Friday, March 16, 2018

Pray

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She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” Hannah was speaking in her heart” “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1: 10-11, 13, 15 (ESV)

This is one of the passages included in my prayer folder for Lent. As I read it, I realized a connection between how Hannah prayed and what God told the people at the dedication of the Temple. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Hannah humbled herself. She was not afraid to shed tears. (v.10) She sought God’s face. She prayed from her heart. (v. 13) She more than likely confessed what was on her heart what she felt about the way Peninnah treated her. She poured her soul before the LORD. (v. 15)

God answered her prayer. Hannah kept her vow. The LORD then rewarded her by giving her three sons and two daughters. (1 Samuel 2; 21)

Since I made this discovery, I have thought about my prayer habits. I sometimes do what some people call, “pray on the run.” When I have something I think more pressing going on. But, I realize my need to focus on God and let the other activity wait a bit. Sentence prayers are nice but there are times when I need to spend quantity time with God. I am not looking for the same kind of reward from God. I want what God has in mind for me, nothing more, and nothing less.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Listen

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Let everyone be quick to listen and slow to speak. James 1:9 (NRSV)

The Apostle James gives us wise advice. We need to learn to listen to those in our lives who have greater knowledge about certain issues with which we deal in life.

As a young adult, I heard the adage, “God gave us two ears and one mouth. We are to use them accordingly.” When I felt God had led me to make the decision that I needed to learn to be a good listener, I realized I had to truly listen and not talk as much.

I sometimes hear stories that I believe should not be shared. I have to listen but I also know that I should not talk about these circumstances.

Because of the lessons I learned when I applied this scripture to my life when I held a sensitive position in our former church, I became privy to a lot of personal issues different people had in their lives. All I could do was listen and pray for them and the needs they had.

I sometimes hear stories that I believe, due to their sensitive nature, should not be shared. I have to listen but I also know that I should not talk about these circumstances. I sometimes fail in this area of listening and have to tell God I am sorry for my behavior.

I have read where our prayer time should be a conversation between us and the LORD. In our daily conversations, we talk and we listen. When we spend time with Him, shouldn’t we listen to what God wants us to hear?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Praise

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About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 (ESV)

Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison because they had an evil spirit leave a young servant girl. Her master depended on the income she brought to his coffers.

Other prisoners may have been trying to sleep. Paul and Silas were in stocks and, still, they decided to pray and sing hymns to God. His word tells us the other prisoners listened to them.

As I read this passage recently, I wondered what I would do if I were in their place. I texted a couple of friends and asked them the question.

One responded with, “I read in Jesus Calling that we are supposed to thank God for our problems because they are there to make us grow and for God’s purpose.”

The other friend pointed out that praise verses “are not especially for those who are experiencing good times but for those who are downcast and feeling the burden of life on their shoulders.”
 Paul and Silas were unsure of what lay ahead for them. They probably felt discouraged; I know I would have. They may have wanted to feel God’s presence in a special way.
I believe God took control of the circumstance by causing:

·         a great earthquake and opening the doors,
·          the jailer and his household to seek salvation,
·          the jailer’s household to be baptized.

All these events happened as a result of two men praying and singing hymns to God in a time when most would have been fretful and stressed. I see a great lesson here.

 



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