here’s how: doing the next thing

what’s the 4-1-1 on
connecting
emptying
restoring

what the skinny on
prayer
fasting
giving

how does it all work?
how can I be effective at these things?
where do I start?

well…
just Google “the 411 on prayer” and you will find the answer

how to pray effectively – learn 12 keys to answered prayer

the 411 on prayer

practice the Jesus prayer – learn a new way to pray

the secret to powerful prayer – how to receive miracles

prayer to pray this prayer – 3 simple steps to answered prayer

how to pray – this one will change your life

does anyone else kind of expect a voice-over guy to come on-air and say:

“but wait…there’s more!
prayers can be answered
if you say the right words
in the right sequence
while holding your mouth right
and standing like a flamingo…
just pay shipping and handling.”

this is a bit humorous…but is it really?
don’t we start to believe that we aren’t doing
something right
when our prayers do not get answered

the way we think they should

we didn’t say it right
or at the right time
or with the right inflection

I’m just being honest here.

when did we start making
following Christ
a series of
must-be-followed-to-the-tee
instructions…
and if nothing happens
or if bad things happen
we must be doing something wrong.

when.
did.
that.
happen.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously. – Micah 6:8 (MSG)

how did we take something so plain

love
sacrifice
death
resurrection

and terribly complicate it?

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39 (MSG)

connecting with God….
isn’t that the essence of prayer?

reaching out

with all of our
passion
prayer
and intelligence

…and in our attempt to connect
we end up dividing and isolating

doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

we take the
“how”
of it all
and think we can
improve
embellish
bedazzle it
to meet our own
wants and needs…
and then when it all goes south
we either don’t get it
or we blame God for it…
we are fickle people.

we complicate
we overdo
we pretty it up
we tweak it here
and shave it there
a nip
and a tuck
and the end result
is nothing more than
our own self-serving version
of who God is and what
He requires from us

come on, folks…we do this.

but…is this truly how we do the next thing?
when we don’t know what to do
do we create our own
safe
pretty
easy
next step
to bypass
the unknown
and the uncomfortable
and the painful
and the necessary?

perhaps, my friends
this is when reaching out for the unseen (Andrew Murray)
is best seen…
connecting with our Father
who is all around
constantly revealing Himself to us
who is Holy
who is living among us
who is yet to come
who is our Provider
and in teaching us that we can forgive
because He has forgiven us
and has His best for us in mind…always
and in leading us away from temptation
and in saving and freeing us from evil
and in Him who was and is and is to come. – based on Matthew 6

Jesus taught us how to do this…

And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” – Matthew 6: 5-8 (MSG)

could it be that the foundation of all of this
connecting
emptying
restoring
is simply love?

could that be what this is all about?

could this be the “how” that drives it all?

more thoughts to come…

Over and over again, Your love and Your mercy begin
No matter how far, You find me where I am

reaching out for grace…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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earlier bits

April 2017
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