Prayer is one of the greatest privileges we have as Christians! It is a "life line" that our Father has established that we can communicate with our Him. Even the disciples in the Gospels were asking Jesus (God the Son) how to pray so that they would pray effectively. Sometimes, I believe we are looking for the "magic" combination of words in order to unlock the blessings' floodgate. Or, we can treat God as if He is the giant Santa Claus in the sky or even a genie. However, when you compare the prayers of David in the book of Psalms and the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples, you will find some important similarities: praise/adoration, thankfulness, and then petition followed by more praise.
For me, personally, I tend to jump past the praise part and even the thankfulness, right down to the petition part. So, I want to take the time to publicly praise God for who He is and what He has done in our lives lately. I praise the Lord for His grace in salvation, without it, I am nothing and have no hope! I praise God for His discipline! I wish that I did not need any discipline, but I haven't made it to heaven yet. I'm thankful for my marriage, my wife, and my children!!!! I praise God for His provision for my family! He has met every need and even some wants that I don't deserve! We have a roof over our heads! We have food at our disposal! We have a vehicle that is getting us around with air condition (yes, I know, if we were in Indiana already, we would be using our heat, but here in FL we are still using air condition!)! I praise the Lord for friendships (although I may not be the best friend to those whom He has put in my life, I am thankful for them and desire to be a better friend!)! I praise the Lord for the family He has given me! God's love is incredible! For what Jesus did on the cross, I have no words for, other than "THANK YOU!"
My God knows our needs and I have petitioned Him for them, but ultimately it is the recognition and praise that He desires. Our lives are dependent upon Him for everything! It is the faith that we are always in need of to anticipate that He will do things for His glory!
(I know it been too long since my last posting. I don't really have an excuse. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I don't have anything to say or worth being read. But today, I'll share what's in my head and leave it out there for the world to judge.)
Our journey to get to Purdue has been one wild and crazy ride! We have seen God perform miracle after miracle in providing for our family. We have seen others shed tears and end up praising the Lord with us. We have had people join in asking lots of questions to which we want answers for too. Through it all, God has been incredibly faithful and unchanging.
We still have lots of questions: "how much longer till we get there, Lord?"; where will we live? will our support increase and stay up? will we have an effective ministry? who will partner with us in ministry? how will we do this? ETC.! These thoughts just continue to be replayed over and over, but you know, I get reminded over and over, Who has gotten us this far. (I know there is probably some bad grammar going there, but that's me)
I think the hardest problem I have is falling into the trap of trying to do it myself; not burdening God or my family. But, that's stupid! I'm frail! I'm weak! I'm nothing without God my Father!
I was teaching last night to a youth group here in Sebring, FL. My lesson was on "Baggage." It was about how each one of us pick up "baggage" along the way in our lives, but that baggage weighs us down and causes us to sin against God and hurt others IF we don't leave that baggage at the foot of the cross. I don't know how well it impacted those students, but it was a reminder of my baggage. (Go ahead and admit it to yourself too, we all got it) My baggage trips me up. Its a piece of baggage called "people-pleaser." I want people and God to be happy with me, knowing that I won't burden them. You know, the idea of self-reliance (PRIDE). I confess and ask the Lord to help me repent. There is a verse that screams at me: Micah 6:8- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Below is the video that we used with the youth yesterday. Maybe it will speak to your life if you read this and watch that. :-) Thank you, Lord, for using The Skit Guys in this lesson. I'll save the rest of my thoughts for another posting.
Ultimately, God is whom I serve and lay my life in His hand. Ultimately, He holds the answers and direction to my life. The challenge for myself is to REST in that. The day is coming when we will get to Purdue, Lord willing, sooner than later. Our questions will be answered when He knows we are ready for those answers.
Dennis Runner- a witness, a follower, a student, and a lump of clay in the hands of my God and Savior.