Monday Morning Meditation: A Path to Answered Prayer

After hearing a inspiring and convicting sermon on prayer yesterday, my Bible reading just “happened” to be John 4 today. I always think of John 4 as the story of the Samaritan woman and find myself relating to her, but God had something else to speak to me today.

After the story of Jesus’ work in Samaria, there is a short story that is headed “Jesus Heals the Official’s Son.” There are a few things that struck me about this story as it relates to prayer. It is not a long story, and I encourage you to read it here or in your Bible before you consider these thoughts of mine.

An Example of a Path to Answered Prayer

The man went to Jesus.
He traveled a distance to get there*. There was a cost and much effort to his prayer.

The man begged Jesus to come.
He first invited Jesus to be present.

He begged Jesus to heal.
He clearly stated what he hoped Jesus would do in his begging. It was a passionate prayer, a prayer of faith.

Jesus said that people need a miraculous sign to believe.
He may have been speaking directly to this man, but likely was also commenting on what had just happened in Samaria.

The man said, “Sir, come before my son dies!”
The man said, “I don’t know what that means; all I know is I love my son and am asking that You would heal Him!” He restated his hope and his prayer.

“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
The man chose to believe all that the Son of God had spoken to him and left prayer, believing.

*The man headed straight home. Later, when his servants met him on the road toward home, the man learns his son was healed yesterday at about 1 PM (or the seventh hour). This means the man had traveled at least overnight to go to Jesus. And the servants confirmed that Jesus healed the boy at the moment He said He did.

The man and his whole household believed.
Healing is not just for the benefit of the person healed. It is a testimony to those around the person that God is alive and active.

What do we learn about prayer here?
There is a cost to prayer. My pastor’s sermon on prayer yesterday was based on Mark 1:35-39. It was fantastic, and will be available on iTunes within a day or two (Church is Brockton Assembly of God). As I considered my own prayer life in light of what he shared, a thought came to me: the time and effort I am willing to devote to prayer is often directly proportionate to my belief about prayer. In other words, if I only devote a little time to prayer, I likely don’t really believe that prayer works or that it will help.

Ouch. I hate it when I convict myself!! OK, not really. But it made me face the fact that sometimes I leave prayer, more discouraged than when I started, because I’ve already talked myself out of believing that God is going to move!

I sang this song at church yesterday. I was asked to sing a song about prayer due to the theme of the day, and this song came to mind. 18 years ago last week, I surrendered my life to Jesus while listening to a song by this artist, Keith Green.

I want my whole life to be a prayer to God. I want my thoughts and actions to reflect that I believe in a God who is near and who loves us and who desires to answer our prayers.

In this morning’s reading, I was most struck by verse 50: “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” God has already shown me in about 15 different ways that learning about prayer and having a fuller prayer life is to be my theme of 2017.

OK, God, I’m listening and obeying. Lord, may that be my response to prayer. May I always leave prayer, walking in faith, taking You at Your Word.

What has God spoken to you concerning 2017?

Freedom Friday: For The Kids

I need your help, readers.

We often talk about freedom in this blog in terms of being free from metaphorical chains of bondage.  Or the freedom to be who God created us to be.

There are other kinds of freedom and other kinds of bondage.

It is believed that there are currently 21 million people worldwide caught in slavery (forced labor). Approximately 50% of trafficking victims are children, most of whom are caught in sex slavery.

Tomorrow, I will run 26.2 miles for those who can’t speak for themselves.
You can help by praying.  I have pain in my right leg due to what is likely tendonitis.  I also have been having some shin pain this week.  I am just, in general, not a natural when it comes to running.
The kids need your prayers, too.
I am running for the kids.  For those still caught in sex trafficking and those trying to climb their way out.
I will share more on Monday.  But pray for us. And pray about giving.  Don’t just look at your finances or circumstances and decide you’re not able to give.  Pray.  
This is a general admonition, even if I weren’t fundraising.  So often we wait until we have extra in order to give, but don’t stop to pray as to how God would have us respond. I do it as well.  

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

This widow did not wait; she gave.
The God I love and serve didn’t wait until He had extra to give extravagantly.  
He gave His Only.
This is not to say we should enter into giving lightly.  We need to hear God speak to our hearts, but our hearts need to first ask and then be willing to respond.
I’ve responded to God’s call, to give of my time, money and physical resources to run for those who can’t.
Thank you for your prayers.
Lord, help me to give extravagantly this weekend, as You did when You sent Your Only Son to earth.  Help me to run the race You’ve set before.  Thank You that Your power is made perfect when I have nothing to give. Be the Sustainer that I know You are.  Move in the hearts of many, that the hearts of these little children would have the opportunity for You to heal them.  Jesus, Your Name is power. You are mighty.  In Your wonderful name I pray, Jesus, Amen.


For The Kids
My recent personal best at the Zooma Half Marathon

Freedom Friday: Why Jesus Said He Came

I’ll be starting a series on Jesus, what He said, why He came, and what He asks of us.

A few months ago, I began to wonder: why did Jesus say He came? We often say, “Jesus came to….,” but I wanted to research Jesus’s own words about His purpose in coming.

Here’s what He has to say. I believe all references are NIV1984.

“I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, 
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” Matthew 10:34-36

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.” Mark 1:38-39

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ Mark 2:17

“
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

“
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38

“
Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.'” John 9:39

“
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” John 12:46-47


’“You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” John 18:37

This is not your typical Freedom Friday in that I’m not going to tell you about my life and experiences. I’m also not sharing my thoughts on these verses. Rather, I encourage you to really read and dig in to these verses. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead as you learn about Jesus and His purpose for coming to earth.