Tag Archives: prayer

Psalms 5-7; Waiting in Expectation

David certainly knew what it was to be mistreated, alone, physically and emotionally drained. In Psalm 6 he says things like: my bones are in agony, my soul is in anguish, I’m worn out from groaning, I weep all night.

My sister Peggy’s son Geoff died in a car accident in 2012. I have had losses in my life, times when I felt alone and defeated, agonizing over circumstances. But Geoff’s death is the single most devastating thing I have experienced. I, like David, had sleepless nights when tears drenched my pillow. I ached all over, and groaned uncontrollably.

Now I don’t want to compare my grief to anyone else’s. It’s not a contest. This aunt grieved deeply for the loss of my dear nephew. But who can touch a mother’s grief?

I watched my sister die that day, too. There was no life in her eyes. Smiles were forced. Laughter would occasionally break the mood, but it was short-lived. I will say her faith and hope in God never wavered. That deep trust enabled her to get out of bed each day, and has sustained her to this day. But the sadness was there, too.

I began to pray that God would restore her joy. Every day I’d pray that Peggy would know real joy once again. Then, over a year after Geoff went to live with Jesus, I was talking to Peggy on the phone when she said she woke up that morning and felt joy for the first time.

I was shocked!

“I’ve been praying for that,” I said.

Now why did that shock me? Why would I be surprised that God would answer my prayer?

My pastor shared a while back that he prays Psalm 5:3 to God every day:

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation(emphasis mine)

I picture a child sitting in front of the Christmas tree, presents wrapped, waiting excitedly to see his wish list fulfilled.

That’s how David prayed. I think sometimes I pray because I’m supposed to, or because someone asks me to. I pray knowing God can answer prayer. I’m not sure I always pray expecting Him to.

Listen to what David says about God in Psalm 7: I take refuge in You, my shield is God Most High who saves the upright in heart, God is a righteous judge, and

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. (vs17)

David had confidence in God. He could lay out his troubles before God and believe that He would hear and answer his prayers perfectly. Then he would look for the ways God was working throughout the day, expecting to see His hand. Expecting God to answer His prayers.

My Dear Heavenly Father, let me tell you what is on my heart. I want to lay it all out there, and then wait expectantly for the ways You provide exactly what I need, the way You answer my prayers according to Your will. Make me aware of Your hand today, Lord. I will give thanks to You.



2 Samuel 16-18; Positive Thinking Garbage

Absalom wanted to be king over all Israel, and in order to do that he needed to get rid of his dad and his dad’s followers. Absalom wanted David dead. But in the pursuit of his father, Absalom got his hair caught in the branches of a tree, and became a sitting duck for David’s men. The rebellious young son was killed.

Now David had given strict orders that Absalom was not to be harmed. “Protect him,” the King pleaded with his soldiers.

So David sat expectantly at the city gates, waiting for word about the battle and fully expecting his son to be brought to him in chains. But alive. The watchman saw a runner in the distance, and told King David about it.

“If he’s by himself, he brings good news,” David declared.

The watchman saw another runner some distance behind the first. “This one’s bringing good news, too,” insisted David.

The watchman recognized the first runner. “He’s a good man,” said David. “He’s bringing good news.”

But we know neither runner had the good news David wanted to hear. All the positive thoughts David could muster couldn’t change the fact his son was dead.

We’ve all heard there is power in positive thinking, that if you think it you can be it, that negative thoughts bring negative results. David would tell you that philosophy is garbage.

Your thoughts, dear one, have no control over the universe. Positive thoughts might make you feel good, they might even prompt you to take positive action. But there is nothing magical about your thoughts. And anyone who tells you differently is lying.

However, if you direct your thoughts in prayer to God, and allow Him to work in your circumstances, you’ll be amazed at what He can do.

Last year I shared with you my encounter with Hurricane Matthew from the island where I live off the coast of Georgia. We are once again bracing ourselves for Irma. I’m not happy about it, for sure.

I don’t know what will happen. But I can tell you with all assurance I am not going to greet that storm, standing on the pier and thinking positive thoughts. I am not going to “will” the storm away by thinking good things.

But I am praying to the One who has control over the weather, as shown in Scripture. I am going to pray to the One who stood in the fire with three believers who told their would-be murderer, “My God can save us from this fire. But even if He doesn’t save us, we will not serve any other God. Period.” I’m praying to the One who does all things well, even when I don’t understand His ways.

Your positive thoughts going out into the universe are meaningless. Why not pray with me to the God who created the universe, and believe that no matter what happens, He is able to see us through.

My prayer is that, of course, we all will be spared from the devastation this storm brings with it. I pray that lives will be spared. And I pray that through this storm, the Spirit of God will speak to hearts who don’t yet know Him, and lives will be changed for eternity.

I’m asking you to pray for all of us in the path of this particular storm. I’ll keep you posted if I can. May God be praised in all things.

I Samuel 11-12; Convicted Again

I love God’s Word. I look at it as a personal letter written to me by the love of my life. Every day I hear Him encouraging me, directing me, reassuring me as I read these precious words. I open my Bible every day and expect God to speak to me. And He never fails.


Sometimes I read what is on God’s heart, and find myself guilt ridden. I end my time with the Lord, and feel the sting of conviction. Today was one of those days that God thought I needed a good spanking instead of a pat on the head.

And what really bugs me about that is the thing He’s disciplining me for is something He’s disciplined me about before. Often.

How many times are you going to yell at me about this, God?

How many times are you going to ignore me, He seems to reply.

The subject is prayer. If you’ve been with me very long on this blogging journey, you’re probably aware that my prayer life can be lacking. It’s not that I don’t pray. I say grace before most meals, I offer sentence prayers to God throughout the day, thanking Him for things, praying a word or two on behalf of someone He brings to mind.

But so often in God’s Word I hear Him say He’d like me to be still, to spend time communicating with Him, that He longs for that kind of relationship with me.

Today He got down to business. Samuel, in talking to the Jews about the fact they were going to have to live with the consequences for the sin of asking for a human king, said these words that slapped me in the face:

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you… (12:23)

So God, you’re saying that failing to pray is a SIN? Not just lack of discipline? Are You saying that when I promise to pray for someone and don’t, it’s not just forgetfulness? It’s a sin against the Lord?

Ok, God, I hear You. And I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I hear You tell me that entering Your throne room and laying my requests at Your feet isn’t just a suggestion. I understand prayer is a privilege. I’m seeing that not praying is a sin. There are so many people You’ve laid on my heart, so many illnesses and relationships that need healing. Forgive me for assuming that because You know everything anyway, You don’t need to hear it from me. Forgive me for sinning against the Lord when I don’t pray. I love You. I certainly don’t want to sin against You. Especially by neglecting something so amazing as talking toYou.


Numbers 21-24; Are You Really Going To Ask God For That?

I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Balaam’s story. It seems God told him to do something, then tried to kill him when he did it. (I also have to admit I laugh every time I read Balaam’s response to his talking donkey. He answered her like it was the most natural thing to hear words coming out of a donkey’s mouth. Makes me smile)

Anyway… I’ve spent some time looking at what others have to say about this passage of Scripture, and today the lightbulb finally turned on. Let’s see if I can put into words what I see here:

King Balak’s men came to a prophet by the name of Balaam, and asked him to join them, to go back to Balak, and to curse the people of Israel. Balaam does what I think he should have done, he waited for God to tell him His will in the matter.

Balaam ends up telling the men that God refused to let him go with them. Which was true. But Balaam left out an important detail. God had said, “You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.” That’s the message Balak’s men should have taken back with them. The story might have ended there.

But Balak tried again, with more important men representing him. Surely Balaam didn’t mean God was holding him prisoner. Maybe a new bunch of messengers would convince Balaam to come, with or without God’s blessing. Worth a try. Their request was the same as before: come with us and curse Israel.

Here’s another mistake: Balaam decided to go back to God and ask again what he should do. I wonder what made Balaam think God would change His mind about about not cursing His people. Maybe Balaam WANTED to go to King Balak with these important people. He said he didn’t want Balak’s money. But I wonder if his actions reveal something else.

Was he really asking God to give him permission to sin? Did Balaam want God’s blessing on sin? How many times does God need to say, “No” before we hear Him? (Should I curse Israel? Should I rob this bank? Should I spread this hurtful rumor? Duh!)

But this time God gives the go-ahead. So Balaam jumps on his donkey and heads to the king of Moab. God’s WILL was that Balaam stay. He made that plain the first time Balaam asked. But God gave permission for him to go after the second request. It was obviously not God’s will because He gave Balaam three opportunities to turn back. God tried to prevent Balaam from putting himself in a tenuous position. But it wasn’t until the donkey spoke up, that Balaam’s eyes were finally opened. He fell on his face, and admitted his sin.

The angel called Balaam’s actions “reckless.” Balaam called it “sin.”

Sometimes Scripture tells us to pray persistently. Like Jesus’ parable of the neighbor who kept knocking because he needed food for some unexpected visitors. Or like the Gentile woman who kept asking Jesus to heal her daughter. We learn that if we keep asking, there are blessings.

In this case, however, we’re told not to keep asking, or there are consequences. What’s the difference?


You are wasting your breath if you keep going to God and asking Him to permit a sin, or condone a sin, or bless a sin. If what you are asking is clearly a sin, hear Him say the first time, “NO,” and let it go. You put yourself in difficult positions if you keep thinking He’ll change His mind.

But if what you are asking is in line with Scripture, then go for it. Keep asking. Keep praying. You might have to wait for an answer, but there are blessings even in the waiting.

Just be honest with yourself and God about what it is you are asking Him for. You can dress up a sin with good intentions, but it’s still a sin.

And God is never going to bless a sin, no matter how many times you ask.


Exodus 32; 960 Hours

It’s the middle of March. I’m wondering how many of you who made New Year’s Resolutions are still sticking with it. Myself? I quit making New Year’s Resolutions long ago. I stink at it.

But what about when we make promises to God? Are we able to keep those promises more than forty days? Forty days were all it took for Aaron and the Israelites to forget their promise to follow God, and make a golden calf to worship instead. 960 hours.

How seriously did God take their failure to keep their promise? 3,000 people died that day. I call that serious.

A man in my church lost a bunch of weight a while back. He looked great. I, who gave up my yearly resolve to lose these extra 15 pounds I’m carrying asked him how he did it. His answer? “I prayed.”

I don’t remember ever seeing an infomercial on that diet plan.

But my friend said that he prayed believing God would hear and answer his prayer. Then, every time he was tempted to open that bag of chips or have that second helping of dinner, he’d pray. And God answered his prayers.

Prayers. My friend lives his life in an attitude of prayer. And God answered his prayers as often as he prayed. He successfully lost the weight and has kept it off several years later.

I don’t think the Israelites did much praying when Moses was on the mountain. Because if they did, God would have answered their prayers. They would not have lost their confidence in God and Moses if they had prayed about that.

I take two things away from this chapter in Exodus today. One, God takes my promises to Him very seriously. And two, if I feel led to make a promise to Him, He is able to help me keep it. If I ask Him. And if I go to Him when I am tempted to break that promise, He will give me the strength to be successful.

He is able. And because He is, so am I.



Genesis 31-33 A Prayer Template

Jacob was afraid. And he probably had reason to be. He was bringing his family and everything he owned home after being away for about twenty years. He knew his brother Esau would be waiting for him. What Jacob didn’t know is how Esau would react to having his deceiving thief of a brother home again. Would Esau seek revenge for the injustices Jacob had done to him? The thought of what might lie ahead for Jacob and his loved ones scared him.

With great fear and distress, Jacob prayed. (Gen 32:9-12) I think it’s a template for prayer I could use myself.

First, Jacob acknowledge God. It wasn’t just a “Dear God,” kind of intro followed by a wish list. Jacob prayed:

O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord…

I need to stop more often and consider to whom I’m praying, verbalize the great privilege I have of actually speaking with the Creator. I see there is an important element of worship in Jacob’s prayer as he focuses his attention on God. I want to do that when I’m praying too.

Next Jacob prayed back God’s own Words, letting God know he remembers God’s promise:

O Lord, who said to me, “Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper”

Sometimes I find that when I pray, verses come to mind. I want that to be the case more often. Because God can say things so much better than I. (God, you promised never to leave or forsake me, You’ve said if I confess my sins You are faithful to forgive, You’ve told me You’re preparing a place for me…) I want to be in God’s Word so much that His Words are at the tip of my tongue when I’m talking to my neighbor, or to Him.

The next thing Jacob did in this prayer is to admit his own unworthiness, praising God for blessing he didn’t deserve, and crediting God with everything Jacob possessed. Jacob took a moment to confess:

I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups.

I don’t want to be in too big of a rush to let God know that I recognize how much He has blessed me. I don’t ever want to take any of it for granted. I am unworthy. I am nothing and have nothing without Him. I know that. And I want to tell Him so every time I pray.

Then, after focusing on God, praying back Scripture, and confessing, Jacob finally got around to asking for something:

Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.

Jacob prayed 1) Save me, 2) I’m afraid, and 3) Protect my family. He was specific in his requests. He didn’t tell God how to make it happen. He just asked God to make it happen.

Believe it or not, this is where I have the most difficulty. Sometimes putting into words what I actually want or need is hard. It’s easier when I’m praying for someone else. Heal the cancer, God. Save that soul, Lord. Keep that missionary safe, dear Father. But when it comes to sharing the desires of my own heart, I get tongue-tied. I’m sitting here wondering why that is. It certainly isn’t because I have everything I want, or that my life is so perfect as is. It isn’t because I think God can’t give me those things, or won’t give them to me. This is a topic I’m going to have to spend some thinking-time and serious praying about. Psalm 37:4 tells me that if I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart. So what am I waiting for? I’ll get back to you on that.

Finally, Jacob prayed God’s Words back to Him again:

But you have said, I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.

I think Jacob prayed believing that God is true to His Word. And he gave the situation to God, confident that God would bring about the fulfillment of His promise.

This template for prayer demonstrates that even prayer is about God. Prayer can, and probably should be, an act of worship. And the way Jacob prayed here in Genesis 32 is very much like the prayer our Lord taught us how to pray.

I believe God delights in our prayers. They are a sweet fragrance to Him, Scripture tells us. I want to learn to pray effectively and fervently so that God and I together can accomplish much.




December 9 – Pray For Me

Romans 8-10

Most of us have had occasion to ask a fellow believer to pray for us. I’ve asked you to pray for me once in a while myself. I really do try to remember to pray whenever I’m asked, and I’m sure you do, too.

But have you ever asked someone to pray for you, but can’t put your request into words? Your sorrow runs deep, or your burden crushes your spirit, or the reality of your problem is too overwhelming.

Maybe you don’t even know how to pray about it yourself. How do you put the unspeakable into words?

Paul is reminding us today we don’t have to. After talking to us about what hope looks like, he says in Romans 8:26-27:

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Sometimes, when I’m in the depths of despair, my only prayer is, “Holy Spirit, pray for me.” And he does.

I don’t have to always put together a complete sentence to tell God what’s on my heart. He searches my heart.

Sometimes I don’t even know what to pray for, what answer I’m looking for. The Spirit intercedes for me.

I love the thought that when the Holy Spirit brings my name before the throne, it is with groanings too deep for words. He doesn’t just say, “God bless Connie.” He pours out His Holy heart to the Father for me.

Do you know what the next verse says?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Paul said that after assuring us that the Spirit of God Himself has our backs, that He prays for us, His children. Does it calm your spirit, lift you up, give you peace in a storm knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually praying for you?

It does me.

Dear Holy Spirit of God, thank you for praying for me. Thank you for searching my heart, for interceding for me, for knowing what I need better than I do. Thank you for going to the Father on my behalf, and working out even my toughest days, for my good. May God be glorified. Please continue to pray for me, Dear Spirit.