Prayer of Thanks

As we approach this Monday morning, let us remember whose we are and who we serve. It would easy to slip back into the routine of work and school. But we are not of this world. We live in it, but our citizenship is in Heaven. David reminds us this morning in this prayer of gratitude and praise for the offering of goods for the Temple that we bring nothing to the table that is not already God’s. What we bring to this Monday is already God’s possession. As His stewards we understand that as we work, we work for the Lord, and not for men.

So let this short missive be a reminder that our work has a holy purpose. No matter what you do today, may it be pleasing to the Lord.

God bless!

Don’t Ask

This is the other side of asking in prayer. Why doesn’t God answer me? Because you are asking for what you want, or what He wants. This tempered the statement yesterday about asking whatever you wish in faith, and you will have it. As you can imagine many have taken that to heart and in the early church this was becoming a temptation to discouragement. James offers this correction to their thought and ours.

If you have found discouragement in prayer, may I offer this encouragement? Check your requests against God’s nature. Is this something God wants? Would God want me to have this? For if God doesn’t, who do we think we are to pray against the will of God?

Just a thought. God bless.

Name It and Claim It

Really? Verses like this tend to be ripped from their contexts and made to say things not intended originally. I would love to rail against those that would do violence this text. But I can’t. In fact, when you go back into this context, Jesus tells the disciples that if they say to this mountain to be cast into the sea, it will be done. For all intents and purposes, this verse means exactly what it says.

So what does it mean to ask and you shall receive? Are there qualifiers for this? Obviously. Because this verse does not invalidate the other verses on prayer, like praying according to the will of God. What this verse places emphasis on, like James 1:5,6, is that prayer offered to God, our Father, ought to offered in faith. Why pray if you don’t believe it?

That’s what Jesus is after here. If you are going to pray, pray like you mean it. Pray like everything depends on prayer. Make prayer real because you believe in a real God and not some far off cloud. Jesus calls us to prayer for purpose, to draw you into His counsel.

Make prayer real today. Name those things that truly matter to you and claim them before God. Claim the reality of your faith before God. As Jesus once said, “your faith has made you well”, so your faith, your belief has much to do with your prayer life. Pray like you mean it.

God bless you in your prayer today.

Unspoken Groanings

As I get older, I notice that I can often communicate with a groan or a sigh as much or more than with actual words. If my wife is deciding on making a purchase in store and she hears me sigh, she interprets that as “i don’t like this”. And she says, “ok, i don’t need this today”.

Now, before you get the impression that I am a sighing monster, I don’t consciously do this. I don’t think about sighing as a means to discourage her. It just happens. It usually means I have seen everything I need to see and am bored. But, if we save a little money, well, . . .

I think the Holy Spirit is better at this than I am, certainly. When I go to the Lord in prayer, I have no fear in what to say, because even when I say nothing, God is in communion with Himself and can share far more within Himself than I can with mere words. God knows all about it. So why pray?

Pray involves the act of submitting to the Lord, of agreeing in your heart that He is God. Of bowing your head before Him in acknowledgement of His Sovereignty and His Lordship. Prayer is all of that, but also talking to my Friend, sharing stuff that happens, and just spending time with Him. We need that. He wants that.

So take a few today to spend time with Him. God bless you.

I Saw What You Did There

Call me behind the times, but I’ve recently discovered that this is a thing. I am not sure if it’s a meme or something else. But the “I saw what you did there” phrase is attached to something meme-ish. Yeah, I’m getting old. I probably need to ask a sixteen year-old to explain it to me.

However, the phrase works extremely well for what our verse says this morning. God is very much in this business, for He sees everything. He sees the good that we do and the bad. His eyes are on the righteous but his face is against the wicked. When God sets His face against you, you better watch out. He controls every atom in your body and He wrote the laws of physics, so I would worry.

Listen, God does not owe us anything. There is nothing we can do that can remotely compare to what God has done. God can build galaxies out of nothing. What can you do?

And don’t ever think that just because we can shock someone back to life means we can raise the dead. They are not even close. There is a very short time after someone’s heart stops that it can be viably started again. And if you wait too long, the brain starts to die. We are beautifully and wonderfully made, and we have but a brief time. Enjoy your family while you can. You might need to lose that weight to linger longer.

You might note that inside the verse above, there was a promise. The ears of the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous. Yes she watches over us, and He sees what the wicked does, but He hears the prayers of the righteous. Know this: when you pray, God hears you. God offers a hearing before the Almighty at any time. All you have to do is speak.

I saw what you did there. I hear what you said there. Ought to be a meme about that.

God bless!

Struggle at the Altar

It’s been a week here at the Meritt household. We had a short trip to Hershey, PA over the weekend and come back into a busy week at the hospital. Our Hospital has been letting go of staff to meet budget constraints so everyone is on their toes. Each wave of layoffs seems to leave a little more devastation in its wake. Like Jesus’s disciples at the Last Supper, we keep asking, “is it I” who’s next?

So that’s cause for some worry. And a whole lot of it. It’s thrown our household into a bit of s funk. And then this verse pops up in our feed. Perfect!

Because it’s exactly what I need to hear this morning. A reminder. Don’t worry about anything. Do you remember the God you serve? Do you remember the vastness of His riches of His grace and mercy, that God rules over all and we are His children? We think we are powerless to change anything, but when have we ever had power that He has not given us, sufficient for His needs?

And how do we receive that power, through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. We present our requests to God, and He chooses whether to deliver in a time that He in His wisdom seems appropriate. It will never be too late, or too soon. And don’t forget that God weans us from those things that take us away from Him. If your job and your sense of security in that job is taking you away from God, is He not obligated to wean you from that job, so that your security is in Him?

I’ve been in several churches. Pastored them and shepherded them. But I’ve seen this at work in my own life. When life seems good, and my sense of security and joy has been in the success of the church work I was doing, something would happen, and force me back to the altar of prayer. I get conceited sometimes, and think of myself more highly than I ought. God has always made sure to take me down a few notches and remind me of who I am and who He is.

Which is why I find myself in this very humbling role as a Chaplain. It’s not what I want, but it’s what I need at this time in my life. God willing, I will be here until God has something else for me to do. I struggle to be content, but I am getting better at it. Sounds like I need to spend some more time at the altar of prayer. 😁

Well, that’s all for this morning. God bless you and and I hope today will be a great day in the Lord!

Thank You

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers today. And thank you all for taking time to read this blog every day. I appreciate you for making this a part of your day.

Our text today I think is written to one of Paul’s favorite churches, the church at Philippi. I think he had a special place in his heart for this church, for Lydia the seller of purple and the Jailer who was converted overnight. This church was special to him, as was this letter. I have no doubt he means what he says here, that he prayed for this church and her people, many of whom he could picture in his mind as he prayed.

Though I can’t see you, I keep you all in my prayers as well. Have a great day and give mom a hug if you are able.