Listen

How to pray and be still

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Written by Fiona Monaghan

“Prayer: Is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view” – Philip Yancey

Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer and I wanted to share my experience at a Prayer Workshop led by Pastor Tim earlier this year.

Beginning the day with a simple exercise, we pick a verse that is important to us or stood out to us and meditated on it. After soaking in God’s word in, surrounded by peace, we came back together and shared it with the group.

What was amazing to see was the variety of verses that all had a common thread and that was ‘be still.’ Pastor Tim pointed out that we all have a way of giving 'hugs' our own personal touch. It might be a phrase we use, a type of hug, rubbing the back, kissing the cheek. Cultures have different ways of expressing hugs and God has a way to give each of us a ‘hug’ and it’s with the phrase “Be Still”. It will come through in a verse or sometimes a thought flitting through your mind.

As you get ready to pray be still and fully immerse yourself in God's presence.

PrayerNow that you have prepared your heart and mind for prayer beginning with thanksgiving. Actively look for those things in your life you are thankful. Then go deeper and examine the why and wherefores of that thankfulness. If you are thankful for your family, what about your family are you thankful for? Why are you thankful for that? Take the time to really examine and you will find more attributes coming to the surface. Be intentional at the beginning and ending of your day to examine the reasons to be thankful for that day.

Adoration and confession: a time to examine your motives and inward thoughts. Bring them to the forefront for confession in relation to who God is. For example, if fear is present look to where God is addressed as our Fortress in times of trouble. If you are battling something, then to look to where He is addressed as our Shield and Buckler protecting us in times of battle. Needing comfort, what about The Shepherd who guards and takes care of his sheep? Focus on the all names of God and understanding His nature and His glory.

Petition is when we are asking for specific things. We name and present our requests to God. This would be as it relates to us individually. For direction in life, decisions needing to be made, wisdom for a specific item. It is good and right for us to pray for this kind of thing.

God is our Father and He wants to give to His children. We are told that we have not because we don’t ask. It is a time also to be aware that God is all knowing and what we are asking for He will answer from that place of knowing all. He always answers prayer in some way. It may not be in the way we want or thought, but He will answer.

“If our all prayers were answered right now, how would the world change?” Pastor Tim

Intercession is when we are praying for others. I really liked Pastor Tim’s question he asked us, “If our all prayers were answered right now, how would the world change?” Pray for the seemingly impossible. Pray internationally. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for the government. Pray for all the conflicts you hear about in the news.

We can be given a desire to pray and maybe even the wisdom and understanding of what to pray for, but only God can work in a person’s life to make change. We should never take advantage of knowledge about another person except to pray for them, it’s a solemn responsibility.

We are encouraged in two way prayer to pause and listen for God’s response; to have a two way communication and to expect direction. We have been given access to Him and He wants to have that with us.

God uses many avenues to accomplish this. Maybe a thought in your mind, a scripture that you read that just illuminates what you are praying about or something someone says. For myself, I have found that journaling my prayer is an excellent way to stay focused and also receive direction. For example, when writing my frustration and praying for guidance on a particular thing and as I put words to my feelings I felt myself calming and the words became more productive and by the end of twenty minutes of writing I had my answer on what to do next. I truly believe God worked in that scenario for that end.

In the book Crossroads by William Paul Young references prayer by writing “Prayer is a conversation inside a relationship.” That is it in a nutshell. When we care about someone, we share our thoughts, fears and ambitions with them. This communication called prayer is that very thing with our Heavenly Father. Jesus took much time to communicate with His Father when he lived on this earth and we have been given that very right and responsibility to aid us in our lives on this earth.

Samuel: Last Man Up

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Written by Fiona Monaghan

Samuel is an example of ‘never being too young to follow God.’ Dedicated as a baby he grew up serving God in the temple and he continued to serve God throughout his entire life.

Samuel was born to Hannah and Elkanah after waiting many years for a child. Hannah desperately wanted a child and she prayed a beautiful prayer (found in 1 Sam 1:10-11) promising that if God gave her a son she would dedicate his life to serving him. True to her word she sent him, when still young, to live as an apprentice to the priest Eli in the temple.

One night, when Samuel was still a young boy, he is called by the Lord in the night and he responds, “Speak for your servant listens…”

1sam310The Lord tells Samuel that a time of discipline is coming for the house of Eli. Many times God had warned Eli about the actions of his sons (known for being scoundrels and not respecting God or their duties as priests) yet they had persisted in their wayward actions. He had been patient, but now the consequences would follow.

This was the beginning of Samuel deliverying hard to hear words from God. He continued to work through Samuel, speaking to his people through him.

During this time, the Philistines were a force to be reckoned with. In one of the battles between the Philistines and the Israelites the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and tens of thousands of Israelites were killed (including Eli’s sons). Soon the Philistines discovered God’s power, he destroyed their idol, Dagon, and whatever town the Ark resided in people became sick with tumors. Out of fear of the Israelite’s God they returned Ark to Israel- even sending gifts with it in hopes of appease the God of Israel.

Once the Ark had been restored to Israel, they took it and hid it in a hillside home where it stayed for twenty years. The people mourned that God had abandoned them and they continued to turn to other gods. During this time Samuel had grown into a young man, seeing the actions of his people, he challenged the Israelites to change their ways,

“If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the Lord; then he will rescue form the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3 (NLT)

The Israelites listen and destroy the idols they had made. Samuel called his people together and led them in prayer and worship in the city of Mizpah. Here Samuel becomes the last Judge of Israel and the people of Israel recommit themselves to God.

The Philistines, seeing all the Israelites gathered, mobilize their armies to Mizpah. Samuel prays to God to help Israel and the Lord answers! He shows Himself ‘with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven’ and the Philistines were in such confusion that they were easy prey for the Israelites to overcome them.

Israel enjoyed twenty years of peace, as the Philistines were subdued. The land that had been taken was restored back to Israel. The people put their Jehovah back in the center of their lives and all was well.

Samuel proved to be a good and effective Judge, he continued to share God’s word and challenge His people for the rest of his life.


Does this read like a story for today? Maybe not with the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant, but don’t we often find that we turn away or forget God when things are going well and life is good?

Samuel was dedicated to doing God’s will and listening for His voice and while the Israelites did the same - life was good. If we follow Samuel’s example, saying to God ‘speak for your servant listens’ and then really do it in every area of our lives. We won’t be disappointed.

God has put you here in your situation for a reason.  Samuel was an amazingly gifted man, but even more important than that was his character. He stayed close to God no matter what and changed the world forever.  It's our character that determines whether we will be a solution to the problems in our world” - Pastor Ben McCary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG04GoaV9Cs

Lent Devotion: Listen

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Written by Pastor Becca McCary

earsIntroduction:

God wants to meet with you this Lent. He wants to come into the ordinary times and places in your life in a holy way, transforming your life. This week’s ordinary space transformation challenge is: Listen.

Scripture Reflection:

James 1:19 (NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

listen-300x200Challenge:

Write down or paint the word “Listen” on a rock or piece of paper as your holy reminder. Then choose an ordinary space in your life where you are going to focus on listening. Try to practice listening one time in that ordinary space your life this week. Then, watch God transform this ordinary space into a holy space for you.

Practice:

Put the word “Listen” in an area of your life like your kitchen table, car, or backpack. When you are sitting at your table as a family, in the car on a ride to school, or in your backpack as you settle into school for the day, look for an opportunity to listen to those around you.

The people in your life, your friends, and family (especially those who annoy you) are not mere happenstance. God wants to speak to you through the people in your life. Listen to God’s voice encouraging and challenging you through the people in your life.

Photo Credit & Credit

Lent Devotion: Listen

lent_banner.jpg

Written by Pastor Becca McCary

earsIntroduction:

God wants to meet with you this Lent. He wants to come into the ordinary times and places in your life in a holy way, transforming your life. This week’s ordinary space transformation challenge is: Listen

Scripture Reflection:

James 1:19 (NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Challenge:

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Write down or paint the word "Listen" on a rock or piece of paper as your holy reminder. Then choose an ordinary space in your life where you are going to focus on listening. Try to practice listening one time in that ordinary space your life this week. Then, watch God transform this ordinary space into a holy space for you.

Practice:

Put the word "Listen" in an area of your life like your kitchen table, car, or backpack. When you are sitting at your table as a family, in the car on a ride to school, or in your backpack as you settle into school for the day, look for an opportunity to listen to those around you.

The people in your life, your friends, and family (especially those who annoy you) are not mere happenstance. God wants to speak to you through the people in your life. Listen to God's voice encouraging and challenging you through the people in your life.

Photo Credit