Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prayer Devotion Day 4

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version)
16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

The last couple of days, we have been specifically talking about intentionaly focused prayer or conversation with God. I hope that you have been connecting with God this week.

The above verse weaves a new concept in to our prayer life. Be joyful always and pray continually. Now does this mean that we neglect everthing in our life so that we can be in constant meditative prayer? No. This verse is more about awareness and intentionality. Here is what i mean.

I work for New Community. It is what God has called me to do, we believe he is doing a great thing through this local church. However, just as you go to work, i go to work as well. I serve NC, but also work on NC to make her better.

On my desk are files. Files that have to do with what makes NC unique and helps the church carry out the vision. Everyday, i work out of these files and everyday I am diligent in working hard. Here's the dilema, in my "work" it is very possible to not pray or think about God. I know, crazy talk coming from a pastor. But when i am thinking through leadership development, systems or financial processes, it is possible to not think about God because i am in a file.

Where are you going with this Chris? Be joyful, pray continually.

I literally open up a file and say God, be with me today as i work. thanks for this job. Speak to me as i am diligent in working hard. This happens multiple times a day with each thing i do.

So, whether or not i spend 20-30 minutes in focused prayer with God each day, i am weaving this "pray continually" into my workday so that i am intentionally staying connected to God.

Be joyfull, pray continually.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Prayer Devotion Day 3

Wednesday is always a hard day for me. Monday's are follow up day's for everyone who attended NC on Sunday and Tuesdays are our team meeting days where we get stuff accomplished as a staff. So, Wednesday gets here and my temptation is to just get cracking on work, and not take time to connect with God.

It's hard for me to focus some quiet time to talk with God. My mind is racing with all the things i need to do because my work week will be over in 48 hours from now. Even if i wanted to be quiet and pray to God, it will be difficult to focus.

Anyone been there?

Here is my solution for this obsticle. I journal my prayer.

I have a journal, it sits on my desk. And when I can not focus my mind to pray, i have found that if i write my prayer mind doesn't wander.

Maybe today or tomorrow, you can read Matthew 6:9-13 a couple of times and then rewrite it in your own words. Literally, get a pen and paper and write down how you would pray it in your own unique way. This accomplishes two things.

1. You are reading the scriptures.
2. You are focusing your prayer through the discipline of writting it down.

This helps me when i feel like i have too much to do. And when i am finished, i am always thankful that i took the time to engage with my heavenly Father.

Here's the scripture: read it, write it in your own words.
Matthew 6:9-13 (New International Version)
9"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.[

grace and peace...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prayer Devotion Day Two

You are not alone.

Yesterday 46 people joined you in coming to this blog and began being intentional about talking to God. Very cool. We are in this together, and you are not alone.

As we continue to think through this praying thing, Ioften have moments when I don't "feel" God or think he isn't around. This weekend we touched on the fact that not only is God around us as Christ-followers, he is in us through his holy spirit. My emotions may say one thing, but what is true is that God and I are completely connected.

But what about the times that I try to pray and i've got nothing (no words to say)? Have you ever been there?

Check these passages of scripture out:
Romans 8:26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

This verse is basically saying that in the times that we dont have words to say, because God is good and he knows us completely, the holy spirit speaks on our behalf. It says he actually "intercedes" or prays for us. Is that not awesome?

As you are begining to pray, there may be times where you will have nothing to say. Many times we may feel guilty or ashamed because of this...but God is OK with those moments and has provided a way for us to connect with him through his spirit.

What if that is where i am at? Check this out.
Psalm 46:10"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

This verse not only gives me permission to just be still, i believe in the moments i dont have words to pray, that if i just be still and get quiet, God will do his part and the holy spirit in that moment will pray on my behalf.

Many times, prayer isnt about the is about quiet, it is about surrender, it is about yeilding to God. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

May you spend some time today embracing this truth as you spend a few moments just being still before God.

grace and peace my friends...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Prayer Devotion One

And so, yesterday we learned about prayer as we continued our series: Everday, allowing Jesus to lead our lives. If you havent had a chance to listen to the message from yesterday, you can find it under the resource tab on our website:

We looked at Matthew 6:5-13 yesterday

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]'

Jesus first pushes back on those who were praying for the wrong reasons, and then he taught his listerners how to pray. This is commonly known as "the Lord's prayer". We learned together that Jesus wasnt giving this as a formula, but really a starting place for those who were awkward and uncomfortable to pray. Once we finished the teaching of the passage, i read a paraphrase of that prayer, or a more modern interpretation. We have already had a ton of people ask for it. So, for our prayer devo today, i am giving this to you so that it may be your beginning place as you are intentional about talking to God through prayer.

Here it is:
God/Jesus you are so great
This cant be the way you want things to be
help me spread your love around here
Please watch out for me today
Forgive me for taking you for granted
Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me
There are so many distractions going on in my life
keep me focused
Keep me pure, keep me safe, help me to live
my life like you want me to.
Thanks God, AMEN.

May this be your prayer today. More to come tomorrow.