The Function of Prayer

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The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
~Soren Kierkegaard (goodreads.com)

Praying hands. Freeimages.com

Prayer is the conduit of relationship. It connects us to our Lord and Savior and to other believers. It changes us and gives us fertile ground to graze on. It feeds us, nourishes us, empowers us, and sustains us. When we pray we become one with the Lord. Throughout the years I have experienced how prayer has changed me from the inside out. When we are new believers, our prayers connect us, then as time moves forward, one day we pray and find ourselves at a new, deeper level of relationship with the Lord. As we mature and our relationship deepens, He is able to convey His wishes for us on a much deeper level.

As our nature changes internally, so too does our outer nature. We no longer view the world as we had previously. Since we see the world differently, we respond to situations, circumstances, trials and tribulations differently. We also look at the joyous moments in our lives differently. We begin to see the world through God’s eyes expressed through His Word.

I also believe our prayers become less myopic, and no longer singularly focused on self. We begin to focus on more than our needs and look at God’s world and it’s needs.

Young Woman praying. Freeimages.com

God directs our path through the Holy Spirit who resides in us, as well as through His Word. The Holy Spirit teaches us to focus on our prayers. It nudges our perspective and removes old bias, stereotypes and, hatred towards others.

Prayer provides spiritual empowerment. There is an article in Bible.org entitled, 7. Prayer #2: A Prayer for Spiritual Empowerment (Ephesians 3:14-21), in which the author shared that the “theme of this prayer is: “When you pray, pray boldly.”” As you do so, you are asking God to give you deeper understanding. As we mature, and our prayers become more selfless, they also become more bold. Bold prayers are a form of radical faith, a faith that does not falter or doubt.

This radical faith empowers us to be the soldiers and ambassadors He called us to be. When we pray, as Soren Kierkegaard expressed, our nature changes.

We cannot influence God, but we can, through prayer, influence the world around us through our actions, thoughts and deeds. We are empowered through the Holy Spirit to conform to the image of Jesus Christ, to be like Christ in all that we do. To reflect His Will in our actions, thoughts and deeds. Ultimately we change our nature through prayer and that change flows out into the world affecting others.

Comfort In Uncertainty

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When we are lost, we seek inward. When we are confused we seek God. Isn’t it amazing that we rely on Him and Him alone when things get tough.

~ Lisa Blair

Do you ever feel alone? Have you found yourself unable to figure things out? I have. We are in a time of uncertainty. We may have a job, roof our our head, and food on the table today, but uncertain about tomorrow, or you may have already been displaced as the result of the pandemic, loss of jobs, or storms, fires, or earthquakes. UNCERTAINTY IS THE TERM OF THE MOMENT. Absolutely nothing is as we understand it, but the WORD OF GOD. There is only one thing we can rely on and that’s His Word. It is our refuge, our safe haven, our tower against the storms of life.

The pandemic has ravaged the world as we know it. It has forced us to stop looking outward and begin looking inward at our relationship with God. I have met so many people who have been displaced from their pre-pandemic lives and have found freedom amongst the muck that has ravaged their lives.

Many are joining bible study Zooms, many are seeking introspection and their relationship with the Lord. Still others have decided to invest in themselves and not things, and are moving to less expensive cities and states. Many have regained connections with family members. And, many have found God and received Him as their Lord and Savior, hoping to come out of this in a strong relationship with our Father and a design for their futures that provide relationships outlined in the Bible as their basis for new life.

There is always a silver lining in every cloud. The timing for its appearance is governed by God. He knows the plans He has for us to prosper us and give us strength. He will provide for our basic needs as we travel through tough times, blessings will appear in many forms. Awareness of his blessings small and large were often overlooked and assumed to be something we made happen in the past. I think, for many, we are just beginning to recognize that our blessings come from God to meet all of our needs.

As we move forward, our lives may look different, we are shedding the past, those things that became idols and stole our time from the Lord. The new day will clearly focus on God and our relationship with Him. Our lives will experience His inner peace. We will find calm in the middle of storms, and we will be surrounded by His Grace and Mercies.

Images – Google Images

Committed To Night Fishing?

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“As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

How tentative are we to follow Christs’ instructions to do something different than our normal routine prescribes? Most of us find comfort in routine. Routines are safe, they may not produce the best results, but we find comfort in the process.

Simon was a fisherman, and knew the patterns of fishing, so when Christ told him to take his boat out into the water in the night skies and drop his nets, he was skeptical. Fishing at night was not his norm. His prior experiences caused him to pause when Christ instructed him against fishing as he normally did. Most of us feel discomfort when instructed to row out into the reverse known ebb and flow practices. There are times when we feel we are fishing in the darkness of night, not certain which direction to take. Are we any different than Simon, skeptical of altering how we function? The answer is yes and no.Yes, if it a planned, or a recommended detour, no if we are told to walk with Christ into the dark of night and drop our nets. Simon probably took a moment before he decided to trust Christ. We are no different and have to trust in the Lord, (kind of blind faith), knowing that He is teaching us to walk the same path as Him.

entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize).”
‭‭PSALM‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I used the term blind faith, as a metaphor. When we are in the darkness of night, our sight is limited. We can no longer see into the distance, all that we see is what lies directly before us. We become myopic and can not see the big picture. It is during the night that our gait is reduced and we look down more than up to make certain we do not trip or fall. We are skeptical of what is around us, and our current pattern is disrupted. The disruption causes us to pause and question new instructions, asking ourselves why, how is this going to affect me, what will I get out of this change?

Change is inevitable once you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Part of having faith is being dependent upon our Father, accepting that His ways are not our ways. We should at minimal have the same faith in Christ that He like our parents will protect us, guide us, and lead us in the right direction. Our faith in Christ allows us to row out into the darkness of life and throw out our net.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We must learn to follow Simon’s leads and listen to God’s voice and obey when He instructs us to walk in the way He commands.

Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.”
Proverbs 4:25

If we listen to Jesus’ instructions, instead of questioning them, it will not matter if it is night or day. It will not matter if the directions seem convoluted and misdirected according to our understanding. God is our Master and Teacher and His path and trajectory is not the same as ours. He is looking at (our) eternity, we look at what is before us and no further.

And He said, “ Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We are all ministers and thus fishers of men. Wherever we go, whatever we do or say, there are onlookers observing how we act and how we respond in all situations. We cast our net into the water every day, we are just not aware of it. The prerequisites are: giving our life to Christ, not fearing His instructions and standing fast on the Word of God. Do you want to become a night fisherman like Simon?

Grace, Salvation, and Self-control

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God’s Promise – His grace offers salvation to all people

Let’s walk on the knowledge that, given the opportunity, God will direct our steps. What a relief for those of us who sometimes wander around in confusion set forth at the pronouncement of the day, forgetting that “this is the day the Lord has made” and instead wallow in the outcomes of the unknown.

Through the grace of God we have received salvation and in it, direction for our lives. We should awake, thank the Lord for awakening us into a new day, put on our Armor and ask for his direction through the common landmines presented throughout the day. This is not to imply that we should expect the worse. It is our statement of faith to know that our Lord shields us, carries us, and directs our paths to avoid what may come before us. Through grace, we can make the right decisions before we act.

To accomplish this, we cannot act prematurely first consult with the Holy Spirit that has taken residence in us. He will confirm whether our decision is in alignment with the Word.

Sometimes the Spirit will tell us to say ’NO,’ this is not the path, recalculate and offer alternative avenues in the group session, or the best path is not linear, a-b-c…z, but rather a-c-q-z (a PERT path). He helps guide our decision-making about all aspects of our life.

He has taught us not to anger, especially if when a car cuts us off on the freeway, or someone pushes ahead of us on the trolley/subway, or your coworker, classmate, brother, sister, friend, or associate says something hurting in the heat of the moment.

This is not a prosperity concept, life is not all rainbows. God protects us and fights our battles. But, (this is a big but) He also told us that we will suffer travails, challenges, loss and hurt. We will experience good times and bad. We will question where God is in those moments. He is saying, stand fast, wait for his quiet voice to lead each of us, stay in control during the heated moments, do not doubt, put all of your cares in his hands and know that He is God. The Holy Spirit will lead us, and we will rest in his peace.

When we face these times, we must rely on his promises and call them out to him reminding him that we are in relationship with him and rely on his Word. We must announce to the evil of the day, the wickedness brought on by Satan’s demons or our own poor judgment, ‘If God is with me, who can be against me?’ If he is with us, we know we can withstand the evil of the day, the depression of the unknowing, and the uncertainty of life. All he asks is that we put away our worldly passions and live a self-controlled life.

 

 

Images – Google Images

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Broken? The Lord Is With You

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God’s Promises – I am with you in your brokenness. I am with you when your spirit feels crushed.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm‬ ‭34:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This morning my Pastor reiterated that the crucifixion of Christ was God’s demonstration that He loves us and sacrificed His Son to free us (paraphrased). Jesus was broken and crushed, not because he sinned, but to save us because we are sinners. Christ died to set us free. When we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were freed, ‘saved’ and filled with the Holy Spirit. when the Holy Spirit took up residence in us, we were given the right to walk in God’s authority and His power.

So what does this have to do with our being broken-hearted?

Broken-hearted is when we finally strip away our pride, our focus on self, and surrender to God saying, “not my will, but your will God.” It is when we stand up, crush our free-will, our worldly life, our flesh, and replace it with God’s Will.  It is staying ‘awake’ and corralling our carnal life, refashioning it to reflect the image of God who directs our paths.

Christ sacrificed his life for us and we, in turn, sacrifice our lives for Him. When we recognize the importance and purpose of His sacrifice for us, we are freed. Our Lord promised to always be close to us. He is with us when we are broken-hearted and when our spirit is crushed. We exist because of His righteousness.  We are never alone.

Images – Google Images

References – Bible.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.