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Posts Tagged ‘When and where to pray’

What is it About Morning?

At about 5:45 every morning (you can almost set your watch by it) the birds begin “waking up.” You commence to hear them “twittering” off in the distance, then closer and more numerous.

If you listen close, you can almost imagine them stretching their wings, and rubbing their eyes as the daylight gradually dawns, and they start limbering up their voices.

Before long, the whole symphony is in “warm up” mode – with each playing their own instrument, each running their own scales. And although they never even come close to playing together, or playing the same tune, it is so comforting and peaceful to listen to.

There’s the redbird’s commanding song – always easy to pick out anytime, anywhere. And the multitude of little wrens and the (at least to me) “unknown” birds chirping and cheeping and peeping along… the mockingbird – playing everyone’s song but his own, and the woodpecker (bless his heart) he can’t sing, but just gives the occasional “squawk”  as he flies from one tree to the next in search for his early morning breakfast. There’s the mourning dove, or as the old-timers called them “rain crows” announcing that there may be a shower later today…

Don’t they know it’s Monday morning? Don’t they know it’s early Monday morning? No, I guess they don’t. All they know is “This is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it…”

What a lesson we should learn from the birds…

Prayer:

Father, we are reminded of a lot of lessons as we listen to the birds. Jesus told us, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” And that “not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”*

What a comfort Lord, to know, that You know our every need. And as You provide for the birds every need, we still see that You do not “throw it into the nest” for them, either. They have a job to do, and we have jobs to do. However, we are to begin the day with praise, and sing each step of the way…

Thank you Father, for lessons learned from Your creation.

In Jesus’ name – Amen.

 

Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:29

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Prayer of Psalm 139

 

(After reading Psalm 139)

 

There is no greater place to be

than in the presence of the Lord.

There is no more fearful place to be

than in the presence of the Lord.

There is no more comforting place to be

than in the presence of the Lord.

And because I know

That God never changes

the difference has to be

In me.

 

O God! What do I bring

when I come into Your presence?

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Prayer – In the Time of Despair

You can read scripture just as well as I can, but let me direct you today to Psalm 6. I was planning on studying Psalm 6 yesterday, but God (in His Grace) directed me another way yesterday morning. Then coming to it today I found that this Word would not have spoken to me yesterday as it did this morning. I needed to hear it fresh today.

The weight seemed a little heavier this morning in praying for others, and I began to wonder if I was (like a friend says) “just worrying before the Lord” instead of really praying. Is it naivety to simply say, “You handle it Lord”? Am I just hiding my head in the sand and pretending the troubles don’t exist, if I hand them over to God? What part am I supposed to be playing in all of this?

After batting this around for a while (without coming to any real peace, but simply surrendering it) I opened my Bible to Psalm 6, and God spoke to my heart, then said, “Share this, this morning. Someone else needs to hear it, too.”

First is the Psalm (to speak to you) and them the Psalm as I prayed it.

 

Psalm 6

O LORD, don’t rebuke me in Your anger or discipline me in Your rage.

Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.

I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until You restore me?

Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love.

For the dead do not remember You. Who can praise You from the grave?

I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.

My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

Go away, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.

The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer.

May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.

 

Prayer of Psalm 6

O LORD [please] don’t rebuke me in Your anger or discipline me in Your rage [although You have every reason to.]

[Please] Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak.

[Please] Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony [I am literally aching, and]

I am sick at heart [and so confused].

How long, O LORD, until You restore me [and give me some peace of mind]?

Return, O LORD, and rescue me [from this feeling of despair].

Save me [I pray] because of Your unfailing love [I have no right to ask, other than Your hesed.].

For the dead do not remember You. Who can praise You from the grave?

I am worn out from sobbing. [Oh God… I am so tired]

All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. [There are even nights that I too, cry myself to sleep]

My vision is blurred by grief; [I can’t see any way out] my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies [there is just so much to contend with!]

            [But then! A breakthrough, and a sense of peace rushes over me, and I cry out]

Go away, all you who do evil, for the LORD HAS HEARD my weeping!!!

The LORD HAS HEARD my plea; the LORD WILL ANSWER my prayer.

            [Praise the Name of the Lord!]

May all my enemies [and every situation] be [as] disgraced and terrified [as I was]

May they suddenly turn back in shame [and as they do, my problems will be insignificant when compared to the Greatness of my God!]

 

O Father, I lift up to You those in despair this morning. We seem to do this over and over, Lord. Why can’t we simply “let go, and let God…”? Or, do we feel that that is too “simplistic”? Help us, Lord, for we are weak, and too blind at times to see Your presence. Open our eyes, as you did the servant of Elisha’s, to see Your mighty host surrounding us, and to know that You hold us in the palm of Your hand. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

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This meditation was written in December 2005, just a few weeks before my Daddy passed away, but in caring for both my in-laws as well as my parents – I’ve had many meals (including one Thanksgiving Dinner) in hospital cafeterias…

 

Hospital Cafeteria Prayer

Sitting in a cafeteria affords a view of a range of people.

Sitting in a hospital cafeteria affords a view of a wide range of people. And there are all kinds of people here…

In a regular cafeteria or restaurant, most people are there because they want to be. A hospital cafeteria brings people together out of far different circumstances…

There are hospital employees who, on their lunch hours, or breaks, enjoy the respite from their stressful work with friends and associates. How do they do, what they do, day in and day out? As in any profession, some just have “jobs” but most are dedicated professionals – whether they are the maintenance people or the head doctors – they take their tasks seriously, and they deserve our prayers.

There are parents, whose small children have a toy of some sort or a coloring book to pass the time, and I have to wonder what “loved one” of theirs are they here for; a grandparent, a parent, or heaven forbid, a sibling? What will they remember about this in the years to come?

I see elderly people. Many of them look like they need to be patients themselves rather than visitors! How I hurt for them. How much sickness and death have they seen in their years?

There are those with trays full of food and those with a meager cornbread muffin and a carton of milk. Hospital food is expensive, you know… And there are many who dash in and out with carry-out boxes and a sense of urgency etched on their faces. I wonder how difficult it will be for them to even eat the food they’ve bought.

And then, there are those who, I figure, look much like myself; tired, haggard, with dark circles under their eyes from lack of sleep and too much worry.

After a while the food all begins to taste the same, and the choices, which at first seemed so plentiful, after several weeks just seem repetitive and bland.

But today, I am thankful for a “fill-in” that allows me a moment to sit here in the corner with my ice cream bar and enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet. (I’ll relegate the worry to the “back burner” for a while.)

And as I look around I realize, there are many, many, people in far greater need than I, and I lift them up and pray for the God of Grace to hear their prayers. And for those who can’t or won’t pray – well, I pray for them, too. And maybe for them especially, in this hospital cafeteria, when nobody really wants to be here…

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This devotional opens a new door on my book journey by asking the question “When and where should I pray”. I hope you’ve enjoyed these pieces. My next step is to publish them in a book of meditations and prayers from the farm. Please let me know what you think.

 

Prayer Preface

As the morning begins and I have dishes to do, I think, “This is a good time to pray…”

And so I begin…

O Lord, I must begin with worship; not because You need my worship, but that I need to say it. I need to affirm it…

Because, as I’ve said many times, O Lord, there is no hurt that I can feel, that You have not already felt.

There is no question I can have, that You don’t already know the answer to; and there is no fear that I can fear that You are not bigger than… because You are God.

You are God, and You know everything – You are Omniscient.

You are all powerful – You are Omnipotent.

You are everywhere – You are Omnipresent.

And, You are GOD!

(And I am so overwhelmed with the idea that the dishes will just have to wait, because I need to write this down…)

I just have to affirm that worship. I just have to drink that into my very being.

“Be still…” the Psalmist said, “And know that I Am God.” But what he/He really said was, “Cease striving…” “Don’t kick against the pricks; don’t kick against the goads…”

And I immediately ask, “Lord! What in the world does that mean?” And in looking it up I find it means “to offer vain and rash resistance which is a proverbial expression alluding to unruly oxen and applied to those who by unruly rage hurt themselves.”

And I cry out, “Oh God! I do do that, don’t I?” In my case (at least at this age) it’s not so much rage or anger anymore, as it is fear, and discouragement, and an ache in my heart for those I love… but still, it is a “vain and rash resistance…” to being still and knowing that You are God.

Help me, O Lord. Help me.

Even in my praise; even in my worship; remind me O Lord, that I am Your child, and You love me.

As I lift up, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. You are Holy, O my Saviour, my Redeemer! You are Worthy to be Praised… and I will praise You, Most Holy One.”

And now, Father… “Abba”, let me crawl upon Your lap, lay my head on Your shoulder, and feel Your arms around me while I now pray…

 

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