Prayer

Be joyful always,
pray continuously,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 adapted




Jesus taught his Disciples how to pray; Jesus gave us the “Lord’s Prayer.” Explore the Lord’s Prayer word by word.... Jesus also gave us warnings about hypocrisy in prayer.

The Beatitudes, 23rd Psalm, The Prayer of St. Francis,
The Sinner’s Prayer, The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester,
St. Ignatius of Loyola Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, Taizé Prayer, and many others are included in this Bible Basics Study Lesson.




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Jesus' Teachings on Prayer


Pray by Bible Basics
Artwork by Albrecht Dürer 1471 – 1528
Music: Pachebel Cannon

PRAY
Bible Basics Video Presentation
7:45 minutes


PRAYER
Bible Basics Power Point Presentation




Hear our prayer, O Lord,
Hear our prayer, O Lord;
Incline Thine ear to us,
and grant us Thy peace.
Amen



4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:13-16

This is the confidence we have
in approaching God:
that if we ask anything
according to his will,
he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us—
whatever we ask—
we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15


5”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:5-8 NIV

There are two versions of the “Lord’s Prayer” in the New Testament, a longer one most commonly used from Matthew’s Gospel and a shorter version in Luke’s Gospel.

There are available Parallel Bibles, which have several biblical translations next to each other (parallel) for easy comparison.

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer
Luke 11:1-4
Matthew 6:9-13
Matthew 7:7-11

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray say: “Father,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
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.”

Luke 11:1-4 NIV


Ask for What You Need
Luke 11:1-4 The Message

1 One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, "Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
2-4So he said, "When you pray, say,

Father,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil."


Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer


The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

Methodist


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.

Presbyterian


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

Catholic




You may ask yourself, “why all of the YouTube videos” in this Bible Basics Lesson on Prayer? During the year in the Bible Basics Bible Study Class we often referred to these prayers and others throughout the year. On the Internet these YouTube videos are to SLOW you down! This is NOT a Prayer Speed Reading Lesson! Slow Down!

Treasure and Ponder the Words of God. Each and every Word of God is perfect. Dwell on the Word, Meditate on the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to understand the Word.

Are you obedient to God’s Word? How are these Words of God meaningful in your life? How can you apply God’s living Word to your Life?

Please read the Prayers. Enjoy the videos and the Bible Basics presentations, but truly meditate on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.



YouTube - Lord's Prayer - A Paraphrase by St. Francis of Assisi
Here begins the Praises which the most blessed Poverello St. Francis,our Seraphic Father,composed; and he said them at all the Hours of the day and night and before his 'office' of hourly prayers beginning thus with his paraphrase of the Lords Prayer.

NOTE: You may notice that in The Lord's Prayer - a paraphrase by St. Francis of Assisi there is no doxology added at the end of the prayer.



Our

When we say “Our Father,” we admit that God is not just “my” father, but is the father of all. “Our Father” is not black or white. “Our Father” is not an American, but the father of us all. There is no one excluded from God’s love. God is not a God of any single race, creed, nationality, or religion, but God is the Father of us all.

Father

We are not slaves to God or clones whom work for little reward. Father is about our relationship with a loving God.

Our relationship with God is like that of a father to his son. Why a son to his father? In New Testament times it was the son, which inherited from the father. It means that we all can have a close relationship with God.

Father – God is not male or female. It is not demeaning women, this relationship is equal for men and women to enter the kingdom of God. “Our Father” is the father of us all.

Who art in heaven...

Where is heaven? Is heaven up in the clouds or is it millions of light years away? Heaven is where God dwells, lives, and walks. If God is in your heart then a slice of heaven it in you. God is throughout all creation, from galaxies far away to deep within your heart and soul.

Hallowed by thy name

To hallow is to make holy. In Old Testament times the name of God was thought to be too holy to say out loud. We are giving reverence to God. We are praying directly to God. God is the great “I AM” and we are the small, “Here I am.”

Thy Kingdom Come

We look forward to the time when God will rule the world in love, glory, and power; when evil and death are vanquished.

Thy will be done on earth as in heaven

This is submitting your will to God’s will. This is about YOU being an instrument of God’s will here on earth – NOW!

Give us this day our daily bread

This is asking God for the daily necessities of life, food, shelter, clothing, good health; these are all gifts from God. We are reminded that we are not to store up great wealth just for ourselves, but to live trusting in God. We are also praying for this to be a shared daily gift to others as well. “Give Us” does not mean “Give Me.”

Jesus answered, “It is written:
‘Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4
Luke 4:4

...Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Other wise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:8-9 NIV

Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.

Trespass is not just walking on someone’s private property but infringing on the rights and dignity of others; to injure or to do an injustice to others. Law is so the strong will not devour the weak. We are also to forgive those who trespass against us!
We also must be forgiving. If we cannot forgive, we will not be forgiven.

“If you forgive others when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins,
Your Father will not forgive you.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Forgiving others can be very difficult, but sometimes it is often harder to forgive ourselves. We need God’s grace to forgive ourselves and to let ourselves to be healed

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions,
For my own sake,
And remembers your sins no more.

Isaiah 43:25 NIV

Lead us not into temptation

SAVE US FROM OURSELVES! Do not let us yield into temptation. Temptation is always something, which appears to be good. Temptation is a lie, a mirage that appears at first glance to be attractive and good. But after careful consideration of temptations’ consequences – Temptation is revealed to be a lie! The consequences of temptation are revealed to be too high of a price to pay. Temptation is disguised in the dark but in the Light (of God) it is recognized for what it is – Sin!

One bad decision leads to another bad decision.

One lie is needed to cover for another lie.

One temptation leads to another temptation.

Many bad habits are hard to break.

Deliver us from evil

When we ask to be spared temptation, we are asking that we do not contribute to the misery of the world. When we ask to be delivered from evil, we are asking not to be a victim of it.

“For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory, forever.”

  This is a doxology added at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. Through the years this doxology ending has been so closely related to the Lord’s Prayer that in some denominations it is recognized as part of the Lord’s Prayer.

When the President of the United States gives a speech, he will often add at the end of the speech, “God bless America.”  This is a doxology similar to the English people saying, “God save the queen.”

PDF version is different! This is the updated version 4/22/2009



Our Father...

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Amen.


This is NOT highlighting how important we are, but how plural the Lord's Prayer is! Each time we say the Lord's Prayer it is communion with God, the body of Christ, the church, the congregation, and each individual.



YouTube - The Lord's Prayer




“Whoever destroys a soul,
it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world.
And whoever saves a life,
it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”

― Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Yerushalmi Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.

Save a Life, Save the World



Njalo Always


Always we pray,
Always we give,
Always we bless,
Always.




Moments

If God brings you to it;

He will bring your through it.

Happy Moments; Praise God.

Difficult Moments; Seek God.

Quiet Moments; Worship God.

Painful Moments; Trust God.

Every Moment; Thank God.


-Unknown




Do all the good you can

“Do all the good you can,

by all the means you can,

in all the ways you can,

to all the people you can,

in all the places you can,

as long as you can.”


John Wesley




Be Careful

Be careful of your thoughts,
For your thoughts become your words.

Be careful of your words,
For your words become your actions.

Be careful of your actions,
For your actions become your habits.

Be careful of your habits,
For your habits become your character.

Be careful of your character,
For your character becomes your destiny.






The 23rd Psalm wmv.
by Bible Basics
2:22 minutes


Psalms 23 by Juanita Bynum




23rd Psalm

King James Version

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness

for His name’ sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

For thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me

in the presence of mine enemies;

Thou annointest my head with oil;

My cup runnith over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Amen




YouTube Video - The 23rd Psalm

A different look at Psalm 23.
It's such a beautiful description
of our Lord and us,
I hope that this psalm can be an eye opener
of your relationship with your heavenly Father.

Music by Chill Cafe, "I Love you Jesus"


The Lord is my Shepherd;
That’s Relationship

I shall not want.
That’s Supply

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
That’s Rest

He leadeth me beside the still waters.
That’s Refreshment

He restoreth my soul:
That’s Healing

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness
That’s Guidance

for His name’ sake.
That’s Purpose

Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,

That’s Testing

I will fear no evil:
That’s Protection

For thou art with me;
That’s Faithfulness

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
That’s Discipline

Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies;

That’s Hope

Thou annointest my head with oil;
That’s Consecration

My cup runnith over.
That’s Abundance

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,

That’s Security

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
That’s Eternity

Amen

Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: The 23rd Psalm


Psalm 30 by Bible Basics Video Inspiratational Meditation Video
Music by Chill Cafe, "I Love you Jesus"


Psalm 40 by Bible Basics Video Inspiratational Meditation Video
Music by Chill Cafe, "I Love you Jesus"

Psalm 40


7Turn all your troubles over to him,
because he cares for you and is watching over you.

Worldwide English

! Peter 5:7 by Bible Basics Video Inspiratational Meditation Video





A Time For Everythiing

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every purpose under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill, and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to morn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to give away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time of war and a time for peace.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

YouTube - Ecclesiastes 3. There is a time for everything!



The Beatitudes

be·at·I·tude (bç-ât’ĭ-tôôd’, -tyôôd’)

Matthew 5:1-12 NIV

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger

and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called the sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted

because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you,

persecute you and falsely

say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad,

because great is your reward in heaven,

for the same way they persecuted

the prophets who were before you.

YouTube - The Beatitudes
III. antiphon (The Beatitudes: Mt 5,3-12) + Valaam Monastery + pictures (mostly Samvel Sevada)

Beatitudes Explained
www.stbrigids-kilbirnie.com


Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: The Beatitudes



The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord,

make me an instrument of thy peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master,


grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born

to eternal life

Amen.


For me the Prayer of Saint Francis is the basic “Meaning of Life.”

You Tube - The Prayer of St. Francis - A Meditation
by Sarah MacLachlan

St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis of Assisi, lover of all creation, patron saint of animals and of the environment, and founder of the Franciscan order.

Visit this highly reccomended site!

www.americancatholic.org/features/francis/default.asp





The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester

Saint Richard is best remembered today for the popular prayer ascribed to him as his last words on his deathbed where, surrounded by the clergy of his diocese, he prayed:

Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
Amen.


YouTube Video: This prayer was adapted for the song "Day by Day"
in the musical Godspell.




St. Ignatius of Loyola Prayer

"Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous.
teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight, and not to heed the wounds;
to labor, and not to seek to rest;
to give of myself and not to ask for reward,
except the reward of knowing that I am doing
your will."




A Prayer of Hope

O God, we pray this day:

for all who have a song they cannot sing,
for all who have a burden they cannot bear,

for all who live in chains they cannot break,
for all who wander homeless and cannot return,

for those who are sick and for those who tend them,
for those who wait for loved ones and wait in vain,

for those who live in hunger
and for those who will not share their bread,

for those who are misunderstood
and for those who misunderstand,

for those who are captives
and for those who are captors,

for those whose words of love are locked within their hearts,
and for those who yearn to hear those words

Have mercy upon these, O Lord;
Have mercy upon us all.
In Jesus' name we pray.
Amen!

Extended Version

YouTube Video: Oh Happy Day from Sister Act 2




A Confederate Soldier's Prayer

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things;

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for,

but everything I hoped for.

Almost despite myself,

my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

Author Unknown
(Attributed to a battle weary C.S.A soldier near the end of the war)





The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

-Reinhold Niebuhr



Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered:
We will forgive them anyway.
If we are kind, people may accuse us of selfish ulterior motives.
We will be kind anyway. What we spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
We will build anyway.
The good we do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
We will do good anyway.
If we give the world the best we have, it may never be enough.
We will give the world the best we have anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between us and God;
it is never between us and them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between us and God;
it is never between us and them anyway.

(Adapted from a prayer inscribed on the wall of Mother Teresa’s
Children’s Home in Calcutta.)
Call to Worship at Arapaho United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 7, 2011.




May all beings be happy
May all beings be free from suffering
May all beings be well
May all beings be at peace
On This Day
This short meaningful prayer is how we close each of our Yoga sessions at Spiritual Yoga with Shelly Niebuhr. These Yoga teachings do not compete or conflict with my Christian faith... in many ways these teachings enhance my Christian Faith! Many of these Yoga teachings are common sense and an experience for me of Communion...
"a closeness with God."
Spiritual Yoga

The Five Wonderful Precepts
By Thich Nhat Hanh



FIRST PRECEPT
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of live, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.



The Power of Prayer...
The Power of Words





That if you confess with your mouth,

“Jesus is Lord,”

and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

For it is with your heart

that you believe and are justified,

and it is with your mouth

that you confess and are saved.


Romans 10:9-10

*To accept this great gift of salvation, to be Saved, all you have to do is believe with all your heart and confess with your mouth this short prayer:
*See Note Below!

*Sinner’s Prayer Revisted

Dear God,

I am a sinner.

I am sorry for my sins.

Please forgive me.

I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son.

I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins.

I want to invite Him into my life.

I want to trust Him as my Savior

and follow Him as my Lord,

from this day forward and forevermore.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen





FATHER, I am not worthy to ask You ANYTHING,
but today I NEED YOU!!!
Hear me...have mercy on me...I beg of you!
I have NOTHING TO OFFER YOU,
but the love in my heart for you. DELIVER ME.

AMEN


*The "Sinner's Prayer is more like giving your heart... falling in love; not blind, obedient, perfection....

Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet, it’s gotta be

More like falling in love than something to believe in
More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance




St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Plano, Texas

Taizé Prayer

(Pronounced tizzay)


“The exchange with God becomes real for us in prayer: by his Holy Spirit, God comes to dwell within us. By his word and by the sacraments, Christ gives himself to us. In return, we can surrender everything to him.”
- Brother Alois

A Brief Background on Taizé

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, France. It is composed of about one-hundred brothers, Protestant and Catholic traditions, who originate from about 30 countries across the world. The monastic order has a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation. It was founded by in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutze Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic

The community has become one of the world’s most important sites of pilgrimage. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make to make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community’s ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity, and reconciliation.




Taizé Prayer My Thoughts
Taizé Prayer is an intimate group of all ages singing softly in a whisper. Do not be intimidated if you can’t sing… just whisper the prayer. There are meditative hymns, reflection, silent meditation, "silence," and even chanting.

“Chanting” often as Christians when we here the word “chanting” we immediately think of something exotic, foreign, even threatening,and probably not Christian-like; so immediately we are cautious and on guard. Get over it! Well, “chanting” or maybe an easier word for Christians; “Repeating, repetition" are words easier to swallow.

Ask Yourself
Can the sincere Repetition of a Prayer, or a Psalm
ever be bad!

Hymn 2057 (Psalm 46:10)
Be still and know that I am God.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“Be still and know that I am God.”

When you are softly, whispering, repeating these verses from the (Methodist Hymnal Supplement) your prayer becomes God whispering in your ear “I am here.”

“Singing” can also intimidate people who are not in the choir. But this song is in a whisper, or just sung in your mind… your song, you and God may only hear your whisper. You are not singing/whispering for others.

For me the Taizé Prayer is very similar to my experiences at Emmaus Walk Candlelight;. Candle filled room, prayers, and hymns.

Commentary:
There are some Catholics that feel threatened because Taizé Prayer they feel; has its roots, its beginnings in Protestantism. Well all of Christianity has its beginnings and roots in Judaism – what Christians now call the “Old Testament.” The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But many Catholic churches do embrace Taizé Prayer and Taizé Prayer is available at their at their churches!

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
Plano, Texas

Ask yourself:
How can a sincere prayer to God ever be bad?






Prayer: Quality Time With God

There are many kinds of prayers. There are even books written on how to pray more effectively. I believe that some of the keys to prayer are to consistently, diligently, honestly, earnestly, praying to God and God will hear you! Just remember God may answer your prayer not the way you wanted. We are also often at odds of God answering our prayers in His time, not in our time, when we want. We often forget that we are here to serve God; God is not here to serve us!

One of the most beautiful pictures I can imagine is a child at their bedside praying to God; such innocence. I wish that I had met God in this fashion.

In the past (before coming to Christ) I occasionally prayed to God, usually when
I needed something (usually money) or when I got caught doing something I had no business doing I would pray for mercy, forgiveness, and a way out so I would not be punished. These are not examples of earnest, honest, repentance prayer. But, sometimes I would actually pray to give thanks to God for my blessings: a beautiful day, finding a new job, praying that my pregnant wife would simply have healthy children. I prayed but very inconsistently.

The prayer that really brought me to God was a desperate prayer of anguished pain of repentance when my heart and soul cried out to God. This was not a good time.
I imagine that most people who have been separate from God for years have a similar desperate prayer to God.

Most of your prayers are self-centered prayers of what you think you need. Usually after things get worst they gradually get better with God’s help. You may not get what you want or when you wanted it, but things will get better.

Gradually you actually recognize your blessings. A new wave of prayers of thankfulness for God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy begin to flow from your mouth.

Prayers begin to be prayers of hope, faith, guidance, and direction. Unimaginable at one time, but now you actually pray to be obedient to God and to serving Him.

As your faith matures and grows from worshiping, reading the Bible, studying, practicing your new found faith, and serving more of your prayers are now for others more than for yourself.

You now have conversations with God; a dialog. Joys, concerns; the little things, the big things they are all brought before God. Whisper prayers said all through the day sustain you, strengthen you, and comfort you. You now have a relationship with God. We need to pray to God, but we don’t need to do all of the talking. We also need to remember to Listen for God’s whispers – God’s answers.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper....
Adapted from 1 Kings 19:11-12

Many people have a wonderful meditation, devotionals, and prayers each morning. Unfortunately the only prayer I have time for in the morning is that I pray I will make it to work on time and not be late!

Whisper and Breath Prayers throughout your day really help to sustain you and keep you through the day.

Bedtime prayers for me are the quiet time when I can be relaxed, focused, and not be interrupted with my conversation with God. It’s not so much the amount of time you pray, as it is Quality Time With God.

We are also called to do prayers with family and community; saying grace when the family gathers around the dinner table – these days the family gathering around the table for dinner is a lost art form for so many busy families.

When I was growing up, the only time that my family gave grace was at my grandparent’s house or at an uncle and aunt’s home at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Never in my immediate family did we ever say grace.

I have the most trouble remembering to pray before or after a meal. I feel like I have some kind of mental block because I want to remember, but most often I forget.
I wonder if this is also because I take for granted my meals. It’s not like I ever have to go hungry; in fact I need to stop snacking between meals. I imagine that farmers really do give “Thanks” for their food. Farmers know how much work and effort went into it and farmers are also still at the mercy of the weather. I’m sure that many a farmer has prayed earnestly for rain and gave gracious thanks for when the rain came.



God’s Whisper

Adapted from 1 Kings 19:11-12

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper....
Adapted from 1 Kings 19:11-12

The wind may be your troubles keeping you up at night.
The wind may be your sleepless, restless nights.
Maybe your world is falling apart and you are between a rock and a hard place.

The earthquake may be your trembling with fears.
You are on shaky ground.
The earth beneath your feet is giving way.
You’re slipping, falling….


The Fire is testing, maybe a fever, stress, troubles, inescapable fears….
But God is the answer to your prayers, God is with you, be still and calm and listen! LISTEN FOR GOD’S WHISPER!

Be joyful always,
pray continuously,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 adapted



eoa




Olyn Howser

Next: Imperfect Christians

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