Tag Archives | practicing prayer

thankful prayers {day#19}

ok. i’m barely half way through the 31 days and i’ve missed a day! i’m so sorry that i missed yesterday! i don’t know how it happened. it’s just been too darn busy around here and i was on the couch at 9pm last night when i realized that i’d missed it. ack.

some days it’s just too crazy to pray… but really, those are the days we need prayer most… right?!

so here i am ready to get started again. a little grace and i can face today’s post.  today we’re going to talk about learning how to be thankful in prayer.

i’m pulling these ideas from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. i loved this book when i read it this past spring. i even quoted it a couple of times already on this blog. lately, i’ve heard a lot of criticism for it being too flowery, to girly…heck, one friend was even turned off by the “nest on the cover”… but if you give it a chance, and you don’t judge it by the cover, {seriously,you-know-who-you are-friend, you’re even a lit person… you should know better ;)…hee hee} you could seriously be touched too.

but as for prayer, what really struck me about this book, and what i keep remembering from it, is to be alert to God’s gifts…

“If you want to be really alert to seeing Jesus’ divine beauty, his glory…then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace”

-quoted from John Piper.

…and to have a constant thankful-list on my lips.

if i open my eyes to God’s gifts daily, i can see how much He is working! and i can be thankful for each and every gift. when i start making a list of these gifts, even if the gift is just a small glimpse of beauty, i realize how much i go about day after day not noticing. if i start  making a list everyday… and use it as a thankful-prayer then i start living a grateful life that truly knows and trusts that God’s taking care of me.

here are a couple of quotes about counting your gifts so that you can be thankful::

“that gratitude truly is the foremost quality of a believing disciple because gratitude is what births trust…the true belief.”

“the counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One…to know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really one One.”

“the real problem of life-in my life-is lack of thanksgiving.”

“eucharisteo means “to give thanks” and to give is a verb, something that we do. God calls me to do thanks. to give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. that our lives become the very blessings we have received.”

Ann Voskamp

beautiful huh? i think i’m going to go take a moment and see what gifts i can be thankful for today. she talks about starting a journal where we just list the gifts we are thankful for. sounds like a good idea to focus my prayers on constant thanks. all that’s left to do, is just do it! 😉

go check out her book or her blog to learn more about  Ann Voskamps’s idea finding joy in thanksgiving.

{this is day 19 of 31 days of prayer. thanks for being here!}

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayer how to::part 3{day #17}

ok, so maybe today we should finally start talking about the parts of the Lord’s Prayer. first of all, remember what  i said yesterday: i am not a theologian so I do not claim to know that much… but i’ll share what i do understand and hopefully that will encourage you to do some research and see what else you can find!
the first part of the prayer is a praise:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.”

we are saying who God is to us. we are saying that He is greater and holier than us. We are praising Him as greater than everything. we are stating that HE IS GOD and WE ARE NOT! it’s kinda silly to say it like that, but don’t we all think we’re in charge of our own universe? we put ourselves in the place of God. so, reverence for HIS name seems to me like a good way to start when you’re talking to the creator of the universe. 😉

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

here, to me, we’re asking God to come. we are recognizing that our will is not good enough. we are recognizing that Gods kingdom is the perfect one and this world will not last. we are asking for God’s will to be done- not ours. we are asking for God to reign over our world on earth, our tiny little lives, as He reigns in heaven in all His might. this seems HUGE. and humbling because we’re not trying to be our own god ourselves by asking for our will to be done… nope- we are stating that we’d rather trust in Gods perfect will than our own. that’s scary. so often we think we know what’s best for our lives, but here we are asking for God’s best will in our lives.

Give us this day our daily bread,

now we are asking God for our needs. and really, what is our basic need? to be provided for. our daily bread. it can mean literally and spiritually. God knows what we need to survive. we need HIM and we need our basic things like food. ha. He always provides. this is a prayer for trust, really, because when we say, “this day” we’re asking for TODAY. not for tomorrow. we’re asking that he provide for our needs TODAY. and we’re trusting that He is going to give us everything we need. this is really convicting to me because i’m a huge worrier. i’m always worried about tomorrow. this is teaching us to only ask for what we need today-because God’s got tomorrow already in His hands. all i need to do is ask for God’s spirit to feed me today because He will provide.

and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

this one is hard. how often do we actually expect this? what we’re saying here is, ‘Lord, forgive me like i’ve forgiven those who’ve sinned against me’ …um… i don’t know about you, but i’m not very good at the forgiving others part.  if what i’m saying here is, Lord, forgive me like i’ve forgiven my husband, then i’m not asking for much. say, as an example, that i haven’t forgiven him for everything, that i’m still holding onto something. then i’m asking God to forgive me like that? yikes. we’ll talk more about this tomorrow, i think. our sins ARE forgiven by the blood of Christ, no doubt about that. but there is a call that since we’ve been forgiven for everything, to forgive others like Christ forgave us…which means we forgive everything. yikes.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

as far as i can tell, this is a request that God would keep us from temptation in order to protect us from sin. temptation is not a sin. Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days and yet the bible says, He was perfect, He never sinned. so this prayer, i think, is asking for God to protect us. we, of course, will face temptation in our lives, but this request is asking that God protect us with His loving hands from things that are too big for us at the moment. we are asking that He would deliver us from evil. either evil that is going in our lives right now, in the world, or in the future. we all face evil, and we are giving Him the authority to protect and deliver us, asking that He be God in our lives. putting into the perspective that we can’t deliver ourselves from evil or temptation, we NEED HIM.

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phew. that was a whirl wind and most likely a not very good explanation of the Lord’s prayer. i’m humbled that i don’t know it and understand it as well as i want to. but now, maybe we can all take the time to really research and dig deep into what these words mean!

join me on our knees, friends.

xo-kimberly renee.

{this is day 17 of 31 days of prayer, thanks for being here! click here to see the other prayer posts.}

 

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Prayer -how to ::part 2{day #16}

yesterday we read the Lord’s Prayer. did you have any thoughts about it? have you ever stopped to consider what you are actually saying?! i know that i have to make a conscious effort to think about it. so lets walk through it a little. i am not a theologian so i do not claim to know that much… but i’ll share what i do understand and hopefully that will encourage you to do some research and see what else you can find.
before we start going through the verses from yesterday lets look a couple of verses back. i am looking at Matthew 6:5-8. Jesus gives us some hints. He says, (paraphrased) don’t be like the hypocrites. they like to stand in the public places like the synagogues and pray aloud for everyone to hear. they like to be seen and respected for their fancy prayers. don’t be like them- Jesus says they’ve already received their reward. the reward from everyone else looking up to them and thinking that they must be holy because they have fancy shmancy prayers.
then Jesus says, don’t be like the Gentiles. he says that they think that if they just say enough, use big words, and repeat their needs over and over they will be heard. Jesus says that the Father already knows our needs before we ask them! so don’t think that if you just ask a certain way or so many times it makes your prayers better.
nope, Jesus says to go into your room, by yourself, and shut the door and pray in secret. it minds sounds funny to have to be secret about your prayers… doesn’t it? but i think what he’s saying is that your relationship with God is just between you two. no one else needs to know. there are definitely places where it is important to pray with others, but to have a true friendship with God we need to have some quality one on one time 🙂

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Gosh. that alone seems like a lot to think about! maybe we’ll talk about more of the prayer tomorrow … today think about your heart behind your prayers. are you like the hypocrites or Gentiles? do you make enough quality time, one on one, with your Abba, Daddy? i know that this is a convicting question for me!

{to see the other 31 days of prayer posts, click here!}

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prayer-how to: {day #15}

usually i’d say there is no “right way” to pray.

and really, there isn’t. it’s just a conversation. it’s just listening. it’s just opening your heart up to God.

but…

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Jesus says there is a “right way” to pray. He says so in Matthew 6:9-13.

most people have it memorized as “the Lord’s prayer”. We can utter it at a moments notice and we don’t even have to think about it. But how often do we actually think about what we are saying? Let’s read it thru today, think about it, ponder over the words, and tomorrow let’s talk more about what it means::

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
kyour will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

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prayer in the desert {day #14}

“…it is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.”

CS Lewis The Screwtape Letters {ch.8}

in this letter from Screwtape, the devil uncle writes to his nephew about how sometimes believers go through dry periods in their relationship with God when it seems like He is being really quiet. God seems really far away. it’s really hard to pray during these times. there can be a lot of distractions during these desert times or “trough” times. during “peak” times or mountain top experiences, it’s really easy to see God working and to talk to Him and to be in constant prayer. but in “trough” times it’s really hard.

but like the little imaginary devil writes, “during such trough periods… [we, Christians]  are growing into the sort of [person] He wants [us] to be.”  God uses those dry times. He is calling us to a deeper faith. and it is during these times that even though it may be the hardest to pray, it is the most essential time to pray.

it is an act of obedience to pray during these times. it takes faith to pray during these times. sometimes it is during these desert times that we are most afflicted with temptations and hard times. Screwtape is writing to his nephew Wormwood to teach him how to be a better tempter. He is training him about how to tempt his Christian away from the faith.  Screwtape says,

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

CS Lewis The Screwtape Letters {ch.8}

prayer in the desert is dangerous and beautiful obedience.

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A mother’s prayer {day# 13}

John 16:24 “until now you have asked nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

i’m struck by a mother’s prayer for her son’s salvation.

this son turned out to be one of the greatest historical influences on early Christianity. he happens to be one of husbuddy’s favorite historical figures:: his name is Augustine of Hippo.

a few years ago we read a book together by John Piper called “the Legacy of Soverign Joy” in which Piper explains the significance of Joy in the lives Augustine, Luther and Calvin as examples to modern day Christians. i highly recommend this book but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
i want to talk about the importance of prayer in Augustine’s life. Particularly the prayer of his mother.

Augustine’s mother, Monica, prayed for him so persistently all of his life.

she was a Christian and her son was not.

She desperately wanted him to be saved from the destructive path he had chosen.  she wanted him to stay home, not party all the time, get married, have kids… who knows what else… but most of all she wanted him to know her savior, Jesus.

There are so many things that i could say here but i just want to encourage any mother {or future mother} out there, never stop praying for your children.

here are a couple of quotes from the book:

“she shed more tears [over] my spiritual death,” Augustine said, “then other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son.”

“then we went and told my mother [of my conversion], who was overjoyed…for she saw that You had granted far more than she used to ask in tearful prayers and plaintive lamentations. You converted me to yourself…and you turned her sadness into rejoicing, into joy far fuller than her dearest wish, far sweeter and more chaste than any she had hoped to find in children begotten of flesh.” -Augustine

“…such was the lesson Augustine learned from the unremitting travail of his mothers prayers. Not what she thought she wanted in the short run, but what she most deeply wanted in the long run-God gave her “joy far fuller than her dearest wish” “ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:24) -John Piper

joy comes from prayer. prayer that includes thanksgiving for what God has provided and trusting for what He WILL provide.

{this is part of a 31 day series on practicing prayer. please check out the other posts in this series to read more about what i’m learning about prayer}

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a prayer for hope for today {day #12}

Psalm 130 from The Message:

1-2 Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.

3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.

5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.

7-8 O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.

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