Category Archives: Prayer Follies

Prayer or ideas regarding prayer-gone Wrong.

Can Mustard Seed-sized Faith move a Mountain…of trash?

Some days you take your faith to the scales. You wonder…is it up to mustard?

Today is one of those days–and it’s epitomized in the not-so-scenic view from my front porch.

Will you pray for me?

What do you need faith for today?

Lifestyle Design-Hot Tip (Pimp your celly)

No one will ever confuse me with Lifestyle Design guru, and polymath Tim Ferriss, but I have a cool tip that could save you a bunch of time if you own a mobile phone.

Messages...messages...messages AHHHHhhhh

Have you ever tried to reach someone quickly, and had to call every phone they have? As you hear the ringing sound you basically shoot up little prayers, in hopes they will answer, “Oh, God, please God, let her pick up!” It’s got begging written all over it. Then you end up leaving one message per device, and wondering if or when they’ll get the message, and which one message will it be. Was the first one too frantic? Did you skip any info. on the third try? And when might they call you back? Yikes~”What if he left his phone in the car, and doesn’t get the message until he gets home? Ahhh.”

This JUST happened to me as I tried to contact my son’s autistic therapy program manager. I still haven’t heard from her. It’s a crap shoot…

Well, in typical fashion, Google as a free way to streamline and simplify this whole system and situation, seamlessly. The application will even turn phone messages into texts and send them to you. I like that one! I’m about to give it a try, if you do, let me know. If this seems like a helpful idea for your life, you might want to check out their short info video, and be dazzled by the wonders of technology, here –> Google/voice

Tim Ferriss, are you proud of me, or what?

Short Prayers and Cries for Help

Suggestions for getting help

The greatly maligned short prayer! Is it really legit?

When we need help, we should ask for it. If we only ask for help, something has got to be wrong. What kind of friend only pops up to scream out for help? The mooching kind, perhaps?

Yet, I’m here today to give you the good news that a short prayer to God for help, is not a prayer in vain. A sincere plea for God’s rescue or mercy is something that God has honored to seeking petitioners in the Scriptures.

The shortest prayer recorded is from Jesus’ disciple who feared drowning–Just 3 words:

“Lord, save me,” Simon Peter. (Matt 14.30)

In reality, a saving prayer is the most important kind.

This tells us something about the benevolence of the Living God. Pagan gods of old needed much formality, and a host of preparatory rituals, and highly respectful observances, and rites so the petitioner could escape enormous fury from the deity. Yes, (false) deities are a lot like people when it comes to wanting plenty of respect. The Living God–the One who hands down deserves the utmost respect–in an unexpected twist, accepts “prayers on the fly”. What a gracious and humble God.

Another short and ancient Christian prayer came to be a Western staple after being mentioned its importance to the Eastern Desert monks, by the Abba Isaac of Scete, as written in The Conferences by St. John Cassian. I highly suggest reading this interesting and enlightening devotional classic. (click link) The power of this short prayer, and its uses are fleshed out very well.

Here’s a tiny portion: In order that the vigour of this courage may, by God’s grace, continue in me still longer, I must cry out with all my powers, “O God, make speed to save me: O Lord, make haste to help me.”

I’ve also thanked God with short prayers. What short prayers have you used?

…Out of curiousity-How often do you say short prayers? (once per hour? per day? per week?)

…Or what % of your prayer life might be of this brief sort?

Your responses are valuable. Thank you!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t miss the next issue. Click the “Wow…” button in the right column. Thank you.

Weird Comparisons

Sometimes our praise to God falls short.

Actually , it alway does.

But, like a proud and loving parent, God delights when we love him. Through praise, worship, the devotion of our heart, and the actions that spring from this, God accepts us, where we are.

Now-When kitsch meets passion meets God you might get this:

I love you more than...

Can you think of another one? Put your funny hat on.

How often do you pray?

I’d like to ask a question of you:

How often do you pray?

Please respond in the comments section.

(Click ‘leave a comment’ at the lower right after this post.)

Anonymous answering is possible, and acceptable, here.

thank you!

Your Stomach’s Personal Savior- Evangelism Follies

Today started out rough. It involved seeing my son’s breakfast, before and after it was consumed. The poor boy’s tummy was upset. Sometimes I forget about using this common remedy I have in my refrigerator. I keep it for times such as these. Sure there’s Pepto Bismol, Tums, Gravol people use as over-the-counter medicinal aids, but I have found nothing works better than a few ounces of flat ginger ale. It worked wonderfully this time too. It’s not magical, it’s the ginger.

Now, suppose I wanted everyone to save money, and time, and feel better sooner, like my family and I have, but instead of telling them my experience, and the reasoning behind the remedy, I would first try a tactic to soften them up. Have you noticed this sort of thing used for Christianity?

Maybe asking them reasonable questions would get them to think about the whole thing themselves, and it wouldn’t seem like I was actually trying to shove my beliefs down their throat. I won’t but let’s suppose I would say to them,

“As a human, you would agree that all humans have tummy aches at some point in their lives, right?

The unsuspecting, pre-convert would then reply something like, “Um, what? Um, yeah, I guess, sure.”

Then I could say, “Did you know that you will 100% lose more money, and be more sick without using ginger ale to fix your tummy aches and vomiting?”

They maybe would say, “Um, no. But I’ve never used ginger ale before, and I’m not sure it’ll work for me.”

Maybe then I would say, “Since you haven’t tried it, you really can’t say that. Would you rather risk it, and throw up for days?”

And they might respond, “Well, I’m just not sure if I can see it  your way.”

And I would say, “Listen, you have to take that first step of faith. You have to say you’ll commit to ginger ale. You have to trust it will help you. And then you have to take the steps to implement that into your life. You have to be prepared, because you never know when violent illness will spring on you. It usually comes like a thief in the night! Sounds scary doesn’t it?”

They might say, “Well, I don’t want that to happen.”

(me) “Well, it might happen that way. In fact, it’s an absolute certainty, you will, one day, get very ill.”

(them) “Oh. I never thought of it like that.”

(me) “It is an urgent matter. Would you like to commit, right now, to accepting ginger ale as your stomach’s own personal savior?

I don’t evangelize any good news this way.

I just tell the truth, and share my experience. I don’t try a tactic, trick of technique to corner my prey, I mean, listener. I don’t simply because, anything I really love and enjoy I talk about anyway. It’s not fake. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a way to get people to do what I do, or believe what I believe. What they wish to believe is in their control. Besides, I personally can’t stand being manipulated, so why would I subject anyone to that?


What witnessing or evangelism follies have you seen or had tried on you?

God as a Genie – Hoodoo Part III (moralist therapeutic deism)

Sociologist, Christian Smith and his team of researchers conducted surveys across America (and all religious preferences ) with over 3,000 youth, and got a feel for how they viewed God. (I would guess many American adults could score with similar results.)

The findings congealed into a perspective Smith terms,

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”1

This view allows for much individual choice, values, and ethics, and nothing much in the way of a deepening relationship with the Creator.

It actually reminds me of how a child grows up. First, as a baby, the infant knows that something feeds him. After a while, he understands that certain things he does may cause certain needs or wants to be fulfilled. A little while later, the child comprehends that he has a person caring for him. Only much later does that child really respond to the parental love in any kind of reciprocal way, let alone, show much unselfish kindness to the parent. This is a good picture of the journey of spirituality, toward the heart of God.


1 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.| “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” Christian Post. Accessed November 16, 2009 from http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050418/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion/index.html 

(FULL article by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. called “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” here.)

Link to “Get whatever you ask for in prayer” post

This tongue-in-cheek post gave me a chuckle:

The Sales Pitch Prayer Request or 
How To Get Whatever You Ask For in Prayer – by Jarrod Haggard

Post was submitted to the stuff Christians like blog by Jon Acuff. Jon is clever and generous. I’ve enjoyed his blog for a few years now. I’ll be featured as a guest writer there on 9/18/09.

5 Ways to Know if You Pray Like a Consumerist…

Do you Pray like a Consumerist, and don’t know it? Many of us have slipped into a consumer mindset, and don’t realize it. It could be hurting our spiritual growth. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to see if you may need some kind of revision in your communication with God. 

 

busy day

 

You may be praying like a consumerist if…

1. Your praying resembles window-shopping, or a trip to the superstore with a credit card.

2. If you imagine God a bit like a waiter, or butler in the sky.

3. If bargaining or haggling seeps into your communication to God.

4. If waiting for answers to your prayer requests is just as awful, or feels eerily similar, to waiting in a long checkout line.

5. If your prayers tend to be mainly focused on you, and your concerns, and often do not include worship, praise, or gratitude.

If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of these questions, consider revising how you view and engage in prayer, and communication with your God: Creator and Redeemer.

The Takeaway– Prayer is communication. It changes us because through it we may become more like our God, if we yield to God and allow him to work in our hearts. When God is the primary focus of our prayer life, more growth is possible–this involves both speaking and listening to him.

(For a new way to engage in prayer using Scripture, and a focus on listening to God, do a search here for Lectio Divina.)

Thanks for reading!

Leave your responses. Was there ever a time when you prayed like a consumerist?

Response to Reader (New Age)

Delta asks:

I brought up the subject of Lectio Divina to my friend, thinking that we could use it together. Once a week we meet as prayer partners, and I thought this practice could be a really neat way to begin our time together. When I mentioned it, she hesitated and said it sounded like “New Age” stuff to her, not Christian, and it wasn’t in the Bible. She seemed really reluctant to give it a chance. What should I say to her, or should I let it go?

Lisa’s response:

The name “Lectio Divina” might do some of the scaring for your friend, but really the “Our Daily Bread” devotional is set up quite similarly to the basic movements of L.D. read, meditate, pray, rest/listen (or dwell/abide/apply) If it was just called “Reading with focused prayer”, maybe no one would care. The tradition of L. D. goes back to very early church times when the first manuscripts of scripture were made available, and Christians could read them out loud and ponder them, pray on them to God, and rest in God.

The nice fit for Evangelicals, for instance, as the major focus is on the Scripture, which Evangelicals LOVE. It puts the Bible in prominence for prayer, worship, and hearing from God. Meditation is Christian (of Yahweh). Personally, as someone in the Christian tradition, I refuse to let other religious/or spiritual sects rob me of what God has given us to grow, and adore and worship him. I think we are cheated to section off practices, used by other groups for other purposes, when they are there to use for our own loving of God. He is the object of our praise. He is our glory. The Christian tradition is rich with meaningful spiritual practices that may be less than cut and dry, or formulaic, but it doesn’t mean God hasn’t and doesn’t use them powerfully to change us into his likeness. The unfamiliar here is only unfamiliar to some, in our current culture and time. 

To be clear, I don’t submit that L.D. and contemplative ways, are a WAY to God, only one of many tools, or vehicles, available to ready our hearts for His good work.

The Contemplative part (movement 4) may be the hardest to understand for your friend, (i.e. most unfamiliar) because it’s more common in the Catholic tradition. Again, some like to think, and reason all spiritual actions out, and figure out the formula of it all. If it’s just being, and resting, enjoying God and listening…how can it be “working”? Where’s the doing part? What good could it REALLY be? So, I like to explain it as resting, and yielding to God. We learn our place. He is God, we are not. We are dependent on Him. We don’t have to *do*. That is the whole point. When we complete this discipline this way, the reorientation can be quite beneficial.

Should you bring it up again? Probably not if it’s a big stumbling block for her. I suggest you enjoy God privately with this enriching practice, and if you would really like to engage L. D. with another, send them here to learn about it, (do a search here for more on the topic) or explain it in terms that they might be more comfortable with, such as “Scripture Reading and Focused Prayer.” May God Bless you as you strive to walk closer to him.