Before a prayer is answered, there may be more required.
"More than thirty-five years of being a pastor has shown me many things about people and about God. I love people and I love God. I tell people I will pray for them and people tell me they pray for me. God’s people pray a lot and that is a good thing as we see in Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians:5:17 Pray without ceasing.). You can talk with God when you walk, drive, sit, or even lie down, but there should also always be the times when we are on our knees before Him reflecting the respect, awe, and humility we should feel in His presence.
Prayer by itself can be lacking something
I have had a concern for years that I’d like to share with you. When I counsel people for marriage, they almost always tell me, “we have prayed about this union” (or words to that effect). Sick people would say, “I have left my healing in God’s hands.” I’ve had people who need a job say, “God will provide me with a job, because I have prayed about it.” There are those who pray for guidance in choosing a career or a home to buy. I have been asked to say a prayer to help students to remember lessons learned before an important exam. I am very happy to hear people say they are praying.
What then is my concern? Did you detect it in the examples? My concern is that far too often those faithful people stop doing anything on their own. It is as though once you’ve prayed – that’s it! Personal thought and personal effort stops. Marriage counseling is meaningless if the decision has already been reached. Encouragement to see a doctor seems like blasphemy to one who has “left it in God’s hands.” Making a determined effort to improve one’s training and really going after a job loses significance. Maybe we’ve all heard of the person who just sat by the phone and God caused an unknown employer to call and offer an incredible job to someone he’s never met and whose credentials do not matter.
My concern is that for some, praying about a problem that would take great effort to solve seems to remove the need for that effort. A man once said we ought to pray as though everything we do depends on God, and we ought to work as though everything we do depends on us. I have found that to be very good advice.
James:2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone., 20 and 26 carry God’s message to us that faith without works is dead. Why should we shy away from taking action? Why should we not plan, learn, and apply knowledge and wisdom in all we do? Some feel works of any kind signify a lack of faith. We are to walk hand-in-hand with God, but He expects us to learn to evaluate situations, seek wisdom, get information and make good choices.
Examples of prayer with action
One personal example is that some feel that carrying some types of protection into the forest shows a lack of faith. I often take young people and children into the mountains for days at a time. We carry our food and cook in the campgrounds. In Canada, there are plenty of animals in the wild. We have powerful grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, and wolves throughout the areas in which I travel. I take my shotgun along “just in case.” I have never had cause to use it and, with the noise we usually make, there has never even been so much as a dangerous animal sighted within a half mile of us. The shotgun is only a precaution.
God does not condemn a person who takes precautions. If that were the case, why did God bless David the shepherd boy so powerfully when he decided to take his best weapon (a sling) and chose five stones before he went into the danger zone when facing Goliath? Obviously, God was not displeased. He saw a capable and courageous David doing the best he could and all the while trusting God to be right there with him.
I have always believed that God is far too intelligent to bless stupidity. He does sometimes rescue us from our errors and ignorance, and He may even have mercy on the foolish of this world, but if He consistently blessed stupidity, we would be learning incorrectly.
God blesses good and right choices. Moses wrote about this in the covenant with Israel, and in Deuteronomy 27-30, he outlines some of the curses or blessings that come from the choices we make. God does not make the choice for us, but He encourages us to learn, think, seek information, gain wisdom, and then make the right choices. He tells Israel to “choose life” (Deuteronomy:30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:) and through the Bible, He tells us to do the same (Deuteronomy:30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:).
Examples of poor choices
There are some truly tragic stories in the Bible of people who made wrong choices. The results were often disastrous. A beloved king who was a godly man was curious about the army of Egypt that was passing by. Though he was warned not to approach, he decided to dress as a common soldier and go to look for himself.
It cost him his life (2 Chronicles:35:20-24After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.). All of Israel suffered from his bad choice.
Abraham and Sarah chose to have a child by a surrogate mother (Hagar) and the result is still echoing in the world today with conflicts in the Middle East. Israel often chose to make its own unwise decisions about life and there, too, we can read and see the results.
On the other hand, there are also wonderful stories of people who made good choices and were blessed for that. Joshua stated that he and his family had chosen God over idolatry (Joshua:24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.).
He also told the rest of the Israelites to choose whom they would serve. The very fact that Joshua told them to choose shows us that not all–if any–of the people of Israel really sincerely made the choices that God advised. In Joshua:24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses., we can read that Israel verbally stated that they would obey God. Words do not carry much weight; it is the deeds that follow those words that show God what is in the heart.
Powerful and effective prayer is possible
Our Almighty Creator loves to bless and give good things to those who worship Him. Worship is profound adoration, admiration, and affection that is reflected in deeds and words. God is worthy of the utmost worship we humans can manage, and that is why our acts and deeds do show our faith.
James wrote that all our prayers are not answered because sometimes we “ask amiss” (James:4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.). When our prayers carry the focus of me, me, me, then we have a problem in communication with God. We are at fault because we are asking for ourselves. People generally do just exactly what they want to do. God is expected to conform to the image they have in their minds about Him. But true conversion displays the opposite attitude.
A converted person does not ask for himself and then bargain with God to answer the prayer. A converted person recognizes God’s majesty and in all humility seeks God’s will. His prayers reflect faith and his actions show his faith by good choices.
And so I hope people continue to pray a lot, but also to pray correctly. Incessant prayer that is done improperly will produce nothing. One prayer given earnestly and humbly carries more weight than countless prayers that are in error. Have you “prayed about it?” If you have done so and then acted in a manner that pleases God, you will have your answer." From: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/ive-prayed-about-it/
article by Robert Berendt
But How Should We Pray?
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
"As human beings, we need physical food to survive. But the most important “bread of life” comes to us from Jesus Christ through God’s Word and Holy Spirit, which replenish us.
When I was a boy in school, each day began with our reciting the Lord’s Prayer (that was a long time ago). It would be quite a few years later when I would understand this prayer is really an outline of prayer to be used as a guide. I learned prayers are not to be repetitive and, thus, when I really began to pray in earnest, I would write the Lord’s Prayer down and talk with God about each phrase or part of this prayer
(Matthew:6:7-13But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.).
It struck me some time ago, the words “Give us this day our daily bread” were the only words referring to our physical needs in this prayer outline. All the rest of the prayer is in praise of God or to request spiritual gifts so we may better please and serve Him. Why do we ask for our physical needs in a prayer that is nonphysical in all other aspects?
Bread of life
One of my great joys in life is found at the pivotal point a profound truth strikes home. If I am among people at such a moment, I will restrain my excitement, but more than once something has struck me while driving alone and then I have to let loose with a whoop and a holler!
The profound spiritual truth of the Lord’s Prayer was such a moment. I finally realized Jesus Christ is the “bread of life” and the daily bread we need even more than physical food (John:6:51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.)!
We are to live each day with Christ dwelling in us (John:17:23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.). This was the source of Paul’s strength as he wrote in 1 Corinthians:3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? and Philippians 4:13.
It was a joy to realize the deeper meaning of the phrase “Give us this day.” Of course, Jesus Christ did ask a blessing as He was breaking bread for a meal (Luke:9:16Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.). It is correct to ask for our daily provisions and to ask God to bless them. My joy came in recognizing the deeper importance of Jesus Christ being the daily bread we truly need.
At that point the Lord’s Prayer became cohesive and complete in my understanding. It is indeed a spiritual prayer raising us out of the dimension of physical life and into a thought pattern above and beyond the struggles of this present world. It elevates our thinking into the purpose and plan of God to establish His Kingdom and dwell with mankind for eternity.
In Luke:4:3-4And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God., we can read about the confrontation Jesus had with Satan.
Satan told Jesus to change the stone into bread, but Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” He was referring, of course, to needing spiritual sustenance more than physical bread. God’s truth, God’s Word, is spiritual (John:6:63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.). It provides the “food” we need to be spiritually sound.
One of my greatest joys in life is found at the pivotal point a profound truth strikes home.
Jesus taught many things using the example of bread and, typically, His focus was on the spiritual need rather than on the physical one. It amazes me today how long it took me to realize this. In Luke:12:23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment., Jesus once again used the example of eating to show the primary need we have is spiritual. He said, “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.”
Some would make the mistake of discounting food altogether. That is the far side of the ditch; we are physical, and God knows we need physical sustenance. It is in the comparison of the eternal with the temporary that we must realize how much more important the presence of Jesus Christ is in our lives than even our physical food. God expects us to work hard to procure our daily food—there are lessons in that. He expects us to work much harder to procure our spiritual food, and we need to see the value in that. A half-hearted attempt will fail.
Where do we seek our daily bread?
What are the steps needed so that a person can have this wonderful daily bread? This was the question asked by people when the disciples first preached. Acts:2:37-38Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. records the event. When the people asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” the answer given was, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
My joy came in recognizing the deeper importance of Jesus Christ being the daily bread we truly need.
There is a process God has set in motion for those whom He calls. Repentance indicates an understanding of sin and how offensive it is to our Lord and Creator. Repentance is a cry for help as humans realize how incapable they are to cancel sin by themselves. God then begins the process of leading that person to His Church, where His specially ordained and appointed ministers will give counsel, immerse the person in water and, as he or she arises, lay hands on him or her, asking for God to include the person’s name in the Book of Life. The minister will also ask that the person be given God’s Holy Spirit and from that moment, the baptized person will be given God’s Spirit. God the Father and Jesus Christ will dwell within.
The need for daily bread shows God’s Spirit runs through us like a river (John:7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.). This supply of God’s Spirit needs to be renewed and refreshed every day. Thus, our daily prayer shows this request for a spiritual gift from God. Thankfulness for physical bread as well as the spiritual bread from Jesus goes hand in hand in our daily lives, but the most important bread is Jesus Christ. May our merciful and loving God grant each of us every day “our daily bread.”
Now with that greater meaning, the phrase “Give us…” fits more securely within the rest of the model prayer. Each Passover season, converted people take of the bread that symbolizes the broken body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians:11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.). A daily reminder of the precious sacrifice that frees us from sin and heals the breach between us and God is given in the prayer Jesus Christ spoke so long ago. Let us always stir up the gift God has given us—the gift of life—the bread of life—His Son." From: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/give-us-day-our-daily-bread/ Article by Robert Berendt
November 17, 2011 - "The Occupy Wall Street movement gets a second life today. But what's it all about?"
On This Day:
Nov 20, 1947:
Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten
"In a lavish wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, Princess Elizabeth marries her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, a dashing former prince of Greece and Denmark who renounced his titles in order to marry the English princess.
Princess Elizabeth, heir to the British throne, was 21 years old. Philip Mountbatten, age 26, had fought as a British naval officer during World War II and was made the duke of Edinburgh on the eve of his wedding to Elizabeth. The celebrations surrounding the wedding of the popular princess lifted the spirits of the people of Britain, who were enduring economic difficulties in the aftermath of World War II.
On February 6, 1952, the death of King George VI sent Elizabeth to the throne, and Philip ended his naval career to concentrate on his new duties as consort of the British monarch. Elizabeth and Philip eventually had four children--Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward."
This was the program for today:
The Coming Financial Squeeze
"As prices rise and incomes stagnate, how can you wisely manage your finances? Discover genuine, practical answers.
Watch this program, read the transcript and request the free Bible Study aid booklet "Managing Your Finances" at http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/christian-living/coming-financial-squ... "
Was a very somber day for me. It was the memorial of my SPCA Boss Kenya's husband, Rick, who died of cancer on the 3rd.
The only other memorial that I had been to, was that of my granddaughter who was killed by a DDD (dam drunk driver) 5¾ years ago, but we called it "The Celebration of Susan's Life". Remembering that was laying heavy on my heart.
So I was feeling very mizzy while I getting ready. Delving in my stuffed closet for something to wear unearthed some clothes that no longer fit me, or that I just don't wear anymore. I won't need to buy more hangers now, as those clothes were put in the 'yard sale dept.' Of course my hair wouldn't do right, and the only pair of shoes that matched my outfit were uncomfortable.
After a 20 mile trip across country roads to the Groveville church, it was a very moving one hour ceremony. A relative spoke about the things that Rick had accomplished in his life, and a lady quoted a very appropriate poem. Nearly all of his family were there, and most of the SPCA foster moms.
At the end the family stood by the door so we could hug them, and Kenya gave everyone a remembrance card with some Forget-Me-Not seeds embedded in it, so we could all grow a "Remember Rick Plant". I thought that was a lovely touch.
The van's gauge was nearing empty, or 'On The High Side of Walk', so I aimed it at Kroger's where the gas is cheaper. I went into the store to use the restroom, but it cost me $38 to get out, due to spotting some bargains. So it turned into an $85 stop.
After a low of 59, it turned into an overcast 78 deg. day.