Determined Prayer

 

tired businessman rubbing his eyesI have had times of prayer over an event or decision that was very hard to work through. I remember with one particular decision, I was up praying in the middle of the night and I went to my computer and started writing out my prayer. I also started writing down the details about the weight of the decision. I remember very clearly deciding to leave this totally upon the Lord for Him to sort out. I was stressed. I was worried. I just didn’t know what to do. He directed my path and He answered my prayer according to His Will and His Purpose. I’m so thankful.

King Hezekiah was facing a huge threat to the kingdom of Judah. Sennacherib, King of Assyria had sent messengers telling Hezekiah what he was about to do. King Sennacherib defied the Lord God and ridiculed the people of God for following Him. Check this out…

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. (2 Kings 19:14-16 NIV)

I can imagine the king taking the parchments to the Temple and spreading them all out before the Lord. I think this is a good way to lay everything out before the Lord. I need to lay my budget before the Lord.

I need to lay my business plan before the Lord.

I need to lay everything in my life before the Lord.

Check this out….

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I’ve decided to worry less and pray a lot more. I can pray to the Lord about the most trivial decisions as well as the monumental ones. He wants all my stuff placed before Him and He will lead me through it. He will take all my worries and stress and let me relax and simply trust in Him. This is really an amazing way to face the life before me. I will confess that worry still creeps in, but I have to tell it where to go.

My help comes from the Lord.

My trust is in the Lord.

He’s got this – whatever “this” is.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In A Pinch

Businessman sinking in heap of documentsI have been in situations where I did not know how I would get out. I have been so broke that I wasn’t sure how I could make things work. When I went through a divorce nearly 25 years ago, I though my life was over. I was broken inside and wounded in ways that I thought I’d never recover. I remember crying out to God asking “Why?” and “Why me?” on many occasions. As I reflect on that painful time, I feel like I’m in such a different place spiritually since that dark time. I’m finally learning that I can talk to the Lord all the time, NOT just when I’m in a pinch. I will certainly talk to Him then, but I also think it’s important to talk to Him all the time. I feel like I’ve avoided a lot of “pinches” by seeking Him first, talking with Him and listening to Him.

The King of Israel had put together a coalition with the King of Judah and the King of Edom to teach the King of Moab and the Moabites a lesson. They had not prepared well and were just about to the land of Moab when they ran out of food and water. They were in a huge pinch. Check this out…

10 ‘What!’ exclaimed the king of Israel. ‘Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?’

11 But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may enquire of the Lord?’

An officer of the king of Israel answered, ‘Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.’

12 Jehoshaphat said, ‘The word of the Lord is with him.’ So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. (2 Kings 3:10-12 NIV)

I love the fact that Elisha’s reputation, as the king of Judah knew him as the personal servant to Elijah. The King of Judah also knew that “the Word of the Lord was with him”. These three kings were in a big pinch and God spoke to them through Elisha, the prophet.

I really want to avoid getting into pinches. I have been prompted by the Lord to do seemingly silly things like check my oil or change my tires and I’m convinced that His little promptings have helped me avoid more “pinches”.

I’m pretty confident that my life is more simple than most but at times it gets a little complicated and crazy. I simply want to go to the Lord every day and seek His counsel for my day. I want Him to help me head off “getting into a pinch”. I want Him to lead me out of a “pinch” and I know that He can help me avoid them too.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cry Out To God

 

God's mercy at the CrossI have been desperate enough before to cry out to God. I have never been so hungry or thirsty that I’ve cried out to him. I have been so desperate in need of a miracle or a way out that I’ve cried out to Him.

The Philistines sought after Samson because he constantly caused them grief and they did the same toward him. He was a one man fighting machine. He would grab whatever he could get his hands on to use as a weapon. On one occasion he found the jawbone of a donkey and used it to kill a thousand. He was protected and led by God.

On one occasion, he had made the Philistines so angry that they went to the town where he was at and was about to hold the town hostage until they could get their hands on Samson. Some of his own countrymen came to him and ask him to surrender to the Philistines. They had come to tie him up and hand him over. Samson made them pledge that they would not kill him. He gave his countrymen permission to tie him up and hand him over to the Philistines. Check this out…

14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came towards him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, ‘You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?’ 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi. (Judges 15:14-15; 18-19 NIV)

This guy Samson had just killed a thousand of the enemy’s men and now he’s thirsty and cries out in desperation to God. I believe in crying out to God for help.

I believe the simplest prayer that I can pray is “help”.

God cares when I’m hurting.

God cares when I’m confused.

God cares when I’m scared.

God cares when I’m desperate.

God cares about where I am.

God cares about my health.

God cares about everything in my life.

I need His Spirit to give me strength.

I need His Spirit to give me instruction.

I need His Spirit to give me direction.

I need His Spirit to give me the peace that passes understanding.

I need the Lord to be with me wherever I go and whatever I do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help Is On The Way!

 

Tornado aftermath in Henryville, IndianaI remember an instance when I was a freshman in college at Johnson University Tennessee (formerly known as Johnson Bible College). I was headed home for the weekend in my 1973 Ford Maverick – now there was a car that didn’t stick around long! (I later went on a mission trip to Mexico and found where all the Ford Mavericks and Volkswagen Beetles went!) I believe I was taking my sister and a friend and we were going home to Kentucky for the weekend when I broke down on a remote part of I-75 on Jellico Mountain. This was way before the age of personal cellphones. We were on the side of the road for about 10 or 15 minutes when a car stopped and it was a fellow student on his way to Kentucky for a weekend ministry position that he held. He got us the help we needed –I think a radiator hose and we were back on our way. I think everyone needs help now and again. My parents taught me to help others who need help. They learned that principle from the Lord. He rescued His people when hope seemed gone. Check this out….

12 ‘I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;

    I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.

I will bring them together like sheep in a sheepfold,

    like a flock in its pasture;

    the place will throng with people.

13 The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;

    they will break through the gate and go out.

Their King will pass through before them,

    the Lord at their head.’ (Micah 2:12-13 NIV)

I don’t have the same stresses that I once had regarding travel. I will say that I do everything in my power to keep my vehicles maintained so that maybe I won’t get stranded on the side of the road anytime soon.

There are times in my life that I’ve needed help and it wasn’t because I was stranded on the side of the road, but I was stuck in a bad spot in life. I needed help to get out of the “rut” or “hole” that I was in. The Lord rescued me. I’ve since learned that I can’t go anywhere that He can’t help me. There is no area so remote that He can’t reach. My help comes from the Lord –the Maker of Heaven and the Maker of Earth. He built me. He wired me. He knows how to help me with any problem I face. His Help is always on the way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Disappointment

Hope Words in Sky Faith Belief Inspire AspirationsThis is a tough emotion because I had such hopes and dreams. Disappointment enters the picture when my hopes or expectations are not fulfilled. I think the entire genre of music, the blues came out of this emotion.

Ezekiel writes a “blues song” or a song of lament after Israel’s capture. Check this out…

10 ‘“Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard

    planted by the water;

it was fruitful and full of branches

    because of abundant water.

11 Its branches were strong,

    fit for a ruler’s scepter.

It towered high

    above the thick foliage,

conspicuous for its height

    and for its many branches.

12 But it was uprooted in fury

    and thrown to the ground.

The east wind made it shrivel,

    it was stripped of its fruit;

its strong branches withered

    and fire consumed them. (Ezekiel 19:10-12 NIV)

 

I believe the only proper response to a song of lament is a song of hope. The Lord is always with me even in times of disappointment and discouragement. He brings Hope in the room with Him every time. He is my Hope. He is my Strength. He is Life. I can’t possibly imagine living through the ups and downs of life without Him. When I go through struggle – He is there. When I go through pain – He is there. When I experience excitement and blessings – He is there. He NEVER disappoints me. I don’t always understand, but I’m learning to always trust Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cry For Help!

Worship to GodI think one of the most simple, yet profound prayers can be wrapped up on one word – Help! When I cry out to the Lord, I acknowledge that I can’t do things on my own. I’m still learning to trust Him with the stuff I know how to do. As Jeremiah writes a book where the title is “Lamentations”, I think it’s pretty obvious what the subject matter is. He’s in a tough spot, having seen this coming and having been left behind. He saw lots of brutality and human force. I was inspired by his calm and peaceful heart even in the midst of this tragedy that was unfolding. Check this out….

8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly

    and so has become unclean.

All who honored her despise her,

    for they have all seen her naked;

she herself groans

    and turns away.

16 ‘This is why I weep

    and my eyes overflow with tears.

No one is near to comfort me,

    no one to restore my spirit.

My children are destitute

    because the enemy has prevailed.’

17 Zion stretches out her hands,

    but there is no one to comfort her.

The Lord has decreed for Jacob

    that his neighbors become his foes;

Jerusalem has become

    an unclean thing among them. (Lamentations 1:8,16-17 NIV)

 

I’ve learned that even though I might receive comfort from my friends and family, there is nothing like the Lord when it comes to helping me change my perspective. I have to learn to become dependent on Him and lean into Him. I still find help and hope in a song called “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day. You can listen to the song here.

To everyone who’s lost someone they love

Long before it was their time

You feel like the days you had were not enough

when you said goodbye

 

And to all of the people with burdens and pains

Keeping you back from your life

You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one

Who can make it right

 

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

 

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on

They lost all of their faith in love

They’ve done all they can to make it right again

Still it’s not enough

 

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains

You try to give up but you come back again

Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame

And your suffering

 

When your lonely

And it feels like the whole world is falling on you

You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

Cry to Jesus

 

To the widow who suffers from being alone

Wiping the tears from her eyes

For the children around the world without a home

Say a prayer tonight (by Third Day 2005)

Pressing On!

Dwayne