I’ve Tried Everything!

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“I’ve tried everything! Nothing’s working. Now what?”

Momma, you are not alone! I’ve been here many times before! What do we do when all else fails? Scream into your pillow? Yes. No… Well, sometimes.

Although at times it seems as if I have depleted all parenting wisdom and resources, I’ve found it’s often the simple, tried and true basics of Christian parenting that works true wonders.

I’d like to share with you my simple “list” of

 Five Daily Momma Deeds to Always Do

1. Hug – I don’t care if your child is 1 or 21, they need your hugs! Hug them when they are happy, sad, moody, and even angry. Hug your child everyday! Hug before and after a long day. Hug when you feel like it and when you don’t. So much healing can come from a simple hug. I’ve found the teen years to be a time a child desperately needs these gracious embraces.

2. Pray – Not only be praying for your child each day, but pray with them! Regularly ask them how you can be praying for them. Be ready to stop and pray in the middle of a stressful battle, a disagreement, or any problem that arises. This can be so powerful as you humble yourself, join hands with your child and ask for God’s help. As I write this, I’m reminded of how dramatically this has made all the difference in my home.

Say a prayer as you drop them off at school. Pray together for someone in need. Pray for your church and for The Church. I love praying for the weekend church services with my kids as we drive to our local church!

3. Listen – Take it from me who has learned from many dumb mistakes. You may have amazing words of wisdom to share with your child but they will not have the mind or heart to truly hear you if they don’t feel heard first. LISTEN. Try not to be too quick to judge what they say. They may be sorting out the wrong before you hear them say the good and right. BE PATIENT. DON’T INTERRUPT. BREATHE. Affirm that you’ve heard them by saying something like, “I can understand why you feel this way.” “This must be hard for you.” or “I get what you are saying.” Listening in this way can create beautiful, strong relational bridges for your future together.

4. Train – Yep. Train up that child in the way they should go! I’m talking about teachable moments – be ready because they are ever present! You are your child’s main teacher. Teach them God’s Word daily! Are they 4 or 14? It doesn’t matter! Teach them about His Creation. Train them in Who God is. Teach them about the traps of this World. Train them by your humble example.

Train with consistent discipline. This is hard work but don’t grow weary! Create clear boundaries with established consequences. This will take out the emotional guesswork. Keep to KINDNESS and rely on the Holy Spirit. Even still, you’ll mess up so be ready to seek their forgiveness!

5. Smile – Smile at your child. Smile around your child. Laugh too, if you can! Just a simple smile can bring sunshine to brighten a burdened soul. Your emotional mood can lift up or weigh down your child’s tender heart. Smile whether you feel like it or not. Studies have shown that we feel happier when we smile. Give God thanks for your child and His grace and just smile.

I’d like to encourage you to write down these 5 Daily Momma Deeds to Always Do and ask God where you need to grow.

How can I pray for or encourage you?

Are You Encouraging Yourself in the Lord?

 One time on a Colorado family vacation, Craig and I decided that we should take the kids on a hike up a new mountain trail. The narrow, steep ascent was going fairly well until we heard a loud roar of thunder and saw dark rain clouds blowing in. We were already halfway up the mountain. Yikes! What to do?! Hunt for a nearby refuge or get back down to the car? We chose the car. How we made it back down in “lightning” speed without any tumbles off the mountain was nothing but God’s divine protection!

 A big storm can be very frightening. Especially when you’re right out in the middle of it!

Is your heart deeply troubled by a storm right now and you are trying to run for cover? Or maybe your storm has been lingering for a long season and has placed you in “survival mode” or maybe even left you feeling hopeless, anxious, and beyond weary.

If so, what steps have you taken towards God’s peace and encouragement?

There are 3 vital questions I’d like for you to answer regarding encouragement:

  • Have you taken time to receive encouragement from God’s Word and in prayer?
  • Do you have someone who can listen and encourage and strengthen your faith?
  • Are you encouraging and building yourself up in the Lord?

If you are a mature believer, my guess is that you might have answered, “Yes.” to the first question and possibly the second one, too.

Having your heart strengthened directly by God and through His people is an absolutely necessity to stay strong and fight the good fight of faith!

Sadly, when I’ve directly asked struggling Christian friends, family members, or church members, the answer has (so far) always been the same on the 3rd question: “No, I’m not.”

I’ve been on both sides of the answer to this question.  Lately my passion has been growing to make a life-style out of building myself up in my most holy faith (Jude 1:20).

I’ve found that when I “preach to myself” words from God’s Truth, I forget about my feelings of despair, anxiety, and fear. Then I’m able to persevere through my trial with supernatural peace, joy, and hope. Even more, our God, the Consuming Fire, takes this faith and fans the flame in my heart for Him!

Encouraging myself is actually reinforcing all of the Truth that I’ve stored up from God and His people. It truly seems like my faith comes to life in ways that would have been dormant if I hadn’t received it in this personal way.

This is especially true in life’s darkest moments when the rubber meets the road.

Christ-followers, we must learn to fight and persevere in our battles standing firm in Christ’s power, not wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness! No! Don’t give up! No matter the circumstances, your mind, will, and emotions need to yield to God’s Truth.

Encourage yourself in the Lord!

God, you are with me! I am not alone. You are for me. You are my Strength. You are my Helper, my Refuge, my Wisdom, my All in All. You are worthy! Father, you are my Peace. You love me with an unending love. I know You will provide all my needs. You don’t waste anything in my life. You hem me in before and behind. You hear me. My hope is in You. My life in hidden in You. I submit myself to You. I resist the devil. I cling to Your promises. You are my Life. I hunger and thirst for You. Take my fear and perfect me in Your abundant love. I am Yours and You are mine. I lift up a sacrifice of praise to You.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 is one of my favorite (out of many) self-encouragement examples in the Bible. He prays,

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

Press on and go onto the heights with our Father, dear believer! Worship Him in your storms! Through Christ we are OVERCOMERS!

Additional Scriptures:

…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is FAITHFUL.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God IS faithful. That means He is fully trustworthy.

Do you believe this?

A better question may be:

Are you trusting God’s trustworthiness?

For quite some time, I’ve had a dream to minister to women on the edges. Women who need safe, supportive relationships to help them to get back on their feet and live out of true freedom in Christ. This dream led me to a vision to launch transitional discipleship homes for women.

So, for months I’ve been making calls and appointments to learn and seek advice from others, house hunting, sharing the vision, praying, and trusting in God’s faithfulness (at least, trying to!).

This process has not been difficult in terms of taking action steps.

That’s the simple part.

The challenging part that has stretched me the most is trusting God to do the rest – to bring about the right home(s), people, funding, and all the many details that come with His vision.

To be honest, at times it’s been a tough test of my faith.

I’ve often felt as though I’m just spinning my wheels with little or no traction.

Each time I share the vision, I feel a bit like a lunatic dreamer who should stop blabbing to keep from embarrassing myself when things don’t go as planned.

At times, self-doubt about whether or not I should even be trying to take this on arises to battle my conviction. I have quite a lot on my daily plate already. Do I really need to be doing this – now?

Here’s what I know to be true:

Challenging circumstances always test our faith in His faithfulness!

Are you stepping into the unknown with a dream from God? Or maybe there’s just something you know God wants you to do and you’re hesitating. No matter how big or small your next step of obedience is, keep keeping on, dear friend in Christ! Don’t give way to fear! Our God is faithful to carry out His work in and through you!

Waiting on God renewed me!

After looking at yet another “not the right” home, my husband, Craig, said, “Amy, it feels like you are forcing this.” Gulp… Lord, that is exactly what you told me not to do. “Alright, I said. I’m going to wait – wait on God’s leading.”

About a week later, I had two separate conversations about two homes with abundant potential dropped in my lap! Both homes are perfect in every God-ordained way and will start up six months apart!

One of the homes had been fully renovated and furnished by a LifeChurch.tv member who felt God prompt her to prepare the home (for the past eight months) to be used for women in need. What?! God you are amazing! Needless to say, there were many tears at that house showing!

Here’s the very short version of what has transpired in the past ten days:

God has revealed four women in immediate need of this type of housing, two women to serve in vital ministry roles, and provided 20% of our annual budget!

Now. I hope that this somehow encourages and builds your faith in our faithful God!

God’s ways are sure and best! We should wait on God and trust Him completely!

And the trusting and waiting hasn’t ended for us (and in Christ, it never will). In fact, it’s just the very beginning. There is a great deal more of preparation, implementation and learning ahead! My head has been spinning with ideas and next steps for our team and volunteers to take.

But I pause to give God praise and thanks for His amazing faithfulness.

I’m so thankful that God showed me I was trying to force things to happen.

I’m so thankful that God doesn’t give up on us when we show weakness and doubt.

I’m so thankful for the Body of Christ that God causes to work so beautifully together.

I’m so very humbled and grateful that God chooses to reveal His faithfulness to me – to us – when we wait on Him.

 

Are you trusting in God’s trustworthiness?

What’s your next step – To wait? Or to act?

Kingdom Innovation

Well I may be biased, but my sweet husband’s second message at the 2013 Hillsong Conference last month was one that I’ll never forget. His teaching moved me deeply and I’d love to share it with you.

I pray that God’s mighty Spirit will in turn stir you as you read my meager notes from this powerful message. 

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Kingdom-Innovation

By Craig Groeschel 

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.

Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5   

Common Ingredients with Innovation

Limited Resources + A Willingness to Fail (Faith) + Increasing Passion = Exponential Innovation

Limited Resources – “We can’t because we don’t…”

No more excuses! We need to understand that God often guides by what he WITHHOLDS. God has given us everything we need. He’ll show us a new way – His ingenious and perfect way through our limitations.

Embrace your limitations. God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.

Willingness to Fail – Following God always requires FAITH.

Be willing to step out and try! Sure, it’s scary to take a risk, but failure can often be the first step to success. Failure is not only an option, but sometimes it’s a necessity for fruitful growth. Sometimes we’ve got to be willing to take a faith-risk and “dig a hole.”

Increasing Passion – “I HAVE TO!”

The men carrying the paralytic had the right amount of passion to say, “We can’t get in through the door because of the crowd (limited resources). We may fail by trying another way… BUT… WE HAVE TO TRY!”

In reaching this world we MUST adopt this same do-whatever-it-takes attitude! We’ll do anything short of sin to reach out to the LOST and hurting!

What is your “I have to…” PASSION statement 

Exponential Innovation! – The men went through a ROOF!

Resistance Warning: When you dig through someone’s ceiling, people will get offended.

We need to be willing to break some manmade rules/boundaries!

Sometimes, to reach no one else is reaching, you’ll need to do what no one else is doing.

John the Baptist did. Jesus did! The Apostles did. Martin Luther did. John Wesley did. The list could go on and on. Should God lead, will you?

My Thoughts

I was stirred with crazy passion for the lost and broken during Craig’s message. It was such a clarion call to the capital “C” church to do whatever it takes to win the lost! No more excuses and playing it safe when eternity is at stake! Let’s seek God for bold new ways to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world.

I’m soon starting up a neighborhood ministry for women who are seeking or new on their Christian journeys. I truly needed this faith-stirring, passion-building message to prepare my heart and mind for action. I’m ready to break through some roofs!

How about you? What roof do you need to break through with passionate faith? Take some time in prayer about this. God may reveal something right away. But if not, that usually means wait for it. His timing is perfect. Just stay alert, available, and full of His passion.

Thank you, JESUS, that in Your awesome love You don’t leave us where we are! You faithfully guide us in new ways as we depend on you.

Why We Are Slow to Go

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My husband, Craig, recently had the honor to speak at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney, Australia. I was delighted to travel as his companion for this amazing gathering to worship, learn and grow along with thousands of others from around the globe. Upon returning, I thought it might minister to you if I posted a few of my favorite notes and personal takeaways. 

Brian Houston – Pre-Conference Network Luncheon

Mark 16:11-15 

When they (Jesus’ disciples) heard that Jesus was alive and that she (Mary M.) had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

The Mission of God is a Co-Mission – we’re in it together!
Amazingly, God established His mission where there was hardness of heart and unbelief! That’s a pretty tough mission field. But nothing is too hard for God!

The Problem:

Resistance can keep us from God’s mission.

While external forces are always among us, resistance is often an internal issue to battle.

Here are four forms of internal resistance:

  1. Procrastination – We put the mission off and off and off. Step out to find out TODAY not TOMORROW.
  2. Rationalization – We come up with all sorts of reasons not to GO. Fear is often the root of this.
  3.  Self-Sabotage – We don’t show up.  Jonah tried to run away from the mission of God. Sometimes, so do we.
  4.  Unbelief – So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5      Get this: Peter had a miraculous jailbreak but couldn’t get into the church’s prayer meeting! They thought it must be his angel knocking at the door! They were astonished that God had actually answered their prayers! This is a strong example of a believer’s UNBELIEF.

As Christ followers, God calls us to live out His co-mission! We’re going to need to fight a good fight against resistance!

What is God specifically calling you to do? Write it down. Stay focused on the Great Co-mission!

My Thoughts

This was a great message to remind me to fight against all resistance to fully obey God!

What area(s) of internal resistance do you struggle with? As much as it pains me to admit, it’s often unbelief that holds me back from obeying God.

Sadly, I’m not alone.

How pathetic that Jesus’ closest disciples, who lived by His side and repeatedly saw His mighty miracles, were still filled with unbelief at the resurrection.

The problem is always the same: We look at the immediate circumstances instead of the Eternal Savior!

I can so relate with Gideon’s need for over-confirmation from God! I want to know that God is indeed really guiding me. This is important to know! Right? In Judges 6:17 Gideon pleads, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.”

Just like the disciples, sometimes I’ll pray so very earnestly about a situation but I am just not sure that God will respond as I’d hoped.

So what do we do with about our unbelief?

Here are a few things that I’ve come to understand: I won’t have all the answers to my “whys?” but I still know what God wants me to do.

So what does God want us to do about our unbelief? (These may seem obvious to you BUT if they aren’t applied, your faith won’t strengthen.)

  • Seek to know who God is!I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17
  • Read, listen to, believe and apply His Word.Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
  • Pray! (God tells us to pray continually.) Ask for God to grow your faith. – But you, man of God…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1Timothy 6:11

I’m praying for the Church to grow deeper in our faith and commitment to the Mission! I want to see the Church knowing that nothing is impossible with God and expecting our prayers to be heard and answered in glorious ways.

Jesus rebuked the resistance of unbelief in the disciples and then immediately directed them to “Go.”  So let’s not slow down His mission due to discouragement. Be encouraged by God’s loving rebukes. They are for our benefit and His gloriously great co-mission!

Don’t Worry! Be Set Free!

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Anxious and worried? The fact is, we all worry sometimes. And sometimes a situation is valid, so fretting seems the responsible thing to do. This pain won’t go away. What if something is terribly wrong? I better get to the doctor.

Often it’s a problem with a family member or close friend that causes our anxiety. I’m very stressed right now. My spouse just lost his job. I don’t know what’s going to happen if he can’t find another one.

Real problems definitely warrant some wisdom, action and prayer.

But here’s what I want you to know, to believe: You can weather life’s storms without being enslaved by an anxious heart that’s full of worry and fear.

I believe this because I’m living proof.

My Freedom Story

Some of you know that I had a severe battle with anxiety around 14 years ago. It began when my health seemed to be deteriorating. I was a young mother of three small girls and had never dealt with chronic health issues (not even seasonal allergies).

One day, a sudden tension headache began on the top of my head. It felt really strange and was very scary. After about a week of these headaches, I went to the doctor and he assured me it was due to stress. Weeks later, I started experiencing numbness that gradually ended up on the total left side of my body. That called for a trip to the ER. Tests were run, follow-up appointments were made, and I was sent home with no answers and a lot of questions.

A year passed, and while the list of odd physical symptoms (debilitating fatigue, blurred vision, chest pain, etc.) increased and the doctor visits ended with no diagnosis, I became convinced that I was dying. The lab tests are just missing it, I thought.

You might imagine the fear that gripped me. It was awful. Worry, even death, dominated my thoughts, choking the very life I desperately wanted right out of me – every day, every hour. After about two years of struggling, depression started to set in, and being a strong introvert didn’t help. It was a l – o – n – g  time before I allowed my husband, Craig, to know how dark my thoughts were.

Throughout this whole ordeal my prayers were frequent and desperate. I begged God to reveal the answers I sought. I looked to His Word to find verses of healing to cling to. What was I doing wrong?

My journey to freedom began when I heard a message by author, Linda Dillow on worry. The Holy Spirit pierced my heart with the truth in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Busted! Being dominated by negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts proved that I was not living by faith! I may have had the right actions and Christian lingo but my mind and heart weren’t convinced.

My problem was I was too focused on symptoms and not the Source of all life. And that made a world of difference!

Fear, not faith, was the result.

The root of worry is fear and a spirit of fear is not from God.

Freedom from fear is a spiritual battle. This war with fear must be won in the mind.

The strong conviction of God about my lack of faith brought me to repentance (a turning to His ways). He led me to renew my mind daily by catching every negative thought and replacing it with a scripture. The Truth! And the Truth literally began to set me free

But don’t be misled. This was a process. It took focused determination to break my old pattern. It was a BATTLE. But one that brought victory after victory until the war was won.

Since then, there have been countless opportunities to worry and be anxious over this or that. But when worry’s grip begins to take hold, I automatically confront it head on, resist its lies (the “What ifs”), and renew my mind. This has actually turned into a sweet time of dependence on my Loving Father.

By the way, my health slowly improved over time! My mind now at peace, God also led me to exercise more and eat wisely. (I know you haven’t heard those health tips before!)

Here are a few truths that I continually meditate on to this day:

  • God is enough! Nothing can separate me from the love of God! Romans 8 (This truth had the biggest impact. God and His love became enough, became everything.)
  • I will be Spirit-led and not fear-led.
  • I will trust the Lord in all things.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

  • I will rejoice, pray, and think on things that are good, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  From Philippians 4:6-8

I’d love to pray for you in this area! Send your requests via “comments.”

Prayer Attitudes – Part 4

Joyful Surrender

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“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Jesus – Luke 9:23

A certain rich ruler had the honor of a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ (this story is found in Luke 18).  A wealthy leader, he already had a good measure of blessings from God. But this man knew that he lacked what was needed for true righteousness and eternal life. So he asked Jesus,

What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

This ruler claimed to have kept all of God’s commands since childhood, but to reveal his true devotion, Jesus declared,

“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

The man became very sad because he had great wealth. He wanted eternal life but not at the expense of a fully surrendered life. He was deceived into caring more for the temporal than the eternal.

We must all first come to Christ making a great exchange: All of His life for all of ours. But it doesn’t end there! That’s just the beginning! As we remain in Him, we are to continue in a life of joyful abandonment.

This is easier said than done, right?

When you’re God’s child, you long to follow your Father and bring Him glory in all you do. This requires going into prayer with an empty self agenda and a heart surrendered to His will.

Recently, the Holy Spirit has been leading me to begin a new ministry endeavor. I will be frank. It thrills me and terrifies me. God is gently asking me, “Amy, if I lead you, are you willing to follow no matter what the cost?”

I know that His call to me entails great sacrifice, discomfort, and many unknowns. But in faith and with joyful surrender, I am willing to take up my cross and follow Him.

I bet you might want to know what this scary, faith-step is for me! Well… I’ll tell ya in a later post, okay?

There is no other way to live life to the full than to continue to joyfully surrender my life to Him.

What about you, dear friend?

Do you come before God in prayer as a fully yielded soul?

What are you holding tightly to? A habit, a sinful pleasure, or a comfortable routine?

Will you ask God to show you any way that you might be deceived?

Are you willing to lift your hands to the heavens and give Christ Jesus your all?

I pray you will know the joy of a life of surrender to Him.

 

Prayer Attitudes – Part 3

A Child-like Heart 

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“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  Luke 18:17 NKJV

Stop for a moment and think over the verse above.

A little child is not wise in their own eyes. Unfortunately, there have been too many occasions when I think too highly of my “wisdom,” even in my prayers. I’d catch myself trying to help God know how to handle a certain matter. I don’t think God has ever said, “Gee, Amy, thanks for that great idea! I hadn’t thought of that.”

Instead of trying to be so clever and spiritually sophisticated, we need to wait on the Holy Spirit and receive His promptings. God’s Spirit will guide us in how to pray.

All the promises of God and His Kingdom must be received like a little child. Becoming like a little child doesn’t mean that God wants us to become immature and ignorant. On the contrary, we know that God would have us grow in spiritual maturity and in wisdom and knowledge.  So what are the child-like qualities that God desires for us to have?

Faith, humility, and sincerity are certainly some good characteristics of a child-like attitude. But sadly, the world pulls us towards self-reliance, pride and pretension.

We must resist the world’s system! As Christians, Christ calls us to be made new in the attitude of our minds (Eph. 4:23). One way to beat the traps of the world and its spiritual darkness is to have the attitude of a little child.

I believe that our prayers to God should have a child-like disposition. Dependence is the child-like quality I will focus on for this post.

 A Child-like Dependence

About five years ago, I was asking God to give me a greater revelation of what it means to live by His Spirit.

“Depend on Me” was His answer.

“And how am I to depend on You, Father?” I asked.

“Like a helpless infant depends on their caregiver,” was His gentle revelation to the eyes of my heart.

Gasp! I was dazed as I reflected on His clear message.

“Really, Lord? This is complete and utter dependence… Yes. Yes! This is Your word, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’”

My children are still ridiculously dependent on me at times. They seem to think that I’m a nurse, wastebasket, water fountain, snack bar and entertainment center. “My tummy hurts. Here’s my empty wrapper. I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. I’m bored.” It’s a little annoying. But hey, at least these are honest, humble and very dependent statements! They need me! They cling to me. Literally!

And God knows we desperately need Him.

Oh, oh, oh, how I need my Father God! I’m so terribly needy, weak and unable. Only in God do I live and move and have my being. Apart from Him, I can’t do anything. And the same is true for you.

This is how I now come to God in prayer, clinging to His wisdom and strength!

Proverbs 3:5-6 explains in perfect clarity the child-like dependence we should strive to maintain.

Read it carefully and as if for the very first time… like a little child.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

 

And lean not on your own understanding;

 

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

 

And He shall direct your paths.

 

Proverbs 3:5,6 NKJV

Prayer Attitudes – Part 2

A Humble Confidence

In him (Christ) and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

My youngest daughter approached me the other day with a request to eat dinner at her favorite restaurant. She began her entreaty with a syrupy string of “Mommy, I love you, I love you, I love you, and I love you and I LOVE you!” I guess she thought she needed to earn some points to entice me to comply. By the way, I said, “Sorry, no. Not tonight, honey. But I love you, too!”

It made me wonder, “God, do I ever do this to you? Do I try to impress you or try to win your favor and blessings?”

I do see this attitude subtly creep in to my thinking at times. God will hear and answer me when I’ve kept up with my Bible reading, prayer time, giving, serving…

This is wrong thinking! It places confidence in my efforts. As if I could add anything to Christ’s finished work! This is also pride. Pride seeks to make me the focus. Other people must come beneath us when we seek to elevate ourselves. It’s hypocrisy and deception to the fullest because we are fooled into thinking and acting as if we are superior. “I’m better than so and so…” Ha! What a joke! Only it’s not funny.

Christ Jesus became my righteousness when I received Him by faith. We don’t need to butter up or try to impress God! His loving work in and through our lives is based on being His adopted child!

Therefore, prayers to our loving and righteous God should be with an attitude of humble confidence. A humble confidence in prayer says, “Gracious Father, I am amazed by your great mercy and love for me! Thank you that I can boldly ask you to hear my requests!”

Did you notice how the humble confidence prayer’s focus was on God’s goodness? Living in feelings of guilt over our sin or pride in our good works will make our prayers about us. Our hope and confidence should be in Christ alone!

Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:9-14 was preached to people who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else.

“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

A self-righteous attitude won’t get you very far with God in prayer. Let’s seek to maintain an attitude of humble confidence through which God receives all the glory and praise!

Prayer Attitudes, Part 1

I get crazy excited when talking about what I call “Prayer Attitudes” at Bible studies, so I thought I’d share some with you in a series of blog posts.

Attitude is a way of thinking or feeling about someone or something and is typically reflected in a person’s behavior.

What’s your general attitude when you approach God with a need in prayer?

Maybe you’ve thought or said something like this: “I’m not sure God hears my prayers. What’s the use?” or “I’ve already tried praying about it. Nothing’s changed.” Or maybe you’re full of faith with a more positive stance, like, “I’m going to pray right now. I can’t wait to see what God will do!”

Weak, weary, indifferent, or eager and passionate. Whatever your attitude is right now about prayer, know that it truly matters. It matters to God.

Personally, I’ve been all over the prayer attitude spectrum. But in more recent years as I’ve grown in my relationship with God, He has led me to a place of passion about pursuing Him in persistent prayer.

Luke 18 is a favorite Scripture passage of mine on the subject of prayer. Over the next several weeks, we will look at 5 prayer attitudes that the Lord Jesus taught us.

I call the first prayer attitude “Passionate Perseverance.”

Luke 18 begins with the story of a persistent widow. Be sure to note why Jesus tells this parable!

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.

“And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’” Luke 18:1-8

A prayer attitude of passionate perseverance says, “My God is just and good. Therefore, I won’t give up! I will continue to ask and believe!”

Jesus would say to us, “My child, keep asking, day and night, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Don’t give up! Trust Me. Have faith in Me!”

Passionate Prayer

I don’t know about you, but I want this kind of passionate perseverance! I believe God wants our prayers to be intensely heartfelt. Don’t just pray because you “should” but because He HEARS! And He wants to know that we desperately love and cling to Him in all things.

Persevering Prayer

We’ve got to learn to be patient. No doubt God has been so very patient with us! We often have impatient prayer attitudes. Sorry, but there will never be a Divine Insta-Answer App. I’ve prayed for the salvations of some family members for y-e-a-r-s… (Most are now Christians!). I’ve been asking and waiting for over 10 years now for my own physical healing with a certain issue. But God’s delays aren’t always final. Only He knows the full story! In the meantime, you and I can trust God completely. Completely! His ways are always faithful and trustworthy for His children.

We won’t always understand His purposes. But I DO know ours! We are to always pray! We are to keep on the path of passionate, persevering, faith filled prayers!

This is God’s will for us.

And I pray that Jesus will find a multitude of faith filled Christ followers when He returns.