Intense Prayer

Little boy prayingI pray a good bit without ever saying a word. I talk to the Lord all throughout my day when I face various situations and feel an angst in my soul. I believe that this type of prayer is what the apostle Paul is speaking of when he says: “Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT). The Lord hears my heart before a word is ever on my lips. I am learning to pray about EVERYTHING. If things are going well – grateful prayer. If things are not going well – desperate prayer. I heard recently of a good friend going through a deep crisis in their family – desperate prayer on their behalf.

I still remember when I was a young student pastor and gathered in a prayer circle and this guy prayed for the first time. It was refreshing to hear a grown man who “didn’t know” how to pray in public. His opening greeting was “Good evening Lord” and his simple prayer was a conversation as if he was sitting on the front porch having a conversation with the Lord. I realized that even in my public prayer, I need to be authentic and real not “showy” for others. I do think public prayer is leading others with that prayer, but it still needs to be genuine from my heart.

Jesus was about to be crucified and He had just celebrated the last supper with His disciples. He was in the garden and I can feel the angst in His heart as a human. I can tell He’s deliberate though as the Son of God to follow through on the Father’s plan. Check out His intense prayer….

36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:36-41 NLT)

Jesus prayed for rescue – Yet, He wanted the will of the Father accomplished.

Jesus heart was crushed with grief about what was ahead.

Jesus asked for prayer from His disciples.

Jesus reminded them that prayer empowers them in the face of temptation.

I am inspired and encourage in my prayer life as I see Jesus (humanly) in anguish and suffering. I know suffering and struggle. I know anguish. I know heart break. Jesus’ prayer was not full of beautiful metaphors and meaningless words. He got right to the point and bowed before the Father in prayer. I began my morning with a prayer of gratitude. I also can’t get my friend and that whole situation off my mind. I remember hearing that sometimes “Prayer is the least and the most I can do”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Morning Prayer

Country road at sunriseI love the morning – it seems like everything is new and fresh. Yesterday is now history and time to look forward. I love starting my day in God’s Word and listen to Him speak into my heart as I begin a new day. I decided a few years back that I would not do anything in my day prior to listening to Him.  I believe my time with Him is the most important meeting on my schedule. The morning I was blessed with a morning prayer from King David. Check this out…

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:8-10 NIV)

Trust – I affirm my love, respect & honor for the Lord.

Rescue – He helps me deal with those who want to harm me.

Teach – He speaks directly into my heart & then I live out my heart.

Lead – He prompts, shows & levels me out – He makes my path clear.

I just want to rest and abide this day under the Word of God. I need Him more than I need anything. His Presence in my heart brings great clarity to my schedule. This morning prayer clarifies my need for Him first thing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy, Refuge & Rescue

 

God's mercy at the CrossI can remember in my life in the not-so-distant past when I felt like I could not stand under the strain of suffering. I remember having a job one day and the next it was gone. I remember clearly the devastation of divorce nearly 25 years ago. I remember the news of my son having cancer. I remember the call from the ENT telling me that they are air-lifting my son to Atlanta because of injuries he incurred when he fell from a tree.  I could go on and on about suffering and struggle in my life, but those are in my top 5. I have learned that my strength to stand comes from kneeling down before the Lord in surrender and worship. I believe that King David felt the same way. He was hiding in a cave and penned a great psalm/prayer of mercy, refuge & rescue. Check this out…

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.’

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me. (Psalm 142:1-7 NIV)

I can do nothing without the Lord. I can’t possibly navigate through the ups and downs of life without Him. The longer I walk with Him daily, the more convinced of this I am. His Presence and His Strength are beyond measuring. He helps me understand the struggle. He helps me through. I believe in His mercy. I believe He is my refuge – I can ALWAYS lean into Him. I can always count on Him for rescue. The way He supplies mercy, refuge and rescue does not always come when I command or ask – His timing and His plan is always spot on – even when I don’t understand.  I look back at the big struggles in my life and see how the Lord made good out of bad situations. His plan is way bigger than my plan. He’s used my struggles to teach me and build me for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help Is On The Way!

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidI remember a time when I was in college (before cell phones) and I was making a 4-hour drive home across Jellico Mountain on I-75 in Tennessee. The car overheated and I had to pull over on the side of the interstate. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.  I remember praying for the Lord to send some help. He did! It came through another student from the same college traveling the same highway – he saw us and stopped to help. We bought some antifreeze and put in back in the radiator and we took the car to a mechanic to patch things up to get me home. I was very thankful for the help. I have never forgotten that moment because I was not sure what I would do or could do to get out of that situation. I need help often and I’ve learned to ask for help and try to be prepared for lots of variables in many situations. The Lord will show up and help. He sends me help and He’s never far away. Check this out…

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 Many knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them. (Psalm 109:21-25, 30-31 NIV)

The Lord is always available and willing to help. He doesn’t always provide the help I think I need. He goes with what He sees as my need. I am continually learning to be obedient and humble before Him. I do not have it all together. I am a broken person whom He has put back together and I trust Him and I want to live for Him.  As I study the Word and I see just how the Lord gave help to David and protected him from his accusers, I find hope in that. I want His help dealing with people who want to harm me or threaten me. I want to be strong and consistent in my decisions and choices to live my life in a way that brings honor to Him. His help for the struggles I face is always nearby and on the way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Defend & Rescue

 

baby under blanketI remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be in law enforcement. I wanted to protect and defend others. I also went through a period of wanting to be in the military. I wanted to be part of the world class armed forces of the USA. I wanted to defend our country against all enemies and I wanted to be part of a group who rescued people from danger. To save people who will die otherwise, must be very fulfilling for sure.  I am past those days of thinking I could physically defend and rescue. I do know Someone Who always defends and rescues.

My wife Tina and I kept our little grandson yesterday and as all parents and grandparents do, we “child-proofed” our house some. We also kept a watchful eye on the little guy all the time he was with us.  We were protecting Him and determined to keep him from harm. We were ready in milliseconds to defend and rescue that little guy.  Asaph was calling upon God, the Father to come help his people much like a parent wants to help their kid.  Check this out…

Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4 NIV)

The Lord is never far away. He knows my predicament.  He knows every situation I face. He is never surprised or “caught off guard” by my circumstances. He has come to my defense before and He will come again. He has rescued me before and He will rescue me again. There are times He rescues me from my own ignorance and stupidity. I get myself in a bad situation and He will still come to defend and rescue.

The more I read in His Word, the more I understand that He never leaves or abandons His kids. He is always near to defend and rescue. I’m thankful for His Presence and Power to always defend & rescue.

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

“You split the sea so I could walk through it

My fears are drowned in perfect love

You rescued me and I can stand and sing

I am a child of God.”

___________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ransomed

First RespondersI get pretty uptight when there is a kidnapping on a television show and the bad guys are using a person’s life to extract money from another. The ransom demand is stiff.  It is impossible to put a price tag on loved ones. I can’t imagine having to walk down that road. I obviously am not wealthy or “stupid rich” that it would be worth someone’s time to extort me by taking a family member. I would be that guy who would give everything I must to ransom my loved one. All my stuff is replaceable, but a life doesn’t work like that.

King David is often an emotional wreck when he cries out to God in one of the Psalms. He battles fear on so many levels. It seems that his personal struggles here in Psalms was unknown to his enemies because he was also a strong warrior. Check this out…

16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:16-18, 22-23 NIV)

The Lord ransoms and rescues. David speaks out of experience. He has seen what the Lord is capable of to protect and provide. The Lord will do what it takes to rescue or ransom His kids from the enemy.

I’m learning that my role is to trust in my God Who is stronger than I can imagine. He can endure more than I can wrap my head around. He created the whole universe and He cares for me and my struggles whether big or little. I’m so thankful for His promise to rescue and ransom me. There are times, that He saves me from myself. I need rescuing pretty much every day. He is so up for the task!

Pressing On!

Dwayne