Hymn of the Day: Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance!  We are given a promise of redemption and salvation!

Isaiah 43:16-21 says: I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a path right through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses, to lie beneath the waves, dead, their lives snuffed out like candlewicks.

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home, and create rivers for them in the desert! The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and ostriches too, for giving them water in the wilderness, yes, springs in the desert, so that my people, my chosen ones, can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and these my people will some day honor me before the world.” (TLB)

God will give us new life.  We are His new creation.

Hebrews 6:10-12 says: “For God is not unfair. How can he forget your hard work for him, or forget the way you used to show your love for him—and still do—by helping his children? And we are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward.

Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won’t become bored with being a Christian nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience.” (TLB)

God will not forget all that we do in His name!  We are blessed with the assurance of His promises.

Hebrews 6:13-20 says: “For instance, there was God’s promise to Abraham: God took an oath in his own name, since there was no one greater to swear by, that he would bless Abraham again and again, and give him a son and make him the father of a great nation of people. Then Abraham waited patiently until finally God gave him a son, Isaac, just as he had promised.

When a man takes an oath, he is calling upon someone greater than himself to force him to do what he has promised or to punish him if he later refuses to do it; the oath ends all argument about it. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those he promised to help would be perfectly sure and never need to wonder whether he might change his plans.

He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now all those who flee to him to save them can take new courage when they hear such assurances from God; now they can know without doubt that he will give them the salvation he has promised them.

This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven, where Christ has gone ahead to plead for us from his position as our High Priest, with the honor and rank of Melchizedek.” (TLB)

Since God is the righteous judge, we can be assured that His promises will be kept. 

Mark 5:35-36 says: ”While he was still talking to her, messengers arrived from Jairus’s home with the news that it was too late—his daughter was dead and there was no point in Jesus’ coming now. But Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.” (TLB)

 

2 Samuel 7:22  “How great you are, Lord God! We have never heard of any other God like you. And there is no other God.” (TLB)

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Cure for the Guilty Conscience

Paradox of Matthew 5

“What joy of those who mourn…”

Matthew 5:4, paraphrased by Ted Kell

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus tells us that we will be blessed when we mourn. He’s not talking about the mourning that comes with a tragic event or with anxiety of tomorrow.  Nor does he refer to the despairing sorrows of the world or morbid self pity.  There’s a special kind of mourning that Jesus speaks of that brings us blessings.

It’s human nature to want to run away from something that you know you’ve done wrong.  Maybe you want to hide from it or brush it away and try to ignore it as best as you can.  But as Christians, we are called to mourn for our sins.  We mourn because we realize that we will never be perfect.

We are told in Hebrews 12:14 to “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (NIV).  We must live a holy life to be an example for the people around us; but to be holy one must reach perfection, and it is impossible for us to live a perfect life, so we mourn because we fail our calling.  Like David when he wrote Psalm 38:17 & 18, “For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin…” (NIV) and Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5 when he declares that ” ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty…” (NIV) we must recognize our sinfulness and we must mourn for it, because it’s our sins that lead to our death.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that in Christ we are a new creation: “…the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV) But when we sin, we return to our old sinful nature, and so we mourn.  We mourn because it is our sins that sends us to death, but Jesus took our place.  He was nailed on the cross for our sins.  We can never be perfect the way that He was perfect.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1

In our mourning because of how sinful we are, God sees our grief and He forgives us.  We can take comfort in His forgiveness and be joyful: our sins are erased and we are made alive when we believe in Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  (Ephesians 2:1-10) Our sinful death has become a merciful resurrection.

A letter from Paul to the church in Corinth, concerning godly grief and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:5-11,NIV; 7:2-16, ESV):

“If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent — not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.  Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven — if there was anything to forgive — I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.  (2:5-11, NIV)

Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together I am acting with great boldness towards you: I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn — fighting without and fear within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more  For even if I made  you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it — though I did regret it, for I see that the letter grieved you, though only for a while.  As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting.  For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted.  

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.” (7:2-16, ESV)

 

Girls With Swords, Week 6

“Good men must not obey the laws too well.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this week’s study, we were given this quote and asked to explain what we thought it meant.  I really had no clue what to imagine the quote meant, but finally came up with this answer to the challenge:

“It needs context. I went and tried to read a little bit of the essay that the quote is from, and it’s generally about government.  In more entirety, the quote actually says ‘Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well.’ The essay also argues the ‘government’ between Laban and Jacob; how Laban and Isaac are the keepers of the land, [and are in charge of making decisions on matters concerning their land, and though Jacob lives there too, he must simply earn his keep.  He has no power over what happens to the land.]  So from the little that I read, maybe it means that there is no HUMAN state that is flawless.  Only God’s state is really Good.” 

Later, my dad shared a new thought with us, a sermon that he had heard spoken, and it cleared my understanding of Mr. Emerson’s quote. It dealt with the story in John 5:1-18. In the story, Jesus was healing a man who couldn’t walk.

When Jesus saw the man and knew that he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water starts moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else always gets in before me.” Then Jesus said, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” And immediately the man was well; he picked up his mat and began to walk.” (verses 6-9, NCV)

According to the laws of love, Jesus did a wonderful thing.  He healed a man who had been trying to reach an angel’s healing touch for 38 years.  Who could have possibly been against such a good act of kindness?

“Because Jesus was doing this on the Sabbath day, some evil people began to persecute him.” (Verse 16, NCV)

As wonderful as was the kindness that Jesus showed to the cripple, the Jews weren’t happy with his work because it was on the Sabbath, which was their holy day of rest.  According to the Jewish laws, no one was allowed to work on the Sabbath.  Jesus, however, never allowed the laws of the Sabbath to stop Him from doing a good deed.

“But Jesus said to them, “My Father never stops working, and so I keep working, too.” This made them try still harder to kill him. They said, “First Jesus was breaking the law about the Sabbath day. Now he says that God is his own Father, making himself equal with God!” (verses 17-18, NCV)

There are many stories where Jesus healed people on the Sabbath (Mark 1:21-31, 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17, 14:1-6; John 9:1-16).  Jesus was hated for His work.

“Every actual State is corrupt.  Good men must not obey the laws too well.”  Jesus matched the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson perfectly in this story: He is a good man, the only good man on earth, but He didn’t follow the Jewish laws perfectly.  Instead He followed God’s flawless law: love and mercy.

 “Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” Mark 10:18 (NCV)

Amen, Lord Jesus!

“Our Warrior-King is beautiful. His very image is beyond compare. The wondrous span of creation captures a mere fragment of his beauty. The mighty ocean, soaring skies, and majestic mountains declare the powerful, immeasurable, enduring beauty of his strength.  Each and every living thing-from plants to animals- is an irresistible revelation of the fact that our God is gorgeous! He lovingly formed his sons and daughters to carry more of his majesty, glory, and beauty than any other creation.  We are his masterpiece.” –Quote from Lisa Bevere, Girls with Swords

“Being kind to people who see no kindness, or little of it anyway, [moves me].  Also being reliable. I am moved by quality, whether it’s quality of life, writing, behavior- perhaps I have high expectations, but…”    -quote from Lacy’s fencing manual

“Read the Psalms.  All over the place, [the scriptures can bring you perspective when you’re anxious or afraid], it calls God “a fortress”, “a shield”, “my strength”.  I never really understood the concept of the Psalms until we came up with Belaedria, and Escaping the Lair.  Taliesan [our fictional character] is always impressed by the Psalms.  He convinced me that God really is our shield!” -quote from Kat’s fencing manual  

Live by the Spirit

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 (WEB)

This week’s Bible reading has been focused on the book of Judges, Ruth, and the start of 1 Samuel.  It’s amazing to see the Holy Spirit direct and empower God’s chosen people in the Old Testament.  There were especially 2 people who stood out to me as I read this week: Samson and boy Samuel. They were both raised from birth as Nazirites, and were supposed to be set aside for God’s purpose.

…A man or a woman might want to promise to belong to the Lord in a special way. This person will be called a Nazirite. Numbers 6:2 (ICB)

Nazirites had special rules that they had to follow.  As long as they followed the rules of the Nazirite promise, they would be filled with the Holy Spirit.  But if a rule was broken then they would become unclean and the Spirit of the Lord would leave them.

Like the Nazirites, Christians are also called to live in reverence to God’s laws. Every Christian has his or her own relationship with God, and not all Christians feel called to take a drastic Nazirite-like promise to dedicate their life to God. Even if they don’t take drastic measures to declare their faith, all Christians should at least create for themselves a standard to live by; one that allows a place in their hearts for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Once anointed by the Spirit, the Christian will be empowered with God’s truth. After truth is received, strive to walk in the life that you dedicated to God.  Don’t let yourself fall for temptation. If it’s too hard, then you may have to re-prioritize.  If just 1 glass of wine will lead to 2, then 3 and 4, maybe you should skip that first glass all together.

TRUST the Spirit to teach you what you need to know.

“but the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you.” John 14:26 (DARBY)

The Spirit is a witness.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, he shall bear witness concerning me;” John 15:26 (DARBY)

The Spirit convicts the world.

“When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment;” John 16:8 (WEB)

The Spirit speaks the words of God.

“However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming.” John 16:13 (WEB)

The Spirit tells you what is true.

“I am in Christ, and I am telling you the truth. I do not lie. My feelings are ruled by the Holy Spirit, and they tell me that I am not lying.” Romans 9:1 (ICB)

Be FILLED with the Spirit.

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31 (DARBY)

The Spirit empowers you to succeed.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (WEB)

The Spirit guides you to God’s will.

“And the Spirit said to Philip, Approach and join this chariot.” Acts 8:29 (DARBY)

The Spirit calls you to do God’s work.

“As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.'” Acts 13:2 (WEB)

Be RECOGNIZED by the Spirit to receive God’s blessings as His children.

“And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16 (ICB)

The Spirit lives in you if you are Christian.

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” Romans 8:9 (WEB)

The Spirit leads you into a relationship with God.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God.” Romans 8:14 (WEB)

If we are God’s children, then we will receive the blessings God has for us. We will receive these things from God together with Christ. But we must suffer as Christ suffered, and then we will have glory as Christ has glory. We have sufferings now. But the sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us. Everything that God made is waiting with excitement for the time when God will show the world who his children are. The whole world wants very much for that to happen. Romans 8:17-19 (ICB)

GROW in the Spirit and be COMFORTED.

“So the assemblies throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, and were built up. They were multiplied, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:31 (WEB)

The Spirit will help you and pray for you when you are weak.

“In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don’t know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can’t be uttered.” Romans 8:26 (WEB)

The Spirit will speak to God on your behalf.

“God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants.” Romans 8:27 (ICB)

The Spirit provides hope in every circumstance.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (WEB)

RECEIVE GRACE and be FORGIVEN with the Spirit.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:2 (DARBY)

The Spirit restores life.

“If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:10-11 (WEB)

My brothers, I am sure that you are full of goodness. I know that you have all the knowledge you need and that you are able to teach each other. But I have written to you very openly about some things that I wanted you to remember. I did this because God gave me this special gift: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the non-Jewish people. I served God by teaching his Good News, so that the non-Jewish people could be an offering that God would accept- an offering made holy by the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:14-16 (ICB)

The Saints Should Never be Dismayed

“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.” Colossians 3:15-17 (CEV)

The saints should never be dismayed, nor sink in hopeless fear; For when they least expect His aid, the Savior will appear.

William Cowper was a poet and hymnist living in 1731-1800.  He suffered from severe depression, so much that his friend John Newton asked him to co-write the hymn book Olney Hymns with him.  Cowper wrote many songs that mirrored his extreme melancholia, including “Far from the World, O Lord, I Flee”, “Heal Us, Emmanuel”, and “O for a Closer Walk with God”.  In the song that he wrote titled “The Saints Should Never be Dismayed”, he encourages Christians to never give up hope, no matter how impossible the circumstances are.  The song gives 3 different stories that we can take hope in.

This Abraham found, he raised the knife, GOD saw, and said, “Forbear;” Yon ram shall yield his meaner life, behold the victim there.

God asked Abraham to sacrifice the son that had been promised to him.  Through Isaac, Abraham would become the father of many nations, and yet God had asked him to place his son on the alter and sacrifice him.

Abraham could have lost hope in the circumstances. Why would God ask him to do that?  But Abraham trusted in God, and in his complete obedience God saved Isaac and praised Abraham for his faith.

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of Jehovah it shall be provided. And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:9-18 (ASV)

Once David seemed Saul’s certain prey, but hark! The foe’s at hand; Saul turns his arms another way, to save th’ invaded land.

When David heard that Philistines were attacking a city, he asked God if he should go and save the city, and God’s answer was yes.  He asked twice when his men were afraid to go because they were being hunted by King Saul.  They knew that the city wasn’t safe for them, but God told them to go and defeat the Philistines, despite the fear they had.

When Saul heard that David had come to Keilah to protect the city, he thought that God had given David over to him.  He quickly went to Keilah to find David; but David hid in the wildernesses of Ziph and Maon and God protected David. Saul did not find him that day.

“And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth [the rock of divisions] . And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi.” 1 Samuel 23:26-29 (ASV)

When Jonah sunk beneath the wave he thought to rise no more; But God prepared a fish to save, and bear him to the shore.

Jonah had fled from God’s calling for him, and when a storm hit and it seemed the boat would be lost, Jonah knew that God’s judgment had come for him and he couldn’t get away.  He was ready for death by drowning; embracing the judgment of his sin, he told the sailors to throw him overboard.  How could he have known that a fish would come and save him from the deep waters filling his lungs and ending his life?

And Jehovah prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”  Jonah 1:17 (ASV)

Blest proofs of pow’r and grace divine, that meet us in his word! May every deep-felt care of mine be trusted with the Lord.

The Bible shares other stories where the impossible causes circumstances to seem hopeless. In these stories, God shows his proof of power and grace divine.  We can have faith that our deep-felt care can be trusted with the Lord.

Think of the time Jesus met a widow who was burying her son. Her son had died, and she didn’t think there was any way out of her troubles.

When Jesus came near the town gate, he saw some people carrying a dead body. It was the only son of a woman who was a widow. Walking with her were many other people from the town. When the Lord saw the woman, he felt very sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry.” He walked to the open coffin and touched it. The men who were carrying the coffin stopped. Jesus spoke to the dead son: “Young man, I tell you, get up!” Then the boy sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Luke 7:12-15 (ERV)

Or also when Jesus and his disciples were out at sea, and a great storm blew over the sea.  Waves were filling the boat with water, and no doubt the men inside feared that the waters would overtake them. They didn’t realize the power that their Lord Jesus had over nature.

“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves; but Jesus was sleeping. And the disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us, we are going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was [at once] a great and wonderful calm [a perfect peacefulness]. The men wondered in amazement, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Matthew 8:23-27 (AMP)

Possibly the most amazing proof of God’s power to change circumstances is the story in John 20.  Mary Magdalene weeps because Jesus’s body is missing from the tomb, but her weeping quickly turns to joy as God shows his grace divine to mankind once again.

“Then the followers went back home. But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. While she was still crying, she bent down and looked inside the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white. They were sitting where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and one at the feet.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

She answered, “They have taken away my Lord. I don’t know where they have put him.” When Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?”

Mary thought he was the gardener. So she said to him, “Did you take him away, sir? Tell me where you put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Mary turned toward Jesus and said in the Jewish language, “Rabboni.” (This means Teacher.)”

John 20:10-16 (ICB)

Wait for his seasonable aid, and though it tarry wait: The promise may be long-delayed, but cannot come too late.

Wait on the Lord.   He will come to your aid in His perfect timing.

How to Pray

We are so diminutive; so small in the universe.  Think about it for too long and it will surely start to feel like we’re insignificant in God’s realm, because he is so BIG.  But through Jesus, we have been given the gift of prayer; the ability to talk to God like He’s our best friend.  We don’t have to wonder “How do I do this?” or feel awkward that He’s not here or not listening.  To pray, just talk as if you’re talking to your parents or sister or brother or friend.

Jesus gives us an example of a prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. “So when you pray, you should pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy. We pray that your kingdom will come.We pray that what you want will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Give us the food we need for each day. Forgive the sins we have done, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. And do not cause us to be tested; but save us from the Evil One.’ [The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.]” (ICB)

When you pray, make sure your heart is genuine and true.  Talk to Him in all sincerity, because through the Holy Spirit, your heart speaks.

“Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy.”

1. Acknowledge how great God is.

Begin your prayer by telling God that you know how great He is, and you  cannot begin to compare to Him. Acknowledge the power that He has, and how His power applies to your prayer.

“The voice of Jehovah is powerful; The voice of Jehovah is full of majesty.” Psalm 29:4 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “Lord God, only you can help me.”
  2. In Thanksgiving: “Mighty God, you are great! Thank you for the grace and mercy that you are willing to extend.”
  3. With a Request: “Heavenly Father, please listen to my prayer. You alone are holy, and you have the power to make this right.”
  4. In Sorrow: “Oh Lord, my heart is breaking! It hurts to breath. But I know that You care, God. You care about me. Mend my broken heart, and lend me Your strength. You are strong enough to overcome and outlast anything.”
  5. With Repentance: “God. You know everything. There is nothing I can do, say, or think that You will not know. I cannot escape your presence.”

“We pray that your kingdom will come. We pray that what you want will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.

2. Give your life to God.

There’s an old American Folk Hymn that sings  “Would you be poured out like wine upon the altar for Me? Would you be broken like bread to feed the hungry? Would you be so one with Me that you would do just as I will? Would you be light and life and love My Word fulfilled?” The second verse responds to God’s call in the first verse, saying “Yes, I’ll be poured out like wine upon the altar for You. Yes, I’ll be broken like bread to feed the hungry. Yes, I’ll be so one with You that I would do just as You will. Yes, I’ll be light and life and love Your Word fulfilled.”  Express it in your prayer.  Let God know that you want to be ready to do His will, no matter what it is.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.” Romans 12:1 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “I don’t understand what You want from me, but I am trying to do your will.  Please show me what You want me to do.”
  2. In Thanksgiving: “Use me God! I want to be a part of your awesome plans.”
  3. With a Request: “I want to do Your will, but I need Your help. Whatever it is, help me to do it. Help me know what to do.”
  4. In Sorrow: “God, how can you want this? Help me understand Your will. Help me understand what you want from me, so that I can carry it through as you wish.”
  5. With Repentance: “You have a plan for me. Sometimes I don’t go along with what You have planned, but I’m trying Lord.  My spirit is willing, but my  body is so weak. Tame my rebellious spirit, oh Lord.”

Give us the food we need for each day.

3. Make your request.

Let God know what it is that you want from Him.  He takes delight in your requests.  He wants to bless you.  All you have to do is ask.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” Matthew 7:7 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “I’m having trouble Lord, and I need Your help. Please help me understand how to remove this thorn of suffering, or if it’s Your will for me to struggle with it, then help me learn to live with it and grow in faith because of it.  Show me Your ways, oh God. Give me understanding.“
  2. In Thanksgiving: “These earthly blessings that you provide are all momentary, but please help this joy that I feel last beyond today. Help me feel this strength and happiness in You, even when I find myself in harder times tomorrow.”
  3. With a Request: “God, I come to you now with a request, heavy on my heart. I know you will listen to me, and I know you will respond. I wish for your will to be done, Lord; but if there is any way, then could it fit into Your divine plan, for…(continue by stating your request)”
  4. In Sorrow: “Stop the pain, Lord. You are the Father of Comfort; please share your peace with me.  It’s too much for me to handle on my own.  This night is too dark.  Please shine your light on me again.  Help me feel Your joy, so that I can live again.”
  5. With Repentance: “I’m sorry. I’ve sinned against you God.  You know what I’ve done. I’m ashamed of the way that I acted. (Admit to Him what it was that you are sorry for.)  Please forgive me, God.  Help me be better.”

Forgive the sins we have done, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us.

4. Acknowledge that you are a sinner, and you need His forgiveness.

Humble yourself.  Tell Him what He means to you. Be sure to thank Him for the forgiveness He extends to you.

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “You know that I am not perfect. I cannot help myself, Lord.  I shouldn’t even have the ability to speak to You, because of my sins;  but because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me, You listen. Thank you for listening, Lord.”
  2. In Thanksgiving: “I am a sinner, I am not worthy, and yet here I am, before You, able to talk to You as a daughter or son can speak to their father. Thank you God, for this amazing ability to talk to you. Thank you for forgiving my sins, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  All I have to do is ask.”
  3. With a Request: “I don’t deserve what I’m asking. I know that.  But I come humbly before you Lord, as a sinner looking for grace.  Please hear my plea, and remember Your own Son’s sacrifice. Forgive me, so that I may be redeemed and worthy of my request.”
  4. In Sorrow: “I am nothing more than a wild sparrow; no one cares about the sparrows Lord. I feel like I could die today and no one would notice. But you do, Lord.  You care, and you know my pain.”
  5. With Repentance: “I strive to be perfect like you, God; but I’m not. I’m far from perfect.  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t sin against you, whether in lusts or in lies or in doubts or complaints. I’m sorry, Lord.”

And do not cause us to be tested; but save us from the Evil One.

5. Acknowledge that you are weak, and God is your strength.

Admit that you are weak, and that you need Him.

“Jehovah is my strength and my shield; My heart hath trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “I am weak. Please be my strength.  I fail You every day, please carry me through this hard time.”
  2. In Thanksgiving: “Tomorrow I may stumble and fall, but You’ll be there for me. You are my fortress, my hiding place.  I know that I am safe with you, God.”
  3. With a Request: “I will never be worthy without you, God. You are the one who lifts me up and helps me conquer my weakness.”
  4. In Sorrow: “Please give me strength. I am weak, so weak.  I can’t stop crying. Help me through the day.”
  5. With Repentance: “I can never be right; I fall short every time. God, help me cross the finish line.  Help me reach our end goal, I want to finish the race with You.  I don’t want to be anywhere but with You.”

“The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever.

6. Praise God for his awesome power, and be assured that you are heard.

Thank God for hearing you, and believe that he has listened.

And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.” 1 John 5: 14-15 (ASV)

  1. In Suffering: “Thank you for caring about me. Lord, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  You are with me. Thank you for being with me. God.  Thank you for listening to me. Deliver me soon.”
  2. In Thanksgiving: “You are always there. And you listen, even to me! Thank you, thank you.”
  3. With a Request: “But I have nothing to fear, because You are with me. You know my heart, You know what I want.  You also know what’s best, Lord. You are omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. I trust you.”
  4. In Sorrow: “I feel so alone, but I believe You’re here, with your arms around me. Help me believe, Lord!”
  5. With Repentance: “Thank you. You will never leave me.  You forgive me, no matter what I do or how many times I mess up.  You are so great.”

Amen.

7. End your prayer with the name of Jesus, so that God can be glorified.

Be sure to end your prayer in Jesus name.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14: 13

“In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.”