Worship In the Wilderness

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:1-8 NLT)

I am challenged by these verses in Psalms. At this point in David's life, he is dealing with a lot of trouble. He is having to live in the wilderness and is experiencing a rough stretch of his life. Despite all of that David chooses to remember the good things God has done for him instead of dwelling on the worry.

Even during God's “silent” moments David never forgot how great and glorious God was. David then used those memories to switch from worry to praise.

Like David, during my moments of desperation and worry, may I reflect on God's “power, glory, and unfailing love.” May I use those meditations to transform my thoughts to ones of praise and worship.

 

Praying For the Converted

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:16-20 NLT)

As I look at this verse, I am disappointed by the lack of prayer I devote to those people to whom I have helped introduced to Christ. In some ways, I am content to letting their relationship carry on once they have truly given their lives away. I think I should follow Paul's example and pray for my friends so they will be given increasing spiritual wisdom, they will grow in their knowledge of God, and that their hearts will be filled with confident hope.

I pray that all of my friends continue to understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us and how incredible that is in relation to our incredible weakness. May we lean on Him more every day to sustain us and carry us.

 

Guide To Food Prayers

I read Jonathan Acuff’s book, Stuff Christians Like a few months ago. It is an awesome book that is written with a great sense humor that I love. If you have been a Christian for a while, or even attended a church at any point, his book is definitely worth reading.

Michele and I use one quote from the book a lot when we talk about praying before eating our meals. It is a rhyme to “help” you remember whether or not you should pray before eating food while standing up.

Here is the rhyme:

If you have to stand / God won’t demand / a prayer tonight / so take a bite.”

Hopefully, this will help you when you get stuck trying to remember if prayer is required with your standing meal.

Prayer, Faith, and Dropping the Bomb

My good friend, Jonathan, wrote an excellent article about prayer and faith. Here are a few of his thoughts.

Dropping the bomb on the ants!

sometimes I find myself saying, “Hey the least I can do is pray for you!” What a crock!

If the US Air Force accepted my invitation to execute military maneuvers in my backyard to destroy a nasty nest of Army ants (you gotta love the imagery) they would bring firepower that was more magnificent and vastly superior to any defense or assault the vicious insects could mount!

Asking the USAF for help would not be the least I could, that would the most extravagant, maybe even audacious thing I could do! Consider when we pray, we are inviting the divine and infinite source of power in and beyond this universe to move and accomplish His perfect will in our life. That is so far above “the least I can do”! Praying for people is less about what I want to do to help, but the privilege I have of inviting God to bring His strength and power to the table.

Please Stop Faking It, Rather I Hope You Faith It

The least I can do is fake it and mouth the request. The best I can do is faith it and sincerely trust in Him to do what only He can! Sincere prayer is where faith in God is strengthened, not solely by His fulfilling my request as I asked, but more, by the wonderful reality and promise of His Presence, His Purpose, and His Power that will ultimately brings His version of good into my life. Given the choice, I definitely want His version of good!

My prayer is that I hope I see God more as the One who can drop the most extravagant, audacious, and powerful bombs/answers to our requests instead of the one I just fake prayers to (which I think I do too often).

Our Return Flight – An Answered Prayer

I have to admit, there have only been a handful of times over this past year where I have come to God hopeless, worn out, and on the brink. In two simple words: broken down. Monday was one of those days for me. Asher and I were on our way back home from Phoenix and we were on our first of two flights. We were both exhausted, fussy, and grouchy from a weekend visiting with the family.

During the flight (to Memphis) Asher did not want to play quietly nor did he want to play with his games. Basically, he did not want to be on the plane at all, and he let me know it constantly. Likewise, I was not being the gracious father. All I wanted to do was to have him remain quiet so that we would not disturb those around us. And with short little outbursts, I did my best to keep our noise to a minimum.

Asher and I were heading toward a meltdown and I knew it was going to happen on the second flight. I knew I could not handle our situation anymore. I also knew I did not have the patience to handle Asher and I could not take care of him on my own.

So, it was as the plane was on approach (for our landing) that I prayed to the Lord for help. It was a simple prayer asking the Lord to give me patience and help so that we would make it through the rest of our trip. For me, it was most definitely a prayer of desperation!

My Answered Prayer And there it was. As our second flight lifted off the ground I looked next to me and was overwhelmed by what I saw: Asher asleep. Now, before you dismiss this as a common occurrence, I will tell you that it is a rare moment when Asher sleeps on a vehicle. For me, it was an overwhelming relief that I cannot describe. It was more than Asher just lying there asleep. For that entire flight, it was my temporary place of refuge, where I could finally rest. It was my answered prayer.

And so, Psalm 142 comes to mind as I reflect on this moment from a few days ago:

I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.

Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.'”

Psalm 142:1-3 & 5