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Monday, April 14, 2014

Praying Dangerously April Week Three

Lord, prepare our hearts to walk in Your footsteps this Easter.

Monday You cleansed the temple and drove out those who turned Your Father's house into a den of thieves.  Cleanse our hearts as You cleansed the temple and drive out anything that doesn't honor You.

Jesus, You spent Tuesday teaching- through parables, answering questions meant to trap You, and the questions of Your disciples. We have so many questions, Lord, continue to teach us. Open our ears to hear Your Word. And may the story our lives tell glorify You.

On Wednesday You were betrayed. When we sin, we betray You too,  and turn our backs on the price You paid on the cross. We betray who we are, acting in opposition to Your Spirit who lives in us. Fight for us, Lord, that we might see the enemy is a defeated foe and sin has no power over us. Teach us to see sin for what it is- a lie. There is no lasting happiness in sin, no good, no joy. Only in Jesus is there real Life. Teach us to be faithful and true, to allow You to live Your life through us. Fix our eyes on You, Jesus.

On Thursday You fed even Your betrayer. You washed the feet of Your followers. You served and prayed and healed- even as Your entire being grieved what was ahead for You. Make us more like You, Jesus, that we would be so focused on the Father that You find our hands and feet and mouths willing and ready for You to serve through.

Friday is only Good because we know what happened on Sunday. Friday it looked like all hope was lost. Jesus, You were beaten and mocked and spit on and tortured. May we never forget the price that You paid. In full. May we remember Your words, spoken in physical agony, yet full of Life. You invited sinners into paradise and split the veil of the temple in two. Your Words thundered through time for all who will hear- Praise You, Jesus, it is finished.

Saturday was silent with shock and sorrow. Though we know Sunday's coming, may our hearts weep in true conviction over our sin and in repentance.  May we remember Christ crucified and dead and buried and arisen. May we never forget Your cross and Your complete forgiveness.

Sunday changed the world- past, present, and future. You are RISEN! You are ALIVE! And one day You will come again to take Your children home. May we live looking forward with excitement to the day when sin no longer separates us, where our human frailties no longer get in the way of unbroken, forever, complete fellowship with the Lord of lords and the King of kings, the Lamb who was slain, the Lion who reigns forever. All honor and glory and praise to You, Jesus! Amen! 

He is risen indeed! 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Praying Dangerously April Week Two

Heal me.

What do you need healing from?

Most of us have an answer to that. But do we ask specifically for God to heal us? 

I thought I did. Until I read these words by Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle: "God does not answer vague prayers." 

Batterson went on to say that when we pray vaguely, there's no way to know if God answered, and God gets no glory in that. 

He also said, "Our responsibility is to simply discern what God wants, and then humbly yet boldly to ask God for it."

So my kiddos and I discussed this idea in terms of asking God specifically. They had no problem at all naming exactly what they want God to do for them...

Raise 15K for a deep well.
Conviction of sin and reconciliation with some very hard people.
Healing from a dairy allergy.

I struggled. I'd rather pray God's Word or pray specifically for my children or my family and friends. 

But voice my deep dreams to God and ask Him specifically to fulfill them?  

What if I ask and God says no? That's happened.

What if I ask and follow God into those dreams and they turn to dust? That's happened too.

And every time I ask and the answer doesn't come the way I'd hoped, it gets a little harder to voice the dream and hand it over to God again. 

But since I'm a closet optimist, I keep asking because God keeps stirring the same dream. 

I want to change the world, point people to healing in Christ, and provide for my family through the ministry of writing. 

I long to see God's people healed of addictions that destroy them and those around them one slow step away from God at a time. 

I long to see God's people healed from the pain caused by the sins of others. To see people who live in fear free to trust and believe God loves them and will use them to do amazing things. 

And so I pray. For myself and the dreams that won't go away. For my children. For my family and friends. For strangers I pass along the way. 

For dreams to live and grow and bear fruit.

For healing.

One verse I go back to often and insert loved one's names in or my name is Isaiah 53:5...

You were pierced for Amy's rebellion, crushed for Amy's sins. You were beaten so Amy could be whole. You were whipped so Amy could be healed.  I believe Your death and resurrection accomplished Amy's healing. May Amy receive that healing from fear, from the past, from rejection, from constant shoulder pain. By Your wounds Amy is healed. 

God may still say no to the specific requests for healing.

I've asked for healing from diabetes for over twenty years. And God has been clear He is using this disease for my good and His glory. Every time I go to the eye doctor and there's not even microscopic damage from twenty-six years with diabetes, God gets glory for that because that was one of my biggest fears and prayers.

I may not always like the answers I receive. But I believe God is honored when I ask. 


Until He answers. 

And He does answer.

So ask. Feel free to take the Scripture above and pray your name or a loved one's. 

God is honored by honest, bold, God-sized requests. 

After all, He's the only One who can answer those. 
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