Grapes: the Simplicity of Prayer… Refocusing…

Grapes: the Simplicity of Prayer…

Fruit From the “Vine” for the Branches…

By Gary Piper

R… “Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah. He left his servant there, then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.” …While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?” He answered, “Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!”” (1 Kings 19:3-4, 9-10, CEV)

Refocus

It is your life your living (or it should because no one can live your life nor can you live another person’s life for them) but life is not just about you! The destination of a life lived on your “own page” is a life headed for trouble. In Part Two we discovered that praying from Gratitude goes beyond a “me mentality” ending with… “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” (Psalm 139:1–6, NLT)

Prayer is not ultimately about changing God’s thinking to ours but our thinking to God’s. One important reason for refocusing aspect of prayer is to put our lives into the “who’s who” perspective when it comes to our relationship with God. The Psalmist says it best, “I look to the hills! Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord, who created the heavens and the earth.” (Psalm 121:1–2, CEV)

One of the most important lessons Jesus taught on prayer and praying did not come as a result of a question put to him by his disciples or anyone else for that matter in fact I am not sure if anyone really picked up it or not. “Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.”” (Matthew 26:39, CEV) Jesus teaches us to refocus our prayer on what God’s wants for us not what we think we need or want for ourselves.

Though prayer we are asking God to share himself in the difficulties or situations we are praying about. There is a famous phrase that goes like this, “When you get to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.” Let’s reword it in terms of praying, “When you get to the end of your rope pray and hang on.” That’s like the man walking down the road carrying a heavy load on his back and another man in a pickup truck stops tell the man with the heavy load to hop in the back. After driving a few miles the driver looks in the mirror and notices the man still has the heavy load on his back. “Why don’t you take that load off your back and let the truck carry it for you?” he asks. “Oh, I couldn’t do that it’s enough for your truck to carry me,” the man answered.

Now let’s reword the phrase the correct “refocused prayer” way, “When you get to the end of your rope prayer, let go, and let God’s will take priority over your difficulties or situation.” I can’t help but think when Jesus prayed, “But do what you want, and not what I want,” he was really saying, “Father, not only is your way is the only way but it MUST be THE way.” Many years ago there was family show on television titled, “Father knows best.” While I am not sure where the show’s creators came up with the title but I know it’s not an original because God has known what’s best since before there was time!

When I began writing about the refocusing aspect of prayer my intent was to stay focused only on prayer but the deeper I went I found prayer’s refocusing aspect as only the “tip of the iceberg”. I discovered that prayer opened us up to God’s desire to change the focus of our lives from ourselves to him and the refocusing power of the Holy Spirit and the Spirits ability to turn night into day, to take lemons and make lemonade, to turn negative to positive, to turn a storm tossed sea into a sea of tranquility.

Over and over I’ve started praying with a heavy heart filled with negative thoughts and emotions, “God, sorrow floods my heart! Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless?” Yet at some point before the amen I find myself remembering the many times out of the darkness the LORD lit a light for me. “You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.” (Psalms 18:28 NLT)

Every morning before writing that morning’s Glory Seed Devotional I ask for God’s help. God not only helps me but occasionally “speaks” to me through what we’ve written consider his attempt to get me to refocus on him:

Glory Seed Devotional, 08/11/2015

Glory Seed Devotionals, 2015: Year of Promise

The pursuing God…

This morning I wrestled with the Holy Spirit over whether or not to use the following scripture (I lost). “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14, NLT) The context of the scripture centers around King David’s banishing his son Absalom and refusing to allow him to return and Joab’s use of a woman from Tekoa to change his mind. But that’s not the context I want to put it in and as you know taking scriptures out of context doesn’t always work out. Prayerfully this morning it will.

There have been times when I’ve become separated from God because God we don’t always see eye-to-eye. There have also been times for a variety of reasons, when I’ve become separated from people. And even a few times I been separated from my church family. This morning during my daily bible reading time I became immersed in the scripture above because the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me go. It kinda reminded me of the night Jacob wrestled with an Angel. (That ever happen to you?)

As the minutes ticked away a few things became crystal clear to me. First, life is short. Second, God is not satisfied with even the shortest distance between us. Third, we may live in a “people diverse world” and may at times reject the diversity but the truth is we need each other. Fourth, God is constantly working out his master plan not only for his world but each of us as well. And finally, if I am (you too) are going survive and thrive I (you too) need bury my (your) agenda deep in Jesus’ empty tomb, take Jesus’ hand and walk with him in the presence of God.

Because of God’s unbreakable resolve for intimacy with me (you too) the following scripture is forever etched on my heart (yours too). “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39, NLT)

The shortness and brevity of life ends in a relationship with Jesus, in the presence God!

Believe! Anticipate! Experience! Be transformed!

Grace and PEACE, Amen!

Gary

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

Note: Should you want to go back and review this Glory Seed or if you’d like to subscribe so you can receive them in your email you can do so by clicking on this link: https://gloryseeds.wordpress.com/.

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

I am convinced that prayer is more than a process of making our wants and wishes known to God. Prayer is the beginning process God uses to get us on “his page” and off our “own page”.

__________________

“Scriptures marked MSG have been taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”

Scriptures marked CEV, “Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

“The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.”

“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”

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