Tag Archives: Supplication

The Deeper Issues

It is easy to judge a book by its cover. If we are honest, we all do it. When is the last time you passed a beggar on the street and completely fabricated their life story in your head before handing them a few coins? Or how about passing a screaming kid in the grocery store and glaring at the parent as if they aren’t already doing everything they can? Sometimes this judgement even happens when we are praying; maybe not in this exact way, but it does. For instance, say I am preparing to pray for a woman who is in a wheelchair and would like to someday walk again. From appearances I may only pray for her legs to be restored, but what if there is something else going on in the emotional or even spiritual realm, and I failed to pray for it because I didn’t wait on the Lord to reveal it or for some other reason.

Recently I have been frustrated with my lack of control over my Sunday School classroom. I almost always pray for the kids the week before, but inevitably I at least partially lose control. I feel very supported by my fellow teachers and Children’s Ministry leader, however I’m at my wits end. After teaching today I attended another class my church is doing on healing. Today’s topic and discussion spoke right to my heart,, but it wasn’t instantaneous. It took some time for me to realize that these two things were God speaking to me personally in this very specific moment. The first thing He said was, “You are a great teacher.” Well, that made me feel better. The second thing was, “Here is the way I want you to pray for these students and their families.” See, I was only praying for the surface problems, not the root of the issues. I was convicted that I hadn’t prayed for the parents who are the covering over the children in my class. I hadn’t waited on the Lord to reveal the deeper issues and their root causes. Lord, forgive me.

God is so gracious to give us the authority to pray over others. He is so gracious to pour out the Holy Spirit and to describe our prayers as sweet smelling incense. He is so gracious to know our heart’s desire and respond with generous blessings. Today, although the morning had its challenges, I am honored that God gave me the opportunity to pray for the families of my students and to be a part of his refining process in young people. Great is our God.

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Mobilize the Paralyzed

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Recently in my prayer time God revealed to me that I have been praying for someone in the wrong way. As I prayed I kept wondering why this person did not see God’s goodness and truth. I know that scripture says that those who do not believe cannot understand, but still I couldn’t understand how God could not be obvious to my friend. God has been so faithful to me, and sometimes I see Him so clearly. I guess it’s something I’ve grown to take for granted over the years. Maybe God wasn’t working in my friend’s life? Was it possible?

On this particular night as I prayed all of a sudden it occurred to me that it wasn’t that God hadn’t shown Himself to my friend. It was my friend who had not seen God move. For instance, if I am told there is a man who can change my life but I will never see him, how will I ever find him if I don’t know his character or actions? Perhaps this is how my friend feels. He has heard a few things about God, but he doesn’t know His character or actions yet. How is he supposed to encounter God?

The answer lies in first half of Mark 2. Jesus is preaching in Capernaum inside tight quarters. The space is so crowded that there is not even room in front of the door. By this time in Jesus’ ministry people knew he could perform miracles. Several friends carry their paralyzed friend to where Jesus is preaching, but there is no way they can get him to Jesus. The room is too crowded, especially for several men carrying a person on a mat. The crowd does not stop their persistence to intercede for their friend. They climb to the roof which they tear away. Once they have dug through the roof they lower their friend on his mat until he is right in front of Jesus. Although they were interrupting Jesus’ teaching he sees their faith and desperation. He turns to the man and says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Wait…that’s not what they came for. The friends had dug their way through the roof to have their friend healed of paralysis, and he just gets a few words of grace. Of course not! Jesus feels the criticism of the scribes watching his every move and asks, “Is it easier to say ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘get up and walk’? Stunned, they were silenced when Jesus says, “Stand up and take your mat and walk.” And the man got up and walked.

Fortunately God is gracious. Even when we carry our concerns to him asking him work in a specific way he heals in much bigger, better ways. Had he simply healed the man’s physical ailment, the man would not have been completely healed. When our friends or family have become helpless, hopeless, and even faithless we can carry them to Jesus through prayer. It may take effort like the friends we hear about in Mark 2, or it may take time, but that doesn’t mean we should give up.

Will you keep knocking? Jesus can sense the heart of the faithful.

Meditate on this song, and continue praying.

Portions of today’s prayer is taken from Psalm 55. Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your faithfulness to answer my prayer. Give ear to my prayer, O God; do not hide yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and answer me; I am troubled in my complaint. But I call upon you, and you will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and you will hear my voice. I will cast my burden on you Lord, and you will sustain me. Amen

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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.