Category Archives: Mother Theresa

Prayer


Prayer

Boston Marathon Memorial
Boston Marathon Memorial

When Mother Teresa died at the age of eighty-seven, she reportedly left behind an estate that consisted of a prayer book and three saris.  That’s it!  Eighty seven years of accumulating!

We pray for silver, but God gives us gold instead – Martin Luther

This may be the only writing you have seen with Martin Luther and Mother Theresa in back to back statements!

Prayer invites God into your world
Prayer is the language of the soul
Prayer is transformative
Prayer is part of your decision making process
Prayer is part of your life
Prayer is a response to God’s promises
Prayer releases God’s power.
Prayer is timeless

Our privilege is not that He will hear us, rather that we will hear Him
Don’t give God instructions, just report for duty!
But God is interested in what you have to say
God understands plain English, and any other language we may speak
He wants to hear us speak from our heart’s, with the use of our own words
He is interested in the tiniest details of your life
He will not interrupt you
He remembers every single one of your prayers
The Lord of History has your undivided attention
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all invite you to walk and to talk with them every day

When you pray, God is making a house call
He will keep your talk confidential
Praying, spiritually joins you to a great cloud of witnesses
Your faith will be strengthened through prayer
The responses that you receive are as real as your prayers
Through your consistent prayer, Christ is building a faith in you that you were not expecting
You can never pray too much!

Boston Strong
I recently discovered what gives the people of Boston their strength. It is not in their history, their sports teams, their harbor, their economy, their social status, their water, their myriad of colleges, or their government. The answer lies in the grass roots memorial that marks the event of the Boston marathon bombing that serves as a remembrance, as a place to reflect, as a place to mourn, and as a place to heal.

In the photo above, each ribbon tied to this fence contains a prayer. Tiny heart-felt prayers. Unique prayers written by a passer-byes. Unique prayers drenched in tears from a loved one. Anonymous prayers written by someone who has no ties to the incident; no ties except compassion for those involved. And prayers written by children. Please understand fully that the term “Boston Strong” has its roots in prayer. And for this reason, this memorial is the ultimate memorial. This memorial offers hope. It offers peace. It offers strength. It offers perseverance. It offers answers. It offers a promise and the people of Boston know it.

Someday there will no doubt be a beautiful statue or fountain to mark this spot. It will be a part of Boston’s famed history just like the Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, John Hancock’s tombstone, or the Boston Massacre. It will become a stop on the tourist’s trolley line. But for now, the prayers of the people are lovingly and quietly heard at this spot. And the God who so blesses this country has heard these prayers and it is He who will ultimately bring peace and justice.

This memorial is a testament to Boston’s faith, to their strength, to their resolve, to their priorities, and to their great God. Prayer is powerful. And Boston is strong because they derive their strength through an unshakable connection to the Almighty. It is through prayer that the weak become strong. You also can tap into this strength. You can tap into it while visiting this memorial, in your own local church, in your own home, even in your vehicle. You can tap into it wherever you are. That’s the power. God’s the source. He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. And best of all He is approachable, relational, and loving. He is “Dad.” He is Abba. He is Father.

We stand strongest and tallest on our knees. – Charles Stanley

 

 

Teach Me to Pray


Teach Me to Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1 

God, a little help here, please! 


Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of you.
You only know what I need.
You know me better than I know myself.
O Father, give to your child what he himself knows not how to ask.
Teach me to pray. 

~ adapted from prayer by F. Fenelon, 1651-1715

Dan Rather once asked Mother Theresa, “What do you say to God when you pray?”  To which Theresa replied, “I listen.”   Still seeking a story, Rather then asked, “What does God say?”  With those intense dark pupils staring at Rather, Theresa replied, “He listens.”

Prayer is something that really doesn’t need to be taught, as much as it should be used.  If you can speak, form thoughts, and carry on a conversation, then you can pray to God.  Persistence and surrender are key here.   In the opening scripture passage, you will note that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, not “how to pray”.  Interesting, isn’t it!

Here’s how James tells us to pray:

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  – Be careful with the motives behind your prayer
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Separate yourself from the world as much as possible
Submit yourselves, then, to God. – Submit to the Father
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – Stand against Satan
Come near to God and he will come near to you. – Get to know God better by reading His word 
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – Try to limit your sinful ways and repent
Grieve, mourn and wail. – Have sorrow over your sins 

– excerpted from James 4:3-9(emphasis & commentary added)

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:16b

 A few of my thoughts on prayer: 

          Pray as if you were talking to a friend
          Trust that God will answer your prayers
          Bring joys as well as troubles to Him
          Trust in God’s power and sovereignty
          Be patient & persistent (1 Thess 5:17, Rom 12:12, Eph 6:18, Col 4:2)
          Be truthful
          Keep it simple
          Pray the Lord’s prayer regularly and with meaning
          Think of your prayer life as an awareness of God
          Praise God continually as you pray
          Give thanks as you pray
          Be alone with God sometimes (Mark 1:35, Mt 14:22-23, Mt 6:5-8)
          Pray for others (Mt 5:43-45, Col 4:2-4, 1 Tim 2:1-4, 8)
          Pray for resources
          Pray for guidance
          Pray for your church
          Pray for your Pastor 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you – Mt. 7:7 

“Prayer is not an excuse for non-action.  Rather, prayer is the proper preparation for action.” —Rev. John Perkins

Lessons learned from catching a cold


Lessons learned from catching a cold

A cold had recently affected my vocal chords and prevented me from singing in worship…

… I felt like half a worshipper.

I played back-up guitar on one song during this service (How Deep the Father’s Love for Us)…

…I played it well and yet I felt useless.

It was the first time that I accompanied a song without pitching in on the vocals…

… Hopefully it will be the last.

I know that there are probably some great worshippers who do not sing for a variety of reasons.   I know that throughout church history there have been reformers who have tried to stop the church from singing.  I know the story of a Pastor named Mike Pilavachi who actually stopped the singing in his church for one year because people were coming to hear Matt Redman sing as opposed to coming to worship God.  This experience was the well known impetus for Redman’s song titled “the Heart of Worship.”

This cold has taught me how important singing is to my worship of God.  You may be different, but I need singing to keep me focused, active and involved.  I need it to express things to and about God that I otherwise might not.  I need it to join with the other people in church to help express our oneness in faith.

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.Martin Luther

The Power of Prayer


The Power of Prayer

About two years ago, my sister’s 18 year old son was seriously ill in the hospital.  Everyone in the family, and many friends (including my church), were praying for him.  As it turns out, my wife’s sister-in-law is a dispatcher for a national trucking company.  Somehow she got word out to all of her truckers (and there’s hundreds of them) that there was a sick young man that needed their prayers.  The next thing we knew, there were truckers all over the US talking to each other on their CB radios spreading the word about the boy that needed their prayers.  My nephew is completely recovered today.  Several months after the incident; I was reminded how sick he was when I saw his fingers and asked “what happened to your finger nails?”  Each one, all 10 without exception, had ridges and were essentially cut in half about mid-way out from his cuticles.  I don’t know the medical reasons for this but it appears to me that they actually stopped growing during his illness and then restarted at a later date.

As I think back on this event; I am reminded of something that Martin Luther once said:

“Finally, mark this, that you must always make the AMEN strong, never doubting that God is surely listening to you with all grace and saying YES to your prayer.   Remember that you are not kneeling or standing there alone, but that all Christendom, all devout Christians are standing there with you and you with them in one unanimous, united prayer which God cannot ignore.  And never leave off praying without having said or thought: There now, this prayer has been heard by God; this I know of a certainty.  That is what ‘Amen’ means.”

Martin Luther, from the MINISTERS’ PRAYER BOOK, edited by John W. Doberstein, Muehlenberg Press, no date, p.443

Faith is telling a mountain to move and being shocked only when it doesn’t!