5 Reasons To Pray

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Prayer is probably one of the more challenging of the spiritual disciplines for me. As I have been practicing Lent and traveled on a mission trip the last several days, I have discovered 5 really great reasons I have discovered that I need to pray more often.

Prayer is my connection to my Creator

We were all made for connection with God. Being that I am not in a state of being where we can tangibly see each other or relate to each other as such, prayer provides this connection my soul longs for. Psalm 46:10 gives me a command to simply stop and know He is God, which is accomplished through prayer.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know I am God.

Prayer is my way to wisdom

If I feel unsure, pray. If I need understanding, pray. If I am about to make a decision, pray. Prayer is the way God leads me and it is in the silence of prayer that I often hear God speak words of wisdom as I meditate on His word and reflect.

James 1:5 If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…

Prayer is my weapon in the spiritual war

Because I am a spiritual being, I cannot engage spiritual things in any other way than through prayer. I cannot take a physical punch or stab spiritual entities. Prayer is the weapon I have to not only engage the spiritual realm but overcome.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:17-19

“And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.””‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:40‬ ‭

“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” Hebrews‬ ‭13:18‬ ‭

Prayer is a habit for a healthy spiritual life.

Just as I exercise physically to stay healthy, I must exercise spiritually to maintain a growing healthy spiritual life. Integrating a routine of prayer is a great way to continue spiritual growth and see God at work around me.

But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:16

And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. Mark 6:46

“I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. Proverbs 8:7

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

10When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Daniel 6:10

Prayer is my path to powerful living.

As Jesus, Paul and others exhibited daily habits of prayer, they also exhibited awesome power resulting from their prayer.

Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. John 6:11

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. Psalm 145:18-19

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

Do you have any other great reasons for prayer? Comment and share.
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4 Ways God Connects With Us

connect with God

What would it be like if you knew a celebrity had called your phone but you missed it? Would you be sick to your stomach? Would you try to call back as soon as you realized you missed the call? I would dare to say that many of us would really hate to miss a call from someone of such stature. Yet, when we hear that God wants to connect with us, it seldom if at all excites our hearts. The crazy thing about a celebrity is that they may or may not try to connect with you ever again but God consistently seeks to convey His love and care about you. In fact He has given us 4 very clear ways that He is using to connect.

1) God connects with us through Creation.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1

Psalm 19:1 makes it clear that even for the non-believer God is speaking a language everyone can understand. From the blue sky cradling the clouds to the night stars pinpointing God’s glory, all of creation is shouting there is a God seeking to connect with us. All that we see in the world around us is pointing us to a Creator; that’s the job of creation. This Creator wants to connect.

2) God connects with us through His Word.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it. Psalm 119:33-35

No book in the history of mankind has the credentials of the Bible. With more than 6 billion copies printed, in close to 2000 languages worldwide, the Bible has been ridiculed and ostracized yet endured. God has made sure that His Word remained so that we would know Him and see how He is seeking to connect with us. God’s word conveys His thoughts, His commands, His will, His pleasure and His purpose. When we read God’s Word, God connects with us and teaches us about Himself.

3) God connects with us through Prayer.

‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

Prayer is not unique to our religion. People from all walks of life express prayers in some fashion whether it is called “self-talk” or meditation.  The difference for the Christian is that we have a God who actually connects with us through prayer answering very specifically to requests and desires. God invites us to call out to Him and to know His ways. Through prayer not only do we connect with God but He connects powerfully with us!

4) God connects with us through Christ.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:1-2

Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate attempt at connecting with us. Hebrews 1:1-2 directs our thoughts to God’s intention from the beginning. God uses various things to show us and connect but His grandest connection is made through the person of Jesus Christ. For the pre-believer to the old Saint, there is no other name under heaven whereby we can connect with God. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, or any other religious leader cannot make the connection to God for us aside from the Lord Jesus Christ. God is using  Creation, The Bible, and Prayer to connect  with us but none of it matters apart from Jesus Christ.

God may not have “celebrity” status but He is truly the only famous one; and He is seeking to connect with you.

Observations Of A Prodigal #2

Prodigal And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together…Luke 15:13

Making plans?

So how was it knowing that he would be the one leaving the household?  It would take his dad a little while to collect the money because things are usually sold after one dies, not before, to distribute the inheritance. I’m wondering what life was like for the son while he was at home waiting for all this to wrap up? He’s probably making all kinds of great plans, with grandiose dreams of how great life is gonna be once he gets out of the old man’s house. It’s gonna be great to be free, at least that what he thinks.

It’s gonna be great somewhere else!

How many times I’ve thought these same kind of thoughts? Wouldn’t it be great to be somewhere else, doing something, maybe anything else but this? What about the rules or legislation or politics that I have to endure? Is this really the life? It really is quite easy to give in to those dreams of “what if” or “what about” or “wouldn’t it be great”? I have found though, that the grass isn’t really that much greener “over there” wherever “there” is. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you don’t take some time and reflect upon what you do have. Satan is a master at diverting our attention. He’s always waving a carrot out in front of us. We must not take our eyes off the prize in Christ Jesus! When we fail to look around and be thankful, we become embittered because we feel like we’re being cheated. One way or another, we feel like we’re missing out on something. But be sure of this, Satan is NOT showing you the whole, big picture!

Normal routine?

I guess life sort of continued as “normal” for the young man. Not really a lot mentioned here, except that after a few days, the boy gathered all he had and left. What seemed like a graduation day for the son seemed like a funeral for the father. But then life went on, right? Sure the grass got cut, the cattle were fed,  and the “normal” routine continued. But life was anything but normal! Life was listless. I’m sure the father mustered up enough energy to get up in the mornings, only to spend most of his day praying, watching and waiting.

Praying. Watching. Waiting.

Is this not what God does for us? Not that He sleeps but He watches, waits and Jesus prays for us. He longs for us to be where He is. Don’t get me wrong, God is a seeker, the Ultimate Seeker, but there are times when He waits. He doesn’t move because He is waiting for us to move. We’re the ones that leave; we’re the ones that need to return. There have been countless times when God has sought me; we can all attest to that truth in our lives. Sometimes God just waits.

The problem?

What is the problem? The party is going, the lights are flashing, the music is blaring, but there’s only emptiness. There is no joy where there is no life. There can be a multitude of other things but you cannot have joy where there is death. But the party’s just begun! It’ll pass; this feeling of emptiness, it’ll pass. Fill it with any number of pleasures. The only thing is that the pleasures just numb.

Numb-er 1

Numb. That’s’ where all this leads. Numbness. Perhaps that’s where it all began? Numb to the ones that love you, numb to the God who gives you life, numb to the world around you? Why? Because you had to be number 1. You had to have it all, now! You had to push other people aside and not care about their feelings or even their life. It became all about you. It’s kind of funny that when we’re focused on the wrong number 1 it always leaves a 0 (hole). If God’s not number 1, we will be the 1 whose “numb-er”.


What kind of plans have you made outside of asking God? What things have you dreamt in your heart that have grown and developed that are not blessed by the Father?

Do you feel free or bound right now? In what ways are you acting as a slave of the world instead of a Son of The King?

If you could be anywhere else, doing anything else, what and where would it be? Do you believe you are doing what God desires for you to do? Why do you want something different?

Has Satan been trying to distract you from your purpose in life? How and what does he use to do this? How can you better defend against such thoughts, schemes, and plans from him?

In what ways have you not been thankful for what you have? In what ways have you taken advantage of the from God?

How does it feel to know God’s watching, waiting and praying for you? Is there someone God wants you to do this for?

Do you feel empty inside? With what are trying to fill the void? How focused are you on you? Are you number 1 in your life?

What words come to your mind when you think of describing the younger son? How about the Father? What colors come to mind?

If you were filming this movie, where it would be taking place? Who would star in the lead roles?

Devotionals For Leaders: Intercession or Interference?

Devotionals for leaders (1)

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

How selfish are my prayers? How selfish are my prayers for others? Prayer is not meant to be a means for me to just get what I want. In fact, it is meant to be a means to get what God wants for me and for others.  Real intercession for another doesn’t demand anything of God as though we know what people need best. Real intercession for others is found in letting go and letting God do as He will in their lives. The temptation for leaders is to pray for God to do certain things that benefit the leader more than the person for whom we intercede. Leaders can intercede for another asking that the person be blessed or healed or whatever, simply so that leader can be free of dealing with the person’s hardship. This is not intercession but interference. God has intentions and plans for people and sometimes those plans involve difficulty and hardship. The leader is not meant to question God but to help the person find God in the midst of the hardship. This is intercession.

Prayers may not always be answered or understood. God doesn’t have to answer us in the ways we pray or desire. It is not the leader’s place to understand or know it all but to submit to the leadership of God. God loves people more than we do and we must trust His ways, His plans and His purposes are higher than ours. When we move or pray, we must do so out of obedience and submission to God’s plan and not out of our own sympathies or inclinations. Trying to fix things for people or to fix people is not intercession but interference.

God doesn’t seek our approval before He does something. As leaders and servants we must stay acutely aware of God’s Spirit working and acting around us. Being sensitive to His leading and prodding is essential for the leader. The leader must work with God in people’s lives and not quench or circumvent what God is doing. Compassionate and sympathetic leaders may want to intervene and assist when what God wants is intercession. Yes, leaders should be sensitive and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are times to open our hands and serve our fellowman and then there are times to fold our hands in sincere intercessory prayer. At the timing of God, intercession may lead to the intervention as was the case for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and His prayer from the cross to forgive those who crucified Him. Otherwise, it is essential that the leader not interfere with God’s working in other’s lives but genuinely intercede on their behalf.

What it seems to come down to is that the leader must be willing to take their hands off of every aspect of life and fold them in prayer for God’s will to be done. This takes form in accepting whatever role the leader plays on the team, in service or in another’s life. It means that God has the right to move people in or out as He sees fit because we trust His care and love of others is greater than our love or concern. Leading through intercession is a great task that requires much faith for the leader since the leader must accept God’s plan more than his own agenda. The leader is only fit for leadership when there is no interference in other’s lives to accomplish a task but a sincere desire for God to be glorified in other’s lives regardless of what it takes.

Final thought: Don’t pray for what you want; pray that what you want will be what God wants. Stay in prayer for people but stay out of the way of God in people’s lives. Let God be God.

Devotionals For Leaders: Whatchu Want?

Devotionals For Leaders

We all want something…many somethings, in fact. Wanting and desiring is always going to be part of the human experience. So the question then is “whatchu want”?  Let’s all admit it: our “wanter” is broken. We want things we shouldn’t want. We don’t want what we should and would be good for us to want. We are “wanter” challenged. Even in the best of us at our most sincere moments we can find our hearts to be utterly deceitful as Jeremiah has said in Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Do you want God as God or for God to just bless you with gifts and kindness and take you to heaven someday? It’s easy to relegate God to our Spiritual Santa Claus or God Vending Machine.How can I say this?  It is evident when we become angry and irate when we don’t get what we wanted. Sure, God wants and does give us things for us to enjoy but ultimately God is seeking to give us Himself, which is the greatest gift of all. He desires for us to want Him and not just what He has to offer us.
We find this to be true in other relationships, which ultimately symbolize how we treat God, don’t we? There are some people we use: some we don’t want to be around but they are good at getting us farther ahead or giving us what we want. Then there are others that we love being around and that we really want to KNOW. God wants to be in this latter category. It’s not that God is hard to get to know; it’s just that it’s hard for us to LET GO of our stuff and selfish desires to know Him.
Do you seek great things for yourself? —Jeremiah 45:5
God doesn’t have a problem with us having great things as long as they draw us closer to Him and His heart. It’s when our hearts become obsessed and overtaken, enamored more by the gift than the Giver that there is a problem. When what we want is no longer Him but more time with the gift or being consumed with the gift, that our relationship begins to die. As a leader, it is important to remember than each and every gift, whether it is the gift of leadership, speaking publicly or influencing people privately, is to be used to point others to the God Who gave us the abilities. It’s to help others want to want God; not to make ourselves popular or famous.
In His kindness, God allows us to ask for whatever we want. There is no boundary for what we ask. However, there is a limit to what God will give us. God doesn’t just haphazardly answer our prayers. He answers all prayers in ways that will bring us closer to Him and ultimately bring Him the most glory. Sure God gives us good things but be certain that anything that we have or anything that happens to us is because God wants us to want Him more.
Oswald Chambers said:
Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).
So whatchu want? Is it more of God? Or just His blessings?
Final thought: If God is what you desire most, it will be revealed in how you treat everything else you have and every other relationship. Are you willing to LET GO of everything to possess only Him?

A Tale Of Two Sinners: Sermon Notes From Ash Wednesday

tale of two sinners

Luke 18:9-14

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

Things to take away:

Being religious doesn’t make you right with God.

Not being like others doesn’t make you like God/Jesus.


Are you self-righteous?

Do you compare yourself to others or to Christ?

Where do you stand when you pray? Do you ever kneel?


12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

Things to take away:

Doing the minimum is not a sacrifice.

Giving and giving up should be an act of love not duty


Do you keep track to be impressive or justified?

Do you ever do more than is required or asked?

What do you do out of love?

God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.


 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

Things to take away:

God invites the humble in and up close.

God is merciful to those who admit they are sinful


Do you feel distanced from God?

Have you confessed your sin to God lately?

Are you willing to humble yourself before God and man?

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.

God became like me so that I might become like Him.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21