Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Prayer Barriers

December 05, 2004: Prayer Barriers

"You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2 NIV)

When our prayers are not answered, we want to know what's wrong with God. It's easier to blame Him than look in the mirror and say, "maybe I'm the problem". For the next few days let's look at some common prayer barriers.
Barrier #1 - prayerlessness. Be honest; how often do you decide to pray about something, add it to your prayer list, say you'll pray about it, and almost do? You think about it from time to time, but you hardly pray about it at all. Why isn't God answering? Because you haven't prayed yet!

Some of us live by the motto: "Why pray when you can worry? Why pray when you can work yourself to death trying to get it? Why pray when you can go without?" Get this: when we work, we work; when we pray, God works!

Barrier #2 - unconfessed sin. Listen: "Your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear" (Is 59:2 NIV). God expects you to maintain your personal integrity, to show thoughtfulness and love toward others, and to put Him first in your life. Listen: "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Mic 6:8 NIV). Those aren't suggestions - they're requirements! If you don't meet them, don't expect God to answer your prayers; you're wasting your breath unless it's a prayer of confession.
First seek His forgiveness, then He'll listen when you pour out your heart to Him."First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come." (Mth 5:24 NIV )

Barrier #3 - unresolved conflict. Listen to these Scriptures: "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift... go and be reconciled... then come and offer your gift" (Mt 5:23-24 NIV). Listen again: "Husbands... be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect... so that nothing will hinder your prayers" (1Pe 3:7 NIV).

Most of us underestimate how committed God is to building and maintaining loving relationships. There's no point praying if you're engaged in constant conflict. John writes: "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness" (1Jn 2:9 NIV). God will only listen when you come out into the light, deal with the thing that drove you and the other person apart, and attempt to mend the relationship.Of course it isn't always possible to make amends. Paul writes: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Ro 12:18 NIV). But sometimes the other person would rather keep the issue alive than accept your apology. If this happens, look deep into your heart. Have you sincerely tried to mend fences, or are you still holding something back? Do you really want restoration, or would you rather "blame place" and let things fester? If your attempts have been wholehearted and honest, God won't let a broken relationship stand in the way of your prayers. But if your attempts have been half-hearted and self-serving, try again - this time for real. "When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives" (James 4:3 NIV)
Barrier #4 - selfishness. To take a closer look at our praying, is to come face to face with selfishness. There's such confusion over wants and needs, rights and favours, justice and grace, creature comforts and conformity to Christ. It's impossible to grow spiritually without trials. To pray: "Give me an easy, happy, problem-free life," is a prayer God cannot answer because if He did, you'd be destroyed.
Barrier #5 - uncaring attitudes. The Israelites wondered why God was not answering their prayers. Here's what He told them: "Stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly... share your food with the hungry... Clothe those who are cold and don't hide from relatives who need your help. If you do these things... the Lord will answer" (Is 58:6-9 TLB).
God's committed to developing a people who will reflect His character - and His character always expresses compassion for others. Have you seen the cartoon picturing hundreds of people lined up as far back as the eye can see? Each is thinking the same thing: What can I do, I'm just one person? As just one person you may not be able to change the world. You can, however, look for small ways to show you care. Perhaps your church works with a food pantry or prison ministry. Maybe your skills could make a small difference in the evils of unemployment, illiteracy, child abuse, alcoholism or suicide. As long as your ear is open to the hurting, God will keep His ear open to you.

The discipline of stillness:
"Very early in the morning, Jesus... went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." (Mark 1:35 NIV)

One well-known Christian leader writes: "I used to try to pray on the run, till it became obvious that the pace of my life outstripped my capacity to analyse it. It exhausted me to be constantly doing, rarely reflecting on what I did. At the end of the day I'd wonder if my work had any meaning at all. So I developed my own approach to stillness before God. It's called "journaling". It's one of the spiritual disciplines that's really worked for me, and I'm not tempted to abandon it because it's made my life so much richer. After I open my journal, reflect on the previous day, and write out my thoughts and prayers, my spirit is receptive. Then I sit quietly and simply say: 'Lord, I invite You to speak to me.' The moments that follow are the ones that really matter. I like my way of quieting my mind and preparing myself to hear God speak: it works well for me. But I know it won't work for everyone. Some people can't stand writing anything, let alone journals and prayers; they prefer to talk quietly to God. Some are good at meditating without writing or saying a word. Some 'Come before Him with joyful songs' (Ps 100:2 NIV).

The important thing is not to follow a particular method, but to find a way that works for you. Custom design an approach that will still your racing mind, soften your heart, and enable you to hear God speaking to you!"

"David went in and sat before the Lord." (2 Samuel 7:18 NKJV )Here are three reasons we don't hear God speaking to us more often:
(1) We don't know how to handle His silence. When God seems to be silent we think: "Did I ask the wrong question? Was I foolish to expect an answer?" Don't be upset. God's a living being, not an answering machine; He speaks when He has something to say to you.
(2) We don't listen for God's voice. In addition to carving out blocks of quiet time to listen to God, you must learn to keep your ears tuned to Him each day.
One Christian author writes: "A friend of mine has a company car equipped with AM/FM radio, a CD player, a phone and mobile communication unit which he consistently monitors at a low decibel level. Often we've been riding together, talking and listening to music, when all of a sudden he'll reach down, pick up the microphone and say: 'I'm here, what's up?' With all the other noise in the car I never hear the signal, but he has tuned his ear to it. He's able to carry on a conversation and listen to music without ever missing an incoming call." And it's possible for you to develop that same sensitivity to God's voice.
(3) We don't plan to do anything about it. When God speaks we listen, nod and say: "How interesting!" If we don't follow up on His leadings, God may see no reason to continue speaking. When He speaks to us it's usually toward one end - obedience!
Written Bob Gass Ministries Used with Permission from "The Word For Today": http://www.thewordfortoday.com.au/ to those in Australia the devotional is available free from UCB Australia by phoning 1800 068 204.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Warriors Need Refreshing

May 18, 2005: "Oh magnify the Lord with me and exalt His name forever." (Psalm 34:3)

Prayer Warriors
The alert is sounded, Loud and clear, Somewhere a soul is crying, Torn by forces Satan lead: They feel their heart is dying. There is nowhere else they can go,

No mortal man can answer The problems tearing at their hearts; The disease that means disaster. They cannot even pray themselves, For Pain is all they feel. They need someone to step into The breech with enthusiasm and zeal. Prayer Warriors are called upon To step into the fray!

Some approach on bended knee; some in their wheelchairs stay. Some raise words of eloquence, Some, much more plainly speak, All with scripture knowledge bold Lay their requests at Jesus' feet. One commandment, Jesus gave To Love, as we are Loved. Prayer Warriors, in any shape or size, With just one thing to prove.Where two or more are gathered, With them He shall Abide,

Our Awesome Saviour joins our Prayer His Arms are Open Wide. Praise God for His Prayer Warriors!Unceasingly.........They pray!Their crowns will carry many gems When Jesus calls them Home to stay.
Karen Payne (C) 2004-

Reflective Thought: Today's message is for all those who have found their prayer life has become dry & need refreshing. Many prayer warriors spend hours praying for others & for this we say thank you it is a blessing to so many. However standing in the gap often means one comes under much attack & many become weary. May today's message encourage & inspire you to make personal time reading, reflecting & praying the Psalms. May you become refreshed & be freshly inspired. Be blessed today & enjoy!
Keeping Prayer Fresh and Alive,
For the past few weeks we have been walking the path toward learning to pray using the Psalms. Let's, stop, turn and look back down the trail at some milestones we have passed. We acknowledged that a healthy, disciplined prayer life is very difficult for most of us to sustain long term. And a good deal of the advice we get does not work for the long haul. Then we boldly suggested a secret to the life of prayer: the Psalms can teach us to pray. In fact the best time-tested prayer "technique" among great faith-warriors for 3000 years is to pray the Psalms.

And we began exploring the benefits of praying the Psalms:First we noted that praying the Psalms helps us to Speak the "Unspeakable."Second, praying the Psalms helps us Explore the "Uncomfortable." Now, lets move on.

Let's look at a couple more blessings of praying the Psalms this week. The Psalms not only enrich our prayer life, but they broaden our scope of prayer...I have discovered that praying the Psalms keeps our prayer list fresh. As we move through the Psalter, the focus keeps changing from Psalm to Psalm, raising fresh prayer topics with each new Psalm we pray. The Psalms lead us into a wide range of 'prayer subjects' and emotions, rescuing us from repetitiveness and bouncing us out of our narrow and self-centred prayer ruts. What is more, a prayer that begins with a Psalm usually moves us beyond the ancient content of the Psalm itself into contemporary issues, many of which we may not have prayed over in months some maybe never before.

So the Psalm we are praying becomes a launching pad for fresh and varied topics of prayer. The Psalms not only enrich our prayer life, but they broaden our scope of prayer and lead us on a journey of prayer topics that bless our lives like they have blessed other believers for thousands of years. In addition, praying the Psalms takes prayer beyond mere begging. Prayer gatherings often go something like this, "Any prayer requests?" Then we raise our hands and tell the group what we want God to give us or to do for us: "Heal Aunt Sally!" "Get me a raise!" "Give me a safe trip!" "Fix my marriage!" Etc. etc. Of course God is interested in Aunt Sally's health and my safety. And it is great that we ask God for things that trouble our heart. Jesus himself tells us to "seek, knock and ask."

However, for the Psalms, personal petition is just one small piece of potent prayer. Sure the Psalms have as making requests, but they take us far beyond begging. When we keep praying the Psalms, the Spirit opens up new vistas of prayer and before long they have us... * Listening to God * Praising God * Thanking God * Exploring our own souls * Blessing other people * Empathizing with the pain of others * Recalling God's goodness * Asking God questions * Seeking God's face * Awestruck at His majesty * Trembling before His holiness * Basking in His love
Oh yes, praying the Psalms vastly broadens and deeply enriches our understanding of the purposes and powers of prayer. Our prayers grow fresher, broader, deeper, and higher as the Psalms teach us to pray.
Used by permission. http://www.heartlight.org/ (C) 2001, Lynn Anderson hopenet@ont.com,

Have Troubles - Learn to Lament

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? & why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (Psalm 43: 5 & 42: 11)

Exploring the Uncomfortable Darkness

The Psalms help us explore the uncomfortable. God provides therapy through the Psalms. As we pray all of the Psalms -- laments as well as praises -- they will take us into emotional geography that we might otherwise avoid. They lead us to process painful feelings we might otherwise just stuff down inside.

Our "happy happy" culture programs us to avoid painful or negative feelings. But serious downsides come with this kind of avoidance. Mental health professionals have long since discovered that swallowed painful feelings, like anger, fear and shame usually produce negative consequences. These feelings frequently come out in some destructive form, such as clinical depression or substance abuse or sexual acting out. God knew this. And I believe one reason he gave us the Psalms is to help us unearth these kinds of feelings and deal with them.

By praying the Psalms we vent and lay our stuff honestly at His feet. God is big enough to let us beat on his chest. We can spill out our hearts to Him, even rage out our disappointments in Him and our angers at Him. In fact, many of the Psalms do just that!

Not long ago a Christian woman, struggling with doubts and darkness confided, "I can hardly stand to go to church. Not that I don't want to worship God, or be around His people. It's just that everything sounds so positive. They sing bright songs, preach upbeat messages, and smile so much -- and seem to ignore the pain that must be sitting in those pews. It makes me feel so outside of everything there, so disconnected."This lady eloquently raised a red flag over the marketing mind-set invading some contemporary churches. Sometimes the mood seems be, "Don't talk about negative stuff at church. That won't attract folks. Let's bring 'em in. Pump 'em up. And send 'em out grinning."

"Let's bring 'em in. Pump 'em up. And send 'em out grinning."For years I have advocated "praise teams" to help lead us in worship. Still do, of course. But lately I have been wondering if we don't also need some "lament teams" at times. Sunday after Sunday, people show up on our pews in some state of real lament. The Psalms know this. About 60% of them are "psalms of lament." But these are often ignored.We want the mood in our assemblies "up beat." To do so we sometimes even pillage bright phrases from Psalms of lament, and turn them into up-beat praise choruses. For example, the words "as a deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you" are lifted from the anguish of Psalm 42: and spliced into a warm and adoring popular praise song.

The real point of Psalm 42 doesn't sing well in a praise chorus, so it is left behind. Listen to some of it: "My tears have been my food day and night" "why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning?" This is merely one example of bright phrases stripped from the heart of a Psalm of lament.Of course, all the Psalms of lament speak their triumphal note of hope, with one exception: the 88th Psalm.

This dark Psalm contains no hope, and ends with the dismal words, "the darkness is my closest friend." To get the feel of what I am talking about, slowly read aloud Psalm 88, reflectively. "O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me? From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me. You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend."

Now read it again in another translation: "You keep me safe, LORD God. So when I pray at night, please listen carefully to each of my concerns. I am deeply troubled and close to death; I am as good as dead and completely helpless. I am no better off than those in the grave, those you have forgotten and no longer help. You have put me in the deepest and darkest grave; your anger rolls over me like ocean waves. You have made my friends turn in horror from me. I am a prisoner who cannot escape, and I am almost blind because of my sorrow. Each day I lift my hands in prayer to you, LORD. Do you work miracles for the dead? Do they stand up and praise you? Are your love and loyalty announced in the world of the dead? Do they know of your miracles or your saving power in the dark world below where all is forgotten? Each morning I pray to you, LORD. Why do you reject me? Why do you turn from me? Ever since I was a child, I have been sick and close to death. You have terrified me and made me helpless. Your anger is like a flood! And I am shattered by your furious attacks that strike each day and from every side. My friends and neighbours have turned against me because of you, and now darkness is my only companion.

"See what I mean? A surprising number of people in your church might be helped enormously if some Sunday soon, your worship leader planned an entire worship assembly around Psalm 88! And how it might please God as well. God knows our needs and our long periods of darkness. That is why he left those dark Psalms in the Bible. We need them.Your church needs them too. The Psalms teach us to pray openly and honestly to God, especially out of the darkest nights of our soul.
Used by permission. http://www.heartlight.org/ (C) 2001, Lynn Anderson hopenet@ont.com,

Keeping Prayer Alive

April 22, 2005 - Don't Give Up on Prayer, by Lynn Anderson

A dozen Christian men leaned in around a table discussing something big -- the "P-word," Prayer! "I hate to admit it" James confessed, "but sometimes my schedule gets so hectic I don't really pray much for days." "My problem is a bit different," Brad joined in, " I usually pray fairly regularly. But, my prayers often feel stale and I get into this rut praying the same old things every day." Clarke agreed, "I hear that. Rote, stale, and repetitive. Plus my prayers become narrower and narrower. Here lately I pray mostly about me: my needs, my family, and my ministry. Me!" James, Brad and Clarke (not their real names) were not mere novices in the faith. They were widely respected church leaders! And, of course their struggles are not unique.

Across the country lots of sincere Christians find themselves stuck in similar ruts:* Stale and shallow prayers. * Numbing repetition.* Praying mostly about surface issues.* Narrowing scope of prayer topics.* Praying laundry lists of self-centred wants.* Prayer focused on us rather than on relationship with God.*

Prayer becoming intermittent even badly neglected.Are these dismal swamps inevitable? Maybe not. Part of the problem could be flawed approaches to prayer. We may be attempting quick fixes that cannot pull us permanently out of the prayer doldrums. For example, New year's resolutions don't help. We rarely keep them. Even if we stick with them, prayer often goes numb by April. Or maybe you have set your watch to beep you when it is 'prayer time.' Our you have tried to stand, jog or peddle an exercise bike to stay alert during prayer. Or to pray during drive time, so that red traffic light, is not an annoyance, but a call to prayer. Or to fill each calendar square with a person to pray for that day. Or -- well you make your list. But you have likely discovered that what seemed a helpful crutch in the short run, did not sustain a lasting, vibrant prayer life. Gimmicks won't get it. Believe me. I know. Been there. Done that.

So what is to be done? - Daunting question. But we're going to work on an answer. Let's go deeper! Let's not stop till we find genuine prayer that leads us into the presence of the Father and allows us to "stand on the rim of mystery!" Back at our discussion table, Clarke piped up again, "Yeah. I've been fooled by a bunch of those gimmicks too. But some techniques have really helped. For example, my small accountability group helps me keep my prayer life on track." The circle agreed that they found it nearly impossible even to stay alive spiritually without their small group -- much less flourish. Clarke cautioned, "But, while my group does keep me consistent, it doesn't keep my prayers fresh.""Every time I walk into a Christian book store, " Jim added, "I see a new batch of stuff on prayer. Some I've found somewhat helpful.For example, you've likely used the A.C.T.S. formula. (Begin with adoration. Then confession. Then thanksgiving. Then supplication.) This plan helped me a bunch, but even it doesn't keep my prayers from becoming repetitious and self-consumed."

The group kicked around several helpful prayer methods that day, agreeing that most might be useful to a point. But they also agreed that, "At best humanly generated 'prayer formulae' are always limited. Eventually they all grow stale."Actually, most of the published 'prayer formulae' are simply devotional techniques found useful by their authors. But, since we are not all wired up alike, copycatting another person's devotional disciplines is risky. A prayer formula that helped me may not help you at all. Besides, sometimes after a 'sure fire prayer technique' gets published, even its author finds it has become rote and stale. Prayer 'techniques' which at first look like 'the highway to Holiness', often turn out to be merely blind alleys."So, is it hopeless then?" queried Joe, one of the quieter persons leaning in around our table. "What can be done to keep our prayer lives fresh and vibrant?"

- Daunting question. But, there actually may be an answer! - They all prayed and sang the Psalms!The most tried and true approach to personal prayer renewal is no mere fad or quick fix. And it is often overlooked in our haste to find short cuts. But it is huge. In fact, for three thousand years virtually all the real giants of the faith have one thing in common: They all prayed and sang the Psalms! Scripture underscores this practice. Surely something larger than co-incidence wrote one hundred fifty Psalms into the bosom of our Bibles. And it is not mere coincidence that Psalms flow so freely from the lips of Jesus. And still no coincidence that, even in our day, believers who long for a deeper walk with God will sooner or later turn to the Psalms. Nor that those slimmed down pocket Bibles contain at least the New Testament plus the Psalms.The authors of these timeless poems and songs did not hastily scribble them down on napkins, during some rare moments of religious euphoria. Rather, God-impassioned persons pondered profound 'God-thoughts' over long periods till their 'praisings' and 'beseechings' were eventually distilled into intricately woven Hebrew poetic form. More thoughtful reflections on God cannot be found than in the Psalms. Nor will we find more anguished callings out to Him. The Psalms run deepest, hit truest, last longest, and rise highest as the central column of prayer among the most passionate people of God.
Speaking the & quot;Unspeakable & quot;

Among the first people to point me toward the prayer power of the Psalms was my friend, shepherd and Old Testament scholar, Dr. John T. Willis. Dr. Tony Ash enriched this understanding. Another friend, Randy Harris, later alerted me to the riches of reading the psalms aloud, and pointed out that by reading five psalms a day, we move though all one hundred fifty in a month. Then, Eugene Petersen in his book Answering God, provided me a sort of map for praying the psalms. For Petersen, most of the Bible is God's word to us, but the Psalms are our divinely given answer back to God. For the guidance of these dear 'Psalm pilgrims,' I shall be forever grateful.For years now, I have intermittently 'prayed the Psalms.' But it was not until 1998 that two major speaking assignments nudged me into a yearlong, life-changing adventure with them. I was assigned four keynote messages on worship for the July 1999 Nashville Jubilee. Jerry Rushford also assigned me Psalm 23, for what he called, "the last Pepperdine lecture of the millennium," April 99.

My preparation took me through numerous volumes on worship. But, far more significantly -- during 1998-99 I lived for a year in the Psalms, praying five psalms every day. I did not just run through them. I wallowed down into them, and most days, stayed there till 'God showed up.' - During that year of red-blooded adventure, I discovered several powerful values and advantages of praying the Psalms.One of the powerful advantages of the Psalms is that they help us speak the unspeakable. I discovered that the Psalms supply words for my tsunami level feelings when my own words fail me. Poetry reaches its inspired best in the Psalms.The Psalms, after all, are poetry. And poetry does not aim to spell things out specifically or in linear sequence, nor in proposition. Rather, poetry gathers up inexpressibly gigantic things into sounds and suggestions and images, and launches them in the general direction of expression. Of course, for believers, poetry reaches its inspired best in the Psalms. Sometimes even the cadence, the sound of the Psalm, like the sound of music, engages soul-deep feelings, which cannot be expressed, in mere words.The famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova was once asked by an adoring fan, "Anna, when you danced, what were you saying." Pavlova replied, "If I could tell you, I wouldn't need to dance."Classic worshippers of the centuries might say, "If I could say all of what I experience, I wouldn't need the imagery, the poetry, and the sound of the Psalms." In the subterranean geography of my world rumble passions which defy my feeble vocabulary and my bland imagery. The poetry of the Psalms often express these gargantuan feelings for me when nothing else can. Besides expressing the inexpressible, the Psalms also often surface enormously significant feelings I did not even know where there. They help put me in touch with buried issues. Of course this kind of help will not come out of a superficial reading of the Psalms -- not even from the first few thoughtful readings. But given time, the Psalms begin to speak the unspeakable for us. Surely this is one huge reason God gave them to us. And one good reason to pray the psalms.

Used by permission. http://www.heartlight.org/ (C) 2001, Lynn Anderson hopenet@ont.com,
Reflective Thought: I found the above message so true & refreshing. We often sing the song "As the deer panteth for the water so my heart panteth after thee." Please know God so desires you to make time with Him. Many will not have time to read five Psalms a day. The very busy person may only be able to read one Psalm some only one verse. One of my friends has young children & leaves a post it note were she reads then picks up from that point next time. One friend can only make it once a week another once a month when she has a babysitter & spends several hours in quiet time. Remember your time with the Lord & reading the word is about 'quality not quantity' try it you will be so blessed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Teach Me How to Pray

Teach Me How to Pray
Please teach me, Lord...
I want to know Exactly how to pray. I need some words Which ones are right? Please tell me what to say.

I've bowed my head I have knelt down, But ... should I be upright? I've closed my eyes, I've raised my hands, Or ... should I fold them tight?

Do I stand up? Should I sit down? Dear Lord ... what do you like? Are lights turned on Or are they off? Maybe ... candle light?

Wear my glasses? Take them off? Be at my desk or table? Should I whisper? Speak out loud? Do I quote the Bible?

What do you thinkAbout the time? Do You prefer the dawn? Should I pray fast, Or keep it slow? Better short ... or long?

I'm new at thisWhat are the rules? I want to do it right. How do know You'll even hear That I am in Your sight?

And while I sat there quietly, Waiting for some sign,

I heard a gentle voice say:

"Oh, dearest child of mine ...Do you think I really care about the time of day, Or whether you are standing up, Or kneeling when you pray?"

"I don't care about your posture, Or about the place you choose; Just open up your soul to me, I have no other rules. Tell me what is in your heart, And tell me what you seek; Tell me of your sorrows, And of those things that made you weak."

"Speak to me in private About what concerns you most; I know about your good deeds ... You have no need to boast. My child, you don't need lessons, Just talk to me each day. Tell me anything you want, dear child, Anyone can pray." (Author Unknown)

Cast Your Burdens Upon Him

May 04, 2004: In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV)

Cast Your Burdens Upon Him
Do not worry about food and drink or about the things you'll wear. Is life not more then food and drink see the birds up in the air. They do not plant or harvest, nor store food in the barn. But your heavenly Father feeds them and keeps them safe and warm. Look at the lovely lilies in the meadows where they grow, they do not want for anything, God cares for them I know. He adorns them with such beauty, tis there for all to see. Would He not go the extra mile, when it comes to you and me. Don't worry about tomorrow. The best is yet to be when you invite the heavenly Father to come and dwell with thee. Focus your eyes upon Jesus and your problems will soon grow dim. When you go to the Father in prayer and cast all your burdens on Him.
Marilyn Ferguson ©2001 (Based on Matthew 6:25-33) Used with permission: Echoes of the heart http://www.marilynspoetry.com/

A New Measure Of Faith

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:1-4)

Many of you know that over the years I also have faced many challenges & through out the Lord has been with us and provided our needs in many ways. During this time I learnt much about the importance, value and results of effective praying. Because of this I have been able to encourage and pray with others. Through my journey, my faith and experiences have taught me it is better to trust God than man (Psalm 118) God never fails & nothing is to much or impossible with Him. I pray this recent miracle that happened to me will inspire & encourage you today.

One day my car broke down and a roadside mechanic came to fix it. His diagnosis was the car was in serious trouble needed new engine, gear box & so on. He was able to get the car started & gave a recomendation to replace ASAP. This was impossible so all I could do was pray and trust God.

Last month the car situation became critical. After seeking prayer support I again went back to my prayer closet. This time my cry was more desperate we had tried everything possible in the natural. Plenty had advise, yes we had tried to get a loan, sought other opinions, prayed, tithed, spoken the word, sought prayer support etc. Now I understood how Job felt, 'bad things do happen to good people.' Life is full of challenges & they can be Gods opportunities to turn setbacks into springboards whilst learning patience. Whilst praying I felt an inner peace as the Lord asked me to trust Him.

My trust was rewarded last week when I received an email from my Pastor asking me to ring him as soon as possible. I then learnt a person who wished to remain anonymous had stepped forward & asked if they could purchase me a replacement vehicle. Two days later it was delivered fully licenced, power steering, airconditioning, CD player. All I had to do was sign some forms I had no extra expenses. Who this person was only my Pastor & God know. I thank God not only for the blessing but also thank the person who heard from God & was obedient to Him. Trully a beautiful miracle that has left many speechless.

My prayer today is that if you are reading this & have a need do not think God has forsaken you. Seek prayer support & surround yourself with people of faith who will encourage you. If I can help with prayer please contact me at prayereflections@yahoo.com.au & I will pray for you.

Remember God never fails! sometimes delays mean God has a better result, my prayer was for God to fix the car - Gods solution was to replace with a better model. "God knows are needs better than we do He looks at the bigger picture." Sometimes there are seasons of blessings & I can vouch that the last few weeks I have seen so many small blessings I have been overwhelmed.

This miracle has increased my faith to continue believing for other needs in my life & family. Today I urge you to believe God hears your prayers and will never forsake you. It has also increased my faith to continue praying & believing for others.

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done..." 1 Chron 16:8-12

Written for SWPW Weekly Prayer Reflection - Jan Lyall © 2004

Reflective Thought: The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) I am your shepherd. You will never have need of anything that I want for you. If you will trust me, and allow me to be the shepherd of your life, I will give to you such great peace of mind that it will be like lying in the cool green grass of a springtime meadow. And as you learn to deepen your love and trust, a quietness will come over your soul, like a serene, calm lake. It will be a time of great refreshment to your inner man, thus preparing you to do whatever tasks I set before you to do; And do not minimize any task that I give you to do, as it is for my honor and glory, not yours. There will be times when, because of my great love for you, it will be necessary for me to lead you into great darkness..... Darkness that will be so great that you will feel as though you are standing at the very edge of life, with death awaiting you below. But always remember, I am still your shepherd. In the darkness you may not be able to see me, but you have my eternal promise that I will never leave you or forsake you. If you will continue to trust me, even after you have been through a time of darkness, I will again flood your heart with such peace that you could even sit down with your enemies. Your joy will be so great that it will spill over into the lives of others. And as your reward I will give to you all the really important things of life. When you have completed all that I have planned for you to do on earth. I want you to come up and live with me forever and ever and ever. (Paraphrased - Author Unknown)

A Love Letter For You

March 03, 2005: "

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." (Jer 33:3 NKJV)

Reflection: Many have written & shared how they find it hard to pray & relate to God because they have been hurt or let down by their father.

Below is a link to a message from 'Father God' to you that reveals the love of our 'Abba' for each of us. My prayer is that it will minister to you today & you will feel & know the love of Abba Father. The link below take you direct to the site were you can view/hear the message in several languages. Please let others know of Gods Love for them. Be blessed today & enjoy!

'Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2006' contact: http://www.fathersloveletter.com/

An Invitation

March 27, 2005:

Reflective Thought: "He who has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying ..." (Rev)

An Invitation - Are You Ready?

Here the heart beat of God beating it sounds like a drummer gently drumming, "come, come, come .."

Hear the Spirit gently wooing "come".

As the words of the Carol say " O come let us adore Him ... Christ the Lord"

- Ssh hush! Listen! "Come my child ..."

He is calling today what is he saying to you? - Hear Him calling You! "Come ...."

Do you know him or have you turned away? He is saying, "Come to me ... come back .." It is written: "For the son of man is come to save that which was lost (Mth 18:11)"

"Come now let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18)

* His Invitation to the world: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, ... incline your ear unto me, & come unto me; hear, & your soul shall live; ... seek the Lord while he may be found ..(Isaiah 55)

Jesus called out to them, "Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!" (Mark 1:17 NLT)

Are you worn out & weary? " Come unto me all ye that labour & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you & learn of me; for I am meek & lowly in heart: & ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy & my burden is light (Mth 11:28-30

Beware busyness: " ...A certain man made a great supper & invited many. .... Say to them, .."Come for all things are now ready." And they all began to make excuses. (Luke 14: 15-25) Room for all: (Luke 14:23) .... Go into the highways & hedges & compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Invitation to enter His Rest: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy, & find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16) Come deeper into holiness.

A promise: Let not your heart be troubled: .....In my Fathers house are many mansions....... I will come again, ... (John 14: 1-4)

The final call: (Rev 22:17 & 20) And the spirit & the bride say, Come & let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that athirst come, & whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely. ..... Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.

Source: Intro Jan Lyall & The Bible © 2005 Email:

If you do not know Jesus & would like to know more - please write to me at prayereflections@yahoo.com.au & I will get back to you as soon as possible.