Click above for episode in pic. And read below for another meditation of "Is Jesus first?"
We are creatures of habit. We tend to do things as we always have when it comes to managing our emotions and thoughts, time and energies.
When it comes to our emotions and thoughts, we over-process. We stew. We worry. We fret. We say "nothing's wrong". We push it down. We pursue distraction so we don't have to feel or think. We over-extend ourselves to placate, please, and attempt to influence others for the reactions we hope for.
It's all so exhausting.
We argue. We defend ourselves. We take the bait and respond to the offense.
We believe the lies of others who are manipulating us to get what they want.
We stay in strongholds because it is known territory. We feel comfortable there. Doing something new, radically changing our behavior, having godly boundaries, speaking the truth in love, letting others be upset with us, prioritizing God over all others would be a radical move for many.
And so we stay bound.
When it comes to our time and energies, we say "yes" when we should say "no". We give priority to others over time with God. We enmesh ourselves into the ways of the world, preferring entertainment and physical activity and catering to our families over God.
Ask yourself. Am I willing to forsake all others for the cost of following Christ? Are we willing to face the cost?
Luke 14:26- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Are you willing to take on the disappoint of others who are pressuring you to comply with their demands and expectations? Are you willing to say,
"You know what? I have not spent a day with Jesus in a while; and I really think that I need to take that time today."
"I'm sorry I can't take you to that game, I need to spend time reading God's word this weekend."
"I'm sorry I can't rush over and do that thing you are asking me to do, I'm giving that time to Jesus today."
"I need you to figure out dinner for the next couple of nights because I'm fasting and taking that time to draw near to God."
"I can't watch this because it does not honor God."
"I want to go back to church even though I've gotten used to worshipping at home. I need to not forsake gathering with the other believers.”
"Even though I don’t see how it will work, I will give God the first fruits of my finances. He shall provide."
"I'm not going to go for that run Saturday, I'm going to spend time with Jesus."
"I'm not going to call my friend and process this relationship to death one more time. I'm going to take it to Jesus."
"I'm not going to burn hours fretting and worrying. I'm going to believe in God's promises and persist in prayer."
"I'm not going to allow you to talk this way to me any more and guilt me into submission. When you are ready to stop blaming and shaming, we can be in relationship again. Until then, I will pray for you."
"I can't listen anymore to the bitterness you feel towards "x". When you are ready to pray about it and bring all that upset to God in prayer, let me know. I will be there for you."
Are these statement, part of your regular language? Let it give you pause.
If not, God has freedom and power for you who want to start speaking in these ways! He will defend you. He wants to empower you and set you free, to not be dominated by your flesh or by the ways of others. Get out of the rut, ask for Him to redeem your ways! To break strongholds! To fill you with His life and power! Mourn over your ways that put God last, that gives Him little.
Really consider... What steps do you need to take to put Christ first? The questions aren't meant to guilt you into anything. Jesus wants you to make Him priority as an expression of love you feel towards Him, in response to how good and merciful He has been to you! Love and obedience are not mutually exclusive. One requires the other.
John 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
He will come to you. Pray something along these lines, for whatever applies...
"I miss you Jesus. I want more time with you. I want to know You better. I see how good you have been to me. I realize I am too self-consumed and I don't like that. I want you to change me. I need help with resolving relational conflict. I have bitter responses towards others and I need to confess that. I allow others to control me; and I don't know how to give a godly response. I believe your promises are true. Impress upon my heart a promise you want me to memorize. I believe in you, help me deepen in belief and trust. I don't know your Word well enough. Forgive me for pursuing lesser things. I want to know you better so I can hear your voice more clearly. I can't remember the last time I really experienced your presence and I want to pursue you. Help me intercede for my loved ones and be watchful in prayer because you have asked me to do that."
(Note: To intercede for a loved one(s), click pic above for an interactive exercise of breath prayer intercession.)
In closing, I encourage you to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3 for what the Spirit of the LORD says to the churches. What church are you in? Let it move you to an urgency to cry out for awakening, revival, and purifying work of the Spirit in you, your family, your church, and community. We need to be the virgins filled with oil in these times.
Matthew 16:2-3- 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Simple moments. Around a table. Texting with a friend. As you put your child to bed. While meeting up for coffee. While on a date. At a check out. While waiting for a meeting to start...
"Let me tell you about what God did for me today.."
Psalm 66:16 says- Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.
We are to invite others to HEAR what God has done for us. Notice the psalmist calls those who fear God to listen. Often those who don’t fear Him won’t listen. But as we share amongst those willing to "come and hear", we encourage each other. We strengthen ourselves in the wait. We realize we are not alone. We influence our little ones and the next generation to love and honor God. And this is a worshipful act. We can do it around others not willing to listen, but are within earshot. It will perhaps invite questions and curiosity, releasing the power of God through our confession. It encourages other people to consider the promises of God. He helps us to love one another and Him in deeper ways. He wants us to celebrate Him together, to gather and give thanks and praise!
When is the last time you said to someone, “Listen to what God has done, or just did for me…”? It can be as simple as saying, “I really have to share that God got me through this day. I woke up fearful, but I admitted that to Him first thing, and then had a strength not my own for the rest of the day.. He heard my prayer and helped me.” As we make these simple confessions to each other on how we rely on Him in the finite moments and troubles of our lives, we worship Him. We spread good news, encourage the saints, and glorify His name.
Today, who is someone who fears God that you can tell them what God has done for you?
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.”- Psalm 66:16
If you want to go further in this form of worship, listen in to Wednesday 8/11/21's podcast for this exercise of worship of "Come and hear". You will take the instrumental time to tell Him...
And then take the simple action before you lay your head down tonight, to tell someone else what God has done for you. Let’s practice it. Let’s make it a habit of encouraging each other in these ways and so worship Him to the glory of His Name! "Come and hear all God has done for me!"
All week we’ve been finding prayer inspiration using Jesus’ teaching on prayer found in Matthew 6:5-15!
Within these verses we find the "Our Father" prayer, along with instruction from Jesus to find a private place and talk to our Father who is unseen, assuring us that He sees us praying in secret, and will openly rewards us, Matthew 6:6.
A few verses after that instruction, He tells us, "This, then is how you should pray..." And then gives us Spirit filled words that an untold number of saints, throughout the centuries, have known and treasured as the "Our Father" (or the Lord's) prayer.
In yesterday's podcast episode about the Our Father prayer, you are led to listen and repeat the prayer, after pondering its beauty and its power for intercession. You are called to notice its unique ability to unify God's people in a common language of prayer.
The "Our Father" prayer crosses denominational lines, borders, and even languages. In a room of strangers, whether believer or unbeliever, many would know the prayer and be able to join in its holy expression in a moment's notice.
We should treasure these ancient words, breathed by our Holy King. "This then is how you should pray... Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name..."
But Jesus encourages that prayer should not be the same words repeated over and over, Matthew 6:7. Right before He gives the "Our Father" prayer he tells us not to babble on like pagans, using many word repetitiously, thinking that somehow our many words could influence whether or not the Father hears us.
So in the exercise you'll find below, and in today's podcast episode, you pray "into" the Our Father prayer, honoring Jesus, our holy Friend and Savior, obeying His model for prayer-
He begins by teaching us to speak to and acknowledge the Father with honor and respect- "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name."
He encourages us to lift our eyes and pray for the Father's Kingdom and will to descend- "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
He tells us to ask for supply for both body and soul, as he teaches us in John that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. So we are to pray- "Give us today our daily bread."
He instructs us to ask for mercy daily, under the condition of also releasing others from owing us anything- "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors" (i.e. those who sin against us).
We are to ask for protection against temptations of flesh- "Lead us not to temptation."
We are to ask to be delivered from the enemy of our soul- "Deliver us from evil."
(Notice the plural pronoun "us" that Jesus repeatedly uses. It's intercessory style prayer, taking us beyond the small world of our own lives and perspective, connecting us with each other's needs, praying in agreement. "Give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us..." Listen in to episode #342 to hear more on the power for intercession within the Lord's prayer.)
If you count what Jesus tells us we are to pray for, you find 7 areas of prayer:
Regarding those 7 areas, its inspiration to pray "into" the Our Father language, instead of using the prayer as a repetitive exercise.
Next is an exercise to do just that. It's also the exercise in today's podcast. Agree with the deeper sentiment that Jesus wants us to express to the Father. After, experiment with expressing your own heart as you pray "into" the Our Father prayer.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. You are not just my father, but OUR Father, you set the lonely in families, you sought us and adopted us, we are now yours through Christ. Hallowed be your name. May you be honored and revered through US, through your children today.
May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Part the heavens in a fresh way Lord and come down. May your fame be made known throughout the whole earth. Be glorified, be known, release the Kingdom message into hearts, bring the world under subjection of your reign and rule. Your kingdom come, your will be done.
Give us today our daily bread. Thank you for giving daily supply, thank you for releasing our hands from striving. Thank you for fresh provision. Speak a word to us Father that sustains and satisfies the deepest places within us. We confess that we do not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Forgive us our trespasses, our debts. Lord we’ve fallen short this week. Impatience, quick judgments, disdain, offense, worry, doubt, apathy towards Kingdom things. Have mercy on us God, you know we are merely dust, you know the weakness of our frame.
As we forgive our debtors. Find us today holding no accounts; releasing any demands of anyone owing us anything. For you have forgiven us debt we could never pay, for the imperfections of our soul. Do a deep work in your people to let go, so that we may also be forgiven.
Lead us not into temptation. Get ahold of our flesh nature God. Stand in the way of any wayward leaning in us. Lead us by your Holy Spirit. Turn our eyes from worthless things. Cleanse and purge our souls from lusts of the flesh.
Deliver us from evil. The enemy is always prowling about as a roaring lion seeking whom He may devour. Rescue us from his wicked schemes, deliver us from his lies and perversions. Hide us under your wings. Shelter us from the storms of his design.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. You alone deserve the glory Father. King of kings, Lord of lords, maker of heaven and earth. Amen.
There is so much inspiration for fresh prayer language through the "Lord's prayer"! Use its structure to linger longer with Him! Pray into the language. Go deeper into His holy expression!
Listen to all the episodes this week for more reflections on the "Our Father" prayer! And listen in to the weeks prior, for a series of 9 episodes praying through Psalm 23!
Please consider supporting our mission of prayer! We want to reach more with the podcast and inspire others to linger longer with God!
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Prayer is Gift!
Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"