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Who Can We Pray For?

The Conversation BeginsIf you’ve been following this series, you already know the answer to this question. We can pray for anyone whose name or face comes to mind. In fact, if their name or face comes to mind, we can get in the habit of considering it a call to prayer. If we’re aware that God’s Spirit is with us always and learn to pay attention to His prompts, He’ll call us to pray for others more often than you may think. I’ve written about this in Parachute Prayer: the Practice of Praying Continually. I invite you read that book to learn more about this discipline.*

Here are a few ideas for now:

  1. We can pray for God. Jesus did! In The Lord’s Prayer, He prayed that God’s kingdom would come and His will be done.  We can ask for this, too. Does God need our prayers in order for His purposes to be accomplished? Ultimately, I don’t think so. I suspect the prayer for God is really for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us. When we ask for God’s kingdom to come and His will be done, we’ll become more aware of ways we can participate. We’ll become more willing and eager to participate. God’s Spirit will work through us to draw others into the action, too.
  2. Who We Can Pray ForWe can pray for our families.
  3. We can pray for our friends.
  4. We can pray for ourselves.
  5. We can pray for our churches.
  6. We can pray for our communities.
  7. We can pray for people who serve our families and communities.
  8. We can pray for our nation.
  9. We can pray for our world.
  10. We can pray for strangers we encounter while out and about.
  11. We can pray about needs we see on the internet, in the paper, or on TV.

We can pray for specifics if we know them, but if we don’t and sense a reason to pray, we can pray generically. God knows what’s going on in other people’s lives even when we don’t. Going one step further, we don’t even have to wait until we sense that someone needs a prayer. If we’re sitting in the airport waiting to board a flight, we can talk to God about the fellow travelers who come into view. If someone treats us with unexpected kindness—or undeserved grumpiness—we can whisper a prayer for that person as we go on our way. One deserves a blessing; the other may need it desperately.

Father, please make us sensitive to Your Spirit’s call to pray—for anyone, anywhere. You know the whole world’s needs. Thank You for inviting us to participate as You work in our world. Thy Kingdom come, Lord. Amen.


*If you’re starting to think about Christmas, Parachute Prayer even has a section on praying through the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and more. To order a copy from Amazon.com, click here.

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The Find-a-Penny Prayer

“Find a penny. Pick it up. All the day you’ll have good luck.”

I found a penny on the ground by my truck yesterday. I wasn’t even tempted to pick it up. I live in Texas now. It’s hot. That penny would have burned my fingers. But seeing it made me smile. I remember how exciting it was, as a child, to find a penny on the ground.

Find a Penny PrayerThough I didn’t claim yesterday’s penny, a new value for found pennies occurred to me. When we see pennies on the ground, let’s pray for the people who dropped them. The lost penny may not have caused great financial hardship (unless they’d been desperate for a cup of coffee, searched their car for change, found exactly the right amount needed, then dropped that one penny . . . these things do happen). But we can ask God to bless them financially, help them manage their money wisely, or even just to do something that will brighten their day.

Then, if we don’t pick up the penny ourselves, we can pray for the person who will! I’m picturing a child, but I also remember a pastor who used found pennies as a sermon illustration and explained why he always picks them up. (I don’t remember why, though, just that he always does. I’m guessing I didn’t remember what he’d hoped I would.)

Regardless, let’s let found pennies remind us to pray for those who dropped them and those who will pick them up. A conversation with Jesus is better than hoping for luck.


You know, I have to admit that some of the prayer prompts I come up with, like this one, sometimes seem a little silly at first. But I love discovering that something as simple as a penny on the ground can remind me to talk to God on another person’s behalf and that, as I talk to Him for that person, His Spirit immediately reminds me of other things to talk to Him about. As quick as that, I’m praying as I go about the random business of my day. And maybe that person who dropped a penny really needs to be remembered in prayer. Or maybe that prayer will remind me to pray for someone else’s known need that I forgotten to talk over with God. Or maybe God just wants to get my attention—for us to spend some time together in the middle of a busy day. I can’t look at anything that reminds me to talk to God as silly when I consider it that way. May everything around us come to remind us to pray.

Father, thank You for drawing my attention to a shiny penny on hot pavement. Thank You for reminding me to pray. Please help us all remember to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We love You. We love meeting with You—anytime of day. Amen.

For more prayer prompts, read my book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. Available for Kindle at Amazon.com or in paperback through several on-line bookstores.

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Because He Said So

When we become parents, we vow we’ll never say it. Our parents said it and drove us crazy. We decide we will not do that to our kids. We’re more patient, more creative, more understanding than that. We determine that our kids won’t hear that phrase coming from our lips.

But then the day comes when they ask for something they can’t have.

We say, “No.”

They say, “Why?”

We patiently explain.

They look at us with big, sad eyes and ask, “But why?”

We try again to explain.

They get frustrated, stomp their feet, and ask again, “But why?”

And before we know what’s happening, those four little words come out of our mouths of their own volition:

“Because I said so.”

And suddenly we understand. Our parents weren’t being impatient, uncreative, or insensitive. They desperately wanted us to understand the why, so we’d accept the disappointing answer and not be unhappy with them, so we’d trust that they were doing their job as parents and choosing the best for us—even when it hurt.

But sometimes, kids, still learning and experiencing and maturing, just cannot understand. That’s why they’re still kids, living under our roofs, dependent on our care. “Because I said so” has to be enough for them. Someday they’ll thank us for it. (We hope.)

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” This is God’s (through Moses) “Because I said so” to the Israelites. They were still relatively new to this whole being-God’s-chosen-people thing and there was much about Him and His plan that they could not understand. Moses assured them that, though God had the right to not tell them everything, He had told them everything they needed to know. He told them Who He Is. He told them what they could expect from Him. He told them what He expected from them. Their job was to obey the law He’d given and to trust Him with the rest.

For. Their. Own. Good.

God maintains His rightGod has revealed so much more of Himself and His plan since that time. Thanks to Jesus, we know things the Israelites couldn’t have imagined. Yet God still maintains the right to keep secret things. We won’t always know why. There’s much we cannot understand. Sometimes Because I said so has to be enough.

But we do know that God loves us and that all His plans for us are good. He has told us Who He Is. He has told us what we can expect from Him and what He expects from us. He has even sent His Spirit to help us in our quest to live His way. Our job is to follow His Son and trust Him with whatever we can’t yet understand.

Better yet, He’s given us His Word. As we study it, His Spirit helps us to grow in wisdom and understanding. Just as our children grow in knowledge, experience, and maturity, so do we. We’ll never understand everything, for only God is God. But as we faithfully study and pray, God will reveal what He wants us to know. Let’s thank Him now instead of waiting until someday.

Father, there is no one like You Who understands all things. Therefore please help us, Your beloved children, to trust You. When Because I said so is the only answer we can handle in our humanity, help us to be thankful for what You have revealed. Help us to follow Your Son’s ways. We’re so thankful to be Your children. Please teach us what we need to know, so our lives will please You. For our good and Your glory! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Living in the New-Covenant Kingdom Now

Purple Flower“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” –Deuteronomy 8:18

A new thought came to me when I read this verse this morning. When we compare the old and new covenants of the Bible, we talk often about the fact that anything accomplished by the old sacrificial system was temporary, so that those sacrifices had to be offered again and again and again. Jesus’ sacrifice, the sacrifice of the new covenant, happened once for all people for all time. No sacrifice for sin will ever be required again.

Deuteronomy 8:18 hints at another difference between the two covenants, though. Whenever the old covenant is referred to, the rewards for honoring it are temporary things. Throughout the Old Testament, God promised His people wealth, land, long life, big families, and status. Jesus, in the New Testament, didn’t promise any of those things. In fact, regarding this life, He promised suffering!

Don’t get me wrong. People in the Old Testament suffered, too—and sometimes for reasons they couldn’t understand. But when they did, their restoration or “happy ending,” so to speak, involved only temporary things. Joseph became a ruler, second only to Pharoah, and was reunited with his family. Job got his wealth, family, and reputation back. The Israelites in exile looked forward to the day when God would restore His Kingdom on earth.

But God had a bigger plan. Jesus talked about it all the time before His death and resurrection, but His followers couldn’t understand until after those events. When Jesus died and rose again, He brought the hope of eternal life into the picture in a whole new way! He tore the veil between the physical and the spiritual. Because of Him, we live with a dramatically different understanding of what it means to be saved. Before the resurrection, people expected to be saved for this life. After, they knew Jesus had saved them for eternity!

None of the disciples got a “happily ever after” ending like Job did. All were martyred except for Judas, who took his own life, and John, the beloved disciple, who probably suffered more than any who were killed! At the very least, he had to wait the longest to be reunited with Christ in that promised heavenly home.

New-Covenant KingdomBut none of them were looking for Job’s happy ending. Their hearts were set on eternity. Yes. Jesus promised them suffering, but He also promised freedom from sin, comfort, strength, character, wisdom, His Presence, the fruit of the Spirit, citizenship in His Kingdom, adoption into His forever family, a new name, an eternal home in Heaven, crowns they’d be honored to throw at His feet and so. much. more.

If we’re looking for wealth, health, and status in this world, we’re living with an old covenant mindset. Jesus invites us to follow Him and His disciples into His New-Covenant Kingdom now.

Jesus, this life can be confusing, disheartening, even hurtful sometimes. But we choose to trust You. Our hope is not for the rewards this world can offer but for the eternal ones that You promised. Help us to keep our focus on eternity with You as we faithfully serve you here. Help us to boldly follow the example those early Christian set, knowing that eventually, just like Your beloved disciple did, we’ll see You face to face in our new home. Nothing can separate us from Your love! Amen.


Giveaway news!!! If you have a Goodreads account, there’s a Home Is Where God Sends You giveaway going on now! Click here to enter.

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Confronting Others God’s Way

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” –Matthew 18:15, NLT

Purple PansyConfronting someone we care about is hard. In fact, the closer we are to a person, the harder a confrontation may be because we fear rejection, hard feelings, even loss of relationship if the discussion is not well-received. That’s why we must carefully consider how we’ll handle confrontation when it’s necessary.

When someone we care about offends us, we have options to consider—lots of options! Sadly, not all of these are healthy, but all of them are hard. In fact, the healthiest choice may actually be the hardest one of all.

Let’s consider some of the ways we may choose to deal with an offense:

1. Retaliation. At first, this probably feels like the easiest option—if not the most tempting. An eye for and eye—a tooth for a tooth. Exact justice so all’s fair. Revenge is sweet, isn’t it?

Not really. Especially if we care about the person we’re getting vengeance on. Now we’ll not only have to suffer with the pain of having been offended but also with the guilt of having offended someone else and, possibly, the end of a relationship. At the least, damage on both sides will have to be repaired. Retaliation may feel good for a moment, but once that moment passes, we’ll have a bigger mess to clean up.

2. Avoidance. This may seem like an easy option, too—unless we live with the one who has caused us pain. Even then, it’s possible to go about our business pretending that what happened didn’t really bother us. Denial can become our happy place! But only for a time.

The trouble is, when we choose avoidance or live in denial, we’re actually waiting for the one who hurt us to come to his or her senses, apologize, and make things right. But how can another do this if he or she doesn’t even know we are hurt? Eventually, we’ll become frustrated and impatient or the unknowing offender will repeat the offense, pushing us to confront in anger or to make our withdrawal from the relationship permanent. If we care about the person who has offended us, we’ll want to avoid this.

3. Gossip. This one disguises itself as asking for help. We go to a disinterested (or overly-interested) third party with the story of our wound, inviting that party to give us advice or intervene on our behalf. At the very least, this newcomer will give us sympathy . . . we believe.

Unfortunately, this only burdens the third party in an unfair way. The matter to be resolved is between the offender and the offended (unless, according to Matthew 18:16, we’ve already confronted our offender, who then refused to acknowledge any wrong-doing). Once we tell our side of the story to a third party, that person will feel obligated to act—to confront for or with us, to talk to the offender to hear his or her side of the story, or to confront us with the offense that we are now guilty of. Worse than that, if the one who offended us learns we’ve talked about the situation to someone else, the offender will feel offended, too. We’ll find ourselves owing two people an apology instead of receiving the apology we believe we deserve. I don’t think any of us wants this.

4. Direct Confrontation. I’ve already said that this may be the hardest option, but it’s the only one that keeps us from committing a wrong ourselves, from taking bitterness or malice inside of ourselves. And, like pulling a bandage off, it will hurt for a moment, but then it will be over. We’ll be able to see healing—even if the offender responds negatively! Just telling someone they’ve hurt us, getting it off our chest, begins to free us of the pain inside and allows us to move forward in a Christ-like way—so long as we’ve confronted in a Christ-like way.

Before we confront, we pray for wisdom. We ask God for the timing and the words and the love we’ll need. We also choose to forgive. We decide to offer grace before we know how the offender will respond. In doing so, we put the value of the person and the relationship above the hurt of the offense. Once we know that our heart is in the right place, we find a convenient time to meet with the one who hurt us and gently and respectfully state our case. Our goal in doing so is understanding, reconciliation, and peace. If the one we are confronting cares about the relationship, he or she will work with us toward that goal. If not, we go back to God for direction from there, knowing we’ve treated our offender as Christ would.

Jesus loved us, forgave us, and offered reconciliation before we even knew we’d done wrong. He gently confronts us by His Spirit and through His Word. Then He leaves the response up to us. When someone we care about hurts us, we can follow His example, asking for His Spirit’s help as we confront . . . in love . . . gently . . . for peace that’s real.

Father, when we need to confront, help us to do so boldly for the sake of the relationship and the good of everyone involved. Amen.

Other verses to consider: Hebrews 12:15, Romans 12:18 (The links will take you to the verses at BibleGateway.)

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The Imaginary Israelite and His Secret Sacrifice

“Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it instead of bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people.” –Leviticus 17:3-4

Pink FlowerBecause being cut off from one’s people is a pretty harsh sentence, I took some time to think about this crime of sacrificing something somewhere other than where God says one can. Not that I’m planning to offer any sacrifices anytime soon. Thanks to Jesus, our Savior, there’s no need for that. But I still wanted to understand this crime and its punishment.

The crime has to do with location and lack of obedience. Imagine that one of the Israelites has sinned, feels guilty about it, and wants to make things right. God has given clear instructions to him on how to do that: bring a sacrifice to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present as an offering to the Lord in front of His tabernacle. This Israelite is more than willing to offer a sacrifice, but he doesn’t want to offer it in front of the tabernacle.

Why?

The answer is probably shame with a healthy dose of pride. This person wants to be rid of sin but doesn’t want to deal with the shame of having sinned. He doesn’t want to admit in public that he’s a sinner. He wants to offer the sacrifice in secret. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, he is hiding, even from God.

Unfortunately, it’s not the sacrifice itself that brings forgiveness and cleansing from sin. It’s the going before God. It’s the humble confession and the asking God on His terms which restore relationship and allow us to receive grace.

When our imaginary Israelite offers his sacrifice his way, he isn’t taking his sin to God. Rather, he is trusting in his own actions to save himself from sin. He is offering his sacrifice to a false god he’s created in his mind, one who will let him keep his secrets while privately paying for them. But with the secret stays the shame, and the real God says the shame has to go. That happens only with a public admission of guilt.

And because this person refuses to follow God’s instructions, insisting on doing things his own way, he is declaring himself not one of God’s people. Therefore, God won’t accept his sacrifice. This Israelite, by his own choice, must go on his way.

What’s this mean for us today? As I’ve said, Jesus already offered His own life as the only sacrifice needed for our sin. His was a very public sacrifice, removing all our sin and shame. Therefore, to be part of His Kingdom, we become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) for Him.

  1. We admit that we are sinners; we have sinned. (This does not mean that we always tell everybody everywhere every gruesome detail of anything wrong we’ve ever done. We share those details with discretion, as the Holy Spirit leads, if we need to talk about it in order to heal, if we need someone to hold us accountable so we won’t fall into that sin again, if our story can help someone else to overcome.)
  2. We ask God for forgiveness and for help to always live His way.
  3. We accept Christ as our Savior.
  4. We make a public confession of our faith. (In other words, we tell people what Jesus has done for us and that we’re living in His Kingdom now and for eternity.)
  5. We live for Him every moment of every day.

The Israelites had to offer sacrifices every time they sinned. But Jesus is the only sacrifice that we will ever need. We go to Him daily, however, for the strength and wisdom to live the way He wants us to live, sacrificing any part of our lives that displeases Him, not because that’s what saves us but because we love Him, we’re grateful to Him, and we want our lives to honor His name!

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Finding Forgiveness in Leviticus

I’ve been reading Leviticus this week. Not an easy book to read, but full of meaning once we come to understand that its theme is holiness. Our holy God had just pulled His newly chosen people out of Egypt, setting them apart for Himself, and now He was beginning the process of making them holy, too.

Finding ForgivenessThe word holy, as I understand it, has three meanings: set apart for a particular purpose, pure, and unique. When reading the story of God’s people, by the time we get to Leviticus, God has already set them apart for the purpose of revealing Him to the world. He plans for them to be unique, so the rest of the world will take notice and want to get to know Him, too. He also provides for their purity, though this won’t be complete until the death and resurrection of Christ. Leviticus is God’s Word to His people about the unique lives they are to live and the means He’s provided for their purity, a way for them to receive forgiveness for their sins.

Thus Leviticus opens with seven morbid chapters on how to offer sacrifices followed by an account of the ordination of Israel’s first priests, Moses’ brother—Aaron, and Aaron’s sons.

In the Bible I’m currently reading, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, share insights scattered through the text. Regarding these chapters in Leviticus, they say, “The sacrificial system prepared people for understanding the meaning of the death of Jesus (see 1 Peter 3:18) and showed that people have a great need to be forgiven.”

This caught my attention. People have a great need to be forgiven. This is absolutely true. It’s built right into us—which may be why so many of the ancient cultures had sacrificial systems of one kind or another. People knew—they just knew!— that they were doing things that were wrong. And they were desperate to clear their consciences in the name of appeasing their gods. Even today in our modern world, people who don’t know Christ (and even some who do but don’t understand what He’s done for them) find ways to offer sacrifices of a sort to make things right when they do wrong. A guilty conscience is a heavy burden. People want to get rid of it!

Without hope of forgiveness, people respond to guilty consciences in one of two ways: depression (not clinical; that’s something else entirely) or denial. The first response is one of hopelessness: “I’ve done this bad thing. I’ve ruined my life. There is no hope for me.” Taken to an extreme, this kind of depression can lead to withdrawal, cutting, or suicide—all three, in this case, a misguided attempt to punish the self, in a sense to offer a sacrifice.

The second is one of rebellion and defensiveness: “I haven’t done anything wrong. How dare you judge me? I’ll show you. I’m going to keep on living my life my way, and I’ll be perfectly happy.” Methinks, perhaps, some of these people doth protest too much. If they are so happy, why do they spew so much anger? Why does what other people think matter so much to them? Why must the rest of the world affirm their decisions?

I’m not sharing these thoughts in order to define what is sin or what is not. My point, rather, is that deep down inside of us, regardless of how we act or what we say, we know the truth. If we are doing something sinful, God’s Spirit is working inside of us to help us face the truth—not so God can punish us or demand a sacrifice (The sacrifice has already been made! See 1 Peter 3:18.); but so we can confess, so we can receive forgiveness, so He can make us pure. 1 John 1:9 proclaims this most clearly: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Our job is to be open to the truth, to pray with the Psalmist, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” –Psalm 139:23-24. Choosing depression or denial leaves us carrying a load of guilt whether we acknowledge its presence or not. Choosing forgiveness through Christ sets us free to be the people God designed us to be, to find the purpose we were made for, to enjoy life abundantly.

If you haven’t already, I pray you will choose forgiveness. Talk to God (just like you’d talk to a friend). Agree with Him that you have sinned. Tell Him you’re sorry and that, with His help, you won’t do it again (no matter what you’ve done, no matter how many times you’ve failed and had to confess this sin again). Receive His forgiveness and walk with His Spirit in righteousness, peace, and joy. (See Romans 14:17.) You are forgiven. You are free!

Father, thank You for this lesson from Leviticus. Thank You for setting us apart, for giving us purpose, and for making forgiveness available through Your Son’s sacrifice. Help us to live for You; Your way is best—always! Amen.

This post is linked to Grace & Truth: A Weekly Christian Link-Up. Visit that site to find devotional posts by other Christian writers.

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Approaching God’s Word with Awe

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12

Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is unlike any other book. The writer of Hebrews tells us it’s alive and active! It’s on the mission God created it for: “teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness,” equipping God’s people for every good work. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)

For this reason, we’re wise to approach it with awe. Reading the Bible is a privilege; it is a meeting with God! Here are a few ideas for you to consider to make the most of each meeting:

1. Schedule a regular time to meet with God through His Word every day. I like to read first thing every morning as I enjoy my first cup (or two) of coffee. Others like to read just before going to bed. Some listen to Bible CD’s or MP3’s on the way to work or receive daily Bible readings in their e-mail inbox or through a Bible app on their phone or tablet. Creatively choose a time and place that works for you; God will be there waiting each day. And, if you can only find a few moments each day to spare, give these to God. He will make use of them. Like the little boy with the loaves and the fish, offer what you can.

2. Prepare for your meeting with prayer. Before you even open your Bible (or turn on your reading device), ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s message for you for that day. Because God’s Word is living and active, God’s Spirit is able to deliver a custom message straight to you. No. The words don’t ever change, but God will use your life experiences and prayer concerns to open your heart to new layers of Truth. This is why it’s so important to keep reading the Bible, every day throughout your life. You can cross other books off your To-Be-Read list after you read them through, but when you finish reading the Bible, flip it over and start reading again.

Bible Verse Parachute3. Pay attention when you stumble across Bible verses in other places. Many of the books I read, even fictional stories, quote Bible verses within their pages. Christians who use social networking sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ love to share Bible verses they find. And sometimes you’ll find Scripture used in home or business décor. If you have the time, don’t skim over these. Recognize them as God’s Word and read what He has to say.

Father, help us to remember, please, that Your Word is more than just another book to read. Help us to approach it with respect and anticipation, knowing it’s our link to You. Call us to read it daily and as we obey, reveal Your message that we’ll come to know ever more and more of You. Adjust our thoughts and attitudes. Make us better able to serve in Your Kingdom. Please make us more like You. We thank You for this priceless gift. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Note: Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win two copies of my new book, Parachute Prayer! The entry post is here.

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Siesta Scripture Memory Team, Verse #4

Ephesians 6-18Today is the 15th of the month. That means it’s time to begin work on a new Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse. My choice this time is Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

In other words, talk to God about anything and everything His Spirit brings to mind at any time, all the time.

I. Just. Love. This.

Paul is encouraging us to talk to God, our constant companion, just like we would talk with our close friends.

To understand what this entails, stop and think about those close friends for a minute. What drew you to each other? What keeps you communicating whenever you get together? Why are you close friends?

It seems to me the essence of genuine friendship is shared interest. Mothers of young children like to get together to talk about their kids and the adventure of raising them. Book lovers like to talk about their favorite or the latest books. Christians like to talk about Jesus and what they’re learning about Him through God’s Word. Sports fans like to talk about their favorite teams. You get the idea. We meet people when something brings us to the same location. We talk about general things. If we have common interests and bump into each other often enough, we eventually become friends. If we don’t have much in common, we find other people to talk with. If we’re friends for a long while and some of our interests change, we remain friends because now, along with all our other interests, we’re also interested in each other’s lives. We care what happens to each other no matter what else has captured our attention. Friendships like this are the best!

The thing is: God is interested in absolutely everything that we’re interested in because He loves us that much! Even if the thing we’re interested in is something He’d rather we not be interested in because He knows it’s not good for us, He’s interested in listening to our thoughts about that thing because, if we’re talking to Him about it, He can help us understand why we might want to rethink our interest in that thing. He wants what’s best for us.

What’s more, He wants what’s best for everyone around us. When we talk to Him about people we care about, He cares, too. In fact, He already knows what’s going and how He’s going to handle the situation to help the person we’re concerned about. When we talk to Him about the situation, He gives us confidence and peace. He may give us direction, too, if there’s something we can or need to do.

Because God loves us so much and because He has wisdom to share and the ability to change what we cannot, it’s good to talk with Him “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” And because His Spirit is the One Who directs us to pray, it’s good “to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” When we’re alert to God’s presence, we’ll notice His Spirit’s prompts to pray. We’ll talk to God about all kinds of things every single day. Our friendship with God will grow. We’ll care about what He cares about because we’ll love Him so much. Our friendship with Him will grow to be the best we will ever enjoy. And then we will discover, if we haven’t already, that enjoying that very friendship is the reason we exist. God created us for relationship with Him.

And it all starts with prayer. This must be why Paul told us to pray. It’s why I’m memorizing Ephesians 6:18. Will you join me?

Father, thank You for Your incomprehensibly-detailed interest in our lives. We know You love us. We love You, too. Please keep us alert to Your presence. Remind us often to pray. Amen.

Book News and Giveaway: If you found this post helpful and would like to know more about praying “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,” I recommend my new book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually to you. Click here to purchase it from Amazon. Or you can click here to enter a giveaway for two free copies (one extra for the winner to share with a friend).

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Book Review: “Rhythms of Grace”

Rhythms of GraceThe strength of Kerri Weems new book, Rhythms of Grace: Discovering God’s Tempo for Your Life, is her gifted use of metaphor. When I got to the part where she explains how we often live our lives like playing a game of Tetris, suddenly everything became clear. The whole book is full of such eye-opening analogies to help readers understand her message and its value.

Rhythms of Grace is a book about keeping pace with God’s Spirit in order to fulfill your life’s purpose instead of living in response to the crises of life that leave you feeling exhausted and out of control. So many women struggle with this! This book shows them how to turn it around, how to live life at a sustainable pace while building something lasting and worthwhile.

The book is divided into three sections: The Foundations of Rhythm (Shalom, Sabbath, and Grace), Pace Setters and Peace Stealers (which help us to establish our priorities), and Set Your Rhythm—and Keep It Going (practical, life application—what to do). I found the first two sections most helpful but saw value in ideas from the third. A Reboot Guide in the back of the book gives more detailed instructions for establishing pace.

I highly recommend this book for small groups or for personal use. It is full of biblical wisdom, gentle encouragement, and useful ideas. It is a book I will read again!

Zondervan sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review.