Above is a link to a way that you can be a becon, a lighthouse in a dark world, just by praying.
While you're at it,
I think we should pray for our enemies too. Is there some one who makes you angry? Someone who offends you? Or grates on your nerves? How about someone who believes differently than you? Are you a Republican who fears that Democrats somehow can't be Christian? Are you a Democrat who somehow imagines that all Republicans are judgmental or hypocritical?
And what should we REALLY do about Muslim terrorists?
Jesus says, be a blessing to your enemies.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"~ Matthew 5:43-47
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."~ Romans 12:19b-21
In the ancient Near East people would heap coals on their heads as a sign of repentance. What Paul is saying there is that if we love and bless our enemies, the Holy Spirit can work on their hearts to convict them of their wrong doing or their hard heartedness.
But don't be surprised if praying for them, and blessing them changes YOUR heart too. You might even discover that they aren't enemies after all.
See also Luke Chapter 6:27-36
So lets take the "Oh, that you would bless me indeed," line from the Jabez Prayer as our cue to ask God to bless EVERYONE, even people that we've pre-judged as beng downright evil.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
The Breton Fisherman's Prayer:
"Dear God, be good to me.
the sea is so wide,
and my boat is so small."
I really don't want to turn this into a commercial, this should be a house of prayer, not a den of robbers, but I just thought I'd provide a link HERE. These are the most powerful cough drops you'd ever want to try.
"The only really happy people
who have learned
how to serve."
Teach me to serve.
With both Halloween and Reformation Day coming up on October 31, here are some quotes from Martin Luther about Satan himself. There is a legend that when Luther was translating the Bible into German, the Devil taunted him, Luther threw a ink bottle at him. This depicted in the engraving above.
"Why should you fear? Why should you be afraid? Do you not know that the prince of this world has been judged? He is no lord, no prince any more. You have a different, a stronger Lord, Christ, who has overcome and bound him. Therefore let the prince and god of this world look sour, bare his teeth, make a great noise, threaten, and act in an unmannerly way; he can do no more than a bad dog on a chain, which may bark, run here and there, and tear at the chain. But because it is tied and you avoid it, it cannot bite you. So the devil acts toward every Christian. Therefore everything depends on this that we do not feel secure but continue in the fear of God and in prayer; then the chained dog cannot harm us. But this chained dog may at least frighten him who would be secure and go ahead without caution, although he may not come close enough to be bitten."
"When the devil comes during the night to plague me, I give him this answer: "Devil, I must sleep now; for this is God's command: Work during the day, sleep at night." If he does not stop to vex me but faces me with my sins, I reply: "Dear devil, I have heard the record. But I have committed far more sins which do not even stand in your record. Put them down too. . . . . "
Some Christians have the impression that God and the devil are locked in mortal combat and that we, as God's people, are also engaged in this "spiritual warfare." For Luther, the devil is an agent of God.
"God uses the devil and the evil angels. They, of course, desire to ruin everything; but God blocks them, unless a well-earned scourging is in order. God allows pestilence, war, or some other plague to come, that we may humble ourselves before him, fear him, hold to him, and call upon him. When God has accomplished these purposes through the scourge, then the good angels come again to perform their office. They bid the devil stop the pestilence, war, and famine. So the devil must serve us with the very thing with which he plans to injure us; for God is such a great Master that he is able to turn even the wickedness of the devil into good." (see also Romans *:28)
Quotes found at How Martin Luther Dealt With the Devil
Especially when so many people are so fascinated by the macabre and the occult this time of year...
Keep me safe by Your hand, protect me with Your angels.
Guard me from the world, from myself, and from the Devil.
Keep me from physical harm, from mental and emotional fear and stress, and from spiritual evil, doubt and temptation.
Help me to remember that Satan is finite, while You are infinite. You are omnipresent, while Satan may have thousands of minions, he can only be in one place at one time. You are omnicient, he may be thousands of years old, but he is not all-knowing. You are omnipotent, he is impotent when confronted with the very name 'Jesus Christ.'
Thank You Jesus,
"People may refuse our love
or reject our message,
but they are defensless
against our prayers."
~Rick Warren, 'The Purpose Driven Life'
teach me to pray for others
teach me to pray for those who refuse and reject me
teach me to pray even for my enemies
In Jesus' Name,
While I'm Lutheran, I've always loved this prayer from a Catholic Saint. At L.A.Lutheran High School one of our English teachers was a New York Irishman, he was a former Catholic and it always amazed me how he had this whole thing memorized. Even though he had it memorized, he always prayed it with great sincerity and passion:
"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."
~Saint Francis of Assisi b. 1182 -- d. 1226 A. D.
There are a lot of reasons for this blog.
One is that I'd like to offer readers prayers, devotions, and insights into prayer.
The others more selfish- my own devotion time has been lacking lately and I need a way to pray, and meditate on God's Word. I journal better on a weblog than long-hand in a notebook, so in many ways this is like a personal prayer journal for me, it's just open to the public.
And to be honest, this is a way to compile writings in hopes of being published some day.
I guess that in some ways I'm a frustrated preacher. I'm not an ordained pastor, I used to teach in a Christian school, but now I'm at a public school and I actually DO believe in and want to honor the "separation-of-church-and-state," so that leaves me feeling "bottled-up" of as the Prophet put it:
Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
In other words, this blog is a way for me to vent. It's an outlet Spiritual frustration.
I hope that you come away from this blog fed. I hope it's not ALL selfish.
Click here for an online Bible- it works like a concordance- enter a topic and it will find several Bible passages that refer to theat topic. Type in a verse and it takes you right to that verse- and you can cross refference several different translations. It's a lot easier to use that I'm making it sound. Trust me, you'll put it on your "favorites" list and use it all the time.
Possibly the first prayer recorded in scripture could be Noah calling down a curse on his son Ham for making fun of him when he was drunk. But that's really prayer. Prayer is very simply a conversation with God. So, unless you count Adam telling God that he was hiding because he knew he was naked after the fall, the first real "conversation with God" appears in Genesis 15 (Scripture references from Eugene Petersen's paraphrase the Message*):
1After all these things, the Word of GOD came to Abram in a vision: "Don't be afraid, Abram. I'm your shield. Your reward will be grand!"2Abram said, "GOD, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I'm childless...
Its important to remember that many scholars consider "the Word of the Lord" to be the pre-incarnate Christ- so this is a conversation with Jesus!
Also, notice that Abraham has his priorities right. He doesn't love things and use people, he puts people above things. What good are all the posessions in the world without a family to share them with?
5Then he took him outside and said, "Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You're going to have a big family, Abram!"
It may not be so hard to believe that there's a God, what's hard is to believe IN God. To trust Him, to believe His promises. It's unbelievable how much He wants to bless us if we let Him. Can you count the stars?
6And he believed! Believed GOD! God declared him "Set-Right-with-God." (righteous)
This verse is at the core of what the whole Bible is all about. Faith, trust- not just believing that there is a God, but believing IN God. Paul talks about this verse in Romans 4:
Be my shield -guard me and keep me safe
Be my great reward -help me to value my relationship with You more than anything else
Help me to keep my priorities right -to value people more than things or money
Help me to count the blessings you shower on me, rather than dwell on my problems or on what I don't have
Help me to believe IN You -and trust in Your promises
Make me right with you -so that I can have a relationship with You and so that we can talk together.
Thank you that through faith in Jesus we can be right -we can talk
In Jesus' Name,