Tag Archives: prayer

God Wants to Confide in You

“The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, 
And He will make them know His covenant.” Psalm 25:14

Prayer isn’t talking to God, it’s talking with God. It’s communing with Him. It’s communication which is a two-way street. In fact, the old adage about two ears and one mouth is apt at this point. You know, we should listen twice as much as we speak.

I once had a friend who often used his prayer language and asked me about mine. Not to be flippant or trite I told him that my prayer language is English. Please understand, I have no issue with those who practice praying in a prayer language anymore than someone might have an issue with my prayer language being English. However, I do believe that we often fall into the trap of feeling the need to fill our time with God with noise.

In response to my witticism my friend asked what I do when I run out of things to pray or when I don’t know what else say to God. I said, “I be quiet and listen.” Whether we talk to God in our native language or a prayer language or some foreign language it would do us well to be quiet once in a while. Frankly, it’s called quiet time for a reason. We might call it prayer or worship or reflection or introspection; but we don’t need to, and shouldn’t, continuously fill it with the sound of our own voice. For heaven’s sake, and our own, we need to let God get a word in edgewise. For someone it may be pious rambling with thees and thous; for others it might be a concocted prayer language. For myself, I tend to use multiple syllabic oral communication in a conceited endeavor to mislead our Sovereign from the realization of my own ineptitude…oh, wait, there I go again.

What I’m trying to say is that we often hide from God behind our prayers, behind our words. Sure it looks holy and righteous on the outside, but the reality inside is it reveals an uncomfortableness with God. We have all experienced those awkward moments with a new acquaintance, a boss or future in-laws when we feel that silence is deadly. So, we ramble on and on in an attempt to conceal our self-consciousness. At it’s worst, it’s an attempt to establish dominance in the relationship.

One of the milestones my wife Jennifer and I celebrated in our early relationship was when we could be in each others’ presence without feeling the need to fill the silence. You are truly comfortable with someone when you can just be quiet together; when you leave space for the other to speak freely without the expectation of response, rebuttal or refusal. That’s the relationship God wants. He wants us to be so comfortable with Him that He can speak to us and we’ll just listen.

There is a bit of a dichotomy here, however. The word “fear”. This is one of the places where English fails. Fear in this sense has its place in awe. I’ll paraphrase, “the Lord confides in those who sit silently in awe of Him.” Remember, God isn’t a great big us. Our picture of fear and awe is that the object of that awesomeness lords it over us. That isn’t the purpose of God’s fear and awe at all. God wants us to revel in being invited into His presence. He want’s us to realize that we are safest and should be most comfortable in awe of Him.

It’s those that sit comfortably and quietly in fear and awe of Him that He confides in. Think of sitting with the ruler of some great county or a Fortune 500 CEO or famous Hollywood mogul. There are people scurrying around serving and bowing and trying to impress and win favor with the power in the room, but you just sit quietly. Reporters and scribes are constantly asking questions and trying to curry favor with their words. Then the person to whom they are all paying homage quietly leans over to you and says, “What do ya’ say we duck out to a quiet little place I know for a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you what I really think. I’ll tell you what’s really on my heart, what really brings me joy.”

Those who sit in quietness and wait on the Lord are those that He confides in. When you spend time with Him, spend some time just listening. He doesn’t have to share the desires of His heart with you; He wants to share them.

Pray for Those in Authority…even President Obama

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” I Timothy 2:1-2

Today as I drove around town I found myself behind a pickup truck that was evidently driven by someone who might consider me a brother in Christ.  Why would I make this observation?  Well, on the back of the truck was a sticker depicting the “Descending Dove”; you know the one I mean.  It’s a “scripty” stylized dove with the beak pointed down; yeh, that’s the one.  I hadn’t seen one in a while and thought it unique to be in such good condition, but this isn’t by itself significant.

Then I noticed a plastic ichthus down near the bumper.  You know the ichthus; most people just call it a fish.  Of course, ichthus is just an alternate spelling for the Greek word for fish, ichthys, so I guess just calling it a fish is OK.

Anyway, this isn’t such a big deal either.  At least it wasn’t one of those fishes with “Truth” written in it while it eats the “fish with legs”.  Those things mildly irritate me because, frankly, they’re just picking a fight and nobody has ever fought or argued someone into the family of God.

Again, I digress, but only slightly.  What next caught my eye made me want to bump draft my “brother in Christ” right back to the Old Testament.  On the very same rear window with those two iconic symbols of Christianity was a cartoon image of a “smart-alecky” little punk with his drawers partially pulled down urinating on the word “Obama”…

…now, please excuse me while I rant…

WHAT THE HECK?  I confess that the word “heck” isn’t what flittered through my mind at that moment, but I’m invoking Martin Luther’s distinction between temptation and sin here: “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”  I quickly dismissed the inappropriate word and continued my righteousness indignation.

Many of us Christians, myself included, were appalled at the disrespect directed, by some, toward President  Bush the Younger.  We lamented and whined and wrung our hands at the liberal media, leftist wackos, war demonstrators or anyone who looked askance at “our guy.”  Who, by the way, didn’t really lead 777 young wayward youths to the Lord at a prayer breakfast directed toward the Peace of Israel. (OK, I embellished on the urban legend that we desperately concocted to canonize “W”.  But seriously?  Could we have been any more desperate to anoint a king; please refer to: Israel pleading with God for a human leader.)

Sorry, I digress yet again.  While President Bush was our national leader there was a rush on Presidential Prayer Team stickers.  99.9% of the cars in Evangelical church parking lots had them in the windows.  We plastered them on the windows in our house.  They were more trendy than a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes at a Sex in the City fan convention.  We gathered for prayer vigils and united on the Mall in Washington, D.C. to invoke God’s blessing on our exalted leaders; all with good cause.

It’s heartbreaking to me that so many Presidential Prayer Team stickers miraculously disappeared once President Obama took office.  I guess now that our guy isn’t in the White House that scripture reference above doesn’t apply.  Perhaps our strident adherence to take scripture literally loses some veracity when elections don’t go our way.   Or maybe my reading of the original Greek is faulty.  Maybe the correct translation is, “Pray for all of those who are in authority as long as they agree with you politically.”

Please excuse my sarcasm, but WHAT THE HECK?!  To my warped sense of thinking we should pray for our leaders MORE when we don’t agree with their political positions; when we feel they make unwise decisions.  And though I don’t feel that President Obama is my enemy, for those that think he is their enemy I offer another verse of Scripture, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44.  So whether you agree or disagree with a certain authority, pray for them.  It’s very difficult to pray for someone while clinging to disrespect, resentment and hate.  We can’t cling to the Cross while we refuse to let go of junk.

As for me, yes I was offended when President Bush was derisively called by his last name as if it were a cuss word.  I felt that those who did so were being petty, ignorant, narcissistic and abhorrent.  I am equally as offended by the use of President Obama’s name in the same manner.  For us to do so as Christians reveals us to also be petty, ignorant, narcissistic and abhorrent; none of which am I able to find in the Gifts of the Spirit.

Pray wisdom, discernment and peace for our leaders, especially those with whom we disagree.  God will reconcile their heart and/or ours to His will and reconciliation is always a win

If the Church Were McDonald’s It Would Have…

As promised, here are the responses to finish the phrase, “If the church were McDonald’s it would have…”

Chip Seiler…”Shake” machine would always be down, the messages would always be “Hot,” there would be no “canned” music, and it’s “preservatives” will last forever!

@halester…the secret to the special sauce because the Holy Spirit would reveal it to us.

@toddhickox… a chick-fil-a menu.

@bobmorro…millions served daily!

Martin Brozovich…a drive thru!

David Polston…Willard Scott as its messiah.

Carol Ditmer…free food!

Elaine Todd Meyer…a $1 prayer menu.

Darren Mudge…billions served daily.

Beth Browning…49 cent ice cream cones!! 🙂

John Riggs…it would open early and close late seven days a week. You would be greeted by someone asking if they could help you. Lastly, if you arrived with 27 kids there would be no complaint heard and they would NOT tell you to keep them all quiet and sitting still while you enjoyed the service.

Thanks to everyone who participated. More “Finish this sentence” to come.