Finding Something to Fight For

I’m sitting here at a beautiful coffee house called Canvas and trying to think about what the Lord wants me to write for this month. Should I write a follow up blog from last month about stepping off the ledge? Or should I write another blog about how my prayer life sucks and try to make you feel like you’re not alone in your struggling prayer life.

I didn’t know where to start so I turned on “Fight” by All Good Things. Although a secular song, I have always liked to think about the idea of prayer as fighting for or against something, not just a casual request to the heavens. Right as I pull up my music and plug in my headphones I check my phone to see a text that shocked me.

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It’s that unexpected text no one wants to receive causing your stomach to drop.

On cue “Fight” gets to the chorus: “Fight like you’ll never die, Fight to stay alive, Fight to raise the crown, Fight to take them down, Fight like you’re gods and monsters, because you want to save a life, fight for you and I. Fight. Fight.”

Of course I prayed for her right away, but that got me thinking. Fighting for other people fires me up. Specifically when it’s against something completely out of your friend’s control. When God sends me one of those wakeup calls, it shakes me from the stupor of ordinary life. Since I can’t do anything to remedy the situation, I have to ask God to take action where I cannot.

Why do I wait till crap hits the fan to pray for a friend? Am I TOO OKAY with peace?

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I have personally seen how the Lord can use persecution to strengthen the church. And even though no one wishes persecution on themselves, we take our peace for granted.  I have dropped the ball more often than not because there is no apparent sense of urgency to pray for my friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. I ignorantly end up waiting for bad things to happen before I pray for God to fix it.

That got me thinking “What Would Jesus Do?” Take a look at the gospels and you see Christ was a fighter who didn’t rely on physical blows, yet was always fighting. He fought AGAINST injustice, apathy, pride… And he fought FOR salvation, love, unity, and YOU.

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The thing about fighting is it shifts our priorities. When I got that text, I wasn’t thinking about my blog anymore. I was thinking about how to fix the problem. I wanted to fight somebody or something for her.

My neutrality annoys me oftentimes.

Pros are that I handle adversity quite well; Cons are that during times of peace nothing stirs me. It’s only the gong of calamity that wakes me up. I want to care for many others, but how do I do that when I can’t really get myself invested in the fighting of ordinary day prayers.

I don’t think I’m alone in this either.

We as humans are pretty good at fighting when the situation demands it. It’s during times of relative peace that our vision blurs and our mind fogs with complacency. I’m not saying everything has to be a fight, because God speaks often about striving for peace. But God does speak often about the Christian life being difficult.

More often than not, I feel like this little guy. All armored and ready for battle, but surrounded by impending doom. But God gives us the encouragement that ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’ (Romans 8:37)

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John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Why does God want us to fight for others? Because intercessory prayer reflects God’s own character of outgoing love and mercy. God wants us to think like He does, and praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others.

When we agreed to the “terms & conditions” of following Jesus, we signed up for a life of prayer. Some will have carry the banner of prayer more than others in the bodies of Christ, but that does not excuse anybody from the disciple of prayer. The Bible asks us to choose a side to fight for. Let’s be all in for Christ. Joshua 24:15

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If you have the attitude of neutrality like me, I pray the Lord brings up daily challenges to build the discipline of prayer in my life. If you have the attitude of passivity I pray the Lord reveals to you personally the importance of prayer in relationship with Christ. If you have the attitude of fear, I pray the Lord gives you a revelation of his grandeur, and an unparalleled level of boldness. And if you don’t know what your attitude is, I pray you would seek the Lord and ask him to reveal what your next step in intimacy is.


Let me know what part(s) you liked about this blog. I need as much encouragement as you’ll give me. This blogging stuff is hard, but it brings me life. I pray the Lord blesses you as you find something to fight for.

What are you fighting for?

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Stepping Off the Ledge

I’ve fallen off the prayer train more often than I care to recount. God gave me this vision to blog monthly about prayerful activism and it’s been over a year since I last blogged…

I’ve discovered the Lord literally does not allow me to write when I am not living it out. It’s that deep seated inner conviction that knows I can not honestly write because there is not even the slightest hint of me heading in the right direction.

But thankfully my God is the God of infinite chances, and He never gives up. Sometimes he waits there quietly, other times speaking, but it’s up to me to take action on his grace. So here’s me responding: broken and struggling daily with prayer, making a mess.

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The Lord daily gives me opportunities to step into a deeper walk with him, but it takes repentance, asking for forgiveness, and then asking for deeper intimacy. But as he sweeps away the glass, and the path is finally cleared. That’s when adversity hits.

Pride and laziness rear their ugly head EVERY TIME and the whispers in my head are persistent: “I don’t need to kneel by my bed, I’ll just pray while I’m lying down; I’ll just do my quiet time later today, I’m too tired.

My “temporary excuses” turn into unhealthy habits.

So here I find myself OVER A YEAR LATER finally saying, no more sitting on the ledge. It’s time to jump off. Even though I understand there’s grace for the ruts of life, I can’t help but think about how much I’ve been missing out on. And for what? I either need to start blogging again or quit altogether, because I’m tired of making excuses.

So last week I went to the golf course, got some (50) range balls and prayed in between every shot. I absolutely loved it! It was exactly what I needed to focus. Throughout my life I have encountered God through a variety of different means, golf included. The reason I present this is to potentially expand our ideas of connecting with God.

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I needed to shake things up by whatever means God deemed necessary. Does that mean I’ll be going to the golf course more often? Probably not..(expensive!) but I do know I’m on a better path than I was on yesterday, and I think that’s what God is looking for.

Moving forward I honestly don’t feel too optimistic about this blog, but my heart says I now have a chance. I’ve been going solo for too long, and never sought accountability for my dream. I was secretly hoping someone would help. So not only was I lacking accountability, I didn’t have the right focal point.

My new job become my all-encompassing fulfillment.

Ever since March when I got that call from CRU saying I got the marketing internship with Jesus Film Project, my sole obsession became getting to Florida and fulfilling what I was always supposed to do – applying my passion for marketing in missions.

But as with most things, time makes things less shiny and reality comes back into view. And even though I could see some exciting things develop out of this year, I know it’s not my everything. Man, it’s easy to lose sight of what we were made for.

God has made it clear this blogging thing is not something I can compromise on. It’s not a fad or a hobby, it’s a lifestyle I need to start living. So I have two choices: I can either deny it and live unfulfilled like I have for the past year, or I can step into what God has called me to even with all my mistakes, knowing he just wants all of me, period.

I just want to encourage everyone reading this.

I pray protection over you, lifting any sense of shame in thinking you’re not good enough, or that God is somehow mad at you, or whatever lie the enemy is throwing at you. You’re not as alone as you think you are!

Maybe you need accountability… Maybe you need to make a firm stand…Maybe you need a day with the Lord… Or maybe you just don’t know what you need… And that’s okay.

Just remember God is there for you. Even if your best friend doesn’t ever seem to pick up the phone when you need them most, God is there. Even if you don’t have a best friend, God is there. He listens first because he wants to hear YOU: not just your words, but your heart. He wants to hear when you’re stuck on a ledge, so he can call from below saying, “Jump, I will catch you!”

What ledge are you stuck on? 

Photo by Nathan Shipps on Unsplash

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Prayer is Not A Phone Call

Ever have a friend that never picks up when you call?

Love him to death, but God seemed to be that friend. I grew up hearing about this ‘personal relationship’ I was supposed to have with God, but it didn’t feel very personal.  On a scale of zero to ten, I ranked around a one.

I started reading a little book called “Practicing the Presence of God” and God blew my mind. The author stresses the importance of knowing God as a person and friend before you can hope to connect with him through prayer. Short, pretty simple read. Highly recommend.

Think about it. We place our belief in God, but who is God?

Do we know him from personal experience or only through what we’ve been taught? See for me, I prayed because it was what I had been taught to do, but I had never made much of a personal connection since that point. It was all in my head, but not yet in my heart.

I knew Holy Spirit lived in me, but I don’t think I really believed it deep down. My prayer life had been about me “doing” rather than me “being,” and therein lies my crucial flaw.

Jesus is more adamant about relationship than anything else.

“And a woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answer, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  – Luke 10:38-42

Like Martha, I was too busy for Jesus – even in my prayer life. I knew Jesus lived in me, but I busied myself with other things instead. I had missed the point. Many of us need to slow down our lives and realize it’s more about spending time in God’s presence than doing good deeds for him.

Jesus said, “Come follow me”

Luke 5 describes how Jesus didn’t evangelize to Peter and John when he first met them. He didn’t even tell them how to receive salvation right away. He called them to follow him, because he knew relationship would lead to a deeper love and friendship than religion and laws ever could.

Many of us are hesitant towards this kind of relationship because it requires significant effort and intentionality. God tells us to love him above all else, but how can we love God if we do not know him as a friend and primarily be in his presence?

He gives us Holy Spirit as a helper. He wants to hear and answer prayers. He wants to heap blessings on us and pour out his gifts, but first he wants you. He invites us into a loving friendship, and calls us sons and daughters of the most high God.

We don’t have to offer sacrifices for our sins. Jesus covered that.

We don’t have to go through priests anymore. Jesus covered that.

God has always been moving closer to humanity. In the Old Testament he showed himself in imposing demonstrations of power: pillar of fire, burning bush, cloud by day. Then Jesus the son of God came along, showing humanity that he truly desired relationship with man. And when Jesus went to heaven, he sent Holy Spirit to live inside us as believers.

God wants you to walk in his presence 

Sit at his feet, and set aside the prayer requests for now. It may be awkward, but know that God is speaking with you in a still small voice. Through time and practice, you will learn to recognize his voice. Once you become more familiar with him, then prayer becomes truly personal.

So next time you go to pray, think first and foremost of God. He’s the only one who can answer your prayer requests anyways, right? So let’s spend more time simply being with God in prayer rather than worrying about our life and going through our list of requests, even though there is a time and place for that.

I have amazing news!

Prayer doesn’t have to feel like a phone call anymore. God is beginning to show me what it looks like to walk in his presence, and it finally feels like I’m connecting with God in my prayers. If I have found hope, so can you.



 



Next blog

Prayer is Presence

 

Don’t Feel Led, Be Led

Imagine Sunday school at church.

You are chatting away with the person next to you, bagel in one hand, and coffee in the other. All of a sudden the room quiets down as you hear someone say, “Alright, time to begin. Would anyone like to pray for us?” A hush falls over the room, like a funeral parlor, and people glance nervously around wondering if they are going to be picked (Crickets…).

This may seem laughably innocent, but it’s not. We are walking a perilous tightrope we were never meant to walk. We should pray simply because Christ would want us to. Oftentimes I feel this unseen pressure put on my shoulders, but I fail to realize prayer is not just for me. It’s edifying purpose is for everyone: God, others, and us.

I’ll pray next time.

If we live with this kind of mentality and wait for the right moment, then we’ve already missed the point. Jesus is looking for people to drop their comfort zones and follow hard after him. He wants to move mightily through prayers whether you ‘feel’ in the mood or not.

Not a single one Bible verse mentions withholding prayer, but over 100 mention being led by the Spirit. God imparted the Holy Spirit to us so that we could always share. If we sit passively sit by waiting to be led, don’t be surprised if nothing happens. God is looking for people willing to live out the authority given to them by Jesus.

Christ never withheld prayer.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?’ And after looking around at them all he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.” – Luke 6:9-11

God healed people on the Sabbath to show we are supposed to pray for people no matter what. The Pharisees kept the Law even if it meant denying someone prayer. Likewise, we divide the Kingdom of heaven when we withhold prayer.

So are we seeking God or waiting for something to happen?

Listening to God’s prompting and waiting for his guidance is awesome, but when do we finally move? Do we wait until we get an answer? What if an answer never comes? We have to be actively led by the Spirit, and walk by faithful obedience in what he has already told us to do:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” – Galatians 5:16-18

Don’t worry if you feel weird praying. Our human nature doesn’t get the point of prayer, because it’s entirely spiritual. The devil is going to throw thoughts at you saying you don’t feel like praying, but remember that feeling isn’t from God. God always encourages prayer.

Let us be Christians who pray without ceasing for Christ’s sake.

Let us be Christians who are unashamed of our relationship with Christ.

Let us be Christians who are being actively led by the Spirit.

Today, pray for something you don’t feel like praying for. It may seem pointless, but even baby steps lead to running. We will never grow to our full potential if we always wait for the right moment. We have to seize the moment and be led by the Spirit because that is what Christ would do.


If you want to ‘feel led’, go buy some fishing sinkers and put them in your pockets. Next time you are wondering whether you should pray, stick your hands in your pockets and feel lead!

Praying with Authority

There is a difference between the way people in the Bible prayed for healing and the way most Christians pray.

From briancorder.kingdomjourneys.org

I find myself asking “God, why only certain times do you heal?” So I look to Scripture for answers.

Jesus prayers for healing:

From briancorder.kingdomjourneys.org

  • “Be Clean” – Matt. 8:3
  • “Be Opened” – Mark 7:34
  • “Stretch Out Your Hand” – Luke 6:10

Apostles’ prayers for healing:

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  • “Arise” – Acts 9:40
  • “Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed!” – Acts 9:34
  • “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” – Acts 3:6

My prayer for healing:

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God I thank you for bringing me here today. God I lift up my sister in
prayer to you today. If it’s your will God Ipray you take away her illness, aches, and pains. God I ask you to make her whole, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


There is a difference: their prayers carry authority but mine ask for permission. I’m busy wondering if it’s God’s will or timing to heal this person, but I complicated a subject that isn’t meant to be complicated.

We know the Lord’s will: “Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matt. 6:10

Everything that applies to heaven, God wills to happen here on earth. If it doesn’t exist in heaven then it’s not supposed to be here. Command things that shouldn’t be here to go!

We know God’s timing: “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor; now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

Jesus said to go! When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they went out in boldness to fulfill the great commission. The same Holy Spirit resides in us; we are without excuse.

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We justify why God doesn’t heal at times, because at some point we prayed for someone and didn’t see them healed. But we read in the Bible that God promises healing, and he doesn’t have terms or conditions attached to this promise. We find ourselves at an intersection because scripture says that God stays the same forever.

We have made the grievous error of interpreting the Bible based on our experiences, because it’s the only way we can wrap our minds around it. We try to ‘figure it out’. But Christianity isn’t meant for the head, it’s meant for the heart. There are places your heart will take you that your brain will never figure out.

We wait for God to prompt us to pray healing for someone, but deep down it may be a timidity rooted in the fear of failure. Instead of searching our brains for answers, we need to pray for a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ. Let’s base our beliefs on The Truth: whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12


1006152054It is smart to be cautious, good stewards of our heavenly inheritance, but we have let passivity reign in our lives.

Each and every Christian should want to see the sick healed. It is our God-given birthright: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” – Matt 10:8

Are we afraid of standing out? If so let’s cast out that demonic thought, because Jesus stood out like a sore thumb. We have become so wrapped up in what other people may think that it paralyzes us from acting on God’s calling on our lives. I’m not saying make a spectacle of yourself, but I am saying to walk in the authority Jesus has granted us.

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16:17-18

Start praying; stop waiting. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Prayer and Trouble

Why does this always happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?

You may think God is against you when you encounter trouble, but is that really true? Search the scriptures; trouble is not as black and white as you may think. Job encountered tremendous trouble and persecution, yet he did not do anything wrong. Jesus even lived through a life with great troubles, yet he knew what trouble was.

What trouble IS: Trouble is God’s servant. Trouble is under God’s control, and is one of the most efficient agents in fulfilling His purposes and in perfecting His saints. God’s hand is in every trouble. Trouble is able to be dealt with by God, whether the trouble originated from God or some other source. Trouble is under Divine control.

What trouble is NOT: God does not always directly order it. God is not always responsible for it either. Trouble is not chaotic and uncontrolled by God. Trouble is not above God nor beyond His control.


Trouble is often what the Scriptures call “chastening.”

From briancorder.theworldrace.org

Punishment for sin will take place in the next world. God does not punish on earth; he disciplines. They are corrective processes in His plans concerning man. It is because of this that prayer comes in when trouble arises.

As trouble is not sinful in itself, neither is it the evidence of sin. Good and bad alike experience trouble. Trouble has no power in itself to interfere between us and God.


What does prayer do for us in the time of trouble?

  • From briancorder.theworldrace.orgPrayer brings comfort, help, hope, and blessings, which, while not removing the trouble, enables us to bear it better and to submit to the will of God.
  • Prayer opens the eyes to see God’s hand in trouble
  • Prayer enables us to see wise ends in trouble
  • Prayer in trouble drives us away from unbelief, saves us from doubt, and delivers us from all vain and foolish questionings because of our painful experiences

Prayer is the most appropriate thing to do in the time of trouble. Nothing more truly shows us our helplessness than when trouble comes. Blessed is he who knows how to turn to God in “the time of trouble.” If trouble is of the Lord, then the most natural thing to do is to carry the trouble to the Lord, and seek grace and patience and submission. Lord, what would you have me do?


Our troubles are of the Lord, and he wants us to take them to him in prayer. 

No matter what the cause or where they come from. Troubles come with His consent. He is in all of them, and is interested in us when they press and bruise us. The end of trouble is always good in the mind of God. If trouble fails in its mission, it is either because of prayerlessness, unbelief, or both. The good or evil of trouble is always determined by the spirit in which it is received; it either softens or hardens us.


Tribulation (Trouble) is not only expected, it is taught to be accompanied with a spirit of rejoicing. God’s highest aim through trouble is not to punish, but instead He is seeking to make us like Himself.

From briancorder.theworldrace.org

Trouble is not a chance incident in life. It has a design in view, just as it has an All-wise Designer behind it. What an encouragement, too, that, chastisement is no evidence of anger or displeasure on God’s part, but is the strong proof of His love.

From briancorder.theworldrace.org

Prayer is used in a million ways, just like trouble is used of God. It takes trouble sometimes to get our attention, to stop us in the busy rush of life, to awaken us to a sense of helplessness and need. And the more troubles abound, the more earth becomes undesirable. It causes heaven to loom large in the horizon of hope. We see and know there is a world where trouble never comes, but first we have to pass through this world.

“Wise is he in the day of trouble who knows his true source of strength and who fails not to pray.” – E.M. Bounds

What Drives Us?

DUTY and DESIRE


We know we are supposed pray because of what Scripture says: The Lord’s prayer includes praise, prayer to do God’s will, prayer for deliverance, prayer for our needs and for forgiveness.

Duty should motivate us, but not alone.

There are times in our lives when discipline is required, and like a soldier, we will need to fight through the mundane simply because our God tells us so. But thank God that Jesus didn’t just leave it at duty.


What does it mean to DESIRE?

“Desire is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing for what we want. Prayer is the oral expression of desire. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words.”


So what should we do when we don’t feel like praying? In such circumstances, we ought to pray for the desire to pray. Biblical desire is God-given.

That’s the tricky part right there! What happens when desire doesn’t come? I basically admit defeat, but King David in the Bible tells us we should grieve, lament, and seek earnestly. Have we ever reached that level of desire? Prayer requires a “wrestling” like Jacob. Do we really DESIRE?


It’s all comes together:

  • Scripture motives us to DUTY, and once Duty fails as our sole motivator, brokenness ensues
  • Brokenness leads to DESIRE, and as we are filled with Desire we will want “His Kingdom come His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Wherever you are in your walk with God, remember that He is right there for you.

Duty and Desire

Reasons To Pray – Relationship

Many believers and nonbelievers would agree that ‘prayer’ is a good thing. But why do we do it?

This is blog #1 of 7 that will discuss “Reasons to Pray.” I believe that if we are not knowledgeable of the reasons to pray then we have even less incentive to pray. This blog is not meant to “Reason” you or persuade you into praying. I simply want to bring into the light that which has grown dim in our society. I pray that once we see the purpose, see the reasons for prayer, that God will move in our hearts to pray.


I am first called to prayer because it is a key vehicle to building my love relationship with Jesus Christ. Hear me now this is important. Christianity is not primarily rules. It is a relationship.

Aren’t you sick (I think everybody is) of “rules” Christianity? Every day somebody’s got another rule for us to follow to be “good” Christians. Don’t get me wrong. Certainly there are commands in God’s Word and promises. Certainly Christ has standards, but we don’t become Christians because we “receive standards.” We become Christians because we receive Christ, who loves us, died for us, lives in us daily.

What I need, then, is to build my love-grace relationship with Him. And I, like most of us, know so little about love-grace relationships. I have to learn to allow Him to embrace me, to care for me, to point out my needs to me (and how He fills them). I need to listen to Him, and I desperately need to talk to Him.

Where and how is all this done? In prayer.

In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know* the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…”

Know”* in this passage is the same word used for the intimate closeness of a husband and wife in sexual embrace. Paul is praying that you and I will experience that kind of love with Christ -not sexual, but intimate, deep, close, unfettered. It is so deep that Paul later says it “surpasses knowledge.” Imagine -he wants us to know what is too deep ever to be known!

Where do we experience this?

One place we can learn to do so is in prayer. Even Paul’s desire for us to experience this life is voiced in a prayer (Eph. 3:14). When we “get down and get honest” before God, we are on His turf in a unique way. Seldom do we get closer to Him than in prayer.

One girl from a Jewish background wrote the following: “I now know Christ is here all around me, just waiting for me to reach out, to let Him love me…” When we pray, we can pray to experience this love, to be bathed in it, to learn how to give it back, to learn how to let it seep into the dry cracks and crevices of our lives.

In fact, the longer I love, the more I think that the chief reason for the gift of prayer is that we learn to receive, experience, and return His love in genuine relationship. Prayer is one place when God can get at us (and we think prayer is for getting at Him!) and speak to and minister to us. It is for this reason first that we can learn to rush to prayer.


This piece is taken from the article “7 Reasons to Pray” by CruPressGreen

Praying When Necessary?

Christians seem to live in two worlds: our walk with Christ & everyday life.two-planets

When we go to church (hopefully) we are told to set aside time for God, have a quiet time, read our Bibles…These are all great things! Yet our everyday life is saying go go go, gimme gimme gimme, do do do. How can we slow down our pace enough to have an adequate devotion, or be alone with God in silence for more than a couple minutes without feeling uncomfortable?

Time with God often seems like the next thing on our to-do list. Always on the go, how can we spend time with God when we’re like a customer rushing through drive thru. I know this is never our intention, but it ends up that way more often than not.


I don’t have enough time… I just can’t get into reading the Bible… I feel like I’m talking at a wall…


But Christ never used excuses for his personal walk with Christ. He controlled the outcome. Even amidst his crazy ministry schedule, he went up on the mountain to pray alone. He knew what he signed up for when he came to earth, and there was no indecision in his person. We have to ask ourselves if we are we half-on the Christian bus or are we all-in like Jesus?

luke9-23Christ preached about taking up our cross and following him. We have to ask ourselves what that looks like. That cross might look like your daily excuses for avoiding time with God. God’s saying to put it on the cross daily and pick it up.

Picking up your cross looks like praying when you don’t have to. It looks like communicating with God because you want a deeper relationship even when you don’t feel like putting forward the effort.

Is God a friend, father figure, task-master? Your prayer life might struggle because of how you view him. Hopefully one day I can truly view him as my God simply because He is who He says he is, and that He loves me despite my sin. “For God SO loved the world that He died for you and for me.” – John 3:16. He wants a deeper relationship with us, and is reaching out to us through prayer if we will only take the time.

Daily Dependence

mend-broken-heart

Right now I am back at home, enrolled at Marshall this year, and I know that. But it still is not easy…

My heart desperately wanted a relationship, but God told me: “Not Yet. Will you give me this next school year, just you and me”? I said yes to God, and midst the trial, God has gotten me through so far. But I subconsciously put a timer on God’s clock though. I was doubting God’s promise that it would be alright.

Soon after, God presented me with a new situation: “Brian, will you give up that relationship indefinitely? I want to set you aside for a purpose beyond this next season at Marshall, it needs to be just you and me.”

God wants us to have a deeper relationship with him first, and then we can be sent out. It is not natural for my heart, my flesh, to yearn for this deep love of God. That is where the lesson of daily dependence is being learned. It does not just…poof…happen. It is a slow, often painful process; but God reminds me that it is worth it. The answer was hard, but I have given my hurting heart to God.

Little did I know that I was about to hurt my knee alsoknee-injury-5.

It could not have come at a worse time. I have been training since July to run my first marathon. I only have 3 weeks to try to rehab before I run the race, and unbelievable doubt plagues me because I have had knee problems occasionally in my past.

God has brought me to a place of total dependence. Even though I have done rehab, I am still scared because I do not know what will happen when I start running that far. When I was talking with God about this the other day, he told me it was going to hurt me, but He was going to get me through it. I just have to depend wholly on Him to get me through.

1-peter-5-7What is God asking you to give up?

Dependence is a daily ritual. We have to constantly give it to God, otherwise we’ll we try to grab control again. But it’s beautiful It brings both sides together in a more healthy relationship.