Tag Archives: prayer

2 Chronicles 20:14-24:14

This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march out against them. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Juhah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NLT

There was a vast army coming against Judah. King Jehoshaphat was terrified and he begged the Lord for his intervention and asked everyone to fast. In the midst of his fear he declared the Lord’s power in prayer and worship. Than the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of his men and prophesied God’s promise to fight for them. The people began to worship before the victory.

Than King Jehoshaphat bowed low his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshipping the Lord. After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ”Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!” At that very moment they began to sing and praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting amongst themselves.” 2 Chronicles 20:18-22 NLT

A friend once told me that prayer and worship combined are a strong weapon against the enemy. I was feeling defeated and oppressed under my circumstances. This is how I would rise above them, just like King Jehoshaphat did.

When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” 2 Chronicles 20:29&30 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for fighting for me. So many times I get weary for taking the battle on myself. I give it over to you again & again. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you for your faithfulness. The victory is yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 7:40-9:9

So at last Huram completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of the Lord: the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals; the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars); the ten water carts holding the ten basins; the Sea and the twelve oxen under it; the ash buckets, the shovels, and the bowls. Huram made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon directed.” 1 Kings 7:40-45 NLT

In the past I might have skipped over these verses thinking that all of this extravagance is unnecessary. After all, God’s presence dwells in me and I am His temple. But, as an artist I get to display His beauty to the world. One of the ways that I put this into practice is by painting during worship at my church. It’s a way to be lead by the Spirit and draw myself and others closer to God. I recently went to the National Gallery of Art to see one of my favorite paintings. To take in its beauty and see what God is speaking into my soul. Art can be a tool to draw others into His presence. To give Him glory. As long as I am not worshipping the created, but the creator.

Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever! Oh Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep Your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.” 1 Kings 8:13; 23&24 NLT

How am I displaying God’s beauty and hope to a world that so desperately needs it? What gifts and abilities has God given me to display His glory?

Thank you Father that Your presence is always with me. Thank you for the signs of Spring and new life, help me to see Your beauty all around me. Amen.

But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today.” 1 Kings 8:27&28 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Ruth 2:14-4:22; I Samuel 1

Women of the Bible: the stories of Ruth and Hannah

 When reading Scripture, I often visualize myself walking in the shoes of the principal characters of the narratives. I can imagine, for instance, being Ruth the Moabite woman living in Bethlehem with her mother-in-law. Rising early and walking to a field where she hoped to pick up the leftover grain to bring home sustenance for Naomi and herself. Listening to the wise council of the one woman she trusted with all her heart, the one who taught her to love and believe in the God of Israel. Risking her virtue and physical safety to join with strangers, she a foreigner in a small, but tightly woven community where everyone knew your story without knowing you. What could that have been like? The part of me that relates is the yearning I had as a young girl to know who to depend on for sustenance, guidance, and comfort. Grateful for those times when others showed concern and genuine caring. Yet, always longing for stability when, even as a young woman, I continued to need protection and provision. I’ve often testified that God answered the prayer of this unbeliever when He sent to me a husband who satisfied my need for security. How wonderful that even though I was not then aware of my future salvation, God knew. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,” Romans 8:29.

Like a Cinderella story, Ruth found her charming prince and Naomi held her precious grandson against her shoulder. And from that fortuitous pairing of Ruth and Boaz came the future King David and the messianic lineage of Jesus Christ. I, too, had my prince and then my own little darling to raise.

In Hannah’s story, my heart was torn reading that after God answered her prayer for a child, she could give up of that same child for another to raise. Hannah’s anguish over being barren, year after year, may be difficult to understand in America today. Young adults are waiting longer to marry and longer still to have children. We praise the family who limits conceiving their number of children to two or less. We value resources such as food, fuel, forests, and air as if these elements preserve our future. Yet, are we not, as C.S. Lewis once argued careening toward the “abolition of man?” Still, what is the first commitment made by most Christian parents who love the Lord God? We dedicate our children to God – to raise them in the “admonition of the Lord.” We stand publicly before our congregations to declare we will raise our children in a godly home, and we ask for their support in teaching and modeling for our children how to obey and love God. Yet, Hannah’s desire for her son to know God went so much deeper. She held the hand of little Samuel, a child of two or three years old, and took him to actually live in the sanctuary and be raised by the aging priest, Eli.

“And she said, ‘O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord [Eli], I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord…For this child I prayed and the Lord granted me my petition…Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be lent to the Lord,” I Samuel 1:26-28.

In dedicating my own daughter, did I truly give her over to the Lord? I thought I did. I still feel the joy and pride of her memorizing Scripture for the Bible Bowl, attending Vacation Bible School, singing in the Children’s Choir, coloring pictures of Jesus and the Cross, creating her own Christmas and Easter cards, and writing stories and poems for her Christian school English teachers. But did I hamper her learning to trust in God by my own need for validation as a mother? Why was it so hard to believe that God loved her more than I ever could?

These are questions that I ponder being a parent. There is no end to my negative self-talk, my mother-guilt, especially since my daughter passed away. Yet I am comforted knowing that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him,” (Biblegateway.com). As her mother, I can rejoice that God ‘lent’ her to me for a while like Hannah could rejoice despite knowing how short the time she would have to nurture her son.

Scripture is for our instruction in righteousness and for strengthening our faith, for courage, healing, and peace. God’s Word also reminds me that women in the Bible were important to His plan of redemption and the birth of the Church. I am comforted by the real stories of people who walked with God, obeyed, and worshiped Him, and were rewarded with renewed joy and greater faith. Ruth’s loyal love to Naomi, Hannah’s sacrificial gratitude for Samuel, and the many other heroines of the Old and New Testaments are the precious jewels of Proverbs 31 which declares, “For her worth is far above rubies…a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Precious Lord God, You alone fashioned me and every other child inside of mothers whom You loved. You know the first and last day we will walk this earth. Thank You, Lord, that You rejoice and sing over us from that first reunion with You and into eternity. May the Lord bless us and favor us, our family, our children, and their children while we wait for that day we are together again with Jesus, our Lord.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6aygmvzM4

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Exodus 33:1-35:29

A prism is a glass or other transparent object in prism form, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colors. Diamonds can act as prisms. A faceted diamond acts as a prism as light slows down upon entering and speeds up upon exiting the facets. Jewish tradition speaks of the prism or diamond effect of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament). One can read the Torah they say year after year and each time it enlightens the reader on something new that comes out from the same passage that has been read for several years. We have known that for years if we’ve been Bible readers for some time. You read a passage and the next time you read it the text enlightens your mind/emotions and a different way. God’s Word is alive.

Well today’s text has done that to me. Read part of chapter 33 below:

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp (Exodus 33:7-11a [ESV]).

When I have read this passage before — most likely 50 times — my focus has been on Moses and the great privilege he had to be literally in the presence of God. How glorious that was! And yet this time my focus fell on the people of Israel. They stood afar off in the doorways of their tents. The were bystanders. How sad. They worshiped from afar. They had no direct connection to God. I found myself really feeling sorry for the people of Israel.

How different it is today. When Jesus died for our sins the curtain in the temple was torn in two giving us all direct access to the God of the universe through Jesus our Saviour. Do we realize what a great gift this privilege is? Do we take advantage of this like we should?

Father God, thank you for the great privilege you have given us through the death of Jesus to communicate directly to you! Thank you for this connection we have with the God of the universe. Help us never to take it for granted. We pray all of this in the strong and saving name of Jesus, Amen!

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

When I finished talking, she asked me, “But what does God say about you?” I knew the intellectual response. But when I held his words in my hand, why did it feel like the weight of circumstance felt heavier? When God knows my history, my thoughts, my heart, my dreams, why couldn’t his word weigh more?

“But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you.” (Deuteronomy 23:5, NLT)

When I know where I came from and who I should have been, I can see the Lord’s saving hand in my life. This remembrance shows me his great love and mercy. He is so kind. And I am so grateful.

“Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from slavery.” (Deuteronomy 24:18, NLT)

Why couldn’t his word weigh more?

16 “Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. 17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. 18 The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. 19 And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.” (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, NLT)

Because I wasn’t focused on it. I focused on opinions of people whose minds were already made up. I focused on perception that took in only fragments instead of the whole. I gave weight to those whose hearts weren’t for me, were riddled with pockets of darkness. And when my focus was there, no wonder the weight was heavy.

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:34-36, NLT)

The Lord reminds me to be persistent in prayer. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking. I know this prayer by heart, but I write it out in a new translation. I write it out by hand.

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
    May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4, NLT)

Keep on.

Courtney (66books365)

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