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Our Comforting Father

Sometimes, as Christians, we are blessed with experiences that we simply must share with others and this week is just such an occasion for me. 

For many years now I have suffered from ongoing familial struggles which have caused me great heartbreak and until this year I was not handling them in a godly manner.  This year, God stepped in …  I say this but rather God had been there all the time, but, I had not been prepared to listen to Him!  Given the nature of my struggles it is difficult to write about them although I have often been tempted to in order to reach out to others who may be experiencing a similar situation and are like I was, struggling alone.  This I must ponder over but for now I write about the comfort of God.   

A few days ago, I had been upset throughout the day and I could sense the all too familiar warning signs going off in my head, warning signs that if ignored lead to a very dark place that I do not want to revisit.  When my husband, Craig arrived home from work, he immediately decided to pray over me, for the peace and comfort of God to be upon me.  As he prayed, I felt peace, my spiralling thoughts start to slow, my anxiety which I had felt throughout my body calmed.  My mind which had been frantic 10 minutes previous was now relaxed and I settled down to read my books, something that would have been entirely impossible before this prayer.  Later Craig and I decided to play a board game and together we laughed and joked.  I cannot begin to describe the power of God in that moment of prayer, the sheer unlikeness of this situation.  Many will say, well that just mind over matter, I was convinced that God was working to bring me peace and so I believed it.  Well I can tell you that I didn’t believe that was going to happen.  I thought my mind had gone way to far to be pulled back, I had it in my head that I would most likely not get out of bed for at least the next few days.  You see, I am a sceptic.  I hate it.  It makes my faith life one big, never ending battle but I am sceptical about everything,  my mind is one which works best with scientific explanations, I believe what I can see with my own eyes and what I can touch with my own hands, etc.  Despite this, when Craig prayed, although my mind tells me “this won’t work, I am too sad etc. etc.” I felt peace.  God comforted me and His comfort has not left me.  Of course, I have felt God’s comfort before but in this instance, I was sure, I was past being able to be comforted by God.  How naive of me, like the God who created the entire world, universe and heavens cannot make me smile and feel peaceful!!   

One of the most beautiful passages on the comfort of God is found in Psalm 23.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Let us unpack these verses a little:-

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

The Lord, our God is everything we need.  When you imagine a shepherd what do you think of?  Perhaps take a moment to think about a shepherd, wandering the hillside surrounded by his flock?  What is the shepherd doing?  How is he caring for his sheep?

There are many metaphors to describe God, but few that encapsulate so many of the natures of God.

As we see above, we “lack nothing”.  God is provider, and He provides us with all we need and more as we see later in the passage “my cup overflows”.  Just as the shepherd guides his sheep towards green pastures where he can provide them with good grass, our Lord leads us to where we need to be, He provides us with the food that we need and the peace we require “he leads me beside quiet waters.”  He refreshes us.  Extremely popular today are Buddhist style spiritual retreats which offer peace and spiritual refreshment.  Christian spiritual retreats, however, can often be few and far between yet God tells us that He is the one that brings us peace, He is the one that can refresh us.  Jesus tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30.

“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

God is our guide; He is our conscience.  When we trust in God, He will lead us down the right path and though it may be vastly different from that which we would choose for ourselves, it will be a much less troublesome journey.  God is fearless, whatever danger we face, however much sin we may have involved ourselves in, no matter what sin abounding hole we may cry out from, God will come to our side, He will remain by our side, such is His merciful love for us. 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

God looks upon this world with longing, longing to see more and more of us become His sons and daughters and He awaits you in His home, the home which he wishes to share with you forever.  He longs to anoint you with oil as He blesses you as His adopted child and thus, we can call him “Abba”.

To those who are struggling as you read this, those who feel as though their struggles are just too much for them to bear, those who have no one to speak to, or no one that can understand their pain, please cry out to God, cry out “Abba”.  The Hebrew “Abba” is a term akin to “Daddy”.  Although we should never forget how much respect, awe, and veneration we should hold towards our God, at the same time, know that He is your Daddy.  He will find you when you are lost, He will provide for you and He will comfort you when you are hurting. 

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  Paul could have felt that he was beyond the comfort of God, he was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, persecuted, hungry, thirsty, yet, he felt the other worldly comfort of God, through all these pains, Paul felt at peace because of the comfort he received from Jesus.  

Before facing His death, Jesus comforted His disciples who were themselves struggling to cope with this prospect.  Jesus said to them “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27.  Jesus says the same to you now.  Rest in peace and comfort in the arms of Jesus.

A note for those that may be suffering.  Please do not suffer alone.  Get in touch with someone, perhaps your doctor, a friend, family member, an organisation, someone at a local church or drop me a message (and my husband and I can pray for you).  Sometimes we can feel as though we are so alone and that we don’t want to bother anyone with our problems and bring them down, but chances are they are only too happy to help.  Just think how you would feel were it someone that you cared about.  Of course, God can provide the comfort to you but often God will send someone to you, someone to ease your loneliness, ease your suffering so please reach out.  If you are searching for God’s comfort today, please pray with me.

Abba, Father, please hear my cry.  I am so lost, and I just don’t know where to turn or what to think.  Please place your loving arms around me and bring me the peace and comfort of your heart.  Hold me close as you pull me up and set my feet on the path of your choosing and hold my hand as you guide me step by step along the way.  I ask this in the mighty, loving name of your Son, Jesus through whom it is possible for me to come to you.  Amen.   

Love and Blessings

Louise x 

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Today I Will Be … Grateful

The third word in my prayer journal that I was inspired to be was grateful.

The Oxford Dictionary describes grateful as “feeling that one values a kindness or benefit received.”  We are often grateful to others, for their hospitality, their generosity, their help, etc.  While we are busy thanking those around us for their kindness are, we forgetting someone far more important … someone that has extended to us a much greater kindness?  Who could we be overlooking? …   Our Heavenly Father, of course!  It can be so easy to cry out to God when we are desperate, in need or in want, but do we spend as much time, or rather, more time, thanking Him and showing Him how grateful we are for all that He has done for us?

You will notice that I often use God, Jesus and Spirit interchangeably, this is because whilst they are 3 persons they are one God, God is Jesus, Jesus is God, Jesus is Spirit, Spirit is Jesus, God is Spirit, Spirit is God.  The Trinity is something that is on my list of “things to write about”.  It is one of the most complex doctrines that we seek to understand within Christianity but hopefully, I can try and explain a little at some point!

So, let us look at the reasons we should be grateful for Jesus:-

  • It is God’s Will that we should be grateful – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  • For adopting us into His family – Colossians 1:12  “and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
  • For giving us eternal Life – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
  • For His wonderful deeds – Ps 9.1 “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
  • For His love – Psalm 107:8 “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,”
  • For giving us strength – 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.”
  • For His love and goodness – 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
  • For listening to us – John 11:41 “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”
  • For leading us – 2 Cor 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
  • For His grace – 1 Cor 1:4 “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
  • For giving us wisdom – Daniel 2:23 “I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
  • For our salvation through His Son, Christ Jesus, John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Jonah 2:9 “But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.
    What I have vowed I will make good.  I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
  • For His mighty reign – Revelation 11:17 “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”
  • For His provision – Deuteronomy 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”
  • For our victory – 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • For God’s goodness to others – Romans 1:8 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”  1 Corinthians 1:4, “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 3:9, “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?”

So, how can we show our gratefulness:-

  • In thankful, musical, worship – Colossians 3:16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”  Psalm 69:30 ““I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”
  • In prayer – Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
  • In giving to others – 2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
  • In everything you do – Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  

So, how often should we give thanks:-

  • Daily – Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.”
  • Always – 1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.”  Ephesians 1:16 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
  • In every prayer – Philippians 4.6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.“
  • Many times, a day – Daniel 6.10  “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” 

There are so many more reasons to be thankful to our Father.  The list is endless.  The greatest aspect of God’s glorious provision that we are to be thankful for is Jesus.  That God handed over His only Son to be crucified for us.  We all read in horror the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-18.  Spoiler alert … God saves Abraham from having to sacrifice his son, yet He does not save Himself from this torture.  We must always remember; God has saved us.  If we were to be held at gunpoint and as the fatal shot rang out someone was to throw themselves before it in order to take the bullet for us, would we not be grateful for this person our whole earthly lives!  John 15:13 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Jesus died for us, us who are sinners.  We had not shown kindness to Jesus or showed friendship to Him, but he took the bullet for us in order that we could obtain eternal life.  For this we must be eternally grateful.

Love and blessings

Louise xx

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How Do I Become A Child Of God?

I felt this was such an important subject to discuss early on in my blog as this is where your journey begins and, unfortunately, many will not be instructed in this.  For the majority of my life I believed that being a good person was enough to get me into heaven.  This is not what the Bible says.  A favourite saying of Angus Buchan, the wonderful South African preacher is “good people don’t get to heaven, believers do!”  You will have heard it said, “God is good so he would not send a good person to hell.”  This is true, he would not.  Ultimately, a non-believer sends themself to hell.  God makes himself available to us throughout our entire lives in order that we will repent of our sin and come to him.  If we choose to ignore him and refuse his offer to adopt us then we are not part of his family and therefore, we will not go to heaven and the only alternative is hell.  Imagine that you are holding a special family reunion.  After decades apart your extended family arrive at your home from all over the world, you gather around the table to share a great feast together that you have spent weeks creating.  You hear a knock at the door, you answer only to be met with complete strangers who insist they are entitled to join your feast.  How would you respond?  I would expect you would turn them away because you do not know them, and this is a precious time for your family to share together.  This is exactly how Jesus will respond to those who have not acknowledged him.  Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Now, I used to fool myself by believing that I could take bits and pieces from the Bible that suited my lifestyle and those that did not I could just leave out.  I would use excuses such as “this passage only relates to that time and culture; it is not relevant now!”  How wrong I was!  We cannot read the Bible and pick what we choose to believe and leave the rest out, because then we believe nothing!  The Bible is not a pick and mix, you must believe all or you must believe nothing.  I love history and I love watching historical movies, however, only those that are historically accurate!  When fictitious scenes are added I will not enjoy the movie because it makes me question the rest of film’s accuracy.  In this way we need to trust the whole Bible not just the pieces that suit us and are soothing to our ears.  Make no mistake, Christianity is not for the faint hearted, it is not all plain sailing, however, there is nothing on this earth that can bring such peace to our aching hearts as Jesus.  Whatever you go through, when you have Jesus, you have comfort. 

The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” 

When you first come to Christianity it is a very exciting time, you have been born again, your old sinful self has been washed clean and you have a new self that is born in Jesus.  You will likely be filled with excitement for the future but like anything new this may become normality and the excitement may fade.  In reality you are likely to have many of these up and down moments throughout your life.  I certainly have and the only advice I have is stay close to God, don’t slip away from him, as the further you slide and the more you rest upon your own strength, the more difficult your life will be.  

Rest in the promise in Romans 10:13 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”.  Never forget you are saved, and you are a child of God.     

As you read this, do you believe that Jesus Christ died for you?  Do you believe that he would have died for you alone were you the only person that required to be cleansed of sin?  Do you believe that Jesus was both man and God and that he dwelt among us on this earth and died a human death in order to cleanse the world of the sin brought upon us by Adam?  If you have answered yes but have not confessed this, please join me in reciting this prayer:-

Feel free to get in touch with any questions you have or if you have a specific topic that you would like me to cover.  I believe that God has called me to help new Christians in their journey so please do not feel anxious or ashamed to come to me for any advice.  

If you prayed this prayer today, CONGRATULATIONS, and Welcome to the Family of God my Brothers and Sisters.    

Love and Blessings

Louise x

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How Do I Pray – Part 3

Psalm 42:9 “I say to God, my rock, “why have you forgotten me?  Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” 

Psalm 43:2 “For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?”

The Book of Psalms is a fantastic book to look through when you really do not know what to pray.  Perhaps you are tired, perhaps you are suffering from depression or anxiety or you are angry with God.  It can be helpful to know that you are not alone!  King David, the author of many of the psalms faced these very same struggles and he has written about them in beautiful poetic language that we can use in our prayers.  One of the most wonderful things about Scripture is that the characters within its pages are just like you and me!  King David committed adultery, the lady became pregnant, he tried to cover his sin by bringing her husband back from the army that he may sleep with her and think that the baby was his.  They did not sleep together so David had him killed!  All of this began because David caught sight of this woman bathing!  The sin of lust became adultery and murder!

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  The wonderful aspect of Christianity is that all sin is wiped clean!  Acts 3:19 “Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  There is no one on this earth that is too evil for God to forgive!  God loves every single person he has created and is waiting for them to turn to him.  It does not matter what you have done, God knows, and God is ready to forgive.  Do not be too ashamed to bring your sin to God, instead, with a humble heard confess all, receive God’s forgiveness and try again! You will undoubtedly fail again, and again, and again because we are all sinners, but you will be forgiven again, and again, and again because of God’s infinite grace!

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  God wants us to go to him whatever our situation, in the happiest of moments and the most tragic of moments.  There are times in our life when we cannot bear the weight of despair upon us, but God can, and He is willing to take it from us so go to Him.  I can say from personal experience that God shoulders our burdens and allows us to continue day to day.  I am not saying the pain is no longer present, but it certainly becomes bearable.

I know there are times when you try to pray, and you have no words, or you cannot even contemplate prayer, but I have recently found a solution!  Creative Time with Jesus!  Now until a few weeks ago I considered myself appalling at anything remotely arty and I shied away from doing anything creative!  However, I attended an online Cheerfully Given Creativity Christianity Summit and it literally changed my life!  I now write this blog, do lettering, designs on paper and pc, I draw, I paint, I upcycle objects and I am willing to give anything a try!  God is wonderful at putting things into your life at just the right time!!  It is worth giving these things a go if you are struggling with prayer time.  Take a section of Scripture, grab a piece of paper and some pencils or pens, and just write and draw what is in your heart.  By doing this you are spending time with Jesus and you are learning Scripture also!  Of course, if this is not your “thing” there are loads of alternatives, do some knitting, make clay models, paint, write poems, the world is your oyster.  There are no boundaries to creativity!  

Another piece of advice I would love to pass on to you is using a Daily Devotional.  I find this a wonderful aid to my prayer time.  Find one that suits you, they come in lots of forms, books, booklets, apps etc.  The one I use has a written piece by the author and Old and New Testament Scripture, a Psalm, and a Proverb and by reading this, I will read the Bible in one year.  From these readings I write in my prayer journal whatever has touched my heart and use this to guide my prayers.

Prayer Journals are a fabulous way to guide your prayer.  There is usually a space to write the Scripture you are reading, how you will apply this to your life, prayers for others, things you are thankful for etc.  You will find many of these sheets online which are available as a free download or you can purchase a book or design your own one!

I really hope you have found this to be useful and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any advice or prayer. 

I want to finish my blog with a simple prayer.  Just as we struggle with prayer sometimes so did the disciples, so they asked Jesus to teach them to pray and Jesus answered them:-

“When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed by your name. 

Your kingdom come. 

Give us each day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. 

And do not bring us to the time of trial.” Luke 11:2-4

When prayer is hard, this is all you need to say.  Give it a try today!

Love and Blessings

Louise x

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How Do I Pray – Part 2

In my last blog I introduced you to the acronym, ACTS:-

Let us look at this in a bit more detail.  At the end of each paragraph I have added some Bible verses which will help relate these passages to Scripture:-

Adoration – How does it make you feel when someone you care for tells you they love you and that you make their world a better place.  It makes you feel a glow in your heart doesn’t it!  Well God likes it too!  It is so important that we take time out to let God know we love him.  God designed man in order that he could fellowship amongst us.  God wants companionship.  God, in his very essence being love wants to see this love in others and this love returned to him.  Start with a simple “I love you God” and then tell him why “because you are always there for me”, “because you have taken my into your family”.  If you are going through a time of struggle and perhaps you are not able to feel love for anyone ask God to help you by pouring His love out to you.”  Deuteronomy 6:5, Psalm 99:5, 116:1, John 15:9, Romans 5:5, 1 Corinthians 8:3.

Confession – How do you feel when someone has done something wrong to you and will not acknowledge it or apologise?  You likely feel anger towards them.  Perhaps you want to cast them out from your friendship group or your marriage, family etc!  God, in his very being is goodness.  Goodness is not just a characteristic of God but his very being and, for that reason, he cannot look upon evil, he abhors evil and this is why it is so important to confess your sins to him.  Of course, he already knows what you have done wrong, even evils you are not even aware of! However, he wants you to acknowledge your sin, he wants you to confess it and ask for his forgiveness and only in this way can the relationship between you and God remain unimpeded.  Acts 3:19, Romans 10:9, 1 John 1:9

Thanksgiving – Imagine that you spend a whole afternoon traipsing around the shops looking for that perfect birthday gift for someone or over the course of a month you knit several beautiful baby outfits for a new mum and now imagine when you hand over the gift that you receive no acknowledgement whatsoever.  Although you have not given the gift in order to receive anything you are still likely to feel a little upset.  Jesus suffered the most horrific death for you!  Jesus hung for 3 hours on the cross, struggling for every breath, the pain would have been agonizing in his hands and feet, but nothing compared to the pain in his chest as the weight of his body bore down upon his organs before, eventually, his lungs could breathe no more and he did this for you! The night before his crucifixion, Jesus sweated blood (a medically understood phenomenon occurring when the body is under great stress).  He sweated blood from fear and anxiety as he cried to his Father to remove this fate from him.  Yet this fate was not taken from him and the next day he faced the dreaded cross for you! If you were the only sinner on this world, Jesus still would have faced this for you!  I think that is worth thanking him for regularly!  I have faced times of heartache and there have been times that I could not think of anything good in my life, my soul was in such torment, however, this is the time you need to get back to basics.  You lie down in a soft bed, thank God, you wake in the morning, thank God because he is giving you a new day and maybe today you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can lock your door and be safe inside your house, thank God, you have food to eat, thank God.  Once you get started you are sure to find many blessings to thank God for and this really helps your mental health as bit by bit you find reasons to be of cheer!  2 Corinthians 4:15, Ephesians 5:19-20, Colossians 3:17, James 1:2-4.

Supplication – What would happen if you had a friend that only contacted you to request something, sometimes money, often your time etc.  Do you think you would be in fellowship long with this friend?  Definitely not!  This is completely one sided.  In many ways so is our relationship with God, however, God’s grace far outweighs ours!  God does not ask anything from us but our acceptance of his son Jesus and his work on the cross and if God wishes us to have our requests then He will grant them to us.  Matthew 7:7-11, 21:22, Philippians 4:6, James 1:5.

To Be Continued ….

Meanwhile, have a look at the verses, pick a quiet spot and have a chat with your heavenly Father.

Love and Blessings

Louise x

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Is It Important That I Pray?

Prayer is the most important aspect of being a Christian.  This is the medium through which we can connect with our Father.  Prior to the resurrection of Jesus there was no access to the Father but, through the sacrifice of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can speak with God, anywhere, anytime!

There are countless reasons for prayer.  I have detailed some below:-

  • To confess our sin, 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Our sin has been forgiven through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, however, it is still necessary to confess our sin daily and ask for forgiveness in order that we can be right with God because  sin raises a barrier between man and God.
  • To thank God and show gratitude, Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”  It can be easy to pray when we need something or when we are in a desperate situation and see no way out.  We are all guilty of this and surprisingly even those who would not class themselves as Christian frequently turn to prayer in times of tragedy!  While there is nothing wrong with this per se it is important that we thank God through the good times and bad.  Even when we cannot see beyond the fog it is highly likely there are still blessings in your life, Having a roof over your head! Having food to eat! Being of reasonable health! Having family around you! Having God to speak to!  The more you do this, the more you will see what God has done in your life!  If times are hard right now and nothing seems to be going right, just thank God for waking you up that morning and for causing the sun to rise another day bringing hope for a brighter future!
  • To get healing, James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  It is important to note that it is not always God’s will to heal.  If someone is not healed this not necessarily because of sin or ineffective prayer, but that God, sees the bigger picture.  We will never understand this as we view things from such a small perspective.  It can seem cruel and unfair in our finite mind, but we must trust that God’s plans are much better than any that we could imagine!
  • To ask for wisdom, James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  When we first start to read the Bible, it can be very confusing because we don’t know the characters, we don’t know the history and the narrative can be very different to the type we are used to.  There is a simple answer to this … pray.  Ask for the wisdom to discern the text and it will be given unto you.  
  • To get help with anxiety and worry, Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  It can be very easy to let our human worries overwhelm us and our loads can be very heavy but Jesus asks us to take our load off and hand it to him and he will bear it for us!  I know that this is not an easy prayer … it is something I struggle with myself.  However, it is important because when we hold onto the anxieties and worries, we are sabotaging our work for God and our relationship with him. 
  • To be close to God, Psalms 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”  If we were to ignore our friends, never text, never call, never go round to see them, it is unlikely they will be your friend for much longer.  Although God promises to never leave us or forsake us, he is waiting for us to come and speak with him, he is our heavenly father and we need to draw close to him.
  • To get help for unbelief, Mark 9:24 “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Another problem that I have experienced frequently is lack of faith …  Sometimes this can be something Christians are embarrassed to admit but it is likely we all suffer from it from time to time.  How can we speak to someone that we cannot see!  Usually when we do this, we are accused of being insane!! However, there is someone there and just because we cannot see something does not mean it does not exist!  I cannot see the oxygen I breathe but I know it is there because I am still alive!!  It is clear in this bible passage and many others that it is perfectly acceptable to ask God for help with unbelief.  Remember God sees your heart and so he knows of your unbelief before you ask him.  He will be pleased that you seek help!  
  • To humble oneself before God and submit to God’s will, James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  Matthew 26:42 “He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”  It is necessary that we give credit to God.  It is never in our own strength that we achieve but through him who created us.  How annoyed are we when our work is plagiarised?  Then think of our father in heaven when we puff ourselves up with our achievements!  We must be humble before our father.  Only by humble submission will we achieve the will of God in our lives.  Even Jesus himself, God incarnate submitted to the Father’s will so how much more should we!
  • To get help withstanding temptation, Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Temptation is all around us and the only one who can save us from this is our Father.
  • To ask for something, 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”, James 4:3 “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  There is nothing wrong with coming before our Father to ask for something, however, this must be of his will.  It is unlikely if you present yourself before the father asking him to make you rich so that you can buy a fancy car and a wardrobe full of designer clothes that he will grant this because it is unlikely to be his will unless through this somehow his name will be glorified!  Be careful what you wish for that it is in line with the spirit of Jesus!
  • To sing praise, James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”  Prayer need not always be a solemn devotion to God.  There are many tales of exuberant praise in the Bible, so it is just as important to recite praise to God or perhaps put on a worship song and sing to him or play your instrument to the father.

You may wonder why I have so many Bible references throughout my writing?  The reason is that I desire my blog to be of God and not of man and therefore it is especially important that everything that I write has its foundation in the Word of God. 

It is important that you look at these verses and learn from them.  Some are from the Old Testament and some from the New.  The chapter numbers are the large numbers beside headings (it is important to note that these headings were not in the original text but were added much later).  The verse numbers are small and are placed throughout the text.  At the top of each page you will see where the page begins i.e. Mark 1:28 and on the opposite page where it ends i.e. Mark 3:12. 

I have provided quite a lot of information in this blog, so I think it best I leave it at this for today and continue tomorrow with more information on prayer!

Meantime, enjoy the scripture readings and if you have a Bible have a look at them in there, you may want to read a little extra from before and after the above texts to familiarise yourself with the setting,  If you are yet to purchase a Bible check in the app stores as there is a wide choice of Bible software to choose from and you will have access to this immediately. 

Please remember that I am here for any advice that you may need so do not hesitate to get in touch.

Lastly, “Pray always. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”” Romans 12:12.

Love and Blessings

Louise x