Tag Archives: change of perspective

Cultivation of a Memory

I’ve been going through the book Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden for the past five weeks with a small group at my church. Lesson 5 is on prayer. Frankly it was a difficult lesson for me. Many questions arose regarding supplication, however what I want to discuss tonight is the T in the ACTS format of prayer. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In short, adoration is thanking God for who He is. Confession is, of course, admitting to God the sins we have committed, asking for forgiveness, and repenting (turning away from that sin). Thanksgiving, I’ll get into in a minute. Supplication is interceding for ourselves and others to ask for God’s will to be done.

In his book Ogden describes the reasoning behind why we should give thanks to God for not only WHO He is but for WHAT He has DONE. He says that by recalling those things God has given us or done for us we cultivate a memory. The definition of cultivation is to try to acquire or develop. Like putting together a photo album we are repeating, sometimes aloud, all the good things God has done. And like a photo the memory sticks a little better when you reflect on it. Several years ago my family, primarily my mom, interviewed my grandparents so that we could put their story down on paper. As they recalled fond memories you could see the expressions of joy, hear the laughter, and get a true sense of the emotion behind the story. When we reflect on the good God gives us we not only cultivate a memory, but we prolong the joy and the gratitude.

There is a reason why we thank God before we intercede for ourselves and others. As one of my small group members said today the ACT in ACTS helps us shift our focus to God’s perspective. By the time we get to Supplication our perspective is changed and our prayer is more in line with God’s will. So I will end by asking, what are you thankful for today? Tell God and see what memories you can cultivate.

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View from There

Yesterday’s sermon is still speaking to me. A portion of the sermon was on Psalm 23. It starts “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Pastor Marcia said, “Why does he have to make us? We should be running to the pasture. That’s where all the good stuff is.” Then she said, “Maybe we don’t see it until we give up want. Maybe there’s something to the order in which it is written.”
First we must believe the Lord is our shepherd. What do sheep do? They follow their shepherd. Then we shall not want. Possibly the hardest thing to do during the holiday season. When we give up our wants then we can “lie down in green pastures.” I wondered, ‘Why are we lying down?’ I always thought it was because we were resting, but God revealed to me it’s because lying down is the most vulnerable position and it’s a change of perspective. When we give up our wants we are vulnerable before God. Also, a space feels and looks totally different when you are lying down. Suddenly you aren’t looking at the walls, but the ceiling; you are looking up to your Shepherd. If you don’t see what’s ahead you can’t question it. God wants us to submit to his plan, and to make ourselves vulnerable before him instead worrying about what’s ahead; keep looking up…to Him. We can submit to God’s divine plan for our lives and put our focus back on our Creator who knows exactly what’s best for us.