Some of my thoughts about prayer...
1. My paraphrase of Philippians 4:6-7 into a formula for anxiety:
You don't need to worry about anything. Here's what I want you to do instead - pray. Talk to Me about what you need - physically, emotionally, spiritually - tell me ALL of it. Be thankful for who I am, and remember the things I have done. That will help you trust Me with your prayers.
Replacing worry with prayer will give you peace. My peace. The circumstances won't change - but you will. MY peace is so much more than just absence of anxiety. It has power behind it. It will guard your mind from the enemy's thoughts and taunts. And it will guard your heart from doubting. Live in my Son - He is the way to Life!
2. My paraphrase of Philippians 4:8:
Just one more thing. There are so many things in life to distract you from what's really important. You have to watch out for that. It's important to stay focused. What you put into your mind determines what comes out in your words and actions. So here's what to do. Fix your mind – glue your spirit – to these things that are:
Truthful – Discard things that are not from Me. Don't lie or believe lies. Don't be fooled by false teaching. Be on the lookout for the devil's deceptions.
Honorable – Behave with dignity, and treat others that way, too.
Right – Do the right things. Have integrity. Don't lean on your own understanding to determine what's right and wrong. Sometimes it's just not black and white. Life is really full of gray. So, ask for My guidance and discernment.
Pure – Keep a clean and clear conscience. Your body is My Temple. My Spirit lives there. So, dirty thoughts or actions have no place in the Most Holy Place.
Lovely – There's so much in the world that’s dirty and ugly. Sin destroys so much. But focus on the beauty that I have put there. It's all over the place. Look to small things in creation, and big things. Have an eye tuned to *lovely*.
Admirable – The world admires politicians, celebrities, and athletes. Are they worthy of being admired? Most of the time, no. Follow the example of people who look like Me. BE a person who looks like Me!
Excellent – Don't just settle for good or good enough. Perfection belongs to Me. But make it your goal to strive toward excellence. I want you to be *a cut above* – I want you to put aside all things that don't shine.
Worthy of praise – Yes, this is My desire for you. I want the fruit of My Spirit to grow mightily in you. Be a follower who lives a life that people will praise – for they will be led through your example to praise Me.
You know what I've taught you so far. Keep putting that into practice. Be a person who "talks the talk" AND "walks the walk." Look at the life of My Son – Jesus. He is the example of My perfection. Look at everything He said and did. And then, go and do likewise.
I am a God of peace.
And I AM with you.
3. What is the difference between superficial and *meaty* prayer lives?
Superficial prayer is like having a conversation with the person that lives around the block. Nice, friendly - but surface. Meaty prayer is like what you talk about with your very best friend, or your spouse. The REAL stuff of life.
4. Why is prayer a key to peace?
We can only get peace from God - and we can only tap into it through prayer. There is something about *dumping* out our spirits to God in prayer - knowing that He is the ONLY One who can do anything about this life that we can't really control. It's like saying, "Help me" - and God responds, "I AM."
5. How has prayer brought peace to you in a time of great stress?
I'll tell you a story about that. One time my sons had hamsters. And one of the hamsters developed a big growth on its skin. We were going to go on vacation, and my mom was going to take care of the hamsters. I told her about the growth - that I didn't know what to do. She said, "I'll take care of it." I had such a sense of release and relief. Someone I trusted knew about the problem and was going to take care of it. I just KNEW that she'd do the right thing. This was before cell phones, and we were away from phones of any kind, so it wasn't until a week later that I found out my mother had taken the hamster to the vet, and paid for the surgery to have the growth removed!
Prayer is me talking to God with the sure assurance that HE listens, HE understands, and HE will do something.
Peace comes when you rely on someone you trust!
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
(Philippians 4:6-9, NLT)
I Lift My Eyes Up
What are some of your thoughts about prayer?
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