pray

Living Single V

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Even though God has told me on three separate occasions that He was going to bless me with a husband, I got weary along the way. It’s been almost twelve years since my divorce and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever marry again.

Maybe God changed His mind.

Maybe you don’t deserve a husband.

Maybe the person God had for you married someone else.

That’s what the enemy was telling me.

I knew the last relationship I was involved in wasn’t going to last because he wasn’t what God described, but because I was tired of waiting and tired of being alone, I settled. I thought God had forgotten about me. I had become this woman that I didn’t like – desperate, begging for love and attention. To be in that relationship, I had to compromise, but what I was doing to please man wasn’t pleasing to God. I made sacrifices hoping to make someone happy, but when was I going to become a sacrifice to God? When was I going to make Him happy?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

God said that if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and He will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). A lot of us want God to hear us when we pray, we want Him to forgive us and to heal us, but some of us only want to pray, but we don’t want to turn.

I repented to God for not trusting Him and for making a decision without consulting Him first.

Although that was good, it wasn’t enough. I had to also turn.

So I let Ishmael go so that what God promised (Isaac) can come.

 

Too Valuable To Lose

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I decided to go on a three-day fast a few weeks ago. I was hurting and crying. Depression was trying to creep in. I didn’t want to get out of bed and my attitude at work was horrible.

Nothing I tried helped and no one could help me, but I was reminded of what Jesus told his disciples. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.  I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to get what I needed. That meant no food. No television. No social media. It was a fight, but I was tired of hearing my flesh, my wants and my desires and I wanted to hear God.

I usually pray throughout the day – standing, sitting down, lying down, walking, but this day I was lying prostrate on the floor, on my face, crying out to God, asking Him to help me. I didn’t pretend like everything was alright. I didn’t tell him what I normally tell my family and coworkers.

I’m good.

I’m fine.

I’m okay.

No, I got honest with God. I know He knows and sees everything, but I told him anyway. Then, I told him what I wanted Him to do for me and that I was giving him three days to do it. I know. That’s pretty bold, but that’s how God wants us to come before Him. Besides, a lot can happen in three days. Jesus is a great example of that.

Each day, God gave me scriptures to read. Here I was crying because I felt rejected, but God began to show me in the scriptures how I rejected Him. You see, any time you reject the truth, you reject Him . When I realized what I had done to Him, all I could do was cry, repent and ask for His forgiveness. 

By the third day, the Lord said, I have done what you asked.

The following morning, the Lord said, Whatever you fight to get, you will have to fight to keep. God did what I asked. It was His job to give it, but it was my job to keep it.

This reminds me of the parable of the lost coin. That woman became so desperate to find her coin that she lit a candle and swept the whole house. 

Sometimes we lose things because we don’t understand the value of what we have. Because she was diligently seeking it, she found it and when she found the coin, she acknowledged what she did. She didn’t blame anyone for this. I found the piece that I lost.

What that woman did was what I had to do to get back what I lost. I lost my joy because 1) I couldn’t see my value and 2) I couldn’t see the value in the words that God gave me. I stopped believing what He said and I didn’t trust Him like I should. I was acting like Esau – like I was going to die if God didn’t give me what I wanted now. But I forgot that God hated Esau (flesh).

Today, I’m so grateful for what God has done, but I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me not to take what God did for me lightly or for granted – that I keep, protect and guard what He has given me because what He has given me is too valuable to lose.

If Jesus won’t lose all that the Father has given Him, then I shall not lose all that He’s given me.

 

[Scripture references: Matthew 17:21; Luke 15:8-10; Romans 9:13; John 6:39]

Pray Without Ceasing

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I don’t know if my sister is still doing it or not, but for awhile she was buying a lot of hair products for hair growth. And I mean a lot. One day I was asking her about one of the products she had on her dresser.

I don’t know if it works or not. I didn’t use it long enough. I started and then I stopped.

Does that sound familiar?

When something doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like it to, this is what some of us do. We get weary, we stop believing and we stop doing the things that we started doing.

The reason why some of us haven’t seen results or haven’t seen certain things come to pass is because we got distracted along the way. We started making daily confessions and then we stopped. We stopped fasting. We stopped doing what God told us to do. Some of us decided to set up a time to pray every day, but then something else became more important and it took the place of our prayer time.

When Peter was in prison, the church prayed for him and they prayed without ceasing. They didn’t stop praying just because nothing had happened yet. They prayed until their answer knocked on the door.

The angel told Daniel, You words were heard and I have come for your words. If the church had stopped praying, the angels would have stopped working.

Peter needed a miracle. He was in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. He was bound with two chains between two soldiers and there were guards at the prison door. Now, Peter wasn’t worried about his situation. He was sleeping. He was resting, but because the church remained faithful, consistent and persistent, an angel appeared to Peter in prison. It was the angel who took the chains off his hands. It was the angel who led him out of a door that he wasn’t supposed to go through.

I’m not saying that the church never grew weary, but in spite of what it looked like or how they felt, they kept praying. Without ceasing means they never stopped. Our problem is we just don’t give God time to work. If nothing happens when we think it should happen, then we assume that God doesn’t love us or that He has forgotten about us or that He changed His mind about what He said.

Let’s become the church we read about in the book of Acts. These people probably needed a miracle in their own lives, but they kept Peter’s name before the Lord. I know God doesn’t sleep or slumber, but they gave Him no rest until Peter was released from prison.

They were like the widow who went to the judge daily until he gave her what she asked for. They were like the person who went to a friend’s house at midnight to ask for bread, but the friend told him that the door was shut, he was in bed and he wasn’t getting out of bed. But because of their friendship (John 15:15) and because he refused to return home without getting what he asked for, the man got out of bed and gave his friend what he needed.

There are some things that we need to stop doing, but praying isn’t one of them.

Pray without ceasing.

 

[Scripture references: Acts 12:1-16; Luke 18:1-8; Luke 11:5-13]

Don’t Ignore the Signs

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A couple weeks ago, I bought a salad. When I began to eat it, I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t taste right. It didn’t even smell right, but I continued to eat the salad instead of returning it back to the restaurant or throwing it in the trash.

Nothing happened to me immediately or on the same day. (It’s the same way with sin. Sometimes we don’t feel the consequences or effects of sin immediately). But the day after I ate the salad, I began to have abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills.  All of these things were happening because there was something in my body that shouldn’t have been there and it needed to come out.

A lot of times as Christians, we do what I did with the salad. We know something isn’t right or good. You’re not sure what is wrong, but you continue to stay in that relationship or you continue to do what you know isn’t good or right only to become sick – physically sick as well as soul sick and sin sick.

I should have taken heed to the signs – the smell and taste – because what I allowed to go in my body could have killed me. I experienced food poisoning, but the sin that we continue to do with our bodies is poison that can lead to destruction or even death.

If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away (Proverbs 1:17, NLT).

My prayer is that we do the same as that bird. If we are unsure or uncertain about something – if something doesn’t feel right or seem right, then just stop, pray, fast and ask for wisdom and understanding until God reveals what it is.

Don’t ignore the signs.

God Doesn’t Want You to Miss a Thing

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One day, the angel appeared to Manoah’s wife. Before he announced what God was going to do for her, he told her about herself. You are barren (Judges 13:3). God wanted her to know that He knew her condition and that He had forgotten about her. The scriptures doesn’t mention whether it was her desire to have children or if she and her husband had prayed for a child. All I know is that God saw a need. He (Samson) shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines (vs 5).

To conceive a child seemed impossible. Manoah and his wife had tried for years, but what had been impossible with man was about to become possible with God. He was going to make it happen. There was a problem and God was going to create the solution for that problem.

The angel gave Samson’s mother two promises. First, he promised her that she would conceive. Then, he promised her that she would bear a son. Not everyone that becomes pregnant gives birth, but she was going to do both.

There is a need and the people in your home, on your job and in your community need someone who will pray on their behalf. They need someone who will choose to live holy. And God needs someone who will be consistent, faithful and who will do what He tells them to do.

The angel told Manoah’s wife what not to touch, eat or drink because of what she was carrying inside of her. I don’t think we carefully consider what we are carrying inside of us (the Spirit of God, the word of God, etc). If we did, we would make better choices.

But for the next nine months, she gave up some things. She put away some things. She stopped doing certain things so that the needs of the people would be met. You see, God wasn’t just giving her a son, but He was giving a deliverer to a people that He loved and called His Son (Exodus 4:22).

My prayer for every person who is reading this is that you will not MIS-carry, be MIS-led or MISS what God has for you or what He wants to do through you for His people.

God Will Allow What You Allow

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allow: to give permission; to give consent; to let happen; to let enter; to permit by neglect

People often ask, Why would God allow this to happen? But the real question is, Why did WE allow this to happen? 

God has given His children power over all the power of the enemy. God has given us dominion over all the earth. It is our job to help the helpless and those in need. We are to defend those who can’t defend themselves. We are to give justice to the poor and to the orphan. It is our responsibility to pray always and continually for all people because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:2).

God has appointed watchmen who will not keep silent day or night and who will give Him no rest. We are to be watchful and alert because there is an adversary who is looking for someone to attack and devour.

God brought things to Adam to see what he would call them. He named cattle, birds, and beasts.  He even named his wife. What are you calling your marriage? What are you calling your child? What are you saying about yourself? What are you calling that situation? Are you calling it what you see or what it should be?  Are you praying for your leaders (political and spiritual)? Are you praying for your country? Are you praying for your city? Are you praying for people or are you talking about them? Are you praying for children other than your own?

When bad things happen, we ask, Where is God? But God is asking, Where are you, Adam? God placed us in the garden for a purpose. We are supposed to be keeping the garden. We are supposed to be watching as well as praying. We are supposed to protect what God has given us. We are supposed to obey God and do what He tells us to do.

So, stop blaming God for what you allowed.

God will only allow what you allow.

I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but he will not allow anything you don’t allow (Matthew 18:18, CEV).

 

[Scripture references: Luke 10:19; Genesis 3:9; Psalm 82; 1 Peter 5:8; James 5:16; Isaiah 62:2; Genesis 1: 26; Genesis 2:19-20]

Examine Your Prayer Life

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When you read about the life of Jesus, He prayed for himself in John 17:1-5 and he prayed about his will in the garden, but you never read in the bible where he prayed for himself all the time. He prayed more for others than he did for himself.

And he never prayed for provision. He didn’t pray for wine at the wedding. He didn’t pray for money to pay the temple tax. When Jesus fed 5000 people (not including women and children), the disciples told him that they didn’t have enough food to feed all those people. But even though it wasn’t much, Jesus told them to give him what they had – five loaves of bread and two fish. There was no need for Jesus to pray for food. They already had food. He just thanked God for what he had and God multiplied it.

If we are worrying about things, it is either because we don’t know/understand what we have or we don’t know how to receive what He has already given.

As a small child, I never worried about what I was going to eat or what I was going to wear. I just knew that my father would take care of me. My prayer is that we will all trust our Heavenly Father the same way I trusted my earthly father. May we understand that even though we can’t see Him, He is not far from us. He is very near, but we must get closer to Him through prayer and reading His word.

This is a relationship.

Just as your Heavenly Father is responsible for you, you have a responsibility to Him as His sons and daughters. Your duty is to listen and to obey Him.

Get to know HIM. Seek Him and not just what you want from Him. Know that what you need has already been provided. Know that when you talk to God, He hears you.  Know that before you called, He answered. Don’t worry about when this is going to happen or how that is going to happen. Just believe that it will happen.

Examine your prayer life today. What do you pray about the most? If you really believe that God cares for you, then what you’ve been praying for or praying about should change.  If God is your Provider, you’re not lacking in resources. Maybe you’re just lacking in wisdom or understanding about what He has already provided.

Just as my earthly father cares about me, our Heavenly Father cares about us – and even more.