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September 15th, 2013

How To Pray More Effectively

How To Pray More Effectively

Christians should always be interested in learning how to pray more effectively. The reason is simple: If our relationship with God is to be central relationship of our lives it must be nurtured by daily prayer.

There are many aspects of prayer. Here I would like to focus on the fact that prayer is an expression of a personal, all encompassing, and constant relationship with God.

Prayer includes discipline

Prayer includes discipline, but it is not merely a discipline. It involves setting aside a regular time and place, but it is not merely an item in our schedule books. It includes asking for things we need, but it is not merely a shopping list of requests. It involves our speaking to God and God’s speaking to us, but it is not merely an exchange of memoranda.

Prayer is a relationship

More than anything else, prayer is a relationship. When we reduce it to a regimen we deprive ourselves of what all who knew God throughout the scriptures expressed in their prayers: that God is alive, that he knows us and lets himself be known by us, that we can enjoy an intimate personal relationship with him in prayer.

Abba is the Jewish equivalent of ‘Daddy’. When I come home in the evening my daughter Sarah come toddling in to greet me, smiling and gurgling, ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.’ To her that is an expression not so much of the precise nature of our relationship (she is not yet old enough to comprehend that) but of intimacy with me. She does not yet understand that I am her father, but she fully understands that I am her ‘daddy’. It is the same between God and us. We cannot fully comprehend the mysteries of the godhead, but we can still know that God is our Abba. We can bask in the intimacy and enjoy him.

Prayer is the talk

The obvious, natural expression of this closeness to God is to talk to him. I would go so far as to encourage you, whenever it is feasible, to talk out loud to him. Certainly we can communicate with God mentally; our thoughts can readily be cast in words and sentences addressed to the Lord. But the intimacy of our relationship is enhanced when we speak to him out loud, when we hear ourselves speak to him.

God can hear our thoughts, so it is not primarily for his sake that we put them into words. It is for our sake. A husband who says to his wife, ‘Honey, I love you’, not only pleases her but also confirms that truth in himself. So it is with prayer. Actually hearing ourselves pray helps draw us into an experience of the intimacy we enjoy with God in a way that purely mental prayer does not.

Prayer needs openness

It is also important for us to understand that we can be completely open with God. It is not as thought there were some segments of our life that were part of our relationship with God and others that were set apart. We can talk with him about anything and everything that is on our hearts.

When God adopts us into his family he adopts us in the totality of who we are. He doesn’t love just parts of us; he loves all of us. There is no part of our lives, however insignificant it might seem to us, with which God is not intimately familiar and about which he does not care deeply. As Paul explained to the men of Athens, in God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts. 17:28).

What all should we share in Prayer?

There is no limitation on what we can or should talk to God about in prayer. He wants us to share all of our life with him. What concerns us concerns God, simple because he loves us.

We often persuade ourselves that God’s love does not extend to this or that facet of our lives. Some things seem too small and insignificant; we don’t want to ‘trouble’ God. Some things seem too mundane; we don’t want to ‘waste God’s time’ with them. Some things seem so embarrassing we are too shy to talk about them with God, As if he didn’t already know all about them. Some things are so important to us we are almost reluctant to pray about them for fear God won’t hear us; we are afraid of being ‘let down.’

God helps us see how unnecessary; how foolish, such fears and apprehensions are. There is nothing too small for him, nothing too mundane, nothing we need hold back for fear of losing his love, nothing that could ever fall outside the bounds of his all encompassing love for us.

Pray without ceasing

What does it mean to pray ‘without ceasing?’ This is not and injunction to spend all our time on our knees. Rather it is an invitation to redirect our restless energetic minds into positive streams of communication with God, concerning all that is going on around us as well as within us. Instead of nursing our wounds and self pity, let’s pray for the grace to forgive. Instead of worrying about those for whom we are responsible, let’s ask God to intervene and lift the burden from our shoulders. Instead of thinking creatively about how to bring someone else down, let’s pray about how to build them up.

Just as husband and wife live out their lives against the backdrop of being married, so do we live out the entirety of our lives against the backdrop of a constant relationship with God. He is always there, always loving us, always ready to listen to us. As we recognize his unwavering commitment to us we are able to live in the day to day adventure and challenge of his presence.

– – – written by John Guest

Also Read:

How To Pray The Perfect Prayer

How To Pray Effective Prayers

Why Our Prayers Are Not Answered

September 15th, 2013

Cross Is The Ultimate Test For Every Christian

Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian

I like the concept of family bible studies, the power of positive thinking, and the mountain-moving faith of claiming prosperity and healing, and the evangelical zeal of the evangelical Christians. When I was in England, I was spiritually fed by my evangelical friends. I liked their Spirit-filled worship, prophecies, faith-healing and word-based bible preaching. I went to many interdenominational churches in the west Midlands area of England.

In 1998, while on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, I was reading a book written by a popular Tele-evangelist from America when a Catholic priest from Northampton shire interrupted me. He told me “I like the American evangelical Christian’s zeal to spread the gospel, but unfortunately they do not preach much about the cross of Christ”.

Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian

I soon realized that the crucified and suffering savior was a distant reality to those who only preached the risen Christ. There is no forgiveness with out blood. There is no blood with out the humiliation of the cross. Nobody can ever take up the cross without love. Loving can never happen with out giving. Giving cannot occur without sacrifice. Sacrifice cannot take place if there is self-love in you. Nobody can stand at the foot of the cross without denying themselves. Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian. Dying to self is the only reality of Christian living because a grain of corn remains as a grain unless it falls on the ground and dies.

The gospel is hard. The Lord’s teachings are tough. His instructions are clear “eat my body and drink my blood” and “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”. When Jesus said this, many left Him saying that His teachings were hard. Peter did not leave Him and so Jesus called him the rock. Many still say that there is no need for the sacraments, and particularly the Eucharist. Even today people leave the Catholic Church when Jesus hands over bread and tell us, “eat my body”. They ask, “How can a man give his body to eat?” Yes, when we remember him in the mass, the bread becomes his body and we indeed eat his body.

Is poverty a sin? Are family curses true?

If poverty is a sin, as often preached by the adherents of the gospel of material prosperity, then Jesus was a sinner by birth, because he was born poor. If family curses are true, as preached by experts with anointing in this specific area, then God would not have selected Judah or David as the forefathers of Jesus. We know that the personal conduct of Judah and David were not holy. If humiliation and cross are not part of Christianity, then those who willfully give up their fathers, mothers, brothers, fields and the bliss of marital life for the sake of Christ are fools.

If only tithing is preached, quoting Malachi, Abraham and Moses, then we are telling Christians to invest materially to receive material goods from God. Truly, biblical prosperity is our investment in heaven where thieves and moths have no accessibility. Jesus couldn’t stand one thing – selling religion. He lost his temper only once and that was when religious people turned his father’s house into a den of thieves. Luther was angry when Catholics sold religion. What are the Tele-evangelists doing today, are they not selling religion?

Let us ask fundamental questions. Are we following Jesus for the right reasons? Are we turning what is holy into a product of merchandize? Are we at the foot of the cross at this moment? Are we denying our “self” and following him out of love?

– – – written by Jacob C Tony

September 8th, 2013

Prayers For Peace Of Mind

Prayers For Peace Of Mind

Peace Prayer by Saint Francesca Xavier Cabrini

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will. (Prayer by Saint Francesca Xavier Cabrini, 1850-1917)

Prayer To Remove Anxiety

Lead me to your still streams O Lord
Where I can kneel in the waters of life
Lay down my anxious thoughts
And cast all my cares on You
Here I will wait a while
Wait a while
And bathe in the life-giving waters
Bathe my mind in Your Spirit O God
Come fill my being with Your peace
Bathe my heart with Your love O God
Come still my being with Your peace
Bathe my spirit with Your freedom O God
Come saturate this life with Your peace

A Prayer for Peace of Mind

Almighty God, We bless you for our lives, we give you praise for your abundant mercy and grace we receive. We thank you for your faithfulness even though we are not that faithful to you. Lord Jesus, we ask you to give us all around peace in our mind, body, soul and spirit. We want you to heal and remove everything that is causing stress, grief, and sorrow in our lives. Please guide our path through life and make our enemies be at peace with us. Let your peace reign in our family, at our place of work, businesses and everything we lay our hands on. Let your angels of peace go ahead of us when we go out and stay by our side when we return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer to Heal Stress

Heavenly Father, please grant me peace of mind and calm my troubled heart. My soul is like a turbulent sea. I can’t seem to find my balance so I stumble and worry constantly. Give me the strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you’ve laid out for me. I trust your Love God, and know that you will heal this stress. Just as the sun rises each day against the dark of night. Please bring me clarity with the light of God. In your name I pray, Amen.

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