Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
- Philippians 4:6
Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
- Mark 11:24
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name.
- John 16:23
And 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. Therefore 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 5:15,16
Throughout the Bible, we see the power of prayer.
Moses desires to set his people free from the Egyptians and God proves himself faithful (Exodus 6-14).
Hannah prays for a child and God proves himself faithful (1 Samuel 1-2).
Esther wants freedom for her people and God proves himself faithful (Esther 2-8).
I could go on and on. We see that God answers us through prayer, so there’s importance in praying boldly. We must pray with conviction and expectation that God will show up. One of the biggest examples of praying boldly is in the book of Daniel. Because of his faith in God, Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions. Could you imagine being in a pit of hungry lions with no way out? I would have freaked out. So what did Daniel do? He prayed boldly (Daniel 6-9). Talk about faith in the Lord! He prayed boldly, knowing that God would bring him out of the pit. And God did!
So why don’t we pray boldly?
I encourage you to examine your prayer life and see how you’re praying and what you’re praying for. I’ve found that as I’ve been learning to pray with conviction, I see God show up more. I see him answer requests with clarity and promise. It’s exciting to be in a prayerful relationship with Christ like I haven’t before. Commit to praying intentionally and with expectation that God will do what he says he will do.
Discipline: to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
Discipline is something I’ve always lacked in my life. Because I’m a person with a Type-B personality, my spontaneity, easy-going habits, and desire for things to be relaxed overrule my need for discipline.
There are two things in particular that I want to be disciplined in: my health and my relationship with the Lord. I have time to go running in the morning and have times with Jesus during and after my workout. I want to have a solid amount of time to spend by myself, which is something that doesn’t happen too often. I’m not saying that everyone should be taking breaks, but for me, it’s what I need.
As I create time for these two aspects I want to be disciplined in, I realize that I’m being obedient to God. 1 Corinthians 9:24,25 (NIV) says,
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it.
Let’s strive to be disciplined in things that have importance and long-term value.
I just returned from a missions trip to Peru, and I want to share a story of someone I met there.
I met a young lady who was the product of incest. She was raped by her two brothers; resulting in pregnancies by each of them. This mom weighs forty pounds and wears a toddler-size three. She comes from extreme poverty and her disabilities only make her circumstances more difficult. She cried, threw fits, and didn’t want to participate in our activities.
By the end of the second night with my team, she was beginning to smile and seemed to have no desire to cry. When we said goodbye to her, we could see that God had already done a huge work in her life. Our contact even said she had never seen this young woman smile this much.
How great is our God, that He can be seen and move through the imperfect love of His people?
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
- Luke 4:18,19 (NIV)
As most of you know, The Hunger Games recently came out in theaters. As the premiere date was approaching, my news feed was going crazy. Many people were sharing their excitement about this movie, what they thought would happen, and even their plans to dress up to watch this film.
It could easily be said that people were hyped up for this movie, anxiously waiting to see what would happen.
Believe me, I was excited too. I read the books last summer and was thrilled to hear that they were turning them into a movie series.
But here’s where I’ve been convicted: why isn’t Jesus, the Creator of ALL, receiving this same excitement from us? As we read through the gospels, we see the selfless act that Jesus did on the cross. He was betrayed, beaten, spat on, crucified, and killed so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven, but we’re more excited to see whether the main character lives in a fictional movie.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything bad about being excited about a movie. I’m there. But when we don’t get more excited about Jesus and the freedom that comes from his sacrifice on the cross, we have problems.
He conquered death to have a relationship with us.
Let’s get excited about our eternities with Jesus.
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.”
- Psalm 39:4 (NLT)
Within the last few years, my family lost both of my grandparents. They both lived long lives and were blessed to see their grandchildren grow up. I think of friends I had in high school who lost their lives. Those classmates lived seventeen years versus the eighty years my grandparents had.
As David wrote Psalm 39, he realized that God knew every detail of his life. He knew that his days were numbered.
We have been given a set amount of time. How often do we realize that? Are we using that time wisely?
I think about the life I have been given. How much time have I been wasting? As I reflect on the uncertain amount of time we all have on the earth, I question what I should be doing differently. If I were to die tomorrow, did I accomplish God’s will for my life? Were there people in my life who hadn’t experienced the love of God?
I encourage you to evaluate how you’re spending your time. Don’t waste time carelessly. Spend time intentionally.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
- Ephesians 5:15-16
In my small group, we discussed how our earthly relationships mirror our relationships with the Lord. I shared how my parents had recently celebrated twenty-five years of marriage together.
My mom knows my dad very well. She knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. She knows that every morning, without fail, my dad likes eggs for breakfast. I proceeded to ask my small group, in a joking way, “Does God like eggs for breakfast?”
This thought hasn’t left my mind for the last few weeks.
With my earthly relationships, I know what the people in my life do or don’t like. For example, I know my best friend hates soda and pizza. I know this because I have invested time and energy into my relationship with her. I view this in the same way I view my relationship with the Lord. God knows me, inside and out. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” God, the Creator of the universe, knows me intimately and desires a relationship with me. How much effort am I putting into my personal relationship with my Creator?
I encourage you, friends, to dive deeper in your relationship with your Father. Learn who he is. Invest time and energy into your relationship with him. Communicate with him. Figure out if he does like eggs for breakfast.