won the battle, but, praise God, they underestimated the power of God, of light, to win over the powers of darkness. The Greek word for light is phos, and some of its meanings include truth and knowledge. God’s light is always the truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth, as the old saying goes. Another interesting meaning regarding light, is that we should be sharing this light and wisdom with others. Matthew 5:15 tells us that we should not light a candle and hide it under a bushel basket; no, we are to set it out so that it lights up the whole house and everyone can see it. If you doubt the power of little old you shining your light to others, try the experiment of going into a dark room of your home and lighting one candle to see the power that light has to dispel darkness!

Application: Is there a sin you have been allowing to continue in your life because you think it’s not a big deal? Let’s work on rooting out the sin the Holy Spirit is convicting us about before we reap a harvest of pain in our lives or someone else’s. Let’s also share the light we have with other people as God gives us opportunities in His perfect timing.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for breaking the power of darkness by your death on the cross. May we never take that sacrifice lightly or become oblivious to the sin in our own hearts and lives. Give us the courage and discernment to know when to share that light with others. Amen.

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